Charlie the Squirrel is back…or at least one of his progeny. We- or I should say, Mr. MacKenzie, have battled “Charlie” for years, trying to prevent him from taking up residence in our attic…or from coming into our master bedroom through the fireplace, as he’s done twice before (that may or may not have involved me screaming like a little girl). Let me tell you, that made for some excitement at Chez Gainey. We noticed a few weeks ago that Charlie had broached the barriers yet again, and this time seemed to be in the sun porch attic and scampering between the ceiling and attic space, driving the dogs- and us- crazy. Considering that we live in the city, it is amazing how many close encounters we seem to have with wildlife around here (squirrels, possums, raccoons, mice, birds, and two bear cubs…oh, wait- that’s Sophie and Coops). It’s always better when the critters that are supposed to stay outside, stay outside….and much safer for my husband because there are ladders involved….extension ladders.
Sophie and Coops…My own personal bear cubs.
Dan has had the summer from hell, literally working about one hundred shows in one hundred days. He is stressed to the max, but finally had a weekend off for Labor Day. We decided to have a good mix of catching up with house and yard chores along with chill time. With we Gaineys, that translates to “work until sunlight is gone or every ounce of energy is drained from your body”…it’s the Gainey way. My heart sank as Dan uttered the words, “Honey, it’s time for me to get on the extension ladder and find where Charlie is getting in….it will be a cold day in Hell before I let a squirrel outsmart me.” Gauntlet layed down….Mr. MacKenzie was on a mission from God. I had my cell programmed to 911…just in case.
My job is to hold the ladder…and pray. A lot. Dan went up and down several times in different places to look for the breach. This last time he did this, he hung out of our bedroom window to staple metal cloth over the hole. I think I aged ten years that day. This time, he found two possible places, and pulled out the big guns- his air compressor and a neumatic stapler (powered by the air compressor) to penetrate the very dense wood of our century-old home. That- thank God- allowed him to have one hand holding onto the ladder as he worked, unlike other times when he had balanced with tools at the very top of the extension ladder. That always scares the bejeezus out of me. One wrong move, and he drops two stories onto river rock. Actually, he’d land on me first, as I’d do my best to try to catch him, and then we’d both be dead….or at least in body casts. That doesn’t sound very romantic. At any rate, I held onto the ladder for all I was worth as Dan climbed up to work his magic. Charlie was up in the tree, surveying Dan’s work…I’m pretty sure he was sneering at us. He has an attitude…a bad one.
Dan patched the holes and stapled the metal cloth within an inch of its life, and there was only minor profanity involved. The dang squirrel would need to bring its own power tools to get in this time (I don’t put anything past Charlie). You don’t mess with a man who has his own Lowe’s store in his garage. I finally got Dan safely down to the ground, and -most importantly- convinced him that he had fixed the problem and didn’t need to go back up another five times. I think even he had had enough of it all by this point. I aged another ten years- this stress really isn’t helping my fifty-two year old supermodel plans one bit. And so, another round between Mr. MacKenzie and the squirrel comes to a close. Charlie didn’t look happy….I heard him say, “It ain’t over til it’s over, Mr. MacKenzie!” as he shook his little clawed paw at us. Great. My phone stays at the ready to call 911….I was a Girl Scout….Always be prepared.