Saturday, August 30, 2008

A Stinker of a Story!

This is a LONG story so I purposely chose to post it over a LONG holiday weekend. Therefore, you should have plenty of time to read the whole entry.

About six months ago, I went home to visit my parents. They live outside of Boise in Eagle, Idaho along the Boise River. On this particular visit, my parents were frustrated because some of the lights and electrical components upstairs had stopped working with no explanation.

During the first night of my visit, I woke up and thought that I had scratching sounds from inside the wall of my bedroom. I figured I was dreaming and went back to sleep. A few hours later, I heard the scratching again. It wasn't just scratching though. It was scratching for several minutes and then a big thud. Scratch, Scratch, Scratch, Thud. Scratch, Scratch, Scratch, Thud. It was very loud and it was coming from inside the wall behind my bed.

Long story short, a call to an exterminator was made and the pest guy found several squirrels in the wall. SQUIRRELS?!?!?! Somehow they had gotten into the attic and while running around, being the clever creatures that they are, fell into the void that was my bedroom wall. They were trapped in the narrow crevice and were frantically trying to escape. The wall was too tall and too steep for them to get out. They would get about half way up and then fall back to the ground. Hence, the Scratch, Scratch, Scratch, Thud. While they scratched their way up trying to escape, they ripped apart the electrical wiring in the wall. That is why none of the lights were working upstairs! According to the pest guy, we were lucky that they hadn't started an electrical fire and burned the house down!

Anyway, the squirrels were still alive. My mom wanted them removed and safely relocated. The pest guy cut a giant hole in my bedroom wall in order to retrieve the squirrels. Several hours later, mission accomplished. (Well, let's just say that thanks to the pest guy's baseball bat, all are in "greener pastures." Not exactly what my mom had requested.) He spent the next day patching up any holes or crevices in the attic that the squirrels might be entering through.

At the end of my visit, the hole was repaired and life continued on as usual. Problem solved.

Fast forward two or three months.

I was home again for another weekend and asleep in the same bedroom. Again, I awoke to Scratch, Scratch, Scratch, Thud. Scratch, Scratch, Scratch, Thud. Theeeyyy're baaaaaaaaacck. The pest guy returned and again found squirrels in the wall. How could they have possibly gotten in there? All the holes had been patched up. Apparently, the original squirrels had had babies before they were found. Perfect! This time, to prevent my mother's tears, he set some traps in order to remove them alive. It took several days but the squirrels were removed - alive - and safely relocated. To prevent anymore squirrel infestations, the pest guy left several traps in the attic and around the outside premises of the house. the problem was solved.

Over the course of the next few months, the pest control guy became a weekly visitor to my parent's house to empty the squirrel traps. To date, they have caught and released somewhere in the neighborhood of 15 squirrels!!

So again, fast forward to about a month ago. (Bear with me.) It was about 100 degrees and my mom was outside watering her plants when she heard some noises coming from one of the squirrel traps. As she approached the trap, she quickly realized that she wasn’t dealing with another squirrel. It was a skunk!!

Feeling sorry for the skunk in the 100 degree heat with no food or water and scared to death, she decided to approach the trap in order to move it to the shade. Needless to say, she was sprayed - as were her dogs – her THREE dogs. Let me repeat that. MY MOM WAS SPRAYED BY A SKUNK! She and her three dogs were all sprayed. Needless to say, her house smelled like skunk for a week and so did she even after numerous showers.

Eventually, the pest guy came to retrieve the skunk and although my mom requested a removal and relocation, the skunk was "put down." I will say "put down" because that sounds more humane than what actually happened to the skunk. Needles to say, my mom was horrified. She loves animals - all animals - and has a tough time seeing them hurt. (Not enough to be a vegetarian (although she says she's close to converting) or to stop wearing leather but enough to risk being sprayed by a skunk to relocate it to the shade.)

A few weekends ago, I was home again. (I think the take-away lesson here is that I should stop going home.) It is a Sunday evening. We are outside with the dogs playing fetch and enjoying the relaxing sounds of the river. Totally at peace when all of a sudden, the dogs start barking hysterically near one of the traps. ANOTHER SKUNK!! Can you believe this??

We quickly ushered the dogs away and got them safely into the house without any spray episode. What to do about the skunk? My mother was obviously upset. She did not want to get sprayed but she just couldn't come to grips with this skunk’s unfortunate fate - a certain death sentence.

Being pregnant (and sane) I wasn't getting involved with the skunk. Neither was my dad who couldn't show up to work to treat patients smelling like skunk. My mom said she was willing to risk it again but that she didn't know how to work the trap. (Apparently, she had done a dry run with an empty trap just for an occasion like this and wasn't able to open the trap even with no threat of skunk spray!)

Enter our hero - or shall I say - heroes. John Andrew and his two friends, Austin and Clem.
They were determined to save the skunk (for a small fee of course). They prepped themselves....
gathered their supplies...

and formulated a plan.

Eventually, the skunk was set free!!

My mom was ecstatic!
Ahhh, just another day at my parents house!


Chris said...

post script to the skunk story! last night i was looking out the kitchen window to see who was feeding on the corn and seed i leave for the ducks and birds. who do i spy? unbelievably, mr. skunk who had just been freed the previous saturday. i have never seen another skunk eating the corn on the ground at the bird feeding station. NEVER. i watched him for 5 or 10 min and then he wandered off into the brush in exactly the same route he took the previous week. seeing him made my night!!!! what a lucky little guy!!

Kim said...

I really liked this story, it was quite gripping. Hi Katie!