Wednesday, September 27, 2017

The Squirrel Nurser

Steve and Lola are looking out the kitchen's east window. Staccato tails twitch back and forth in tandem - something is definitely up. I figure it's our resident chipmunk taunting them from below the window.

"What's going on guys?" I ask, giving them both a scritch behind their ears before looking down.

My hand cames up to my mouth. Not a taunting chipmunk. A dead squirrel. A dead little squirrel. Flat upon our gravel driveway.

"Oh no," I say.

"What? What is it?" David asks from the loveseat.

"There's a dead squirrel outside."


We allow a silent moment of commiseration to make its way through the room. I look back out the window.



"Not dead. It's not dead!" I watch as the supposedly flattened squirrel struggles up before lurching to drag itself under our Honda Civic.  "Oh, buddy. Not there. Don't go under the car. It's not going to be safe under the car."

"Leave it be," says David. "Heather, do not touch that squirrel." (One episode with feral kittens and subsequent rabies shots and I'm no longer given a lot of leeway with wild animals.)

"I won't. Its mother might be around."

I wait. I wait an entire 17 minutes before I go out and lie on the driveway, feeling the gravel leave its imprint on my stomach. Squinting, I can see the squirrel tucked in by the front right tire. It is still, not making a sound. If it is dead I'm going to have to move it so that we don't inadvertently squish its little squirrelly corpse. I shudder at the thought.  I look around. No mother squirrel anywhere.  Our driveway is not close to any real foliage - no overhanging branches - just three car lengths of gravel. 100 feet to the south, the bottom of the yard has trees and then 100 feet to the north there are more trees.

I go back inside.  I sit. I try to read.  I play Scrabble on Facebook, comment on some posts before I walk nonchalantly towards the dishtowel drawer.

"Don't you even think about it," says David.

"If it is dead, I don't want it to get squished."

"If it's alive, you're going to get bitten."

Temporarily deaf, I grab a tea towel and head back outside. The squirrel has crawled out from under the car and is again lying flat on the driveway. It doesn't even twitch as I approach.  Using the dishtowel as a makeshift glove I scoop up the squirrel. It barely struggles. I cradle the towel against my chest. This is bad. Wild animals don't like to be touched - it's letting me touch it. This sucker is going to die and I'm going to see it happen.

"Uhhhhh... David? Can you, uh... would you grab another towel and maybe the cushions from the storage unit?"

David sticks his head outside, takes one look and rolls his eyes. He then disappears for a moment before coming back with a hand towel from the 1/2 bath.  He's shaking his head as he pulls the outdoor cushions out and places them on the outdoor sofa. I very gently wrap the second towel around the first one and lower myself onto the sofa. The squirrel doesn't move. I open the tea towel and look down.

I touch a finger to its head. Nothing. I contemplate asking David for a miniature hand mirror so that I can check that it's still breathing, when it shifts slightly. Still alive.

"Would you grab me a syringe with some water?" I ask. The squirrel opens its eyes, giving me a paralyzed look of horror. "It's okay buddy. We're just going to get you some water so that you don't become squirrel jerky." My suggestion doesn't seem to impress the critter. 

"If I were a syringe, where would I be?" David asks. 

"Maybe in the first aid kit?  Oh, or maybe above the stove where the pet pill crusher is."

He returns with the syringe.

The squirrel lets me drop water into its mouth before burrowing down into the tea towel, nuzzling into my cleavage and closing its eyes. I look down at him and I swear to God, my boobs start to tingle. 

"Oh, good God," I say.


"You know how when I see a nursing Mom, my boobs get all tingly and I feel like I might actually have milk?"

"You're not."

"I am."

David winces. "Uhhhhh... You, uhhhh... You're not..."

"Dude, I'm not going to try and nurse a baby squirrel. I'm just saying that my boobs are going all maternal on me. Besides, if we're being 100% frank here, this sucker wouldn't get 1/8 of my nipple in its mouth. Plus... squirrel teeth."

"Just when I think you won't go past a line..."

I enjoy a squirrel nap in our backyard before Rissa and her boyfriend name the wee rodent Edwin Von Lichtenstein. We foster Edwin for the weekend before David transports him to a Wildlife Centre where he is placed with other adolescent squirrels. This was his last feeding before we said goodbye. Godspeed Edwin.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Anorexic Caterpillars

Rissa is taking up all the space in front of the bathroom sink - arranging her eyebrows.

"Excuse me hon," I politely request - reaching for the taps so that I can wash my hands.

"Sorry..." She scoots out of the way, allowing me full tap access, before returning to the mirror with tweezers in hand.

Moments later, I remember having caught a whiff of my armpits as I left the bed. They really need a good wash... with soap.

"Excuse me," I repeat, reaching for the soap at the edge of the sink.

"Sorry..." She twists her body to allow me entry to the water once more, while somehow managing to maintain full facial focus in the mirror.

As I dry my pits and hands, she moves back to glue herself against the vanity - sheer concentration on her face as she landscapes the browal region.

I'm not going to ask a third time, it would just be mean. I reach under her for the toothpaste and toothbrush and covertly turn on the water.

"Sorry, sorry," she says, stepping back again, giving me full use of the sink so that I can spit. "I just can't see if I'm farther away from the mirror and if I have my glasses on then I can't control the tweezing /slash/ makeup process." She has now grabbed her eyebrow pencil and is applying it with determined precision.

"Ahhhhh... Totally makes sense when you put it that way. I do find it strange though that the only makeup you apply is to your eyebrows."

"It's all because before I grew them out* I used to have anorexic caterpillars for eyebrows," she says, now pulling clear eyebrow gel from its tube. "With really LARGE heads."

I snort.

"It's true! Remember? They used be all anemic and anorexic... Like caterpillars trying to fit into a dress from three years ago, but finding out it's way too tight and they end up looking like this..."

*To encourage her anorexic caterpillars to have a healthy BMI - Rissa spent our European vacation last year growing them out over a three week period - where only strangers could watch the process.