We have a room in our house that we call "the fish room". It is a guest room on the first floor of our house that happens to have a fish tank in it. Tonight the double doors to the fish room at the end of the hallway are closed tight. Why? Because there is a squirrel in there, and while I can handle him hanging out in our guest room tonight, (perhaps peeing and pooping on our clothes and shoes in the closet), I do not want it running through the rest of the house.
Every fall since Ken died, (there have been three of them so far), a squirrel appears in our house. The first year (2007), I was really pissed off. On top of everything else, I grumbled, I even have to get rid of rodents. Surely, that is a man's job. Why the hell do I have to not only lose my husband, but also have to take on everything he did around here, including the yucky stuff. It made me feel really sorry for myself. Really sorry for myself. Getting rid of rodents IS NOT FOR ME. That was my husband's job. That's a man's job. (Similarly, having to mow the lawn really depressed me. I'm not much for changing lightbulbs either.) I was also scared. I called my father-in-law. I called my sister. My already depleted spirit feebly whimpered for help.
Fortunately though, I was able to chase the squirrel around with a broom, open a large window, and shoo him out. Oh, yes, it took a lot out of me. I called a few people to tell them of my feat. I lay down. I took the kids out for dinner instead of cooking.
2008...another squirrel, an assertive squirrel, that would venture up from the basement and steal fruit off the kitchen counter. This time, I shook my head, and rolled my eyes. Not again. Why me? It tired me out just to think about dealing with it. And it pissed me off too, but perhaps not as much as the year before. So I hired some professional wildlife trappers, big guys in jeans and T-shirts driving around with trucks full of trapped rodents. It was nice to have some guys around helping me out. One of them even showed me the flying squirrel he had caught at the previous house. We went out to the truck and I looked at him scampering around in his cage. He was cute. Then they set some traps for me in my basement, taped up some places to see where the critters might be getting in, and returned to take the traps away when we caught the squirrel. It wasn't cheap, but I was getting some help, and I really liked that. They even found a place in the roof where they thought squirrels might be getting in and patched it up for me.
Today, a 2009 model squirrel was perched on top of the TV in the fish room. I closed the doors to the room. I went to yoga. I went out and bought a squirrel trap for $50. I called two husbands of friends of mine to see if they would help me set the trap. Didn't hear from them. Meanwhile, my daughter's friend Anna helped me set the trap and I enjoyed mixing some cashews together with some sticky peanut butter. I put the trap in the fish room on top of a plastic garbage bag so that when I catch him he won't pee on my floor. I fully expect the trap will have squirrel in it in the morning, and I will pick that trap up, put it in my car, and release him somewhere far from my house.
This is progress. This is my work now.
- Jill Schacter
- My wonderful husband died when I was 44 years old. Being widowed this young happens to less than 3% of married people. Writing through this loss one word at time helps me understand what I've lost and helps me continue to grow. It is how I have gradually recovered from such a severe loss. Research shows that you can benefit from taking just 15 minutes a day to write out your deepest feelings as a way of healing. On the right side of this blog, you'll see a tag for Exercises to Try. If you need some help knowing how to use writing to help heal yourself, I suggest you start there.