At some point every day, he (or she) pauses at the patio door, sneers at me, and scampers off the deck. At first I was enamored by his wink, until I realized he wasn’t flirting with me, he just has one eye. Really – a one eyed chipmunk! Cheeks stuffed with food for the underground pantry, this brazen rodent is part of the gang that has overrun our neighborhood this year, to the point I want to scream “ALVIN”. My neighbor even invested in rat traps to snag a few.
Summer seems to be the season of pesky animal encounters and as a single home owner, I have had to deal with too many unwanted critters over the years.
One year, Mr. Grass Snake decided the weed patch alongside the garage was a nice place to hang out for the season. On a couple of occasions, I had the perfect chance to do him in, but spared his life; I didn’t have it in me to clean up the remains. So I called a co-worker with a rototiller and cleared out his home instead; that took care of that problem.
I provided temporary housing for some squirrels in my attic one fall; try sleeping with that over your head. Because I don’t take acorns for rent, an eviction notice was served with a visit from the nature rescue center.
One evening, I came home from work well into the evening, only to find a large black bird settled on the top of a bookcase. I was as flustered as the bird’s wings were, when I ran for assistance from my neighbor. An open door and broom did the trick.
In my old house, I’d get a mouse in the basement every fall that didn’t read the “Cats in House” warning. After a couple of days of “mouseball”, the cats would return to the first floor, dropping the limp, fuzzy thing at the backdoor for me to toss out, quick to remind me they were indoor cats, after all.
Moving to Japan for three years only provided more challenges. The onset of heat and humidity every summer brought a couple of cockroaches that were so large I could saddle them. And I’ll never forget the evening I was held hostage by a gecko, three inches long at the most, but with the beadiest little red bulging eyes I’d ever seen.
Nothing unnerved me more, however, than the presence of earwigs in my kitchen one summer. I power washed and disinfected my counters and floor every night, but to no avail. I knew that once I turned out the lights, the bug ballet was being performed featuring little tiny pirouettes on the tips of their little tiny pinchers. I tried every product on the market, but this was it; Mr. Pest Control, I needed some help. What is it about seeing the exterminator’s truck pulling into your driveway that makes you so squeamish? Oh I know – it’s the bugs!
This was a neighborhood that featured lots of wooded area and I found some relief when Mr. Pest Control told me he sprayed the homes of many of my neighbors as well. By the end of the treatment, the anxiety of having the exterminator’s truck in my driveway was long gone, and he had a new monthly customer. If it was good enough for the neighbors, it was sure good enough for me.
This summer, I have friends who have had to deal with a raccoon in the attic, and a bat in a bedroom, so I guess a few extra chipmunks running amok is not that bad. They can be unnerving as they taunt you with a game of chicken as you walk across the driveway, and they leave holes in the yard, and but frankly Alvin, Simon, Theodore and their friends will be gone in a few weeks, so I can deal with it. At least they’re outside and I am inside.