Friday, May 4, 2007

Secret Squirrel?

Dear reader - sorry it is late - sorry it is not proofed. Please enjoy.

"What is your least favorite day of the week?"

I distinctly remember being asked that question by a classmate in 4th grade. You see, at that time we were all reading the Garfield books. Garfield hated Monday – especially Monday the 13th. At that time I didn't really understand why. As I aged I learned that he was referring to Monday being the day that most people didn't work. Even though he didn't work – his character (I think) was still speaking to workers that might be considered "stuck" in their jobs and thus dreading Monday.

In fourth grade I am fairly certain that I answered "Monday" because of Garfield.

If you asked me last week I am not sure what I would have said. Sunday sucks because – although it is the weekend – there is work the next day…usually a lot to catch up on, etc. Wednesday day is annoying. I don't teach on Wednesday – but it is like a fake weekend. I know that I should go to the theatre and do some work – and that I have get up early on Thursday for class.

Well, today is Tuesday. As of right now I am officially declaring Tuesday my least favorite day of the week. Last Tuesday I submitted a story to this blog…it started by noting that Amy wakes up earlier than me on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. That has not changed. Today, Amy got up earlier than me.

I woke up a little while later to a blood curdling scream. I was in a daze – I thought I was dreaming. Why would Amy be screaming? What in the hell is going on? As my mind made its way into reality I realized what she was screaming.


Are you kidding me? Another squirrel? There was another dead squirrel in my yard – and this time the dog found it before we did. A frazzled Amy came and got me from my slumber. The best we could tell the dog hadn't tried to eat the squirrel, he was just sort of sniffing it…and rolling on it.

"I'm late and the dog needs a bath."

Those were the last words I heard as Amy left to tend to her 2nd graders.

A bath?!?!?! I pay somebody to give my dog baths. He goes to a doggy spa – his day of haircutting, bathing and relaxing is more money than three of my haircuts. I don't know how to bathe him…and I am still supposed to be sleeping.

I threw him (nicely) in the shower. Fortunately I installed one of those "removable showerheads" so I was able to hold him and the shower. This situation was already on the fast track to something from the Three Stooges, or America's Funniest Home Videos. Imagine me in my PJ's – still mostly asleep (I am sure that I looked as though I wouldn't have passed a sobriety test), the dog soaking wet…crying in the corner of the shower – and dog shampoo (or is it soap) EVERYWHERE.

I should point out at this point that my cute little white fluffy dog looks like a sad old man when he is wet. Not a dog…an old man. It is funny and sad all at the same time.

I should also note that Cayuga cannot just be washed and left to dry. Because of his hair, he has to be blown dry and brushed as you go. If not, he gets tangled, matted and it is uncomfortable for him – and for us when his regular groomer yells at us.

There we are, in the bathroom – Cayuga whining and crying like I am eating his little leg off. If a neighbor had walked by, they would have been in a right mind to call the police with all the noise he was making.

When the hair dryer came out – Cayuga looked at me with that look that says "you are not putting that thing anywhere near me…consider yourself warned."

"Cayuga," I said, "it is far too early in the morning to fight with you. I have to get to school and set up my paint lecture. You have to be dry in order for me to do that. Sit your ass down, or I'll sit it for you."

It was like the showdown at the OK Corral – only one side was going to make it out alive. I was just hoping that Wyatt Earp was on my side.

I flipped on the hair dryer and the barking commenced. It is no secret that I hate Cayuga's bark – it is surprisingly loud given his size. It is even louder when you are closed up in a tiny bathroom.

I moved in. At the top of my lungs I shouted "bark all you want, I'm not stopping until you look like a dog again, little old man."

The barking stopped. He glared at me. Then he went back to barking. I knew that if I could hold out a little bit longer he would grow tired of the noise, too. It only took 10 minutes, but I outlasted the dog. Yes, my ears were ringing – but I had won this battle.

As with most dogs, after the barking comes the biting. Cayuga is not a vicious biter, rather, he sometimes 'mouths' when playing. He sort of uses his mouth as an extension or a hand or something. He doesn't clamp down…he just plays. And he knows it gets a reaction. After all the barking I felt like I was on my last nerve. How much 'biting' would I be able to put up with? More importantly – is he like this with the groomer, or is it special for dad?

I don't want to bore you with any more of the pain and suffering we both endured to get through the process. Just know that Cayuga was dried and brushed…and there was not much bloodshed in the end.

But that's not the end of the story. What about the squirrel? It is yet to be cleaned up. Fortunately, I had my system from last week. I would save myself the annoyance and humor of pitching it over the fence. No – this time I went out shovel in one hand and "cinch sack" in the other.


The squirrel wasn't there. Is it possible I am looking in the right spot? I thought I saw it earlier – but I was in such a daze I might have confused it for a leaf. As I scanned the yard I realized I was right. There it was – over next to the fence.

As I went down for the 'scoop' his head turned.

"AHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!" I screamed – and possibly wet my pants a little bit.

It was alive. Not very alive – but alive and aware. It was staring at me with that look that says "don't put me in that shovel. I'm still alive and trying to get to that tree over there."

I wanted to help – I really did. But, the sad truth is that the bathing took so long I had to get to my class.

I helped the little guy hobble over to a whole in the fence. Sure – he might be in my neighbor's yard – but he was dying. My plan was to come back right after class to provide the proper burial like I did last week.

I did make it to class on time – barely. I didn't have time to set up, but I worked it out. The real problem was after class. I quickly scampered home to make everything right. The squirrel was gone. Seriously. I hate to end the story this way – but I only speak the truth. I looked everywhere for the little guy. There is no way he could have moved. When I saw him an hour earlier he was knock knock knocking on heaven's door. There is no way he could have gone anywhere…but he did.

I've named him Secret. Homage to the wonderful cartoon, Secret Squirrel and it leaves room in the event I ever find a mole.

One class, one clean dog and one missing squirrel later – my day was off to an amazing start. Stear clear of me on Tuesday. It is my least favorite day of the week.

No comments: