Inspirational thoughts and random writings from the alumni and friends of Quad-Cities Christian Writers Conference.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A Very Squirrelly Tale

 "It takes more guts than talent to write a blog" I told a friend today.  This post may prove that, but sometimes you just have to "write what you know," even if it's squirrelly.

You know the feeling—you’re sound asleep and suddenly you’re awake. What’s that, you wonder? What woke me up? I sat up in bed and sniffed—was that smoke I was smelling? Climbing out of bed I wandered downstairs to the basement. Yep, it smelled, very faintly, like hair was burning somewhere down there. But try as I might, I could find nothing even hot that might be causing the smell. Then, it was gone. Really, not a trace of smokiness in the air. A bit nerve-wracking. Have put out three fires in houses, I know where there’s smoke, there’s fire.

Repeat this scenario for several days, each time, smelling, searching, then nothing. I finally discovered the smell was coming from the CO vent on the top of the hot water heater. I could see nothing, but the smell was definitely very strong and coming out there!

Later that night when My Hero Hubby (MHH) came home, he heard a scratching sound coming from a door at the bottom of an old brick chimney in our basement. This is what the CO vent pipe from the water heater connects to. He opened the small door at the bottom of the chimney saw a bushy tail quivering. He quickly slammed the little door shut. After releasing two mice into the basement during a Christmas tree incident one year, he wasn’t anxious for a repeat of that adventure. Okay so we have a squirrel in the chimney. Is this “Rocky” so dumb that he not only got caught in a chimney but he keeps getting burned by the hot water heater venting?

I called the pest control guy (Squirrel Guy Mike) who came to investigate. With the help of an auger, we discovered that what was burning in the hot water heater was NOT fur, but feathers. Yuk. Since “Tweety” was no longer living, we decided I would take care of the feathered remains and SGM went home to get his squirrel gun for “Rocky,” both of us assuming the poor thing must be traumatized and close to death or at least a coma from lack of oxygen—hah!

As soon as SGM pointed that gun in the chimney, Rocky revived and scooted up straight up those old bricks. Why he couldn’t just keep on going up and out the top is a rodent mystery. So SGM set up a live trap covering the door out of the chimney, took his gun and left to catch a racoon across the way.  Sure enough, within a couple of hours curiousity got the better of  Rocky and there he sat, subdued but wary, looking hungry and thirsty. I placed the cage in the basement shower stall with water and sunflower seeds. By the next morning when SGM came to retrieve him, we had a feisty critter chattering up a storm. SGM was happy to be able to “Bring ‘em back alive” and took Rocky to release him into the wild, far away from our chimney.

Meanwhile MHH (My Hero Hubby) cleaned the leftover baked bird out of the vent for me. And for his birthday, I gave him a bird/rodent-proof hat for the top of the chimney.

So now I’m wondering what to do about the two chick-a-dees who are building a nest in my mailbox….

Just for fun, how about suggesting some spiritual applications for this squirrel saga.  I'll be looking forward to your comments and some great spiritual wisdom. 
About the best I can come up with is a verse we used to quote to our middle child who tended to wake up very crabby:
"All the days of the afflicted are evil, but he who is of a merry heart has a continual feast."
 Prov 15:15. 
Although afflicted with squirrels and birds, laughing and blogging about it makes it all better.



  1. Sounds like never a dull moment at your house!

    Off the top of my head, the best spiritual application comes from a Sunday school song: "Oh be careful little feet/wings where you go! Oh be careful little feet/wings where you go! For the Father up above is looking down with love, so be careful little feet/wings where you go!"

  2. I enjoyed this. SGM and MHH?? That's hilarious. Do you create similar nicknames for all humans you encounter?

  3. @ Marie--so funny you should mention "never a dull moment" b/c I left out my "the excitement never ends around here" line.
    @ Lori, I'm getting corrupted by my texting family members. I'm also a lazy typer (not good enough to be a typest!)

  4. Great read! I wish you could follow up to this topic

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  5. Well, you never know--we certainly have enough squirrels chasing each other in the yard. I picture that fisty little guy/girl from the chimney climbing the tallest tree in Eldridge, Iowa and having lots of babies someday.

    I'm currently enthralled watching Mama & Papa Goose at the local park. I first noticed them a few weeks ago because one was always eating and one was always standing guard, whether on land or lagoon. Then one day I could only find one, but the very next day, I spotted Mama Goose on the island in the middle of the lagoon, sitting proudly on her nest. Stay tuned for a follow up to that and pictures, too.