My brother left to serve a mission when I turned twelve years old. The day we got back from dropping him off at the MTC, I moved myself into his basement bedroom. My mom approved the move, she was just too tired and probably a little too sad to help me. So, I moved everything but the furniture myself. By the time I moved out years later, I was very tired of living in the basement. I promised myself I would never live in another basement again.
With that kind of promise it was inevitable I’d find myself back in the basement again. But I’m not alone. I have plenty of six legged and eight legged friends to keep me company and to keep my reflexes sharp.
My lightning fast reflexes were first honed when I was younger. There were many times I was laying on the floor watching television when I’d feel the faintest hairlike tickle on my leg. When I’d scratch it I’d scoop up a stink bug in my palm. Stink bugs are fairly harmless but they could still make me move faster than a politician retracting a stupid statement. In other words, I can move pretty fast.
The other night I went into my room to get ready for bed. I didn’t notice I had company at first. But soon enough I saw a huge quarter-sized spider ascending his string right above my bed. He looked like an eight legged Tom Cruise performing his own Mission Impossible. I made some kind of strange noise that was akin to an elongated grunt and grabbed the nearest weapon: a piece of paper on my bed. The spider was moving fast and I pictured his little buddies watching from above shouting “Abort!” in their tiny headsets. He wasn’t as fortunate as the real Tom Cruise and never made it back to his buddies. I’m sure they went to the bar and toasted his memory though.
Meanwhile, I’m really hoping I didn’t need that piece of paper because it became the coffin and final resting place for Eight-legged Tom. Adrenaline gets the better of me and I want to make sure my unwelcomed guests are in fact dead. I used to toss them in the toilet until I discovered a swimmer. I just don’t want to risk having a survivor who would bite me in places I really, really don’t want to be bitten.
The basement may be filled with tiny pests, but outside we also get a few visitors. I live in the high mountain plains of Wyoming. Or a desert. The trees that are here are for the most part planted. A few years ago, my mom was looking out the window when she saw a foreign animal running up the tree. “Is that a monkey?” she asked my sister.
In her defense, a neighbor up the street used to have a pet monkey. I’m going to give her the benefit of the doubt on this one because I have her reasoning DNA. This means someday I’m going to make a monkey statement and will really appreciate somebody giving me the benefit of the doubt. I think it’s already happened actually.
“No,” my sister said. “It looks like a squirrel.”
“We don’t have squirrels here,” my mom stated matter-of-factly.
And you get a lot of monkey traffic in Wyoming, do you?
It was a squirrel. And he had a pretty big family that moved into our tree. Squirrels may look cute but they are disease carrying rodents. They start in the tree in the backyard and then move into the attic and wreak havoc. I know this because I watched Rosie O’Donnell and heard her many tirades against squirrels. In my book, the furry family had to go.
Our neighbor, Mr. T, was enamored by their fluffy tails though. He’d feed them peanuts which they would promptly carry to our yard and bury. We called animal control and asked for traps. The traps were humane and didn’t kill the squirrels only trapped them. It was a catch and release system.
When we caught our first squirrel, Mr. T’s daughter happened to be outside. She called us names and yelled at us for having the nerve to catch a rodent in our own yard. The squirrel wasn’t helping; he banged himself up pretty good and scratched his nose in the wire cage. It was all very traumatic for everyone involved. We called animal control who sent a couple of workers to come and pick up the cage and its prisoner. The workers informed us the squirrel would be released in, “The cemetery.”
The cemetery? Let me give you a verbal map. There’s our house. The street. The house across the street. The alley. And the cemetery. I’m pretty sure that squirrel found his way back to our tree because one day I saw a group of bushy tails plotting behind the garage. Not sure what they had in mind but when they saw me, they looked me up and down and one with a scar on his nose put two of his little claws to his eyes and pointed at me. Gave me the shivers.
Luckily, before the little four-legged gang could carry out their devious plot, they started eating Mr. T’s tomatoes in his garden. Looking cute is one thing but taking advantage of his hospitality is quite another. We haven’t seen any squirrels this summer.
I guess wherever you choose to live you’re always going to have pests in one form or another. But I really want to get away from the eight-legged variety. And no more monkeys!