So I’m just going to throw this out there and get it out of the way: We set a rat trap in the garage.
I know, I know, it’s inhumane. But let’s be clear: We had a RAT in the garage! Usually I’m opposed to taking extreme, and potentially painful, measures to get rid of furry woodland creatures but I make two exceptions: rats and moles (I’d get the dog a gas mask and set off mustard gas in their tunnels if I thought it would get those little suckers out of the backyard).
We don’t have toddlers anymore, we don’t have neighborhood cats, and the dog doesn’t go in the garage (the air compressor is too scary), so we felt pretty safe. Until a teary eyed kid came running in the house in a panic because a squirrel was stuck in the trap. We have never had a squirrel in the garage before, it’s like the universe was reminding me what a terrible person I had become.
“MOM! I chased her onto the deck, but we have to get the trap off of her leg!”
Of course “we” do.
So I head outside, thinking I was about to face a whimpering little creature, dazed and on the verge of death, (mounting guilt). Instead, what was on the deck was a freaking Olympic gymnast of squirrels with a trap barely attached to her foot, and she was flinging it around like some kind of tiny weapon. And she was MAD (how the hell are we going to help her?).
“Go get me a pair of gloves and a towel.”
“You’re going to color her hair?” (when you’re raising children as sarcastic as you are).
So now there we were. Three of us surrounding this poor creature on the deck (because Dad is conveniently somewhere else). I’ve got on a pair of huge welding gloves that go up to my armpits and I’m chasing a pissed off rodent around with this old towel while each kid tries to catch her in a cardboard box (ASPCA trauma lawyers anyone?).
We caught her, and my guilt took back over. This little tiny creature was at our mercy, I was apologizing, the kids were upset, and there was this tiny little heart beating under the towel. “It’s okay little one, we’ll get it” (guilt, so much guilt). And then that trap fell into my hand without so much as a tug and her leg was FINE. I swear that conniving little beast must have actually been holding on to that trap with it’s perfectly unharmed paw so she could spend two hours wrapped in fluffy towels eating $32.00 worth of raw, organic nuts from my pantry.
“Mom, she got out of the box and went under the cabinets in the garage!”
Of course she did.
So once again I’m outside with the big gloves on, and I station myself precariously over random tools and car parts trying to scare this squirrel out from under the cabinet. My plan, of course, was to never actually touch her, just to chase her out the door.
“You are going to scare her!”
“No I won’t, she’s a jerk, she’s doing this on purpose!” (most animals are nice, some are jerks, it’s a fact).
“Mom, here she comes, catch her!”
And then it happened. That thing ran straight up my leg, I haven’t been awkwardly harassed like that since a third date at seventeen. I tore the welding glove off and tried to use it to swat at the vermin, but she was making horizontal circles around my thigh and was surprisingly hard to hit. Both kids were yelling at ME to not hurt HER and I’m dancing around trying not to get rabies, or impale myself on rusty car parts.
But hey, thanks for your concern for Mom.
Eventually she snarled at me with tiny squirrel teeth, flipped me off with a tiny squirrel paw, and ran out the door.
The kids named her “Peanut Butter” and they left treats for her on the deck.