Friday, November 21, 2014

Scary Sounds and Chipmunk Wars

Y'all may notice that I never say when Johnny has been out of town until he returns. That's because I don't want to broadcast when I'm a woman home alone. I do not understand these people who have devices that tell the world where they are at any moment and post their position on facebook. It's like saying "The whole family is gone for the evening. Come on thieves and burglarize our house."

Okay, so call me paranoid.

A few months ago, a neighbor friend was gone over a weekend. His wife called us on Monday and asked Johnny to come up and fix her door so it could be locked. In the wee hours that morning, she had awakened when her dogs, who sleep in her bedroom, barked and ran out of the room. Then she heard the unlockable back door slam shut. We have had several burglaries in our neighborhood over the last several months. Johnny went up there and fixed her door. He was leaving the following day for one of his trips to visit our kids. Before he left, he fixed our front sliding glass door so it could be locked.

I was a wee bit nervous with him gone and so recent a break in at a neighbor's house. I locked all doors that night.

Several nights later I woke in the night at the sound, I thought, of our kitchen door shutting. After a long frightened several minutes, I assured myself that the back door was locked and if anyone were around, our dogs would have barked. The big white dog is locked up during the day but turned loose at night. The black dog is always loose but out in the field with the llamas and sheep.

I did not go back to sleep for hours.

The next morning I discovered that the back door was unlocked and realized that I had not remembered to lock it the night before. But the door opens into the back room and is not air tight. If I don't shut the door between that room and the kitchen tightly, it blows slightly and sounds like what I heard during the night. Anyway, the big white dog would have barked.

Except when I went out to the barn to feed in the morning, I discovered that I had forgotten to let the big white dog out the night before.

I have not forgotten again. Nothing like a good scare to jog the brain cells.

The day after this unnerving event and loss of sleep, I took a nap in my reclining chair in the living room with an afghan over me, after lunch. I awoke when I felt something... or someone... touching my leg. I jerked upright and saw... a very startled chipmunk jump off my legs. In spite of Johnny's efforts to chipmunk-proof the house, the little rodent was obviously still getting in. (Earlier story here: )

After my blood pressure returned to normal, I vowed to get that chipmunk out of the house. But although it disappeared for days at a time, it always reappeared, often on the stairs to my office, standing with its little paws on the glass door at the foot of the stairs, staring into the dining room. Cute, but destructive. It digs holes in my potted plants to, apparently, store seeds that it steals from here and there. The latest hoarding location is kleenex boxes. It wraps up apple seeds in many twisted tissues and stuffs them back into the box.

Although I have yet to get a photo of it standing at the door, I did get this photo of it on our stair rug.

One of the times the little dickens came down the stairs, I opened the window on the stair landing. Then I guarded the top of the stairs while Johnny came in from below and tried to shoo it out the window. But the chipmunk hid under the plant table by the window instead. Johnny moved closer. The chipmunk fled up the stairs and leaped past my face as I screamed and ducked. Clearly it was not going out the window and clearly I was not prepared for flying chipmunks.

After months of these chipmunk wars, Johnny thinks he may have found the entry point... a tiny gap between the ceiling upstairs and the brick chimney that goes from downstairs wood stove up through the second floor, where my office is, and the roof. He foamed that gap a few days ago and the chipmunk has not reappeared. Of course, it has disappeared before for days or weeks, only to return and dig dirt out of yet another plant, spreading it all over the place.

Or climb on someone's lap while they nap.

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