A Battle For Dominance…Part 2 of The Squirrels Are Coming

In November, shortly after we moved into our apartment, my son told me he heard mice running across his bedroom floor at night.  I told him he must have been dreaming.  But soon after, I, too,  began hearing scratching sounds and scampering behind the walls in my writing alcove. My skin crawled as my eyeballs rolled around the sloping ceiling and down the walls, following their scratching sounds and fearfully watching for breakthrough openings in the walls.

My fear was soon replaced by anger. These pesky rodents were invading my personal space and ruining my concentration. I couldn’t think; I couldn’t write. I had to show them who was boss, so I started banging on the walls when I heard them running around, hoping this would scare them away.  One night, I heard them laughing at me. Yes, of course I know what a squirrel laugh sounds like.  It was a high pitched weeeee-weeeee! 

“They’re trying to get into the apartment through the walls,” I told my husband.

“Squirrels won’t come into the house. They’re afraid of us,” he said.

Then, one day, we had the kitchen window open while I was cooking, and a squirrel jumped on the screen. Digging his claws in for support, he hung there, upside down, sniffing the steamy aromas, then scurried up and down the screen looking for an opening.

“The squirrel was trying to get in!” I screamed, as I slammed the window shut.

“Squirrels won’t come into the apartment,” my husband repeated. “They’re afraid of us.”

The squirrels in this neighborhood aren’t afraid of us; they’re fearless. When I walk outside, they’re hanging out on the wraparound porch, munching on acorns, flicking their bushy tails and watching me. If I stamp my foot, they barely flinch. scaring squirrels

The other day I had to walk around one of them who was blocking my path and refused to get up off his fat little ass.

While walking to my car one morning, I felt a pair of beady little eyes on me, turned around, and saw a lousy squirrel sitting on the porch steps, watching my back.

HA!” I yelled and took a few running steps toward him, but he just kept staring me down. I remembered my squirrel nightmare, scooted back to the car and locked myself in. Then I tried to run him over.

I used to think squirrels were cute until we moved into this apartment. Now, I see them as my mother aptly calls them: rats with bushy tails. I think about buying a BB gun for protection against a possible home invasion – from squirrels.

squirrel watch on roofThere is one in particular who sprawls himself out on the peak of the first floor roof on sunny days. I look out of my second floor living room window and see him perched up there with his two hind legs straddling the peak, his nose lifted up, sniffing the air, like a lion surveying his domain.

I bang on the window whenever I see him relaxing up there, hoping he’ll be spooked and fall to his death. At first, he would jump and frantically run from one edge of the roof to the other. I had a few good laughs over that.

Now when I bang on the window, he barely looks at me. He must be thinking, it’s that lunatic woman, again – the one who bangs on the walls at night. 

I know he’s the same squirrel who retaliates by throwing himself  – full force – at the living room window when I’m taking my afternoon nap. He must get a real kick hearing me scream myself out of a deep sleep.

napping with squirrel

Battle lines have been drawn between me and the rats with bushy tails. Who will win this battle for territorial domination? I can’t say. I only hope we’re out of here before the warm weather comes and we’re forced to open the windows.  Not that I’m afraid of a little squirrel.  Not much.



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The Squirrels Are Coming!

I pried the door open and tiptoed into the bedroom to check on my sleeping granddaughter. That’s when I heard them scratching at that weak spot behind the wall above the air conditioner.

“They won’t break through the walls,” my husband had reassured me earlier in the week, chuckling at the absurdity of my question. But it sure sounded like they were about to do just that.

As I reached over to pull the covers over my granddaughter, I glanced up at the spot where I heard them scratching. The room was dark, so I couldn’t be sure…Was that a tiny hole or just a shadow? Should I grab my granddaughter now or believe my husband? They won’t break through the walls, I whispered to myself. I squinted, forcing my eyes to adjust to the dark and focus on the spot. And then I saw something poking through.

They were screeching and scratching fervently now. I scooped my granddaughter up in my arms, and stumbled across the room, tripping over the blanket that was loosely wrapped around her. She felt so heavy, and I feared I would drop her, so I paused for just a moment to recoup my strength, pulling the blanket tighter to get a better grip and distribute her weight.

That’s when I saw a flash of silver-grey – flying through the air – then the burning sting of claws digging into my flesh.

Holding tight to my sleeping granddaughter with my left arm, I tried to swat the squirrel off my leg with my other arm, but that only made him dig his claws deeper into my thigh. There was a stream of warm blood running down my leg now, and I knew I had to act quickly. Wrapping my hand around his middle, I squeezed the air out of him, forcing him to release his grip on my leg.

Squirrels were pouring in through the hole in the ceiling and running down the walls onto the floor. I was paralyzed with fear.

Holding the gnashing squirrel at arm’s length, I cried out, “Help…Help! Help me!” Where was my husband? “T-O-M! Help!” Couldn’t he hear all this commotion? Was he deaf? “H-e-l-p!”

From a distance I heard someone calling back, “What’s wrong?”

“Help me!”


“Come in here! Help me!” I screamed.

“I’m right here; what’s wrong?” I recognized my son’s voice. Where was my husband? I still couldn’t see anything in the dark.

“Turn on the light! Take this!” I shouted, holding the squirming squirrel out to him.

“Take what?”

“Turn on the light! Look for yourself!!” I shouted, “Turn on the light and see what I have in my hand!’

I heard someone pull the chain on the overhead light, and there was my son standing in his underwear in the middle of the room. My husband was sleeping soundly in the other twin bed across from me.

“The squirrels broke through,” I gasped as my eyes searched frantically around all four corners of the ceiling.

“You were dreaming,” he said.

“I was holding one for you to take from me,” I said, opening my empty fist.

“It was a nightmare,” he reassured me. “But, if they had broken through the walls, dad wouldn’t have heard a thing,” he laughed, glancing over at my snoring husband. “We need to move out of this place – – soon!”


 It was a nightmare, but, in reality, I live with this fear every day…

…To Be Continued…

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Happy Holidays! See You Next Year…

Let me take this time to wish you all a very happy holiday season.  I will be taking the next week off to spend some time with family and friends. I also intend to eat a lot of cookies and lounge around in my cozy pants.

While I’m away, feel free to visit this site any time of the day or night.  Read some older stuff in the archives, leave me a comment, or just have a look around.

I’ll be checking back in on Monday, January 4, 2016. Until then,


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Navy Showers And Toilet Tutorials

My dad was in the navy during WWII and served on the USS Boxer, an aircraft carrier. When we kids were growing up, dad was always trying to instill naval discipline in us – especially in the toilet.

“You guys are taking too long in the shower!” he said one day. “From now on you’re all taking navy showers like I do.”

Then he demonstrated the procedure. Like a performing mime, he turned invisible knobs for hot and cold water and began his tutorial: “Wet yourself down for 30 seconds, then turn the water off… Wash yourself.”  He moved an invisible washcloth around his torso, and then turned the invisible knobs again.

“Turn the water on and rinse the soap off. That’s a navy shower – rinse, soap up, rinse off. Two minutes; that’s it!”

“We’re washing ourselves with the water off?” I asked, horrified.

“Yes! With the water off.”

“How can I wash myself with the water off? I’ll get cold.”

“You won’t get cold because you won’t be in there that long. A navy shower is only two minutes long.”

“Two minutes! That’s ridiculous,” I said. “It takes longer than that for the water to heat up.”

“Two minutes!” he shouted. “And I’ll be timing you.”

Try as he might, we never took to the two-minute navy shower.

I forgot about the navy shower until we moved into this temporary apartment.

The bathroom here is so tiny; there are only 22 inches between the shower stall and the door. After my shower, I have to towel off in the shower stall because there’s no room to move around outside the stall without bumping into the toilet or the small triangular corner sink.

While in the shower, the water beats down on top of my head; there is no room to step away from it. To work up a good soapy lather, I have to hold the washcloth above the shower head, otherwise the water washes the soap off the washcloth before I have a chance to use it.

There’s no ledge to rest my foot on, so shaving my legs is quite a challenge. I have to bend at the waist and stretch down to the floor, extending my heel forward so my butt bumps into the back wall of the shower stall. It’s a good stretch for the calf muscle, but I hold my breath some mornings, hoping I’ll straighten up on my own, without having to call for help. As I  reach the bottom of my leg, my head protrudes past the shower curtain, leaving a puddle of water on the floor. As far as the backs of my legs go – who knows what they look like? I can’t twist around and bend at the same time to reach the back of my leg without the entire shower curtain blowing out into the room.

There is a dim light bulb and no exhaust fan in the bathroom, so as soon as the water heats up, the room fills with a steam so dense, it becomes difficult to see and  breathe in there.

I spent the first month cursing in the shower while trying to hold the shower curtain in place with one hand and washing myself with the other. One day,  my father’s toilet tutorial came bubbling up from somewhere in the depths of my mind.

The navy shower! 

“Rinse for 30 seconds. Turn the water off and lather up. Then rinse the soap off. Two minutes. Then get out!”

I tried it and it worked!  It’s a quick wash, for sure, but at least I get a nice soapy lather and I don’t have to clean up puddles of water from the bathroom floor.

I take a navy shower every day now. I only wish my father was alive today, so he would know that his twelve-year-old daughter was listening to him, after all.

Anchors aweigh, my boys! Anchors aweigh!

Here’s to the navy shower!

Anchors aweigh!


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