Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Count is 2-0 (Technically, 3-0)

**The thought of publishing pictures of the victims crossed my mind. I do have them, however, I didn't want to "offend" anyone. If anyone actually reads this and offers any comments, I might re-think the crime scene pictures.

So, I thought I'd pen this tale (Do we still say that? Is "penning" kosher, since there is literally no pen involved?)

The strangest thing about the dead squirrel saga is how many people -- I learned -- admitted sort of letting the smell "take its course". It'll go away in a week or so, some told me.

Maybe. Maybe if I was a single dude, I could stay with a good friend and let the decomposition take its course. Remember folks, my world revolves women. And, my women, dog and I just could not bear the putrid stench.

(As a side note, I did go squirrel hunting circa 1994ish. A certain reader in my facebook list might remember that. It was at his house, and the decomposition on that squirrel was far more advanced than what happened at my house.)

The first hunt (though technically it was not a hunt at all. The squirrels were already dead. It was more like a search) was really inconsequential. I woke up early one Sunday morning, Father's Day, and went squirrel hunting. I started in the attic, which is not much of an attic. We have a ranch and there's only crawl space up there and 50-year-old insulation. And, not much of that, I found out!

Everyone agreed the stench was coming from somewhere near the dishwasher. So, I pulled the machine the women in my life NEVER use, hoping the poor little squirrel was belly up right behind it.

It was not. I mean, I don't know why I thought that would be the case, since there is no way for a squirrel to get behind the dishwasher, to be perfectly honest.

I guess I just hoped for an early Pop Day's gift.

I did, however, unscrew the outlet cover to the power source for the dishwasher, and the smell intensified. Bingo! I thought. The poor squirrel fell from the attic, down the interior wall (which I've learned -- the interior walls -- are never insulated), all the way down the bottom. And, that's where it lived its last hours.

One perfectly square hole in the drywall allowed me to stick a mirror in and see the fur about 5 inches away. I had a moment of silence and put on some latex gloves. With a long pair of pliers I grabbed the tail and pulled it out.

With my finest I-read-every-Patricia Cornwell-novel intuition, I tagged this rather large squirrel at about 3 days in necropolis.

I took a picture, showered and was at the office before 11 a.m. Happy Father's Day to me. And though some of the ladies still complained the smell lingered that evening, I knew it was fixed. I thought about a celebratory toast, but I don't drink that early and had to work anyway.


The smell came back about a week later. Squirrel hunt #2, or really, #3.

This time, the unequivocal scent came from the general are of the pantry/oven. Same intensity. Same displeased looks from the women.

(Insert selfish plug here) >> It was very convenient Idaly joined this at this juncture!

The fact that the furnace blast of summer came rather early this year didn't help at all.

The first hunt went so well, I didn't start the second hunt until about 2 p.m. on a Tuesday, "my day off." That's about the time the heat starts to make you hallucinate. Perfect time to go in an attic, right?

I'm not even going to lie. The first thing I did for this hunt was pop an ice-cold bottle of liquid bread, the light version.

Because sometimes pictures are much more powerful than words, the next picture will say (without saying) where I was 6 hours and a few cold liquid breads into the hunt...

It doesn't look like a huge mess, but that is my garage wall, the one on the other side of the kitchen. I guess the good news is the ten holes are in the garage, and not the kitchen.

Squirrel, though? No where to be found.

Cussed -- yes. But, only in my mind, since the girls were within an earshot. I did throw and punch some things. Absolutely.

The eleventh hour was rolling around for me (9ish p.m). I had to be at the office early and was about to give up when I had a thought.

The squirrel could have fallen in the interior wall, which divides the oven from the pantry. So, I went fishing. In the attic, which must have been about 190° by then.

I applied some duct tape backwards (sticky side up) to a fishing rod, and my neighbor let me have a few fish hooks. In a very weird angle in the attic (wish I had a picture of that yoga pose) I managed to get that fishing rod in that wall deep enough to feel the varmint. When I was certain that what I was poking was in fact animal tissue, I pulled up the rod (hoping the hooks would catch it). What I got was a glob of squirrel hair attached the duct tape. There was the confirmation I needed.

I didn't want to make a hole inside the house, but I was exhausted and didn't care. So, the picture here is the opening to the location where the second squirrel met its maker. Lodged in about mid-wall was a smaller squirrel, dead about the same amount of time. This hole is inside our pantry, on the other side is our oven.

The second hunt took exactly 9 hours, not counting clean-up. I was totally spent, but not dehydrated, thanks to a good supply of ice-cold refreshments.

I can't say with any degree of authority I am an expert now, but after three successful squirrel hunts/searches, why not?

Will I come help you find a dead animal within the annals of your home if you find yourself in my predicament?

I hope we never have to find out.

Plus, I want my undefeated record to stand.