My Week 253: Squirrelling Around And Other Tales

I’m very tired right now. I know I’m very tired, because when I get very tired, I also get very swear-y, mostly at inanimate objects. To whit:

At the computer: “Why are you so f*cking SLOW?! Come on!!”

At the raspberry bushes in the garden: “Do you think I don’t see what you’re trying to do? Touch me again and I will DIG YOU OUT, you nasty piece of sh*t!”

At the driver ahead of me: “It’s a f*cking CORNER! Get around it—are you trying to make a goddamned meal of it?!”

At the movie last night: “Are you seriously trying to tell me that Dumbledore’s mom was some random lady who was LOST AT SEA?! That makes no f*cking sense, J.K. Rowling!”

At my car’s Bluetooth lady: “It’s KEN!! It’s always KEN! When will you f*cking LEARN??!!”

Yet despite my absolute fury at things that can’t talk back, I keep it all to myself when it comes to people. For example, yesterday I passed our dining room and noticed that Ken had draped all the cloth napkins that he had washed over the back of a dining chair literally 6 inches from the drawer WHERE THEY ARE KEPT. Did I yell and swear at him? No. I quietly put them away myself, because it was his birthday. But there is a middle ground, a “no man’s land” if you will, between inanimate objects and actual human people. This territory is known as The Squirrel.

I’ll be honest with you right up front. I don’t like squirrels. And I can already hear you protesting, “Aw, but they’re so cute!” and let me stop you right there. No. They are not “cute”. I have had many encounters with squirrels in my lifetime, and at no point was I distracted from their destructive behaviour, obnoxious attitudes, bizarre habits, or sarcastic temperaments by the thought, “Well, at least they’re cute”. Squirrels are the serial killers of the rodent world, the stuff that nightmares are made of. This actually happened to me when we had a cottage. A squirrel with an incredible sense of entitlement decided that she owned the place and she was super-intimidating. I started calling her “Charles Manson” until Ken pointed out that she had two rows of squirrel boobs, so I changed her name to “Squeaky Fromme”. One day I looked up at the roof, and saw her halfway in and halfway out of a little hole under the eaves, just hanging there staring at me like a furry gargoyle. I started screaming, and she took off. Later, Ken and I were sitting on the porch—I had my back to the driveway. Suddenly, I heard a noise, like a demon muttering, and I turned around—Squeaky was actually sneaking up on me. It turns out that she had taken up residence in our attic, where she had some babies who were also little dicks, running around and chewing on things at all hours of the day and night. We finally live-trapped them all and drove them out to the country. This is not a euphemism—even if I don’t like them, I would never deliberately hurt one.

But now, I’m experiencing déja vu, because the other day Ken called me to the window and said, “Look at that squirrel with a huge chunk of grass in its mouth. It’s climbing up the downspout—what do you think it’s doing?” and my response was “That little m*therf*cker!” because it was BUILDING A NEST under the decking of my balcony. So I went out and yelled “Hey!” and its head popped out, startled.

We stared at each other, and in that moment, we both knew the game was on. I ran upstairs and out onto the balcony, which caused Squirrel-y Dahmer to scramble out and run to the corner of the roofline where he sat, staring at me like I was some bee that he was worried about, which then prompted me to point at him and yell, “I SEE YOU! Don’t think for a minute that I don’t know what the f*ck you’re up to!!” because all I could keep thinking about was him popping up between the decking and biting my toes. After a few days of me randomly going out onto the balcony and stomping around, sending Titus out to intimidate him, and blasting heavy metal music at him, he seems to have run away, never to be seen again.

So, tired, yeah.

Here are some random notes from my phone.

1) Porta-potty relief

No, this is not the happy ending to a constipation story. What happened is this: When we work off-site, we have to have an extra outdoor bathroom trailer because many of our temporary staff are women and as we all know, women go to the bathroom constantly, especially if they don’t think they’ll be able to go to the bathroom for a while, even if they don’t really need to. So the line-up to the women’s bathroom is always extremely long. The problem is that the trailer is never level, but on an angle severe enough that I’m afraid to use it for fear of it toppling over. This wouldn’t pose a problem except that the windows and doors are always on the side that would hit the ground, thereby trapping me inside and causing me to drown in sewage. This is weird, yes? But not so weird that I don’t have a pact with a colleague who feels exactly the same way in which we notify each other when we’re going out there with the promise: “If I’m not back in 5 minutes, check that the porta-potty hasn’t fallen over.” But when we arrived at the site this time, she came to me very excited:

Colleague: The portable toilet trailer is here!
Me: Ergh. How bad is the angle?
Colleague: Pretty bad, but it’s set up perpendicular to the building this time so instead of toppling over, it would just roll down into the parking lot, hitting a bunch of cars!
Me: THAT is excellent news.
Colleague: I KNOW!!

2) I was thinking about the size of Siberia and I got scared.

Personally, I had never even considered the size of Siberia or why that should be frightening but I overheard a guy on the train say this to someone he was talking to on the phone, and it sounded very intriguing. Then later, I heard him say “It’s a monster but it’s in the form of a deer standing perfectly erect” and I didn’t know if he was still talking about Siberia or something else, but the whole conversation made me realize that my porta-potty story was pretty normal.

It’s actually terrifyingly large. Who knew?

3) Meeting Cindy Bankstock

A few weeks ago, some of us from work went to a presentation. We walked in and were met by a woman who introduced herself as Cindy Bankstock (not her real name). I was immediately incensed. Not because of her name, silly—I’m not THAT tired. No, last year, I had applied for a position with another unit, the manager of which was Cindy. I love my job, but this was exactly the same kind of job AND only a 40 minute drive from my house, so it would have been perfect. I had all the qualifications, including having done the same work before, but surprisingly, I didn’t even get an interview. So I emailed Cindy, expressing my thanks for her consideration of my application and my regret at not being interviewed. I wasn’t expecting anything, but she wrote back and offered to give me feedback on my application. I thought it wouldn’t hurt, so I agreed. She sent me an official telephone meeting invite for the next week, but it was on Easter Monday. Still, she had sent the invite so I figured she was happy to do it on our day off. I had family over, but I disappeared upstairs at the designated time and waited for the phone to ring. And waited. And waited, until it was obvious that she wasn’t calling. So I emailed her and said I was sorry we hadn’t been able to speak—perhaps we could reschedule? And I never heard from her again, until I came face to face with her at this presentation. She introduced herself, as I said, and then I introduced MYSELF. I enunciated my name very slowly and clearly, then I stared at her. And like a squirrel, she stared back. Then she ran away, never to be seen again, leaving the rest of her team to do the presentation. And I didn’t even have to stomp around.