room at the inn

we have a strange relationship with animals over here lately. they sort of come into and out of our lives in weird ways and although my motto has been ‘there’s always room at the inn’, there are limits. it started with a cricket that i found in my office last fall; he came home in my bestie’s cellphone box and lived on our top shelf in a little terrarium for five months. Five! he ate lettuce leaves and raw oatmeal, and apple slices, and even now i occasonally think i can hear his rusty chirping, which filled up several long dark weeks of winter nights in a very delightful way. not at all annoying.

after the cricket, of course we gained mommy duck, who is still hanging tough in the corner of our garden in her queendom of mulch and pinfeathers. she is grouchy over the constant comings and goings (she lives by our front door) but i think secretly she is sort of enjoying it all too.

everybody is welcome. sort of.

so last night, GB heard a loud scratching in the wall, and he informed me about it when i was sleepy and i promptly forgot. the situation apparently escalated quickly while i was stacking zzz’s. this morning, before i was even properly awake, he was standing in the bedroom door advising me that he was about to knock a hole in the dining room wall to release the scratchy thing.

‘ok,’ i said groggily, and then, after processing this for a few minutes, and hearing him noisily assembling his drills and moving the furniture around, i realized that i should probably wake up. i trust him where these things are concerned, but it seemed like a large undertaking that i should probably be present for.

‘it sounds BIG,’ he said, and after knocking around a bit to determine where the beastie was trapped, he drilled a hole and sort of punched it out neatly. after a lot of bright spotlight type flashlights and drilling noises and moving of furniture and stud locators and tapping around scientifically…he put a bucket in front of the hole and we stood with baited breath. it sort of felt like that television special where geraldo rivera broke into al capone’s vault, remember that? (i always felt real bad for geraldo about that one.) i tried not to think of the tana french novel i had recently read about a murder victim who drives himself crazy believing something is trapped in the wall of his house…anyway.


the beastie, which really did sound like a twenty pound raccoon or small bear inside the wall, nosed its way out very quickly, all things considered. behold; tiny little chipmunk. i recognized him from when i caught him sitting in the plastic bin of birdseed in the garage last week, stuffing his face. unfortunately, the intricate ‘cookie tin bucket’ trap that GB rigged had a tiny gap, and he went slipping out and zinging around the dining room before GB could catch him and clap the bucket down again. he transferred him to a jar with some cracked corn for a photo opp. the stupid piggish thing couldn’t stop eating the corn long enough to smile and wave at the camera. he was released into his natural habitat and promptly returned to hang out for awhile underneath the birdfeeder.


miss l. slept through the whole thing and when i showed her the pictures, she couldn’t believe it.

‘I CAN’T BELIEVE I SLEPT THROUGH THE WHOLE THING,’ she said, and her next question was where on earth she was going to eat breakfast if the chipmunk was now living in the dining room.