Friday, July 25, 2008
the month in squirrel
i've kept you in the dark--uninformed. first it was because i was too busy. then, though the rampant busy-ness continued to plague me (i know, i'm a broken record), i kept you in the dark because i was too heartbroken to break the news.
and now i must update you even though i am indeed standing on the subway platform, really late for school because of a work emergency, scrawling in a notebook about a squirrel, when really i should be taking notes for the paper that's due tomorrow. the paper topic--not squirrel related.
instead, i give you the month in squirrel. because i can't keep rushing through my days ignoring the blog passages looping in my frantic head. some people have internal communication with god--i have my blog.
so it all started with a babysitting job. the boss left town while my sister amy visited. i pretended to martyr my squirrel watching services to be nice. but really i would have begged to have mr. squirrel for the weekend. amy was thrilled too, once we got passed the whole, "i swear he won't poop on you (wink, wink)...much".
ah, we had a glorious time. mr. squirrel delighted in all the new crevices he found to nestle into, like the ceramic pitcher, while we just delighted in watching him.
i discovered that he thinks watermelon is as heavenly as i do, lapping up every last drop of pink juice with his little squirrel tongue. i stared while he swung from the hanging laundry like a sideshow acrobat, and cooed like the possessor of a loudly ticking biological clock at the curled up positions he found to sleep in. prussia, on the other hand, didn't think a rodent in her territory looked so cute, thus practiced emitting frightening guttural sounds from the depths of her primal cathood.
while mr. squirrel enjoys frisky playtime with the boss's girlfriend's cat, he got the message loud and clear that prussia was not a friend. and so, the doors remained closed between them. and that was that. prussia did participate in a bit of moping as she generally remained on the side of the door where i wasn't. i was busy with the cute rodent.
amy followed mr. squirrel with a camera and what fun it was without the constraints of working guilt. but in the end, like the auntie to the core that i am, it was with a mixture of sadness and relief that i returned him to the boss. see, the thing about mr. squirrel is that he just loves to chew on wood. paper, furniture--antique or ikea--he didn't discriminate, books, anything that could have potentially come from a tree and is generally important to you. so imagine baby proofing a house not of sharp objects, but of wood. then imagine your baby could scale walls to reach the tippy top of the cabinets. so basically, babysitting mr. squirrel is a ton of fun mixed with a very vigilant eye.
once mr. squirrel made it home, the boss felt a little bit sad that our bond had deepened so that mr. squirrel didn't always choose his shoulder to jump to first. but not sad enough to regret the free babysitting.
everything was peaches and cream--or nuts and rodent pellets--until one morning on my way to work, the boss called to say, in a voice i'd not heard before, grave and tired concern weighing down the boston brouge, "mr. squirrel is gone. i've been all over the neighborhood. someone put him out and i think an animal must have got him. you know, with his bad paw (the reason he's our baby), he can't climb so well. and he's not afraid of people. he could have climbed up a kid's leg and some parent freaked out..."
a sad week passed. a quiet week at work without giggles and ridiculous high pitched squirrel talk. we tried to repeat the logic mantras, "it jsut wasn't meant to be" or "he's better off in the wild."
but i couldn't shake the sadness. looking through emre's digital camera, i came across a little video i'd taken at my house of him playing in the kitchen. and i started to cry. i cried for a squirrel.
and i wasn't alone in my sentiment. the boss was dragging too, spending his nights prowling around nearby parks, whistling and trailing almonds behind.
so we decided to make a flyer. who cares if people think we're crazy? he wore a collar, for crissakes! how often do you see a very clean squirrel walking around in a collar?!
hopes were not high, but just as i printed the MISSING SQUIRREL posters, the fireman from the station across the street rang the bell and said, a couple hours ago, a squirrel walked into the open front door wearing a collar, looked him in the eye, squatted, and peed, all the while retaining unflinching eye contact. must be the same squirrel they see that crazy submarine guy walking on a leash.
without even filling the boss in, i squealed and ran across the street. they'd been feeding him, but he'd hid somewhere for his late morning nap. when he woke up and came out looking for more food, we were summoned over again. and there was darling mr. squirrel, covered in what could only be described as filth or soot, looking like a street rat, chunks of his tail missing, acting extra skittish.
i don't think the ouside world was too easy on the posh little mister. he was pretty happy to see us, until we bathed the black grime from his normally shiny coat and dipped him in flea medicine.
welcome home, mr. squirrel. goddamn, i never thought i'd love a rodent so.
oh, and mr. squirrel has some new bling--a gold pendant with his name and phone number. nice
99% of these photos courtesy of amy ahlstrom