With renovation come problems. Most buildings wind up with some sort of issues with mice or rats or insect-type vermin as the property is torn apart and reconstructed. We have issues with squirrels.
Several years ago, squirrel-proof screens were installed on the windows in my suite. These worked very well until this autumn, when they were removed so that the windows could be replaced. All of sudden the squirrels were anxious to get into school. Blog readers have suggested that maybe they are looking for a job. Since my office seemed to be their main destination, the theory made sense. Until today. Now I think that they are looking for a diploma.
This morning started with the usual this and that all preventing me from actually setting in until about an hour after arrival. By 9:15 I was finally sitting down to do some paperwork and was just getting into it when my phone rang. "Mrs. Squid, there is a squirrel in my room and I heard that you were the person to call," said the trembling voice on the phone. "On my way!" I responded, stopping only to alert the custodian and grab a garbage can. What I am planning to do with the can I can only guess. After years of experience in this field, I know that it is unlikely that I will be able to trap it with a recycling bin. Still, one can always hope.
As I enter the room I am greeted by excited students and the teacher points to a furry object in the closet. At first I do not see the tail for what it is -- it just looks like a shadow and I think that someone is playing a joke on me. Then it moves. Knowing what might come next, I tell the teacher to take the class to the library and give dirty looks to the kids who want to grab their jackets from the closet. This, by the way, is when my students prove that they have no knowledge of animal craft as they chatter and yelp their way out of the room. City kids.
The custodian arrives and, after assessing the situation, sends for his trap. He flushes the squirrel out of the closet and we watch as it limps along the floor. In to a corner it goes and then it goes right to ... the radiator housing. We are feeling pretty sorry for this guy. He appears to be hurt and we want to get him back outdoors where he can nurse his wounds, and leave us alone. Once inside the radiator housing, however, it attempts to climb the inside walls to the second floor. Fear flashes across our faces as we realize that we might have sent it up to the Junior High School. Oops. Something, however, prevents the squirrel from getting higher then about 4 feet off the ground, and we see it descend back to our level. At this point it seems prudent for us to leave the poor guy alone and we make a quiet exit -- and I grab the students jackets.
Having returned the jackets and reassured the students that we will not kill the squirrel I try to continue with my day. A sign is posted on the door of the affected room, directing the next class to a different room. Just before the next period is due to begin I get the urge to check the trap. Lo and behold it is closed and our poor furry friend is trapped inside. A quick trip to the park and up a tree he runs.
Will he be back tomorrow? Does he really want a diploma or just a potato chip? And how many of his friends are in our pipe casings?