“Pumpkin, were you a naughty kitty today?” I asked my cat as I passed by her on my way to the living room. It seemed strange that she was standing in the corner under the china cabinet in the dining room, as if she were serving a punishment for some indiscretion. Heading back through to the kitchen, I noticed that Pumpkin was joined by another of my three cats. “One cat in the corner is just funny. Two cats in the corner is a little suspicious, you two,” I said to the cats.
A sinking feeling came over me as I remembered another time all three cats were congregated in this spot. That time, they had chased a mouse up the wall where it cowered and clung, hoping to avoid being dinner. Already shuddering with revulsion, I found a flashlight and courageously approached the china cabinet. My fear and loathing of mice is well known in the household. Whenever one makes an appearance, I can be found in some lofty perch as my youngest and most compassionate daughter, Lili, bravely catches the wayward creature in hopes of making a pet out of it.
“What is it, mom?” Lili asked.
I ignored her question as I began to yell. “Where’s the phone? Find the phone! Call your dad! Get in the bathroom! HURRY UP!” By the time I had finished my rant, the older daughter had pushed the cell phone into my hand and taken her own look behind the china cabinet.
As I was making my way to lock myself in the bathroom, she called out, “Geez, mom, quit flipping out. It’s just a little flying squirrel.”
“Eww, eww, eww!” was my only reply as I slammed and locked the door. I speed-dialed my husband. He answered, and not having time for pleasantries, I blurted, “How long before you are home?” I’m sure I put the fear of God into him that someone was lying broken and bloody on the kitchen floor, but once I made him understand that there was a squirrel in the house, he knew better than to be upset with me about sounding so panicked. This wasn't our first squirrel run-in. He assured me that he was close to home and I would not be eaten alive before he got there.
I hung up the phone and opened the door a crack to make sure the girls were not being infested with rabies. The sight that met my eyes would have been hilarious if I did not have such a phobia about small, furry, rodent type creatures. Both girls were shrieking with delight. The squirrel wasn't making any noise, but I’m sure that if it had been, the shrieks would not have been of delight.
By the time, my husband got home, the girls must have worn the squirrel right out because he had no trouble snagging the bedraggled creature in an old towel. My family has no sympathy for my phobia, however, and the squirrel was transferred to a cage for Lili to keep as her pet of the week.