I turned my alarm off, looking forward to sleeping in the next morning. Instead, I woke up at 5:00 a.m. to the sound of Candice, one of my cats, playing with something in the closet. As I lay the in the dark, I gradually realized the something was alive...and it wasn't Edgar, my other cat.
Then I realized she wasn't playing with the something - she was chasing it - in and out of the closet.The closet had sliding doors and they ran in one side and out the other, over and over again.
I lay there paralyzed. What if she caught it? The first place she'd bring it would be to me so she could show me what she had done.
I was starting to panic.
It wasn't long before the "thing" took a turn and ran into my bathroom, with Candice in hot pursuit. I slowly got up and flipped on the bathroom light, timidly peering around the corner just in time to see a rodent of some sort jump from the toilet to the bathtub.
I screamed, causing Candice to rethink her mission and make a run back out the door. I slammed the door shut and for the next several minutes Candice and I sat on the edge of the bed, staring at the closed bathroom door. We could here her prey making sounds as he knocked things over, trying to figure out how to get out this mess in which he found himself.
Then we heard a splash.
It was several minutes before I could face it. When I finally went into the bathroom to take a look, I discovered my rodent was a squirrel. I shuddered and closed the door and went back into the bedroom. By now Edgar had come out of his hiding place, sensing that the crisis was over.
I turned on the TV. We had received 8 inches of snow overnight. It wasn't even 5:30 yet.
There was nobody I could call at 5:30 a.m. and ask to drive through 8 inches of snow to come remove a dead squirrel from my bathroom.
The hours began to tick by, and still, I couldn't make myself go into the bathroom. A friend called around 11:00 to see if I wanted to go to a movie? A movie? I couldn't even take a shower because I'd have to go in the room with the dead squirrel in the toilet. I considered asking him to come deal with my squirrel, but I just couldn't. The bathroom was a mess.
A coworker called and I told her my dilemma, and she began to laugh. She hung up the phone to call another coworker. Both of them called their husbands to tell them I needed help getting a dead squirrel out of my toilet. Both husbands responded appropriately, and exactly the same way. "If Margaret wants me to come get a dead squirrel out of her toilet, Margaret is going to have to ask me."
I wasn't asking.
I was a 40-something woman who had to face this problem head on. I retrieved some really long tongs for grilling and a big yellow trash bag and came back upstairs. I held them in my hands as I went back to sit on the edge of my bed and stare at the closed bathroom door that was starting to taunt me.
I began to pray, "God, you're going to have to help me with this, because I can't do it myself."
It wasn't the most heartwarming prayer, but it was heartfelt.
I finally went back into the bathroom and looked inside the toilet. I spent another 10 minutes praying before I got the courage to reach into the toilet with my very long tongs and pick the critter up. I dropped him into the trash bag (along with the tongs) and put the bag on my patio which was covered in snow. I considered it a warning to all of the other squirrels in the neighborhood.
News of my adventure began to spread. For weeks, people would come to me and ask to hear my squirrel story. Most laughed, but occasionally I'd have someone react with concern for the squirrel and tell me all the ways I could have saved it.
Sorry, PETA. A squirrel outside is cute. A squirrel inside my house at 5:00 in the morning in the middle of snowstorm is a rat with a fluffy tail and good PR.
And besides, I'm convinced the squirrel's untimely end was nothing short of Divine intervention. God was watching out for me.
There's another winter storm coming. Someone should warn the squirrels.