This is not the squirrel that was on our porch; our squirrels are grey and plump. I think this guy came from MC Yogi’s facebook page.

This is what you need to know: the hole in our screen door on the third floor porch is slightly wider than the average squirrel – which makes sense, because a squirrel made the hole. And the latch on the wooden door behind the screen door is somewhat iffy. And also, there was a package of crackers* on the porch for feeding the local squirrels** until my forgetful ass remembers to pick up some more peanuts.

The other day when I came home from work and noticed that there was only one cracker left in the open cracker sleeve, and a pile of crumbs on the chair, it was sorta cute, right? Aww – look at the (non-poop) evidence that squirrels have been here. And when I have looked into the porch to occasionally find a squirrel snacking in the chair on the porch, and then see her vacate when she sees me reach for the camera, that’s also cute. Be aware, that in neither of these situations was the squirrel panicked, and so it was adorbz.

Panicked squirrels, on the other hand, are not adorbz. They are, in fact, a little terrifying. This is what happened on Wednesday afternoon when I was leaving the house to pick up Dearest Will from work:

– I discover a squirrel on my third floor porch with a cracker in her mouth.  She rushes at me, I jump back and squeal, because this is startling. She stops in the spot where I was. I stamp my foot, in hopes that she will run back toward the screen door and out the way she came in. This is not what happens; she says Bring It On in squirrel, which is to say she rushes me and jumps back at the same time as I jump back, making surprised noises (both of us). Then she runs past me, down the stairs. I swear a little bit.

– So now the second floor landing has a squirrel on the screen door with a cracker in her mouth, attempting to get out by running all over the screen and tugging at it with her claws.

– Needing to share this experience with someone who will appreciate it, I call Syd, and tell him to come out to his landing, very quietly, and HURRY! He is confused, and stammers out something like, “O- Okaaaay…”

– Syd has clearly not had enough coffee. He stands inside his apartment entry in his pajamas, staring through the storm window in a bleary sort of way that makes one love him as one loves a stuffed animal: you know he can’t do much just now, but you just can’t help but want to squeeze him a little bit. I point at the squirrel, Syd looks at the end of my finger. This is adorable, but of no use to me. I talk to the squirrel. I tell her, “It’s ok – I’m just going to open the door for you with this mop, ok?” (I may or may not have called Dearest Will to tell him I was going to be late picking him up while making startled noises as our squirrel friend jumped around being startling.)

– I pick up the mop and attempt to open the door from a distance with it, but unfortunately, the screen door is  locked. Syd opens the apartment door and steps out onto his porch, while I try to figure out how to get the screen door open, and the squirrel sees him at the same time as he sees the squirrel. He wakes up in a hurry, she bolts down the steps to the basement. Syd is now completely awake, and goes into Do Work mode.

– Cue the theme from Benny Hill*** as Syd and I proceed to chase the squirrel around the basement, me intermittently shouting for Syd to either open or close the basement door (the squirrel is zippering back and forth across the basement threshold now, and I’m hoping to herd her out the front door, to, you know, The Big Room).

– Before I get a chance to herd her out the front door, the squirrel runs up to the third floor, jumps on a chair, and out the hole in the screen through which she presumably got in in the first place. For the record, she never loses the cracker. Syd and I breathe the hard breaths of smokers on the porch and giggle. We then go to pick up Dearest Will, who understood absolutely nothing I said to him on the phone earlier in between startled whooping and squealing. Good Times.

Lesson learned: squirrels are brave; make sure the porch door is latched properly. Also, on Wednesday, August 1st I will be quitting smoking.

***

*Town House crackers are delicious. Fat-free Townhouse crackers, not so much. Apparently squirrels do not discriminate between the two.
**By hand sometimes!
***Yakety Sax
See for reference (the chases always changed, show to show, btw)

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