PS. meriwynn is now blogging at Martialartess.
My Dad has started a blog about aging with diabetes and kidney disease.
I think I may be getting a handle on this thing.
Here in North Carolina, we have several kinds of squirrels - grey, the kind that hate DH; fox squirrels, wow I'd like to see one of these cuties in the wild!; flying squirrels; and the endangered miniature flying squirrel.
I think the issue may have to do with the last. You see, back when DH was a "tween" there was a big storm, not an uncommon occurrence in North Carolina. Apparently, though, this storm knocked a nest of miniature flyings squirrels out of a tree in the back yard. DH's dad brought the poor little ones inside and the family nursed them to adulthood. Imagine little flying squirrels launching themselves from the schimney top to the heads of unsuspecting visitors to the house!
When they were old enough, the family released them back into the wild, where they apparently integrated back very well.
Miniature flying squirrels are nocturnal. Grey squirrels, are, of course, diurnal. I think there may be a war or at least tension between the two groups. Because of his kindness to the little flying ones, the grey squirrels now hate my husband - and apparently his father. They are literally eating the outside of his house. Nothing, including cayenne pepper, seems to keep them at bay.
It would be easy to write DH's antagonism to squirrels off as a vibrant imagination (he is, after all, a writer) if it weren't for the confirmation by outside sources -- like coworkers.
DH spent several years as a contractor at one of the government facilities out here. He and his coworkers used to walk across the campus for lunch on a regular basis. This route took them through an outside picnic area - with trees. Where acorns regularly beaned him. And we always thought he wore that hat to keep the sun off his head!
After a week of this, one of the guys asked DH, "Why do acorns keep hitting you and only you on the head?" DH just pointed up. There they were -- three of the little rat-finks, looking down at them. While his friend watched, one of them hauled off and threw an acorn - directly at DH's head. "Dude, they really do hate you!" said his friend. And reported to me at the first opportunity. This was probably the first time I really started to believe him.
I've not had the same issues with squirrels over the years - I tend to think they are quite cute, and although annoyances when I want to feed birds, not a horrible thing. We used to have one outside an apartment in Eugene that we called Napoleon becuase he'd stand up on his hind legs, cross one paw over his chest and, well, frankly look like Napoleon Bonaparte. He also had a tendency to stand in the middle of the parking lot and attempt to control the cars. I wonder how long he actually survived...
Then there was the squirrel on the UO campus that Christie taught to expect food, and who was very angry that I didn't provide it -- but I try to forget that incident as it almost ended in rabies shots. Terrorist extremist squirrel trained by a FRIEND of all things!
The squirrels in Longview, WA were cheeky critters. Maybe they were spoiled, having a suspension bridge built just for them, but they would stop in the middle of the road and try to stare you down as you drove, daring you to hit them. I thought they were insane, but still cute.
I am, however, losing patience with the acorns planted in my garden now sprouting oak trees under the tomatoes. But for the most part - squirrels and I have a live and let live philosophy. My oregano is still in one piece - after a whole season of growing! (Just a LITTLE gloat there, sweetheart!)
The squirrels have even taken it a step further and performed home invasions -- DH suspects the same operative as in the Oregano Caper.
As I recall the story, and remember that this is second-hand, something had gone wrong in the kitchen - probably involving smoke - and DH had decided he needed to open the windows.
The most effective window for these sorts of operations is, of course, the sliding patio door. It was duly opened, and DH began the return trip to the kitchen. And almost fell down as a small, grey fuzzy creature zipped between his legs and sat in the middle of the kitchen, chittering at him. This was BC (Before Cats), so you can't even blame Paddy - oh wait. She was in MY house at the time!
"That's the last straw! This is MY apartment, you little beady-eyed, bushy-tailed interloper!" (He may also have used some of those unrepeatable words for squirrels, but they are, well, unrepeatable.) And the chase was on!
The squirrel did not want to leave; maybe he was hoping DH had a stash of the oregano somewhere and was looking to raid it; maybe he just wanted to torment DH.
Whatever the reason, though, the little brushtail made DH chase him around the apartment for half an hour before skittering back out the same hole in the screen he had used to slip in. Personally, I think DH should be glad it wasn't a full contingent of commando-squirrels, but only the scout.
Then there was the oregano. A friend had given DH an oregano plant, growing nicely, that he put on his patio so it could get light and continue to grow and hopefully thrive.
He then went inside and started cooking dinner.
Who knows what made him look - some small noise, some innate sense of threat -- whatever it was, look he did. And there, outside the sliding patio door, looking smugly through the glass and stuffing hte end of the oregano plant into his cheeks, was one of the local grey squirrels. As the DH took his first annoyed steps toward the door, the little tree-rat turned his back on DH, twitched his tail three times, leapt into a nearby tree and disappeared.
My future husband was not amused as he looked at his now-empty flowerpot, and invented three more unrepeatable words for squirrels.