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How to Get a Squirrel Out of the Chimney

September 26, 2011

Author’s note: This is a true story – a journal really –  and is meant for your entertainment only, unless a squirrel falls down your chimney! I hope this brightens your Monday.

Day One:

10:00 A.M. –  A squirrel just fell down our chimney.

Our school day is totally overcome by the grunting sounds from the squirrel and the great ideas from the kids about how we should get this squirrel out of our chimney. At lunch we lower a rope down the chimney so he can climb out. He doesn’t. We did get him to come down into the firebox though. Jacob was so excited, all he could do was shriek, which scared the squirrel back up into the chimney. Gary tried to start a small piece of paper on fire in the box to coax him to leave. No change. We let the entire rope fall down the chimney, hoping to knock the squirrel into the firebox, where we would promptly shut the bypass and trap him there, while we pondered how to get him out of the stove. No luck. His grunting subsides and we get a little school done, in between all the great ideas.

6:00 P.M. Dad comes home.

The squirrel is still here and we have left an apple and several peanuts in the firebox, just to make him feel welcome. He is not a well-mannered guest and refuses our hospitality. We decide that he must leave.

9:00 P.M. It is time for bed.

We begin the voluntary evacuation of the unwelcome guest. Using plywood scraps and blankets we form a barricade of sorts to help guide him to an open window, should he choose to leave of his own accord. The stove door is open and we even leave a light on.

Day Two:

6:00 A.M. He is still with us.

We decide that he is stupid and take a vote to start rip-roaring blaze. Mom doesn’t want his charred, dead body in the chimney and apparently we are not making the decision based on votes. So we think of still more great ideas. Basically we left the stove door open so he could exit any time it was convenient for him. We even put our trusty pooch, Sunny, in the garage so this rodent wouldn’t be afraid to come out. (As if we are not scary ourselves.)

The day passes, more peanuts are added. Aside from an occasional tail wag, we do not see him. Since it is raining, Mom will not let Gary get on the roof to put a burning firebrand down the chimney.

5:30 P.M.  Mom takes Grace to soccer practice.

6:00 P.M. Dad comes home.

Now this is the time for action. The dog is released from her bondage. With Mom out-of-the-way things really move fast. Dad lights some newspaper on fire and pokes it up to the squirrel’s lair. This is a forceful invitation to leave the chimney and enter the house. The squirrel accepts.

With a glowing ember on his back, the first one he meets is David. David thinks this squirrel is a rather forward fellow but does the dance anyway as the squirrel makes one circle around his leg and one around his body before the dismount. The landing is not perfect and he meets Gary – but only briefly. Sunny is trying to introduce herself, but the squirrel zips past her, makes three ascending laps around the floor lamp and explodes from the top of the shade. Now the boys are each armed with a piece of firewood. It seems the youngest boys have the largest pieces.

Poor Sunny! She can’t get any traction on the hardwood floor. She is spinning all four “wheels” uncontrollably and chairs are falling over as the chase moves under the dining room table.

 The squirrel, sensing the danger, scurries under the China hutch and finds the cover off the floor vent. He is now in safety again.

6:30 P.M.  Carl wakes up.

Having slept through the chaos, he staggers down the stairs, rubbing his eyes, and informs everyone that the squirrel is scratching on the screen. Since this is seemingly impossible, the men follow Carl to his room to verify the three-year-old’s story. They ask him to show them the “screen.” He points innocently to the heating vent. “That screen.”

6:40 P.M.  Mom returns the missed call from Dad….

“Do you want the good news or the bad news first? The good news is that the squirrel is out of the chimney. The bad news is that he is in the HVAC system.” (Secretly, Mom knows she is going to get to hire that monster vacuum truck to clean out all her vents!)

8:00 P.M. We need a name for “the squirrel.”

Logically it should be “Rocky,” but Mom and Dad are the only ones old enough to remember that cartoon. “Dead Meat” becomes popular for a while. Mom likes “Marlboro,” since he was smoking. Carl thinks the name should represent speed: “Lightning McQueen” and “Dale Jr.,” are the best ones. No decision is made.

9:25 P.M.  Sunny is keeping guard.

Day Three:

The windows and screens are open and we have removed several vent coverings to allow the squirrel egress. He is still with us and we leave for our first soccer game.

12:30 P.M.  We can only hope he has left. There isn’t any evidence, just hope. A friend has loaned us some leg-hold traps.

4:00 P.M.  Hope was nice while it lasted.

Sounds tell us he is still here. We pour some water down the vent to keep him alive.

10:30 P.M. Time again for bed.

Maybe the sounds were not the squirrel. Maybe he is gone. Back to hope.

Day Four:

8:10 A.M.  We are leaving for church.

It is cold out today and we finally shut the windows that have been open for days.

12:30 P.M.  The squirrel leaves proof of his existence.

Tomorrow when Mom asks David where his math lesson is, the answer will be, “Ma’am, I threw it away because the squirrel went potty on it.” The irony of it all is that the math lesson was right in front of the window that had been open for the past three days.

2:30 P.M. The traps are set.

To be continued…..

The squirrel did leave the next weekend while we were away from home. We found a corner of the screen tore away as he exited through the kitchen window.

 

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. September 27, 2011 3:01 am

    It is SOO hard to imagine this happening in your house 🙂 I wish the ending had been a less anti-climactic, but there was plenty of life in the story anyway!!

    Thanks for sharing!!

  2. September 27, 2011 10:36 am

    Sorry about the anti-climatic ending…. that is often how life is. Hope it made you smile! Thinking about you two way over in Asia often. Are you very restricted in your communications? There is so much I want to know, but didn’t know if I can ask.

  3. Kasey McNaughton permalink
    September 27, 2011 11:11 am

    This definitely brought a smile to my face! 🙂 I’ll have to tell you about the time a squirrel came down my grandparents’ chimney.

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