This is a story about Zombie Squirrel.
Zombie Squirrel made his first appearance right at the tail end (no pun intended) of winter. He'd sit just outside of my home office window and stare in at me.
Usually, I wouldn't notice his arrival; then, he'd scare the pants off of me when I glanced up. Those black, blank and beady little eyeballs would be trained on mine. I swear to you that I could hear him mutter, "Braaaaaiiiins."
By mid-spring, Zombie Squirrel stopped coming around. Part of me was thrilled. Part of me was worried about the little guy. Or little gal. I never got a good enough look to say with any certainty.
Like so many things, Zombie Squirrel completely slipped out of my memory _ until the other morning when I let the dog out. She stopped dead about three steps from the door, which is weird for a puppy. Stopping is something only done in small doses and, then, only when sleeping.
But stop she did. So I stuck my head out. There was a dead squirrel in our backyard. He (or she, natch) was still on his feet. His eyes were still open, but looked lifeless, like the eyes in a taxidermied squirrel.
While I was figuring out what the next step needed to be, which was taking longer than you might think because my coffee cup had only just been filled and was inside, Lucy got close enough to the ex-squirrel to sniff his tail. The squirrel didn't move at all, confirming its state.
I galumphed up behind the dog, picked her up, and shoved her back into the house before she could make mischief with this woodland creature's remains. She was so excited, she tore into the living room and up onto the couch (where she is not allowed), which overturned the Diva's breakfast. Waffle and maple syrup went flying, all over the dog, the couch and the kid.
Because it's better that way.
Also, because I knew that the dog needed her al fresco potty break, I knew that the squirrel had to be relocated before I dealt with the other mess.
I pulled out a plastic bag, left the house through the back door to get to the garage. The squirrel was in the last place I'd seen him, still dead.
Once in the garage, I grabbed a shovel. The plan was to scoop up the body, put it in the bag, then put the bag ... somewhere. That part of the plan was still a little fuzzy, frankly.
I went back to the spot where the squirrel had met his demise and the squirrel was gone.
I stood there and stared at the spot for a solid minute, pondering how some bigger critter must have scaled the fence and carried the body off in the 20 seconds it had taken me to walk to the garage and back. I also started to think about how bad my hearing must be, since I missed it.
And then I saw the squirrel, who was three feet from where I'd last seen him. He looked exactly the same, which was dead.
I shook my head. Maybe I'd just misremembered the spot. I mean, no coffee in my system yet and mistakes happen. Regardless, it was best to get this done quickly.
And then I touched the dead squirrel with the shovel, whereupon he took off like a rocket up the closest tree. He clung there, at eye level, and looked at me like I was the crazy one.
Or, at least, I think that's what he did. I was too busy trying to not have a heart attack.
So there we stood _ me with my shovel, Zombie Squirrel on the tree _ for a good five minutes. Then he scampered off and I went back inside.
The dog shot out the instant I opened the door, then promptly rolled her syrupy self in a pile of pine leaves and dirt.
Because it's better that way.
I stripped the cover off of the couch (yes, I have learned that the couch needs to be covered until the day the last kid leaves for college) and chucked it into the washer.
The Diva was left to her own devices.
Finally, I was reunited with my coffee and wandered upstairs to drink it in peace. My husband was just coming out of the shower, so I told him why there would be a shovel and Hannaford bag in the backyard.
"It wasn't even a long shower," he said.
Adrienne Martini is a freelance writer, instructor at the State University College at Oneonta, mom to Maddy and Cory, wife to Scott, and author of "Sweater Quest." Her columns can be found at www.thedailystar.com/parentingimperfect.
This is a story about Zombie Squirrel.
Back to nature
"The peace of the hills is about me and upon me; the leisure of the summer clouds, whose shadows I see slowly drifting across the face of the landscape, is mine. The dissonance and the turbulence and the stench of cities -- how far off they seem! The noise and dust, and the acrimony of politics -- how completely the hum of the honey-bee, and the twitter of the swallows blot them out!"Continued ...
- If you go
Raise a glass
The popularity of small-batch adult beverages is intensifying in upstate New York.Continued ...
Thick hot air and clammy clothes entice brisk visions of jumping into a pool of refreshing water. Plunging into the soft cool environment of good old-fashioned H2O can rejuvenate the soggy mind.Continued ...
Racing Under Saddle
Those looking for the thrill of watching live horse racing will not have to travel outside the region this summer.Continued ...
- Back to nature
- Around The Arts
Glimmerglass director offers employment tips for arts grads
So, in a few short weeks you're graduating with an arts degree. Now what?! In the safety of college, one can ignore the realities of the outside world, where housing and meal allowances aren't rolled into a tuition payment and jobs aren't available simply because you're a student.Continued ...
Volunteers are the SWAT of the arts world
When you work at an arts organization, particularly a nonprofit, employees often wear many hats -- accomplishing the duties that appear in the traditional job description, and then some. It happens everywhere. It's a running joke among people who work at nonprofits. There is too much to do, and not enough people to do it. That's when you call in the back up -- SWAT if you will.Continued ...
Let creativity flow with unstructured art projects
As I sit here writing this, the holiday glow is still going strong (my column deadline is two weeks before the publication date), and I've been spending a great deal of time not only with my daughter, but her stuff. We're incredibly lucky to have a loving network of family and friends that spoil her, so I've been merging her new goodies with her old.Continued ...
Opportunities abound for career in the arts
I was recently asked to speak at a local high school about my career path and how I came to work in the arts. It was interesting speaking with these seniors, and discussing their hopes for life after high school.Continued ...
The art of the appraisal explained by one who knows
So often in this column my co-writer, Brittany, and I talk about how art is everywhere and can be appreciated by all. Perhaps because of my passion for everyday art, there is one part of the art world I just cannot grasp -- art appraisal. How can you put a value on something so seemingly subjective? So, I set out to learn more about this industry.Continued ...
- Glimmerglass director offers employment tips for arts grads
- Music Beat
Oneonta student looks to take music industry training in different direction
At a recent concert reception in New York City, I was surprised to meet people who had imminent plans to move to the Otsego-Delaware county area. They explained that our area is so rich in musical and graphic arts that they knew they would enjoy living here.Continued ...
- Music Industry Tips
Complete education involves classroom, real-world learning
There is new, long overdue attention being paid in our institutions of higher education to the use of directed practical experience as an essential partner to the classroom lecture.Continued ...
- Music Industry tips
Copyright royalties can make you smile
A few years ago, I wrote an article on the skill and dedication necessary to become a songwriter.Continued ...
- Oneonta student looks to take music industry training in different direction
- Parenting Imperfect
Oh, just to be able to savor an English muffin
All I wanted to do was eat my English muffin. The family had other plans.Continued ...
A reminder of the small-child years
It's amazing how quickly you forget what earlier stages of parenting are like. This is probably a blessing -- and one that only evolved after countless generations of parents only had one child because they could remember each stage too clearly.Continued ...
Well, at least she's listening to what I say
The older the kids get, the happier I am that we have a dog. She, at least, seems to be excited to see me when I get home.Continued ...
I want to visit the world of 'The Pioneer Woman'
It is a double-edged sword, this whole having kids old enough to leave home alone for short periods of time thing.Continued ...
It is in February when the breaking point is reached
If I could edit the calendar, the two months I'd do away with are August and February.Continued ...
- Oh, just to be able to savor an English muffin
- Senior scene
As Time Goes By: I'm trying to be the rockin' up-to-date 'cool dude' grandpa
Time flies at my house. If I sit down to write an article, I can't help but see that I have an inbox of unread letters in my email. My brain records this as saying in block letters "YOU GOT MAIL."Continued ...
From the Office: Seniors need to work to keep their brains healthy, too
As we age, both our bodies and our brains face changes. How these changes affect us are determined by genes, environment and lifestyle.Continued ...
Looking Back: We should all cherish our time with our families
Time marches on, and it seems like a different lifetime since we brought up our own children.Continued ...
As Time Goes By: I'm hearing voices -- and not only mine own
There are two problems that seem to be inherit to growing older, which when viewed in the context of a sentence appear to be opposites but are in truth part of the same problem â€"you either are getting deaf or you start talking to things that surround you.Continued ...
- From the Office: What you need to know about Affordable Care Act, Medicaid redesign
- As Time Goes By: I'm trying to be the rockin' up-to-date 'cool dude' grandpa
- Tech, GP
Thankful hard-disk shortage is about over, and counting my blessings
Well, I'm almost ready to let out a cheer.Continued ...
Businesses need backups for their computer people, systems
In the interest of full disclosure, I want to let you know that I have taken a new position, professionally. I recently joined Eastman Associates, a local general contractor, to do its IT work, as well as taking care of some other functions of the business.Continued ...
Windows 8 seems to be made for the good of Microsoft, not the user
By Bruce Endries The software company everybody loves to hate, Microsoft, recently released what it calls a "consumer preview" of their next operating system, Windows 8.Continued ...
The Granite State got it right on software purchases
Believe it or not, I have found a bright spot in the political landscape, amid all the vitriolic partisan fighting.Continued ...
Visit a construction site and you'll probably find an iPad
It was just about two years ago now, that the iPad came out, and I wrote a column about it. At that time, I went out on a limb and said that thought it was a product which would fill certain niches very well, but that it wasn't very likely to fill in for what is normally considered a computer.Continued ...
- Thankful hard-disk shortage is about over, and counting my blessings
- Teen Talk
Teenhood Today: I long for furniture, hills, rice
Why hello there, upstate New York! I must say, it's a little weird going to a restaurant, to the store, or to the local meetings for individuals loving the color lime green without being asked if I'm the girl from the newspaper.Continued ...
A Word of Advice: What's new isn't always what's better
We're often told in life that we should try to experience everything we can, broaden our horizons, and even I have written columns about stepping away from the familiar in hopes of growing.Continued ...
On the Go: Mile markers of life can be painful, but enjoy them
Our insignificance is crippling.Continued ...
Weekend Reviews: 'Cherry' perfectly captures my feelings
School has finally dwindled to a close, and I can feel myself settling into a state of unperturbed relaxation, everything once again becoming slow and lethargic, the days going by with an air of hazy wistfulness.Continued ...
Teenhood Today: Don't expect expectations to always be fulfilled
In case some of you haven't noticed, I'm not a huge animal person. Sorry to all of you animal-lovers, but you most likely won't ever see me at any secret meetings you may hold.Continued ...
- Teenhood Today: I long for furniture, hills, rice