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.
Life in a fish bowl: Careful planning needed when setting up aquarium
Some say that tropical fish are the ultimate pets -- the key to mental health, a peaceful humidifier, a source of perpetual scientific questions, an inexpensive alternative to rising cable TV bills. And there are those who simply love the beauty of fish.Continued ...
Focus on health helps restore Sharon Springs
Indomitable spirits are reviving the resort culture of Sharon Springs, in Schoharie County.Continued ...
What would you do if you were president?
Presidents Day is Monday. Not only is it a day to reflect on past presidents, it can be a day for people to imagine what they would do if they were president. We asked local elementary students their thoughts on the subject, and below are their responses, exactly as written:Continued ...
Thoughtful gifts can make Feb. 14 a day to remember
Valentine's Day is less than a week away, but there is still time to show your love how much you care.Continued ...
Prepare for the Taxman: Get paperwork ready to send to the IRS
Taxes, taxes. Many Americans really hate them.Continued ...
- Life in a fish bowl: Careful planning needed when setting up aquarium
- Around The Arts
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 ...
Flash mobs more theatrical production than dance
Most people are familiar with the term "flash mob." It's associated with groups of people congregating briefly to the surprise of the surrounding public, and often incorporates a choreographed dance. You've probably been witness to one, or you've probably seen one online, as they are extensively documented -- there are more than 10,000 results on YouTube if you search for flash mobs.Continued ...
Art found in the foods at local road stands, markets
Artisanal foods have become quite popular in recent years, with some abuse of the term by mass-retailers and fast food restaurants.Continued ...
- Let creativity flow with unstructured art projects
- Music Beat
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 ...
- Music Industry Tips
Build a team to build a career
People love music because music is that magical means of communication that never fails. The music industry is going through some rough times, but it is not going to die because music is a basic, central need in everyone's life.Continued ...
- Music Industry Tips about Percentage and Commission Agreements
Hairstylist finds balance through playing cello
Catch 22 is a successful American ska/punk band that has released several albums and has a record deal with the Chicago-based label, Victory Records. Although the band has its roots in New Jersey, founding member Ryan Eldred has friends with whom he produces recordings in Walton During one of Eldred's visits to Walton, he met Ann Jones, a home-schooled native of Walton, an enthusiastic cellist and successful professional hairstylist.Continued ...
- Copyright royalties can make you smile
- Parenting Imperfect
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 ...
Ibuprofen saved the vacation
Right after New Year's Day, we four hearty souls flew to Orlando to visit my mother, stepfather and aunt.Continued ...
The write stuff is often hard to find in my household
Now that the kids are older and I sleep well most nights, my biggest parenting challenge is boundaries. The challenge is that I feel like I should have them and the small people refuse to acknowledge such a thing could exist.Continued ...
Of kids, phone calls and toilet paper
We have reached that golden age when both kids are responsible enough to be trusted alone for short periods of time.Continued ...
A Halloween message to my future self
I'm writing this column a few days before Halloween. And I'm writing this mostly for my future self, as a reminder of the lessons learned this particular last week in October.Continued ...
- It is in February when the breaking point is reached
- Senior scene
As Time Goes By: Identity thieves, beware of what you would get with me
I like to make slogans for each year of my birth. For example, when I was 75 I was "still alive," when I was 76 I was "learning new tricks," and this year on turning 77 I have "One foot in heaven." (With the other on the "slippery slope.")Continued ...
From the Office: Laws work to help protect those in need of guardianship
Sometimes individuals cannot care for themselves. In New York, guardianship laws exist to empower others to take care of children and adults who need help to care for themselves and or their property. This is the second of a two-part column that explores the issues and the law of guardianship in New York state.Continued ...
Looking Back: Dressing modestly for success never goes out of style
Where have all the years gone? It seems like just yesterday that I was able to go and go… do and do so much more: Shopping all the "clearance racks" store after store and enjoying seeing all the new items and keeping up-to-date with what the fashions will be for the next season (that is if they weren't too hilariously out of line with good taste and lacking modesty). I really enjoyed "shopping 'til I drop."Continued ...
Social Security: Sometimes some of your Social Security income is taxable
Around this time every year, I get many questions about Social Security benefits and filing taxes.Continued ...
As Time Goes By: Don't confuse signs of 'magnesia' with senior moments
The other day somebody told me I was losing my mind; this was when I realized that I might have "milk of magnesia."Continued ...
- As Time Goes By: Identity thieves, beware of what you would get with me
- 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: Change can be scary, wonderful
Change can be a scary thing. Not knowing where you'll be, what you'll be doing, or what delicious restaurants will be nearby is a very scary thing.Continued ...
A Word of Advice: It's never too early to work on soft skills
If somebody on the street asks you your best characteristics, you'll probably start telling them about how good you are with kids or how articulate you can be.Continued ...
On the Go: Rainbow connection to principles that I follow
During the fall, I had an assignment at school to write a Mad-Lib style poem about where I am from. In the section for religious beliefs, I wrote about sleeping in on Sundays and the rainbow principles.Continued ...
Weekend Reviews: Poetry of 19-year-old sharpens view on life
Almost all high school students I know claims they "don't like poetry." Or at least they wouldn't go out of their way to read it.Continued ...
Teenhood Today: Some things are better when you do it yourself
I'm a do-it-yourself kind of girl.Continued ...
- Teenhood Today: Change can be scary, wonderful