skunks are actually beautiful animals.
So says FirstHusband. AFTER we spent nearly two hours coaxing one out of our FAMILY ROOM!!
OUR. FAMILY. ROOM.
That’s just wrong.
Remember the “squirrel in the chimney” story? All about how we dealt with extracting squirrels from our family room? Four times? Now I understand. God was just providing us with ample practice before we had to get a SKUNK out of the family room.
The facts are these:
It’s Saturday night, around ten till eleven. I’m sitting in my favorite chair, in the family room. FirstHusband is sitting on the couch to the left of me. We’re separated by a small table. And a bowl of popcorn. I’m relaxed. Watching DVR’d Grey’s Anatomy. And I hear a noise. A strange noise. A rustling noise. Next to me. So I look down at the table.
Someone is looking back.
One cat is asleep across the room. The other, asleep in PinkGirl’s bed.
This is not a cat.
I immediately lift my feet and, somehow, although I don’t think I’m breathing, I manage to whisper:
“There’s. a. wild. animal. in. the. house.”
FirstHusband looks confused. Just in case I really didn’t speak out loud and only thought I did. I repeat:
“There’s. a. wild. animal. in. the. house.”
“Under the table.”
And then it registers with me just how close this unidentified wild animal is to ME. I am SO not sitting here for one more second. I throw my legs over the right side of the chair and bolt for the kitchen chairs, inches away. I need to be up high. I don’t know what that thing is. It had a a long, pointy, black nose, beady little eyes and white stripes from it’s nose to the top of its head. This was not a squirrel. I decided it was a badger. A mean badger. A cranky, hungry badger. With rabies. FirstHusband tells me there are no badgers in Florida. I tell him he doesn’t know that. Smart man decided not to try and convince me.
As soon as I got up out of the chair, BeadyEyes took off under the couch. FirstHusband, still not sure what’s going on, gets up and W A L K S to the kitchen table. WALKS? He’s barefoot, for cryin out loud!!! So am I, but I’m standing on a kitchen chair, trying not to fall off. (Why did I ever think twirling, rolling office chairs were a good idea for the kitchen table?)
FirstHusband starts moving things off the floor. Toys. Clothes. Backpack. The adreneline rush is easing off and I’m beginning to doubt myself. Full out wishful thinking. Maybe I didn’t see anything. Maybe it was my imagination.
FirstHusband tips the couch.
“It wasn’t your imagination.”
He saw a white, bushy tail run underneath the recliner at the end of the room. So. We know where it is. I saw the front end. FirstHusband saw the back end. He Googles. I can’t see laptop monitor from my position on top of a stool.
NO. That’s not possible. no No NO. NO skunk in my house!!!! no. No. NO. NO. NO!
I climb down from my stool to look at Google images. sigh. Confirmed. This looks exactly like the face I saw under the table.
So we go through the usual set-up for squirrel extraction. This is routine. We open the sliding door. We make our usual gauntlet to the sliding door. Pool hose is used to seal the gap between the bottom of the couch and the floor. Blankets and pillows stuffed into possible escape paths. Lights dimmed. We watch. We wait. We watch some more. FirstHusband moves the recliner. Nothing. BeadyEyes must have moved. FirstHusband moves all the exercise equipment behind the recliner. Nothing. Where’d he go? We wait. We hear . . . rustling. We watch. FirstHusband says:
“Get the camera. You’re gonna want to blog this.”
Can’t see it? Let’s zooma zooma zooma zoom.
Time crawls. BeadyEyes makes about 20 false starts to crawl up onto and across the fireplace hearth. Finally he makes it. Behind the TV armoire. Which we had attempted to block off with blankets and pillows.
Time crawls. Because you don’t want to startle a skunk. You don’t want to make noises or scare him out of your house – lest he freak out.
Another 20 or so false starts out the door. But it’s COLD outside. Friday, the week before, the heat index was 106 and NOW it’s cold? Over and over again, the little guy comes out from under the TV armoire, and handstand walks all the way to the door. Handstands. Supposedly this is an aggressive posture. Here’s a Google image of it:
When a skunk handstand walks in your family room, you stay back and leave him alone.
Over and over again, he makes it right to the door, gets cold (or cold feet), drops down on all fours and scurries back under the tv armoire. Finally, he’s there. RIGHT THERE. And he comes scurrying into the middle of the room – right toward ME.
I don’t think so. I had a mop. I didn’t try to whack him, I just stuck the mop head in front of him and he did an about face. Right back under the tv armoire. We rearranged our obstacles, learning from our mistakes and . . . waited.
Finally, he peeked out far enough, and we were tired and brave enough to move in and block his return. FirstHusband never moved faster than when he closed that sliding door.
And we prayed again. Thank you God that he’s OUT. Thank you God that he didn’t spray.
The next day, we walked the exterior of the house, looking for possible entry points. Nothin. And I’ve got to wonder how long he had been in the house, because for DAYS, our male cat has been crying with that low “MaaRRoww” cat cry you fellow cat owners know. And he started spraying in the living room again. Right after we closed the door after the skunk, we let the cats out (we had locked them up in the laundry room before we opened the sliding door). Bob the cat was all over the family room, sniffing everywhere. He knew someone had been there. But how long had he known?
So. What have I learned this week? Don’t leave your doors open. And if you see a skunk doing a handstand, back off.