Long-Weekend Warriors: When Animals Attack

I’ve heard that animals know when a natural disaster or major event is coming. Some scientists study when stray cats leave a city to know if earthquakes are coming.
I have learned to heed these warnings. I am used to the natives in my house getting restless but this long weekend my eyes are glued to the windows, doors and vulnerable parts of my home. I have a long, proud history of surviving natural disasters, disease, snow-storm induced famine and fire. Life is exciting. However, if someone were to make a chart depicting when the majority of disasters and ‘exciting times’, the spikes would suddenly spike steeply at the holiday weekends, particularly 4-day weekends.

I repeat, it is a LONG weekend. In a military town. This year I am VERY fortunate to have my soldier home to honor the fallen on Memorial Day. (Please take a moment to honor the fallen and teach the children in your life the importance of that sacrifice.)
Case in point: The BAT that came for Thanksgiving.<a

Catch up on that story here:
Holiday weekends spent with family are an excellent time for reflection and evaluation. One of the many things I have decided is that I would benefit from befriending an exterminator. It may be that my Disney Princess complex went awry at some point but when the animals start flocking around my house I know it is not to help me with my house chores. Extraordinary things occur when uninvited animals come for the holidays.
I’ve had my great story-telling moments of the spongeroller squirrels and the Thanksgiving Eve Bat attacks, but so far my sister wins the animal intruder holiday contest. Once Christmas an opossum got her Lasik eye surgery.

It was the day before the night before Christmas. Most people awaken to the sweet smells of cinnamon rolls and coffee brewing. Not my people.
My sister was sleeping with visions of sugar plums dancing in her head in a moment of holiday-break bliss. She was home from college on break to help while our mother recovered from foot surgery. Rather than awaken to the gentle jingle of our black labrador’s collar moving or the hushed conversations of our parents, her slumber was interrupted by the most terrifying sound in the world; our mother shrieking.

She bolted awake and with the fuel of an adrenaline shot went flying out of her bedroom and down the flight of stairs. About halfway down the stairs she realized all she could see were colorful blobs. My sister and I are BLIND. Legally, illegally…all kinds of blind. She stared down into the open living room and kitchen, realized our family looked like a Picasso painting, a ran back up the stairs to bat around for her glasses.
velma glasses
Now, those with impaired eyesight are often blessed with increased senses of hearing or other senses to compensate. On this particular day, it wasn’t needed. My mother’s battle cry, “Don’t let Bella get it!”, mixed with the chaotic intertwining of a barking dog and a hissing animal wafted up the stairs.
Shoving black frames onto her face and careening down the stairs, my sister beheld a Christmas conversion. My classy and stately mother was now a one-footed rodeo queen. With her bandaged foot still elevated (she was a cheerleader and Mom-high-kick 1999, after all), she was holding a 120 pound black Labrador by the collar, pulling back with all her might. She looked as if she was waster-skiing slalom-style and Bella was the boat. The back door of the kitchen that leads to a wide back patio was standing WIDE open. Dad was shooing something toward the door wielding a large, black shovel.
Finally the hissing amorphous blob could be seen between the legs of chairs and humans.
The opossum was finally cornered into the farthest corner of the kitchen and Bella was barking and lunging under the table.
Oh, we knew this particular opossum. This beast enjoyed creeping up over our back fence in the mornings, knowing Bella would not be able to reach it in time. We’ve lost a few fence panels because a black lab cannot stop on a dime- or an opossum for that matter. This awful thing became so bold as to come up under the deck this year. As Dad came to retrieve Bella, the darn thing bolted into the house.
It was at that moment that Dad managed to shoo the blasted thing out of the door with a swift shovel to the tail. Bella proceeded to bark loudly at the door for the remainder of the morning and clear into the New Year. As my parents stared at each other trying to process how our family had somehow transformed into the Clampetts.
That was when they saw my sister at the stair railing.

Very calmly and sweetly she said, “You know, Daddy… I would be much more helpful in these situations if I could see. Perhaps you can pay for part of a Lasik surgery in the future?” With an upward sideways glance Dad answered, “Deal.”

An hour later I called to check in with the family. “How is Mom feeling?” “A little tired. She had to wrestle Bella this morning so that Dad could chase an opossum around the kitchen.” WHAT?!
Y’all…we are not those kind of Texans. We are, however, the kind of people with great holiday stories. I have a day left of this weekend and so far the only creepy crawlies in the house have been ones I call sons. If you encounter any Rodents Of Unusual Size this weekend, tell them they have the wrong house. rous


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