So this is a totally random post, but I felt like it was time for some more nature-based perspective.
A couple of years ago, when Little Ginger was really little and Big Ginger was in preschool we were careening through our days, one of us on less sleep than she thought humanly possible, one who slept whenever the mood struck her, and one who had probably taken a solemn vow against sleeping past sunup at birth. I’ll leave it to you to figure out who was who.
One day after coming home from the preschool/ drive through
mandatory caffeine Starbucks run, we pulled into the parking space. I immediately told Big Ginger to stay right where he was and NOT get out of the car. Most people would probably use the tone I used if there was a life-threatening emergency going on outside the car. I opted to use it for a woodland creature-related crisis. There was an enormous (I thought in my sleep deprived state) squirrel on our front stoop. This thing was a monster. It was the Godzilla of squirrels. It was terrifying. It was proudly standing up on its hind legs as if to say,
“That’s right b*%$!, I LIVE HERE NOW!”
I was getting ready to carefully get out of the car and get a picture of this beast to have for later when I was explaining to Father of Gingers why I’d handed the keys to the house over to a woodland creature. I took another look, and it wasn’t a squirrel, but a groundhog or woodchuck. It was still concerning as it did not look like it was going to back down and I was busily googling rabies and deciding if this was an emergency that warranted asking FoG to come come.
Big Ginger then announced he had to go potty in that special tone that preschoolers use when you have minus two minutes to make it to a bathroom or you’re going to be cleaning a car seat, at minimum. The time for debate was over. I took a deep breath, told my children Mommy loved them, and got out of the car to face my woodland demons. I slammed the door and the behemoth turned to look my way. I took a few steps closer, it took a closer look at me and practically flew under the front stoop. I should mention that at this point I was getting maybe three (non-consecutive) hours of sleep a night and had elevated the messy bun concept to an art-form that was probably prize winning. (The prize would be either more coffee or a dark room to sleep in, winner’s choice.) Any makeup I was wearing had been applied in less than thirty seconds. In short- I was a vision.
My ego took a hit at what I perceived as the not-a-squirrel’s judgement on my appearance, but I was just happy to make it in the house and avoid a potty-related disaster. I made a mental note to remember we had a new (most likely very traumatized) neighbor under the front stoop and to keep an eye out. I also called FoG to announce that I hadn’t given the house away to wildlife, but it’d been close.
Fast forward a few months later. I’d seen the not-a-squirrel a few times, but we seemed to have settled into a state of icy detente. I think it knew I had no problem going full messy bun again, and it respected my dominance.
Then, FoG was going on his first business trip since Little Ginger had signed on to the organization. She was still sleeping on a schedule that more closely resembled a newborn than a seven month old and we had recently found out that there were most likely food intolerance/allergy issues at play. I was off dairy to help her and feeling a little delicate about the whole situation.
That morning FoG had some appointments and the Gingers and I had errands. I stepped out the front door and was hit by an unholy wall of stink. Something had definitely departed the land of the living. I was devoutly hoping my under the stoop friend hadn’t gotten the last word by dying under said front stoop. I was not equipped for corpse removal. I couldn’t help but think that Disney totally glossed over this aspect of all the Princesses having woodland friends.
Then I looked out over the parking lot. There was my former nemesis. It was definitely very dead and the source of the unfortunate stench. I shepherded the Gingers out to the car keeping my body between Big Ginger and the deceased as that was going to bring up a lot of questions I didn’t feel equipped to answer with ice cream being a non-option.
We accomplished our errands without further incident and returned home. I asked FoG if he’d noticed the stench and if there was someone we should call. He had noticed it too. I then said I was going out to do a few more errands and grab some lunch and would look up the number we needed to call. FoG then informed me in a carefully neutral voice that he didn’t think I would need to make the call. I said,
“Oh, great! One of the neighbors must be on it!”
He said, not in the way I was thinking and maybe I should take a peek out the front window. I looked and there was an entire flock of vultures gathered around the not-a-squirrel. I was upset for two reasons:
1. Not-a-squirrel and I may not have had the best interactions, but I felt bad he was becoming a buffet
2. I am deathly afraid of birds. My bird phobia makes my squirel phobia look completely rational and reasonableAt this point there was nothing to do but respect the impromptu sky burial going on in our parking lot. Nature would run its course, and I still needed to run errands. I got FoG to go out to the car with me in the event that the vultures decided I looked like a good second course. I went and did my errands and picked up my lunch, hoping it would all be over by the time I got back.
No such luck. More vultures had shown up and there was now a sort of line forming. And there I was with a bag of food. I was practically setting up for a remake of Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds outside my front door. I gave myself a pep talk and explained to myself that there was no reason to be afraid. I could totally just get out of the car and march myself into the house. I’d just stare down any a-hole bird who dared to even look in my direction.
Then I called FoG from the car and requested an escort into the house. My need for my lunch not to get cold outweighed my need to overcome my bird phobia. I got inside safely and lived to tell the tale. Have I mentioned FoG is really patient and understanding?
A few hours later, it was all over and everyone had left the parking lot. It was almost like it had never happened except for a few tufts of fur. Which was both sad and disgusting.
The whole experience was very Circle of Life but with way less Elton John and more vultures. Unfortunately, there was no parting of the clouds with an accompanying delivery of a profound lesson. Maybe the lesson was I’d be a terrible Disney Princess given my track record with woodland creatures? For now, I’m just going to assume it was a sign to continue my “I’ll stay out of your house, you stay out of mine” pact with nature and leave it at that.