Vermin

Many, MANY years ago in a what seems like a different lifetime, I lived in a home that was located within a budding new development (read: open lots/fields). I was trying to be domestic by planting flowers (ewwww…shutter!) and I was truly the ultimate Attila the Mom with my new plantings.

That’s where God’s little creatures and I butted heads for the first time. Let’s just say I had to do a tango with some chipmunks who were nesting under our front porch. They were eating my ’ittle baby budding flowers, for pity sake! You can mess with me, but when you eat my precious flowers (again, I HATE planting flowers!) then you’re gonna get the horns, my friend.

I seem to vividly remember chasing these little chipmunks from their hidey hole with my teeth bared and a broom (or was it a shovel?) over my head while producing a feral scream in the back of my throat. And yes, I performed this little dog and pony show in broad daylight. 

I cornered a couple of them in downspouts and thought I was so smart. Then, when I’d try to raise the downspout and capture them inside, they’d move, scratch their little claws on the metal and I’d let out a little girl scream and drop the downspout.  Some warrior, huh?

And let’s not leave out the time I tried to ‘drown’ them when they were nesting under our front step. That was before I realized it was all sand underneath the steps and the tons of water I was pumping into it was just being soaked up and spit out by our sump pump.

I was consumed by these little machines of mass (flower) destruction. I don’t remember quite how I did it, but I got them all into a 5 gallon bucket and they were either too cute to kill or I didn’t have the chops, so I took them to an empty field about ¾ of a mile away and released them.  They didn’t come back and we didn’t have any more ‘renters’ under our front porch step, either.

I wish I could tell you my flowers survived, but they didn’t. Alas, to add insult to injury, my well-meaning (ex)husband thought my flowers were weeds and he pulled them. ALL of them. I kid you not.

Fast forward 17 years. New husband, new house and critters again, this time voles.  The first year I was all like, “Oooh, they’re so cute! We can’t kill them!”  Wait, that was like the first week or maybe the first day.  Then, the little shits started eating our house, literally, and our window screens AND to top it off, our new landscaping!! 

Well, that’s the proverbial kiss of death right there.  Landscaping is expensive and now you’re eating our HOUSE?! Something changed inside of me and I hardened, if you will. It’s primal. It’s like, “Me or you, buddy and it ain’t gonna be me. This is MY turf and you are not welcome here.”  Picture me beating on my chest with closed fists, because that’s the energy I was exuding.

Trinity was on it. In fact, he was waiting for me to give him the approval. He was much more effective and efficient in dispatching the ravenous rodents in our window wells. Granted, he didn’t try to use a two iron or a basketball as my starter husband tried to do, but he got the job done in a humane way.  

By the way, interesting fact about voles (who look like mice but are smaller), they can have 100 babies a year.  Yes, ONE vole can have 100 babies. They have a three week gestation period and can start breeding at one month. 

In 2013, Trinity started, evidently, evolving into the bird whisperer and built two bird houses. One was for a wren and one was for a robin. We got our wren who is really a fabulously polite renter and instead of the robin, we got a black bird that is so damn high strung she flies out of her nest when I sneeze INSIDE the house with the windows CLOSED.  Oy! We call her Nelly, as in Nervous Nelly.

So now I’ve noticed barn swallows around our home. I don’t recall seeing them around here before and today one of them flew into our garage. I investigate and the bird flies out. Ok, that’s weird, but whatever. 

Then, THEN! I walk to the end of the garage and about 6 of the little aerialists dive at me. Oh hell no. HELL NO! I see what is going on here and I won’t have it. I look for nests inside the garage and I don’t see any. I shut the garage door (I really wanted to type ‘down’ after that but refrained myself!) and immediately hear a racket of excited chirping. Then I see the posse land by our front door and on the eaves above it.  Nope. Not going to have it.

I grab a broom. I have visions of my Grandma Jessie doing this at the lake and have an instant flashback to the chipmunks. I pray nobody is outside when I open the door.  There is (of course!). I start shouting (as if the birds can understand the lunatic woman), “Get out! Get the hell out of here!” and wave a broom around.  My neighbor looks up and I justifyingly and righteously stammer, “They’re trying to build a nest in MY garage!”  He smiles and says, “Oh.” And I’m thinking, with one eyebrow raised, your garage door is open too, buddy, I’d be on my guard if I were you.

After repeated failed attempts  (doi!) to use the broom as a baseball bat and the birds as the baseball, I slunk back inside with my head low. Then, my friends, sadly I quietly shut the garage door. For now.

You may have won the battle, barn swallows, but I WILL win the war. 

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