Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Unwelcome Guest

Tonight after Lara and I had played a few games of "Butterly Express" (a new computer game "marble shooter") I went in the kitchen to get a refill on my water. When I walked in the kitchen, I saw a small black animal by our dining room table. My first thought was that it was a neighbor's cat (who usually like to eat our cat's cat food) and was just about to snap and hiss at the cat so that it would leave our house--then I saw the white stripe down this particular cat's back. The hiss lodged itself in my throat and I ducked back in the hallway to marshall Lara into position. "We have a skunk in our house," I told her as I closed the bedroom door. "What do we do?" What do you do in this situation? You want the skunk gone, but you also don't want to startle it. If a skunk lets off its spray in a house, it is not just a matter of an unpleasant smell for a few days. You have to get rid of furniture. It can be a big loss of property.
The situation was pretty clear. We had left the garage door open on accident, and the skunk had come in through the cat door which is in our house door out to the garage (a very nice convenience that one of the parishioners put into place when we moved in so we don't have to have the litterbox and catfood (which Wesley loves to play with and on occasion eat) in the house.
So what did we do? "Who can we call?" Lara said. My heart was pounding. What is this animal going to do? What if one of my cats gets after it? "If you don't tell me someone to call in 10 seconds, I'm just going to call 911." Oh jeez. We're going to have quite a reputation around here. The last time we called 911 was when Wesley mysteriously disappeared from our house. Turns out he had learned how to open the door to the garage and found a coke (which we don't let him drink) can with a little coke in it and had found a little hiding spot where he could drink it in peace. While he'd usually respond to us when we called (frantically) for him, this time he instead chose to stay put and finish his coke.
I can just see the 911 operator: "Oh that crazy Methodist pastor who couldn't find his kid in his own house is calling me because he's got a skunk!"
But we were desperate. Lara called 911, apologized and explained our situation. She transferred us to the police department. The policeman said he'd be right over. By this time, we'd bravely peeked out our bedroom door and saw that the skunk wasn't in the hallway, then we branched out and made sure the skunk wasn't in any of the other rooms as we made our way to the kitchen, shutting the doors as we went. The skunk wasn't in the kitchen or the living room or the laundry room or the pantry. I sighed with relief as a bent down to lock the cat-door. Then I headed to the front door to meet the policeman.
We explained our situation, and by this time Lara had looked in the garage too and didn't see him. The police officer said that if we had a shot-gun and could get a clean shot at him if he came around again, it would be fine to go ahead and shoot it. (I assumed he meant outside the house) Last year we noticed a family of skunks making their way into the culvert under our driveway, so I assumed they were taking up residence again. I don't know if I could shoot it, but that would better than getting sprayed! While we were talking, I casually walked over to take another look in the garage, and saw the skunk under the car. Once again, the action movie music rose to a crescendo as my heartbeat quickened. I herded Lara (who had already taken her ambien and was a bit too brazen about the whole situation for my taste) into the front door, and went back in the house to make sure I had locked the cat door. Officer Wiggins banged around in the garage for a while, and we finally saw the varmint tear out of the garage and dash across our front porch, right in front of the front door (previously, Lara had complained about not being able to be part of the action outside on the front porch, but I had insisted that the skunk could decide to come out of the garage and go for the bushes which are right to the other side of our front door. Can you picture that? Garage---------Front door---bushes. Turns out it was a fortuitous decision on my part to insist that we stand inside the front door as to not startle the skunk on its retreat. It is hereby recorded as an instance where I was right and it was important to take my advice on a particular matter. :) So, that's our country fried night of entertainment. What did you do tonight?


  1. These rural life stories are priceless...someone should write a book compiling all the strange hilarity of it all!

  2. This is hysterical and terrible all at the same time. We've actually been living with wretched skunk smell for over a week now. When I was away at a retreat, Ben heard screeching animals in the middle of the night, and then all of a sudden there was an explosion of skunk smell. We don't know where it happened, but the entryway to our house reeks, and doesn't seem to be getting any better. We put a cup of vinegar out as that supposedly absorbs the smell, but now it's mainly just a stinky combination of skunk and vinegar. I'm guessing it was under the house, but who knows. Bleck.

  3. Our across the street neighbor found a skunk torn in three pieces in their front yard last weekend. Coyotes, probably. And we live in the 'burbs of L.A.County.

  4. We used to see coyotes on the campus of Edge-of-LA-County School of Theology on a nightly basis. And there are bears and cougars up in the foothills. LA County is such a crazy amalgam of urban sprawl and wilderness.

  5. Anonymous2:03 PM

    You guys do a wonderful job! Keep up the good work!!!
    gesetzliche krankenversicherung vergleich