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Shrew-ed moves

Posted: Sunday, April 03, 2011

OK, first of all, I wish to apologize to our Unhinged Alaska readers who have G-mailed me because they were upset about the lack of protection they've assumed that I've not been giving Little Bear, especially, when she's roaming around outside making personal tinkle pronouncements.

Come on now! The only way L.B. could have better cover was if I had access to USAF airpower and a President capable of making a timely decision.

Now on with this month's epic:

Sometimes husbands can make some really stupid mistakes. The biggest ones are usually predicated on the guy having the memory span of road-kill.

For example:

Recently, when we ran short on our usual substantial supply of firewood, I had to dig into the last few pieces of what was left of our emergency backup cord.

The batch had been decaying for years and the bottom layer had not seen the light-of-day since my demented pooch, Howard, was a disgusting pile of puppy hair with paws.

Since he now weighs more than our decrepit lawn-tractor of seriously oxidized metal parts, the wood should have been fossilized. Luckily it wasn't and as I grappled with a couple of the bigger hunks, remnants of shredded paper and compacted grass tumbled to the ground.

I didn't think much about it because it was obviously an old nest of some tiny critters that had long vacated the premises in search of a housing upgrade. My mental misfire was not keeping my mouth shut about it.

Later in the morning, my wife and I were sharing some coffee when I absentmindedly mention the discovery.

Suddenly, a new ice age descended within the confines of our once cozy cabin. When I innocently gazed up from the newspaper to try and figure out what had crushed our domestic karma, I was staring at a being that had a look in her eyes that would have made Zena-The-Warrior-Princess wishing she was wearing Depends.

Before I get myself into really deep trouble here, let me explain that my bride is one of the biggest animal lovers in the solar system.

Unfortunately for the species known as rodents they lack the charisma to end up on her cute-n-cuddly and should not be nuked immediately list.

She holds them in the same esteem as she did the saddle-ready cockroaches she tripped over while I was stationed in Texas.

Those particular primeval pests were suspect in the disappearance of numerous neighborhood cats, a pet pygmy pig and were hunted with missiles rather that flyswatters.

Back to the story:

Several years ago, when things froze so solid around here that one could almost skate across the bay, several shrews decided that the interior of our abode would be a neat place to establish a rodent hostel.

It was a major error in judgment and that's when I learned why my wife would never be eligible for platinum PETA card.

The first time she spotted one of the miniature pointy nosed beasties dart across the front room, she made a remark about their lineage that would have made hard core rappers blush and went looking for a shotgun.

Even though I suggested that her approach might be a bit of overkill, she expanded her search for exterminating gear by perusing E-Bay for flamethrowers, miniature claymore mines and/or ninja trained rat assassins.

I, in turn, sought out some standard spring devices and a jar of peanut butter.

Fortunately, I was able to quickly remedy the problem and we haven't been selected as a vermin campsite since.

So, "cool" replaced chaos until my recent unfortunate incidence of brain flatulence where I forgot to forget that I had discovered an old nest.

That is why it's a bit tense around here right now and Jane keeps a sledgehammer next to her easy chair. If one of those little beasties goes scurrying across the carpet, the whole front room is going to turn into one huge "Whack-A-Mole" game.

As for me, I have shown my dogs a picture of a shrew along with a graph of how it fits perfectly into their basic food groups.

If that doesn't work, I will purchase some eco friendly devices and buy another of jar Extra Crunchy Skippy.

The only problem that I'll have then is who will win the race to the peanut butter, the killer shrews or my unhinged mutts who are proof-positive that evolution can reverse itself.

Hopefully, the rodents will find the bait first and I can return them safely to their rightful place in nature.

Aren't I a sweetie? You bet I am.

Just asked the drooling pair of coyotes lurking in the nearby alders or the owl on the roof, hey, even the ermine living under the deck has been openly begging for their amnesty.

I really want to be the good guy -- so why do I keep getting the feeling that, if given a choice the shrews would rather opt for a spirited session of "Whack-A-Mole?"

Nick can be reached at ncvarney@gmail.com.



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