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Our Western Wall faces North

by Julie Cook, Stone Mountain, Georgia, USA


But like the Western Wall in Jerusalem we now have residents lined up with faces pressed against the wall.

As you know, I was visited by squirrels this past Sunday. When I posted my original message I was to distraut to recognize the story behind the incident. I'll try to relay that story and update you on the squirrels at the same time.

On Sunday morning at 10:30 am I heard a scratching noise coming from the wall separating the kitchen from the dining room. Almost instantly I saw two cats come running, eyes large as saucers and ears pointed forward. They skid to a stop when a mewing, crying noise emitted from the wall. This was my first indication that I might have a squirrel in the wall. The scratching and crying continued throughout the day. I was waiting for DH to return before attempting to cut holes in the wall. The cats in the meantime had tied napkins around their necks and were guarding the wall for all they were worth. Their purrs (at my request) were moist with saliva.

DH arrived home to find me in a puddle of tears. I had listened to this poor creature cry for 9 hours and I was at the end of my rope. His first comment was "but it's just a squirrel" which awarded him more tears and wailing comments of "but I don't want to listen to him cry himself to death!" Then it cried again and Rusty (DH) said, "That is a bat, I will not release a rabid bat into the house. You can forget it." Finally, after more persuasion by me, in disgust he went down to the race shop and brought up a drill with large bits and the jigsaw.

Side note: My father-in-law once worked as an engineer for an asbestos removal company. He had left in my charge two borascopes to try to sell on Ebay.

Rusty drilled a hole in the wall where we thought the squirrel was and he got out the borascope. He put the scope into the hole he had drilled and focused then laughed out loud. I could hear jumping noises from the wall and didn't know what to think. He handed the borascope to me and told me to look. I gingerly placed it into the hole. The borascope magnifies anything in its path. Dust particles looked like softballs. The squirrel jumped - flashed red eyes and huge white teeth in my line of vision; I screamed and fell back, stepping on the tail of Hobbes who thought surely the creature from the wall had attacked him. He bushed out then climbed Rusty's leg and torso to perch on his head like a Davey Crockett hat. No doubt about it - we had a squirrel in the wall.

Rusty sighed and mumbled something about cutting a hole in our dining room wall. I gathered cats and herded them back to the bedroom. We suspected that as soon as we cut the hole that the squirrel would come flying out. We were wrong. It moved from one side of the wall to the other (or so we thought). The hole was cut and peanut butter used as bait on the stud next to the opening. We put a sheet over the entrance leading from the dining room to the living room and opened the doors to the great outside. We sat down and watched. Apparently the noise from the saw had scared the little rodent and it had quieted down. Eventually we went about things that needed doing with one ear turned toward the hole in the wall.

About an hour later I heard scrambling noises. I peered around the sheet to see what was happening. I heard crying and scratching. It took almost 45 minutes before the squirrel stuck his head out the opening to look around. He must have thought it safe because he came out, sat in the opening in the wall and ate peanut butter. He flicked his tail at me several times and when he finished eating he turned his head and looking over his shoulder he winked at me before reentering the wall.

This went on for the rest of the night. Finally we closed the opening and let the cats out of the bedroom. They ran with delight to the dining room and this time in addition to napkins around their neck they had knives and forks. The squirrel continued to make noises in the wall and the cats pressed closer; their little noses now flattened by their attempt to breach the wall.

Morning finds the wall still wailing, the cats still praying and me envisioning returning from work to find my house a wreck from the chase that will occur when the squirrel comes out of the wall during the day and the cats have a play date without adult supervision. I called in and took a personal day. I herded the cats back to the bedroom - did I mention the tablecloth now on the floor? I opened the wall and waited. Mr. Squirrel was obviously hungry because he stuck his little nose out right away. He was fooled however, because I had taken the peanut butter off the stud and placed it on a plate outside the opening. He sat in the opening for about 5 minutes trying to make up his mind to come out or not. As he sat there, quietly contemplating his decision I heard a scratching noise. This is when I realized I had not one but two squirrels in the wall!! Well, that is only fair, right? We have two cats, one for each. During the day I tried to coax the squirrels out of the wall and at about 3 pm I'd had enough. I closed the hole and let the cats out and I went outside. When Rusty got home from work I told him my theory of two squirrels and he decided that perhaps one was in one of the other sections of the wall. So he got the drill and borascope out again and drilled holes through the studs (at least these holes won't show), but couldn't see where the squirrel was. We could definitely hear it scratching and climbing though. Eventually he too decided we wouldn't be able to coax the bushy tailed rats out of the wall. (Notice how these creatures have gone from cute little squirrel crying for its life to rats?). We left the wall open and released the cats. Of course they again ran straight to the wall and took up their positions. Around 9 pm I realized the wall had become quiet. The cats even wandered away for minutes at a time. When I finally went to bed at 1 am I still hadn't heard anything from the wall.

I'm hoping that the squirrels have found their way back into the attic and out through whatever hole led them to the wall to begin with. I'm not holding my breath however. This morning when I walked into the living room Hobbes came out from behind the sheet separating the dining room he was in Halloween cat mode, watching me cautiously. I think he was guarding the cookbook that was propped open in the corner of the dining room - "101 Ways to Prepare Sushi".


Editor's note:

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