Keep the Squirrels Outside

Sometimes It's Difficult to Understand

I kept hearing strange noises, kind of a scuffling sound that seemed to come from the outside wall of the house.  At first I questioned myself, was I really hearing something?  Maybe I was imagining it.  Over time it became more pronounced, a little like the nearly daily revelation of a new political scandal in Alberta.  I alerted my security detail to the fact that there were continued and unsettling noises coming from one particular area of the house.  My security detail reassured me that I was just hearing a squirrel on the outside wall, nothing to fret about.  I was told, squirrel behavior can be difficult to understand and I should not worry.  I really wanted to believe my security guy who also has some street cred as a woodsman.

Initially, I was content to accept his reassurance and tried to tell myself that I was wrong.  There couldn't possibly be a squirrel in the attic could there?  But the noises continued and I kept up my plea for someone to do something.  We couldn't keep living in denial.  There had to be a critter living in the attic.  My husband, who plays the role of security detail, chose to investigate the strange noises one day when I was gone.  His plan was to fix the problem while I was away so that I'd never know.  But I came home early, and caught him in the midst of his squirrel hunt just moments after he had nearly fallen from a ladder.  A kind neighbour's quick thinking saved him as the ladder slid out from under him and he was swinging by his fingertips hoping the eaves trough didn't give way.  Just before he stared the ladder embarrassment in the face, he discovered there was a squirrel that had established squatting rights in our attic.  Having come face to face with the squirrel he was on a mission.  Game on.  Score:  Ladder - 1 Squirrel -1, Guys - 0

Sometimes We Need a Plan

He set up an elaborate plan to trap it, while I stayed in the house.  As the adventure was unfolding in the backyard I kept my ears attune to the sound of a squirrel running through the eaves.  I wasn't worried about any more ladder incidents because the neighbor was all-in on helping.   There is nothing quite like a rogue squirrel to bring the neighbours together.  But that squirrel kept coming out and taunting them, only to speed back into the sanctuary of the eaves.  So far, the score was Ladder - 1, Squirrel - 5, Guys - 0.

The game went on for a couple of hours and I waited inside listening to the scurrying sounds, the testosterone laden chatter of the squirrel hunters, and the scrape of the ladder on the eaves.  Then I heard a cheer.  They had managed to get one squirrel into a 20 gallon plastic bucket.  Immediately following the cheer, there were a string of expletives and the sound of something falling.  Uh oh, something had gone seriously wrong outside because my security detail, squirrel hunter, guy doesn't use that kind of language.  I envisioned him laying in a twisted broken-boned heap, and thought the score had changed to Ladder - 2, Squirrel - 5, Guys - 0.

I ran outside, adrenalin and fear in my veins, certain that I would be facing life with a brain-injured husband.  What I found was two men, still swearing and laughing, because as they had tried to slap a lid on the bucket that poor squirrel had exploded out of the bucket and made a run for freedom.  All hopes of taking it to the country to drop off were dashed, and there were fears that it would circle back and return to the comfort of our attic.  The story of how the squirrel escaped that bucket will go down in our family lore. The true score was Ladder - 1, Squirrel - 6, Guys - 0.  Now the squirrel hunters had to change their focus and begin to secure every possible point of entry so that the rogue rodent couldn't return to set up residence again.

Sometimes We Just Need to Take a Stand

What you might ask does the squirrel story have to do with Alberta politics?  Well, for years now we have been hearing scurrying sounds of entitlement, scandal, and arrogance.  But Albertans have tried really hard to explain it all away, partly because not all the squirrels are bad and partly because we have been conditioned to be afraid of what other critter might move in if the squirrels are gone.  But, I suggest that it is time we move all the government critters out of our attics entirely.  We need to avoid the erroneous belief that electing a government means they move in for life.  Any government we elect is only there for a fixed term and there isn't a single party on the slate that can promise us an easy ride through global economic uncertainty.  Yes, the world economy is shaky but it's going to be shaky no matter which party we vote in.  So let's  elect candidates on May 5th who are committed to operating in the light of day with integrity and transparency, not in the dark corners of the attic hidden from public view.