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posting schedule and the squirrels who moved in with me
Dee squinting in sunlight
Regarding my posting schedule, the next thing that I'll be putting up will be chapter 4 of Suspended. If it doesn't happen tonight, it'll happen tomorrow.  I'm currently enjoying a little peace and quiet. The house is empty of menfolk, but sadly, is extremely untidy. I know I ought to go and put on some loud, happy music and clean the kitchen and dining room, but that admittedly not very strong impulse is doing battle with another urge, which is to finish my tea and join the cat for a nap.

I haven't started writing Justice chapter 18, although I have plotted out the chapter and written a bunch of notes for it. I know I can achieve anywhere from 300 to two thousand words a day once I finally get going on it.

Until recently, I had a family of incredibly noisy squirrels living in my ceiling. I was quite afraid that they were rats for a while there, but in my experience, rats tend not to be nearly as rambunctious as these unseen creatures were being. I don't know whether they were play-fighting or beating the stuffing out of each other, but the noise was enough to wake my husband and I from a deep sleep in the middle of the night. Every night, to be precise. Fluffy, being Fluffy, was scared by the constant scufflings and scramblings, and whenever the squirrels were having one of their frequent pitched family battles, he would stand in the kitchen, shoulders hunched defensively while staring at the ceiling with eyes as big as saucers. I have to confess that I did the same thing on more than one occasion. I was half expecting a whirling ball of squabbling squirrel-parts to come crashing through the ceiling at any moment. My husband opined that the noise seemed to indicate an animal bigger than squirrels. He thought the thudding footfalls seemed to be coming from a creature as heavy as a dog. He wondered if it could be raccoons, but I disagreed. We have lots of urban raccoons around these parts, and if I leave my kitchen door open during the summer, raccoons seem to take it as an invitation to stroll in and help themselves to foodstuffs from my pantry. I've met a lot of raccoons and I've observed that, like rats, they are not a particularly boisterous species, although they can be bold little thugs.

One night, during some particularly violent ceiling hi-jinks, I heard loud vibrating growling sounds, accompanied by distressed squeaks. I figured it was a big squirrel asserting his dominance over a smaller squirrel who was presumably crying uncle in the hopes of not being dashed against the wall yet again. To my great relief I was able to find a squirrel making those exact sounds on Youtube. Whew! Up until then, you see, I still had a two percent fear lurking in the back of my mind that there was a colony of rats-- BIG rats-- up inside my ceiling, biding their time until their numbers were sufficient to stage a bloody three a.m. coup that would end in my husband and I being found dead in our bed.

I called the exterminator and explained to him that I wanted him to make the squirrels go away, but not if it involved killing them or hurting them in any way. He went up on my roof and found the hole they had chewed to gain access. He then installed a kind of one-way door that allows squirrels to get out but not to get back in again. Almost immediately, the squirrel-brawling was brought to a halt. It was so nice to be able to sleep through the night again, and not to have to explain the situation to stunned-looking visitors who obviously expected the ceiling joists to crack at any moment, and bring a hail of squirrels down upon us all.

My husband, big softie that he is, felt sorry for the squirrels, as they had just been rendered homeless. "They probably have all their winter nuts up there!" he exclaimed. "How are they going to find another home now that winter is almost here?"

I just folded my arms and refused to be swayed by his misplaced compassion. This is the same guy that scolds me for killing wasps and once expressed sympathy for the rats I killed because, and I quote, "They just want to be warm, and have a home and food for their children like everybody else!" I retorted that the rats shouldn't have chewed holes in bags of rice and pasta and pooed everywhere, and as for the squirrels, I wouldn't have minded letting them live in the ceiling if they had been better tenants and kept the partying down to a dull roar instead of the downright alarming cacophony that they seemed to expect us not to notice.

So, the squirrels have been evicted and all is well! Unless they chew a hole in the one-way door and start holding the squirrel equivalent of Ultimate Fighting Championships in my ceiling again...

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Laughing at your hubby and his sense of compassion for your unwanted house guests.

I know, I laugh too. I'm the one who has to deal with spiders and the like in our family. My hard heart is better able to deal with these tough necessities than his soft one, and this is despite the fact that he is a big, strong, athletic black belt who has fought in dozens of Karate competitions!

I may have allowed the naughty squirrels to remain in the ceiling if they'd had better manners. But rats? No.

And poor Fluffy! I've never heard of such violent behavior in squirrels. Just think if this had occurred a couple months ago when your PiLs were visiting. :-O

Hi-jinks and brawling. LOLOL!!!!!

Well, my feelings exactly. I like squirrels because they're cute an playful, but I had no idea how noisy they could be.

And it DID happen when the PiLs were here. Those bad squirrels disrupted many a meal by break-dancing (or whatever the hell they were doing) in the ceiling above the dining room table. However, our furry partiers didn't disturb the PiLs' sleep because they slept on another floor. They adored the squirrels and were always exclaiming over them.

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There are a lot of trees around my house, which is how they get up onto my roof. Those trees are full of lots of squirrels and believe me, they all look the same to me! I don't think I could keep them straight if I gave them names. Besides, I hardly ever saw the little suckers when they were living in my ceiling. That's why I was worried they might be rats. Actually, my dad says that squirrels are just rats with cute fluffy tail and better PR. I disagree with him-- I think they're totally different!

Haha. I have to admit, the stories of your life constantly amuse me. I'm quite glad you have a sense of humor.

Ah, this one, though, reminds me of the traps we set for the stray feral cats and random raccoon that shows up around our house. We have a one-way cage that we put a bowl of cat food in. They go in, step up to the food, and the gate closes behind them, keeping them in without hurting them. Then, depending on what we caught, they go to either the SPCA or the local Fish & Game preserve.

Of course, needless to say, every last one of the six cats our family owns wound up in there at least once (a couple ended up in there two or three times before they finally learned better). And, naturally, I was in charge of the cage while my family was on vacation, and what did I catch? A skunk. Oh, that was not fun. I let it go, but it was seriously tempting to just let it sit there for the next four days until the parents came back. Ugh.

I can honestly say that squirrels have never been a problem in our house. We get rats, mice, and snakes though. *shudder* But just the normal scrabbling. I can honestly say I have never, ever had a brawling family of anything in my house. ^__^

Glad you got them out safely, and good luck keeping them out! They wouldn't even have to chew through the door...just another piece of the roof.

A skunk! OMG, you're a brave, brave girl. I would have been SO scared to go near it. I haven't seen a skunk for years. Apparently we don't have any around where I live, although I once almost hugged one when I lived in Vancouver. It was twilight, I was in the West End, near Stanley Park, and I had just finished attending a community centre class on the Japanese language. "Kitty!" I exclaimed happily, mistaking the extra furry creature standing next to my car for a black and white cat. (What can I say? I've always been nearsighted and the half-light of early evening makes it so much worse). Thank God the skunk didn't particularly want to be hugged and emitted non-catlike warning noises before hustling its furry butt away from me. I realised something was wrong and lowered my glasses from the top of my head onto my face to get a better look. The next moment saw me hurrying away from the skunk as fast as it was hurrying away from me! WHAT a narrow escape.

I know what you mean about the 'normal scrabbling'. I live with that too. Maybe urban people will be horrified at the thought! I know some of my friends are. But these squirrels were really something else. It was like the little bastards were on speed or something. There was a lot of thumping and thudding.

Haha. I discovered the skunk in the morning, and left it in the cage. Later, when I had my best friend with me, and it had been in the warm summer sunshine for a few hours, making it lethargic, we let it out. Because, really, if I'm gonna get sprayed by a skunk, at the very least, I'd like to have some company. XD

The fuzzy critter just sort of stared at me. We finagled the hook open, then backed cautiously away and left again. The skunk didn't move until sometime after we were out of sight, which was perfectly fine by me.

Haha! Glad the skunk warned you with noise first. Would've sucked if it had sprayed you. That happened to one lady at my work. Well, actually, her dog got sprayed, and she got it on her when she tried to clean him off. Ugh. It took her two days to get the smell out of her hair. It was highly amusing for me and my fellow co-workers, though. ^__^

*snicker* Squirrels on speed. Makes me wonder what was in those nuts they were collecting. :D

I think squirrels are just naturally hyperactive. It's like they can make their own speed just with their brain chemistry.

I'm really determined never to get sprayed by a skunk. It happened to a friend of a friend once. He was camping in the forest and exited his tent in the middle of the night to pee. It was pitch black and he couldn't see. He tripped over a skunk. The smell didn't go completely away for six weeks. The only good thing about his experience was that he tripped over a skunk rather than a bear or a cougar.

Well, yeah, but you have to admit...if there had been a bear outside his tent, I'm pretty sure he would've seen it before he tripped over it. XD Even in the pitch black, a bear is pretty hard to miss.

Plus there's the fact that bears or cougars don't just passively wait around to be tripped over. They're a bit more proactive!

Just wanted to drop in and say that since I discovered your fics a few months ago I've been absolutely thrilled. It's so, SO rare for me to find fanfiction of fandoms and pairings I adore that is even decently written, and yours is just stellar.

Honestly I think you write Ryo better than in the original manga, because he makes more SENSE the way you write him. It's easier to understand his motivations and his reactions.

(and we had squirrels in the roof once, and can attest that it does indeed sound like elephants up there. Somehow.)

Wow, thank you! Your comment has been the best thing about my day so far, even better than my first sip of coffee.

I agree that Ryo didn't make sense in the manga. It took me a hell of a long time to finally figure him out. I couldn't write about him until I understood him myself.

Yay, someone believes me about the squirrel racket! I'm sure one or two people out there think I'm exaggerating. After all, squirrels are so little and cute, and when they scramble around in trees, they don't make that much noise. I never would have imagined how loud they could be if I hadn't gone through the experience of unwillingly housing them. They sound a lot heavier when they're in the ceiling! Maybe it's the flying tackles.

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