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Life Happens: Chipmunks, cherries and an unused oven

I love the outdoors. But, as a rule, I prefer the outdoors to remain right where it ought to beÖ on the other side of my door.

Last week, I was having my morning coffee, when my cat came flying in from outside. I didnít pay too much attention. I leave my door propped open in the morning, because if I donít, Iím getting up repeatedly to let cats in and let them out again. In other words, Iím lazy.

So, when the cat came peeling around the corner of the kitchen for a second lap, I began to notice. What was he doing? He looked like he was in hot pursuit of something, and thatís when I saw it. On lap three, there was the real reason for all the commotion; a chipmunk, on hyper speed, with the cat hot on its tail.

Before I could intervene, the chipmunk dove under the stove and the cat hit the brakes a little too late, sliding face first into the garbage pail. Of course, at that point, the merry chase was over and the cat quickly lost interest in the whole thing all together. He sauntered away, saving face and leaving me with a pint-sized nature problem.

ďHello, Chipmunk?Ē I tentatively peeked behind the stove. No little face was looking back at me. So I carefully moved the stove away from the wall. I was shocked at all the dust, dirt and assorted rubber bands I found under there, but I didnít see any living things.

After cleaning up at least five years of accumulated mess, I slid the stove back in. Now what? How was I going to get this thing? A friend suggested that I call the fire department, but I didnít think that this was that kind of emergency.

So, I did the only thing I could do. I went to Clydeís Feed and Animal Center and bought a humane trap, it had a picture of a chipmunk on it, so I knew I had the right one. Then I stopped at Tops and picked up some cherries. Why cherries? Iím not sure, but they were on sale and I like them too.

I baited the trap with cherries and set it. Then I went outside to give the chipmunk some privacy. After a few hours and a few bowls of my own cherries, I stepped back into the kitchen, the cherries were gone but the trap was still set and waiting. ďHow did that happen?Ē I muttered as I chopped up more cherries. I baited the trap again and went to bed.

Chipmunk: Day Two. I woke up, ran to the kitchen and the cherries were gone and the trap still hadnít sprung. This was nuts, Or maybe I needed to bait the trap with nuts? I was going nutty. I called a few humane trappers in the area and left desperate phone messages.

Day Three. I woke up and the little buffet of nuts I had set in the trap the night before were still there. Oh no, now I had a chipmunk that didnít want to eat I called a pest control place and for a princely sum they would come and slay my chipmunk. There was no way anyone was going to kill little Chippie. Yes, I named him, no, I donít want to talk about it.

Day Four. He still wasnít taking the bait, and I couldnít see any sign of him. I decided I didnít really need to use my oven anymore, and if Chippie wanted to live in there, then so be it. And then I took my stove apart to the best of my ability to see if I could flush him out. Nothing. But now I have the cleanest oven on the block.

Day Five. A humane trapper finally called me back. He told me that I was doing everything right and the only thing left to do was to wait. ďDid you bang on the stove?Ē he asked. Of course I did, out of frustration, if nothing else. ďThatís all you can really do at this point,Ē he reassured me. Fine. Itís a waiting game.

Fast forward to Day 15. I donít think heís in there anymore. I really donít. Maybe I imagined the whole thing. Maybe there was never a chipmunk in there at all. There is absolutely no evidence that anything is living under my stove, and I know because I check everyday. But I have learned my lesson. My door stays shut and the outside stays outside where it belongs. And someday, maybe Iíll even start using my oven again.


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