It is a pretty normal evening here in the Later household: Peter working the 4-2 shift, Kirsti knocking the dresser on herself, and Matthew taking a nap just before bedtime- no early sleep for him. While waiting for the other 5 kids to fall asleep, I’m putting the finishing touches on my “catching the grill on fire” post.
Matthew has been alternating between sitting on my lap and wondering the house. “Finally done posting, now it’s time to clean up the kitchen.” Matthew is still playing in there, so I need to
EEK! I yell, jumping backwards out of view. “Oh crap, I just yelled ‘EEK!’ to a skunk!” The horrible truth hits me quickly; I left the door to the garage (and the automatic garage door) open for the breeze, but more than the breeze has entered. Now there is a skunk eating my children’s leftovers scattered around the kitchen floor.
How do you get a wild skunk out of your house? He (she?) has slowly moved around the corner of the island. “Think, Charlotte, think. How will you get this skunk, sprayless, out of your house.” Every idea I think involves potentially startling the skunk, an automatic elimination:
- “I wonder if I should take a picture for my blog.” No, the flash might startle him.
- “Maybe if a gently push him with a broom?” Definite no-no.
- “Maybe, if I turn off the camera’s flash?” No, I would have to turn on all the lights and that might be scary to a nocturnal skunk.
- “I could call animal control.” Who knows how long that would take and would involve talking, might scare the skunk.
- “Seriously, how am I going to take a picture?”
A Plan is Executed:
The skunk is all the way around the island by now, perusing his eating choices under the table. I have it! My
crazy ingenious plan: I will make a food trail for the skunk to follow. Luckily for me some of my children failed to clear their plates (never thought that would be lucky). I kneel, careful to not make sudden movements, starting as close as I dare to the skunk and begin scooping corn and rice in a trail across the floor. Slowly I crawl and scoop towards the garage. I leave a huge clump of food just below the step down into the garage as bait. “That should do it.” Now I’m going to wait.
In case you’re wondering, skunk eating (licking?) food off your floor sounds a lot like a small trickle of water through a faucet. I sit and wait. At one point I try to get (as distantly as possible) behind the skunk and make soft noises in the hopes the skunk will move the other direction toward my trail, but after a couple of times I get too nervous and just wait. “What is that noise?” I notice the sound seems to be coming from two different directions. “Is there water running just outside the door to the garage? Oh no! It can’t be!!!” It is.
There is a SECOND skunk eating my bait. And it has just poked its head over the step. It is coming inside! This was not the point of putting bait inside my garage!! No-sudden-movements rule NO LONGER APPLIES!!! I run over and slam that door right in my guest’s face (as quietly as possible). Then I check with skunk #1- still too interested in the buffet under the table to notice my trail. Luckily, tail still down.
Now I am stuck in a house with a skunk and no open doors. My food trail idea was a FLOP, a huge near backfire FLOP. “Time to check the internet.” If you ever find yourself trapped in a house with a skunk, let me recommend you NOT google 'get skunk out of house'. Because all the sites will be about getting skunk SMELL out of your house, and it looks IMPOSSIBLE. Not comforting at all. Everything I find seems to say I am doomed.
“That skunk seems pretty tame. If it lives in the neighborhood, maybe it is used to people and won’t be scared if I take its picture.”
A New Plan or 2:
“Maybe I can make a NEW food trail around the kitchen through the front door.” This is my new plan. I tiptoe over to the counter and grab my child’s plate of left out leftovers. I decide to start at the front door and move around as close to the skunk as I can get. But, as I approach the door I see something out the window. “Is that . . . it is!!” There is a skunk on my front porch. I am surrounded. No way I’m opening the door.
Panic is setting in. I am out of ideas. As the initial wave of bewilderment begins to recede, I decide to (gingerly) peak in the garage. After all, maybe the front porch skunk is the garage skunk, how many could there be trying to invade my house? I tuck my head inside my garage, “No more skunk patrol!” One shot left before I grab the kids and make a run for it.
I move as stealthily as I can through the house and turn off every light. I open the door to the garage again and flip on the garage light. “Please, please take the bait.” I know that skunks are nocturnal and I pray that doesn’t mean it will decide to turn towards the darker parts of my house. I picture the skunk running up stairs and finding my bedroom or my kids’ rooms. “PLEASE, PLEASE, TAKE THE BAIT!!” That stubborn skunk immediately saunters over to the door and walks right out. I super speed over and slam it shut. My hour of torture is finished, the skunk is GONE!!!!
I shut off the garage light in hopes that the skunk will take the hint again, waiting until I’m ready for bed to check. I kid you not, there is a 3rd skunk, this one smaller than the last two, finishing off the pile of rice. I shut the door, call Peter at the hospital and inform him that he is under no circumstances to enter the house through the garage tonight (he thinks the story is HILARIOUS, probably because there was no spraying involved).
As I begin to drift off to sleep, I remember Peter lost his house key and can’t get into the front door. Good thing we live in ULTRA SAFE neighborhood, I go down and unlock the front door. Unable to resist, I peak one more time in the garage. No skunk. I shut the automatic garage door. My ordeal is finally over. Did I mention Peter’s first question when I told him the skunk story- “Did you get a picture for the blog?” For once common sense prevailed, although I might be doing reconnaissance tonight for that all important visual.
PS I tried to get a picture of the neighboorhood residing skunks tonight, but it involved the skunk raising its tail high and me high tailing it back inside!! You'll have to be satisfied with the pictures of me playing with my camera.