When Squirrels Attack

I love taking photos of things trying to destroy me. Meet my main man, Odysseus.

I love taking photos of things trying to destroy me. Meet my main man, Odysseus.

Jan. 20, 2013

I’d been frantically searching for a new apartment, and like anyone house hunting in Toronto knows, it’s a thoroughly stressful experience. I am not an apartment building or condo type of girl (ant in an anthill situation) so when I found a one-bedroom on the third floor of a house in the Annex it seemed I’d finally hit the jackpot.

A thing about houses in Toronto, especially in the Annex, is that they are old, big, not made for multiple apartments, and I can safely say, full of every problem you can imagine.

The day I moved in my dad, boyfriend, and best friend were “helping”. When I say helping I mean making thousands of annoying comments about the apartment where I’d just signed a one-year lease.

“Kate, the whole house is slanted,” said my boyfriend.

“Don’t ever light candles in here,” said my Dad, “this place will burn to the ground in five seconds.”

“This bathroom mirror was made for midgets, I can barely see my own head,” said my best friend.

In some ways, they were right. These old houses are probably not the smartest place to live: high rent, slanted, awful Hydro bills, with short mirrors and not a lot of closets. Leaky toilets, old plumbing, and baseboard heating…the list goes on and on.

But the character, oh the character. You wouldn’t see the big old French windows or massive rooftop patios in any of the new condo buildings popping up all over Toronto, you can bet on that.  

Which is exactly what I’ve told myself over the past three years and five million times I’ve had to call my landlord with every problem imaginable.

But as of recently there’s been something new that may make me re-think the old house lifestyle.

Rodents. Since living up here in the trees I’ve shared my place with a mouse, pigeons, and a whole lot of squirrels.

Annoying as this as been, it’s been doable as rarely did these rodents breach the exterior walls (except the mouse, but that’s a whole other story). The pigeons sit on one of my windowsills no matter what I do to try and get rid of them. And the squirrels run rampant outside, sharing my patio and windows to scurry back and forth at warp speed.

A few Sundays ago I got home around noon and was royally exhausted.

Realizing I had a mere two hours before work I decided for a couch nap (if I get into bed there’s no stopping me). A little into my nap I started hearing some weird rustling sounds. Because I live in the trees I naturally assumed: squirrels.

I stirred, and sat right up, pushing aside the thoughts of squirrels and instead recalling my horrific experience of having a mouse. I glanced around my kitchen, seeing nothing but still hearing the noise, I went back to the couch assuming the squirrels outside were “playing” and started drifting off again.

A few minutes later I woke up again. Now it sounded like something rustling, like someone was is in my drawer where I keep plastic bags. I was starting to get nervous, if there was a mouse in my drawer, my life would surely end. I would no doubt contract some sort of rare mouse killing disease, this much was clear.

Using all the strength I could possibly muster I stood up from the couch and went over to the kitchen drawers. I pressed my ear up against the drawer and heard that same sound, but now it sounded like it was coming from the first drawer: cutlery. I took a deep breath and opened the drawer:

And there, amoungst my cutlery, squatted a god-damn squirrel eating a fucking Ferrero Rocher.

I could see the chocolate all over his face and hands. Squirrels are messy eaters.

Luckily my initial reaction was to slam the drawer quickly shut. And thank god too because if he got out into the apartment…only one of us would have survived. 

My landlord came and I hid in my room and screamed a lot until the squirrel was gone.  We took apart the back of the drawer and realized: like all things in these apartments made in a hurry, no one took the time to put a backing behind the drawers. So they opened right up to the outer wall of the house.

And in some sort of Shawshank Redemption move, the squirrel had dug a tunnel from outside to all the way inside and in the back of the drawer. A process that I imagined had taken years. How long were those chocolates in that drawer?

Still later, cleaning up the mess I realized something.

All the wrappers were still in the drawer. He had dug his way in, risking his life, to have a field day on MY chocolates and the little bastard left the wrappers for me.

I learnt my lesson. No more chocolate in the cutlery drawers. 

Kate PaddisonComment