Les Semaines

April 4, 2004

what I'm thinking and doing § what I'm listening to § what I'm reading
what I'm writing § retrospective: old journal



I am sipping some Bailey's, trying to chill myself down. Lord! What a day.

It's Wednesday. It was hectic at work and with Clarion West stuff and I've been emailing and on the phone all day. This afternoon I raced home from work to be here when the chimney sweep came. You see, a squirrel had been building a nest in our chimney and we wanted to get the debris out.

I had barely had time to give the cats and then myself lunch when the sweep arrived. He looked up the chimney; he looked down the chimney. Flashlights and all. He concluded that there wasn't that much in there, and we'd probably chased the squirrel out when we lit a fire last week (and the smoke alerted us that we had a serious problem, so we put it out pretty quickly). So he went up to the roof and put his brush down and pushed the twigs down, came back inside and starting pulling it down. And pulling it down. It kept coming--there was a lot of it. And then he freaked because he heard a squeal. He started pulling more stuff down, and checking it all to make sure he hadn't knocked the baby down. Finally I heard it squeal, and it was clear that it was still up the chimney. I brought a box in case he found one as he checked through the nest material to make sure one wasn't in there. He cleared the twigs out into one of our yard waste bags, and then vacuumed up the rest of the mess. We angsted together about what to do: how to rescue the squirrel, hoping he hadn't hurt it when he pushed the nest down. He spent a while feeling around on the inside shelf as best as he could, bringing down a few more twigs but no babies. He called the office to see what they suggested but they told him to leave it alone and that we should call some varmint control people. Really, varmint was in their name.

Now I don't like squirrels much--I like them at a distance but up close I think they're pretty much rats with cute tails--but neither do I want to murder any.

But the chimney sweep abandoned me. I tried to get some work done in my study. Sophia was sitting on the chair nearest the fireplace, listening carefully.

Jim phoned--he was going to but some rope on his way home from work because he'd read online that squirrels could climb up and get themselves out of a chimney. Maybe the mom could get the babies out or the babies could do it themselves if they were big enough.

I was pacing around waiting for Jim to show, when I heard a really loud squeal. I checked the living room and Sophia was actively prowling the fireplace. I looked in, and saw a little creature about four inches long (plus skinny tail) huddling in the corner of the clean fireplace. Its eyes weren't even open yet, which seemed odd given its size.

I had just been checking online to see how many babies squirrel might have so I had an idea of what to do. I got the box, hauled some of the nesting material out of our yard waste, put on Jim's gardening gloves. And reached in. The poor little guy. I put him in the box, checked to see that the leg he had pushed behind him wasn't broken (it wasn't), then went outside and wedged the box in our pear tree. And watched.

Jim came home about then and we watched the box. The baby squealed in there, and the mom showed up. So agitated! Alarm! At first all she did was pull the nesting stuff out and run around our roof, but finally she took the baby out and away.

But alas! Saga not over! There's more squealing from our chimney. The web info indicated they usually had more than one, and so we still had a baby up on the shelf in our chimney. There was nothing we could do, and we decided to wait until tomorrow and get a wildlife control company to get it out. I phoned our neighbours whom I'd asked about who to phone, I phoned my mom and dad because I always call them. The squirrel kept squealing. The mom squirrel threw a few twigs down the chimney.

Then Jim came running in--the other baby had fallen into the fireplace. He got the box and put nesting stuff in it, then I put this second baby out in the tree. This time Mom came quickly, hauled it out of the box and ran along our neighbour's fence (away, thankfully).

Since then no more squealing. I've called everyone and updated them and I'm trying to calm down. Hence the Bailey's.

And Sophie's been throwing her black furry mouse around all night. Show off.


Passed the Clarion West application deadline and now all the applications are in the hands of the readers. I'm annoyed at some of the applicants for (this is probably in order of annoyance level):
  • sending things express and not waiving the signature so I had to do a lot of phoning and legwork to get possession of the applications--people, we ask you to waive the signature for a reason! This year I had to fuss with tracking down four applications (usually it's only 1)
  • the applicant who not only didn't use anything at all to divide the portions/copies of her application (not that big a deal) but who also didn't number the pages--what does she think happens if the story drops by mistake onto the floor?
  • applicants who staple everything, including thick stories that I have to spend long minutes with pliers to separate
  • and why does everyone have to send the applications in right at the deadline? I wish more people wanted the $100 tuition discount for getting the application in early.

Jim's niece Devin is here. It's great to see her. We're showing Seattle off and going on walks, and in between it all I'm running over the looooooong list of things I need to do before I leave for Turkey a week Friday.

last week's thinking and doing § next week's thinking and doing


We've been listening to a lot of indie music Devin's been buying. Some I like. Some I don't. There are certain indie flavours right now that simply make me feel old.

last week's listening § next week's listening


I haven't finished Altered Carbon yet.

last week's reading § next week's reading


Karen is back and I had a productive 1.5 hours beside her at the coffee shop Saturday, revising a poem that was almost there (now is closer, I think) and working on chapter 2 (both there and earlier in the week). Looking at this now, I'm not sure the third person is doing that much for the story, but having another point of view certainly is.

I sent off the revised chapter one for both Karen and Neal to look at to see what they think about it. I'm interested to hear if they think it works or not. In any case, I generally feel much more confident about what I'm doing.

last week's writing § next week's writing

Retrospective: old journal

Alas, I'm not going to be able to make progress here until May sometime, sorry. Just too many pots on the stove.

last week's old journal § next week's old journal

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