“Holy. Shit! Lauren, where are the rubber gloves and the poison?”
“What?” My heart is beating too fast from being woken up. I squint my eyes to see the clock. It’s almost 4am and Josh is yelling about rubber gloves and poison. What the hell?.
“Something just attacked my foot! Something big! The dogs have been stalking it since you went to bed.”
“Stalking? What… gloves are on the sink. The poison should be under the sink.” I’m about to chalk this one up to Josh’s midnight nonsense when my five year old fears came back to slap me in the face. One man, two dogs, a house, and a violent mystery creature… oh my gosh… it’s Tailypo! Okay, that’s stupid. You are an adult Lauren. Get it together! There is no such thing as Tailypo. Quit being a pussy. I can’t help myself; I tuck the sheet in around my feet. My heart is racing. I can hear Josh banging around in the kitchen. I know I want to get up but I don’t want my feet anywhere near any strange creatures.
“Where did your foot get attacked? Are you okay? What happened?” I’m yelling from the bed because I don’t want to get up. Josh is too distracted to answer. It leaves me no choice. I have to get up.
“What’s going on?” I find josh using some old pieces of drywall to barricade a closet.
“Well I think the animal is in there. I heard it screaming…”
“Screaming?” I am going to pee myself.
“…or something like that. I saw something run from the kitchen into the laundry room. When I went to check it out something jumped out of the closet and attacked my foot.”
“uhhh….” I’m speechless. I’m already planning a way to get myself safely back to bed, or maybe the car. Yes, the car would be better. The house is contaminated and I need to get out. Josh seems mostly unfazed by the whole thing. He’s more excited than anything, and I’m pretty sure we’re about to be eaten alive.
“The poison is out, and I think that barrier will keep them in that closet.”
(Just as a little side note: that closet was unfinished when we moved in. I’m kind of a procrastinator, and we have not finished it. Plus, I wasn’t expecting to be joined by any wild animals. We sort of suspect that it leads down to the basement, but that had not been confirmed till now.)
“How bad did it attack your foot?”
“Oh, I’m fine, I was wearing my beaver skin slippers and I think the creature may have thought it was another animal. I may have scared it.”
I wasn’t buying it. I know Josh didn’t get hurt, but I don’t think he completely scared off some vicious wild animal that may or may not be Tailypo. Josh did his best to sooth my nerves. He even changed the story to “an animal just ran across my foot.” I don’t believe it. I think he was just trying to make me feel better. I know danger when I see it or hear about it second hand.
The next few days were spent looking up animal noises on You Tube. We came to the conclusion that it must be a squirrel. We had seen some squirrels up in the rafters of our attic. Then wrote it off as just a squirrel and went about living our lives like normal.
I drag myself out of bed and fumble towards the kitchen to start the coffee. Something furry caught my eye by the fridge. Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh! There is a dead opossum in front of our fridge!
“JOSH!” He mumbles something from the bed room. “JOSH! Get in here!” I cannot leave to go wake him up. I can’t look away from the little opossum carcass. I know it is dead, but there is the off chance that it’s playing opossum. The dogs are prancing around and sniffing at it, and looking pretty pleased with themselves. Obviously, they had something to do with it. Josh comes stumbling in.
“Oh, holy shit, it’s a opossum.”
“yeah. I think it’s a baby. It’s not full grown.”
“Good boys!” He gives them both a pat. “Do you think they brought it in the dog door?”
“No, because I haven’t opened it yet.”
“Yeah…it came from inside.” We share a look of horror.
“Well, the dogs were just doing their job. Good boys!” Harley and Max are just thrilled with themselves.
“That means that there is a mamma opossum somewhere.” Josh goes into the bedroom and grabs his phone. I know he’s documenting this for Instagram. I take a picture too because I have to send this to my dad. He is going to love this!
“Honey, do you mind cleaning it up? I have to get ready for work.”
“Ugh, fine. Will you go get me a box to put it in?”
First of all, I don’t know why Josh requests a box every time we do dead animal cleanup. I was taught to get a grocery bag, maybe two, turn it inside out, grab the yucky item, and then turn it right side out again. Josh on the other hand, gets rubber gloves, paper towels, a box, and an object to hit the yucky item with. Then he proceeds to hit at the item until it is in the box. Usually there is some flopping around with the item until it ends up in the box. However, I am totally okay with going to get him a box so I don’t have to deal with random dead animals and/or foul items.
I keep a bunch of boxes in our front room for ebaying. I turn the corner into the foyer and I’m face to face with dead opossum number two. “JOSH! I FOUND ANOTHER ONE!”
“Are you shitting me?”
“Nope. Get in here!”
“Holy crap, they killed two. Now that’s teamwork!” Josh is already taking pictures of the second one. This one is an adolescent too.
“Okay we have to clean up. If you get the bodies I’ll get the blood.”
Josh’s opossum pic on Instagram…so gross.
April 16, 2013 2:15ish
Josh calls my work.
“Hey sweetie, what’s up?”
“Okay I’ve been thinking about the opossums.”
“The boys got two of them. They had to be working together.”
“That’s obvious. They were both super proud.”
“What if, the opossums were friends?”
“What if one dog got the first opossum and then second one heard it screaming. Then it came out of hiding to help is friend, only to find a huge beast staring it in the face.”
“Why on earth would you tell me that? That’s awful!”
“I thought it was interesting.”
“Oh well, you want to know something interesting: Opossums can have up to thirteen babies. That means we have potentially eleven more to go, and that’s if you are not counting the mama.
April 20, 2013 9:15 am
“Harley, go away. Down!” Harley is pawing at my face. I feel like shit. Last night was Heather’s bachelorette party and I got a little drunker than planned. My head hurts. My body aches. I’m too old for this shit. Harley comes back for more, and his paw goes right in my eye. “Harley! Down!” He ignores me and keeps trying to pat me with his paw. Max is crying somewhere in the room. Oh crap, they need to go out.
I drag myself out of bed and stumble through the kitchen and into the laundry room. The dogs run ahead of me excited to go out. I let them out the dog door and turn around. Right there in the door jam is another dead opossum.
“JOSH!” Oh my gosh, I walked right over it! What if my shoe touched it? Worse still, what if my foot touched it? Flip flops do not provide adequate protection from dead animals. “JOSH!” I don’t get an answer and I have to go physically wake him up. “Honey, the dogs killed another one.”
“Uh, what? Another opossum?”
“yeah, it’s in the kitchen. That makes three.”
“I’m getting up.” He grabs his phone. We cant let this Instagram moment pass.
“Sweetie, I’ll clean up the floor if you get the body again.”
I find a small box and I’m greatly relieved to not find any other dead animals. I come back to find Josh rewarding the dogs with black jelly beans. I hand over the box and I’m starting to realize how hung over I am. I need food and coffee asap! Josh instagrams the third Chapman family wild animal in the house death. I’m just as bad, I tweet, “And one more dead opossum makes three. The dogs are so proud.”
We are planning on going out of town in less than a week, and by my count there could be as many as ten opossums left in the house. There is a good chance that more bodies may show up while we are gone. I just cant have a carcass rotting in my house for nine days. I pull Lisa, our roommate, aside and ask her to do a opossum check when she feeds the dogs, because seriously what kind of family ends up with multiple dead animals in their house in less than a week?
A picture of the third opossum on Josh’s Instagram.
May 3, 2013
Lisa picks us up from the airport. She fills us in on the gossip from the past week, and we entertain her with various stories of our adventures abroad. We didn’t get to the house before I ask if she found any more opossums. Much to our relief she has not. However, this makes me a little worried. These opossums were popping up at an alarming rate and now it’s just stopped. I’d love to think that the dogs ran them off, but I’m probably wrong. I am relieved that Lisa wasn’t subjected to cleaning up random opossum bodies.
May 4, 2013
I’m trying to readjust to the horrid Nashville weather after the beautiful 90 degree temperatures in Grand Cayman. The high is supposed to be 45. I’m not amused. I don’t do well in cold. We have to get out in the cold today, so I take a long hot steamy shower to get warm again. I bask in there for quite awhile. I only get out when I decided that it’s getting too steamy.
I go to get dressed and I have to search through several piles of clothes, our suit cases exploded when we got home. I find my only pair of non torn jeans buried behind the laundry basket in my closet. I pick them up and smell them. I mean I put the jeans in my face and breathe in deeply. They smell odd but not bad. I think I could wear them, but I need a second opinion.
“Josh smell this.” I throw him the pants. He puts them in his face just like I did and takes a whiff.
“Well, it doesn’t smell bad.” He takes another whiff. “It kind of smells like copper. So weird. He throws the pants back.
“It just so strong.”
“Well, if you don’t like it wear a different pants.”
“Yeah, I think will.” I go back to my pile to keep digging and that’s when I notice the squirrel. There curled up like he was sleeping sweetly is a very dead squirrel.
“AAAHHHHHH!!! OH MY GOSH! OH MY GOSH!” It hits me that I’ve just been burying my face in dead squirrel pants. I drop them and start retching.
“What?” Josh jumps off the bed and runs in. I’m already washing my face.
“Squirrel! Dead squirrel!” I point in the general direction. Josh sees it.
“Oh. My. God. We just had those uggghhhh… pants in our faces!” He starts to dry heave with me. A scuffle for sink space ensues.
It takes us a while to get regain our composure. Then loose it again when we realize that it was probably there last night, and we’ve spent the night and showered with a dead squirrel in our bathroom. The more I think about it the grosser it gets. I was basking in there! I was breathing dead squirrel steam in. Now I know that I will never be clean again.
Josh and I have our usual deal, he cleans the body up and I clean up any fluids. Luckily, I don’t have to do blood clean up, but I do have a hell of a lot of laundry to do now. Again, he gets a plastic bag, a box, gloves, and a little piece of cardboard. The body flops all over my other clothes. Everything is tainted. The dogs are way interested in our activities and dance around Josh to get a glimpse of our “prize.” Josh is yelling at the squirrel, “Get in the damn box!” It’s chaos. I take a peak at the unfortunate squirrel. He has teeth marks in his side. This is definitely the work of the dogs.
“Josh do you think that the dogs killed the squirrel because they were mad we left?”
“Ha! Maybe, but what I’m more worried about is how long it’s been there.”
“It couldn’t have been too long otherwise it would have smelled worse.”
“Oh right, just long enough to stink up my jeans.” Josh carries the box outside. When he gets to the kitchen Harley rushes past and sits down in front of our pantry door.
“Yes, you were a good boy. I’ll get you beans…” he stops abruptly and looks at me. Right at that moment we have the exact same thought.
“They are killing for jelly beans.”
“Yes, murder for beans.”
“That’s awful. Maybe we should tone it down?”
Josh’s third picture on Instagram of dead animals.
May 20, 2013
Harley didn’t get any jelly beans that day, but neither did Max. We thanked them calmly for our gifts and tried not to make too big a deal out of it. As of today we have been dead critter free for 16 days and counting. However, I haven’t been home yet, and there have been rumors of a giant opossum living in my neighbors’ yard. I have a sneaking suspicion that it’s Mama Opossum. I guess there is still opportunity for the dogs.