The cold, hard, dead truth about being a grown-up.

I saw the mouse poo in the silverware drawer and only had a moment to process that hey, there’s shit on my utensils for the second time in 5 days before I heard the dogfight.

I abandoned the poo and looked out the window. On the patio, 90-pound Big Doodle and 7-pound Lil’ Frankfurter were playing tug-of-war with some sort of toy. And they were really into it, their play fighting on the verge of real fighting. Except that they don’t have toys outside. And the toy they were fighting over looked a lot like a squirrel.

Next thing I knew, I was outside, broom in hand, and someone was screaming. It might have been me.

I waved the broom I use to sweep poop off the patio. The dog kids were nonplussed. As my screaming reached octaves that only dogs can hear, the giant fluffball and tiny Chipotle burrito of a dog both dropped their end of the squirrel. They eyed each other warily, each waiting for the opportunity to snatch the squirrel and run.

I waved the poop broom and screeched. The dogs gave up and went inside. My husband and I passed each other in the doorway, me going in, he going out to check out the squirrel. I stood at the door and pulled my shirt over my face until he came back inside, grim-faced.

“Well,” he said, “It’s still alive. I’m hoping it’s just in shock. Let’s just leave it and see what happens.”

“Don’t let the dogs kiss you ever, ever again,” I said.

“What? We’re nice guys. We didn’t even kill that squirrel.”

And then we went about our day, like it was just another normal day. Sure, we had a maybe-dying squirrel right outside our door and mouse poo all over our silverware. Pssh! No big whoop!

Nothing makes a tiny kitchen feel bigger than having to Clorox wipe every single surface. By the time I was done sanitizing my Kleenex-sized kitchen, my husband was conveniently asleep and the dogs had to go potty.

Oh, hell.

I checked on our squirrel friend. He had gone to the great tree in the sky. But just his spirit. He conveniently left his carcass on my patio. Thanks, pal.

I got 3 Target bags and a shovel. I layered 2 of the bags into a little pocket next to the carcass. And as I used an awkward baggie/shovel maneuver to get the body into the bags, I thought back about how I wanted to date and/or get married because I needed someone to take care of carcass removal.

But there ain’t no outrunning being an adult. Sometimes, it’s your turn to bag up the dead squirrel.

A few days later, a friend stopped by with her 9-year-old daughter. As fate would have it, there was a dead chipmunk on my front porch. Because I keep an elegant home. And it’s a dangerous season for small woodland creatures.

My friend and I both tried to redirect the 9-year-old. However, the girl was obsessed with the dead chipmunk. “Do you think it’s sleeping? No way, it’s dead! That’s soooo grooooss! Ewww! It’s totally dead! I can’t believe I’m so close to something that’s dead! It’s so disGUSTing!”

Her mom and I just looked at each other. In the grand scheme of adulthood, a dead chipmunk is pretty tame – way easier to flip into a Target bag than a squirrel, that’s for sure. And less of a pain in the ass than mice in the kitchen.

We let the girl be grossed out. Her time would come.

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  • Reply Karen (formerly kcinnova) April 24, 2015 at 4:22 am

    I love you. Your husband had better love you, too, for not making him wake up and deal with that squirrel!
    Thank you for making me laugh and think that mouse poop is a very small thing, when I know it is a VERY BIG, AWFUL thing.
    Chipmunks and I have a bad history. I'm glad yours was still in one piece.

  • Reply BentNotBroken April 24, 2015 at 9:04 am

    I frequently read but seldom comment….But I couldn't resist commenting on this one! This story made me laugh so unbelievably hard, not because you had to clean up a squirrel carcass, but because I've been there (we have a Weimaraner). Thankfully they killed the squirrel because it's so much worse when they just injure it and you as the responsible, humane adult have to finish it off.

  • Reply cookingwithgas April 24, 2015 at 10:10 am

    We have a you found it, you clean it policy here.
    There are a few times I have called in my card of no can do.
    It's time to plug holes. I hate mice.

  • Reply Becky April 24, 2015 at 11:52 am

    I've been known to call in a neighbor when my husband hasn't discarded the carcass. Yes, I'm a very special snowflake.

  • Reply Kari Wagner April 24, 2015 at 12:47 pm

    Your husband is lucky to have you.
    Now go get a drink.

  • Reply Jen Anderson April 24, 2015 at 2:06 pm

    Sometimes I'm a little relieved to be allergic to dogs.

    The chipmunk story reminds me of a family reunion camping trip years back. One 5 year old cousin wouldn't let us kill a moth that kept flying into everyone's legs (???) because, "It's my pet." Later, she saw a flattened mouse on the road and wanted me to save it. Like I could blow into its mouth and reinflate it.

  • Reply Trixie Bang Bang April 24, 2015 at 7:23 pm

    Best line that really sums up adulthood: Sometimes it's your turn to bag up the dead squirrel.
    That should be a wall decal.

  • Reply smalltownme April 24, 2015 at 10:14 pm

    I'd rather clean up a dead one than shoo a live one out of the house.

  • Reply Green Girl in Wisconsin April 25, 2015 at 7:55 pm

    I'd have been annoyed to dig the hole. But at least you didn't have to deal with a maimed and desecrated squirrel.
    I do hope the mice are expelled from your house.

  • Reply Angie April 27, 2015 at 5:42 pm

    Why, oh why, can't the dogs get the mouse instead. Perhaps there's still hope and they can earn their keep!

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