Monday, February 05, 2007

Too much excitement for a Monday morning.

Adrenaline is a fantastic drug.

Okay. Something I learned this morning: when there are fluttering, scratching and chirping noises coming from your fireplace, and the little chain pull that keeps the flue closed is swaying back and forth, and your dog is hiding under the dining room table, don't assume it's a bird trapped in your chimney. This, in hindsight, is especially valid if your husband feels it is necessary to hold the flue closed and comments that "it must be really big, because it is heavy."

In my life, I've never known birds that fly around in the wild to be heavy. Except for maybe hawks or eagles or partridges. And I'm pretty sure they're smart enough not to fall into a chimney.

Do partridges fly?

Scene - our home, main floor. 7:45 AM. Becky, returning from the gym, enters the hallway from the garage, says good morning to Keith in the kitchen, and Kai in the dining room eating his breakfast. Kai rushes over, says good morning, tells Becky that he's eating Cheerios that aren't yucky (aside: the "cheaper" and/or "organic" versions of Oat O's don't cut it with 3-year-olds. They're too smart for that), and isn't that GREAT?

Keith: there's something in the chimney.
Becky: what?
Keith: it's been making noises all morning.
Chimney: scratch, flutter, scratch, flutter.
Becky: did you call Dave (the landlord)?
Keith: It's 7:30.
Becky: what do we do?
Keith: I don't know.
Chimney: flutter flutter.
Becky: the flue pull is swaying.
Keith: yep.

Becky proceeds to go upstairs to get ready for work. Keith attempts to hold the flue shut. Keith calls Dave. Kai gets the calculator from the kitchen drawer. Jake paces. Keith ties his steel-toed boots to a thin rope and ties it to the flue pull.

Becky: (returning downstairs for breakfast, consults the internet) it says that you should darken the room, open up a door or a window, open the flue, and stand back.
Becky: here's another... it says you should be careful in case it isn't a bird. It could be baby raccoons.
Becky: do you think it's a bird?
Keith: it sure sounds like a bird.
Kai: I have the calculator. Kids with calculators can figure out where in the fireplace the bird is.
Chimney: flutter. chirp. scratch. flutter flutter. chirp.
Becky: that's definitely a bird.
Keith: (holding flue shut) I think we can be pretty sure it's a bird.
Becky: yeah... bird. definitely a bird.

time passes.

Becky: I'm leaving for work in 15 minutes. If you want my help, we'll have to do something now.
Becky: How about we use a blanket, open up the sliding door, and just guide it out?
Keith: I don't know.
Becky: what about a garbage bag?
Keith: we don't have one big enough.
Chimney: flutter
Keith: how about a sheet?
Becky: sure.

3 minutes later, Kai is upstairs in the spare room playing his new CD-ROM game, Jake is in the master bedroom, and all the upstairs doors are closed. An old blue queen bedsheet is draped over the mantel and held with a wooden candle holder and a poker from the fireplace set. The sliding door is open.

Becky: so one of us will open the flue, and then we can hold the sheet like this so that the bird can go into the light. How's that sound?
Keith: maybe we should try to catch it in the sheet?
Chimney: scratch.
Becky: one of us needs to go under there and open the flue.
Keith: I can do that.
Becky: okay.
Keith: ready?
Becky: yeah... but I don't know what we're doing.

Keith crouches down, opens the flue, then stands up and steps on the left side of the sheet. Becky holds the right side of the sheet up to let light from the sliding door into the fireplace.

Chimney: flutter. flutter. flutter. scratch.
Becky: go into the light.
Becky: please be a bird.
Chimney: scratch scratch scratch.

Twenty REALLY LONG seconds pass.

A squirrel drops down to the grate from the flue and scampers outside in one amazingly quick motion.

Becky: a squirrel! it was a squirrel! it was a squirrel!
Keith: The door!

Becky comes to and closes the door.

Keith: next time we're not doing that by ourselves.


Shannon said...

I'm amused that one could use the internet to find out what to do should one suspect a live animal to be trapped in one's chimney.

Amused, yet not at all surprised :)

Although, I think I might have made the landlord guy deal with it - with my luck, I'm sure the squirrel would have been reluctant to go into the light ;)

bubandpie said...

That is so like my favourite scene in Christmas Vacation. Hilarious.

Beth said...

By the end of that entry I was laughing my butt off. I was just imagining had it been me in that situation. Although I would have been freaking out.

The Deans said...

That is hilarious! I freak out if there's a spider on the ceiling - I can't imagine a squirrel in the fireplace! Thanks for a great laugh!

(BTW, we attend Cornerstone too though I'm not sure we've officially met. I found your blog through a comment you left on Scott's blog! Keith is so great in the nursery!)

Kate said...

I would have freaked out for sure and left the house for Ryan to solve the problem.

Becky said...

First of all, let me reassure you that I. Did. Freak. Out.

For some reason, it didn't happen until AFTER the squirrel had left the building. I think the realization of what COULD have happened had the creature decided to poke around for awhile now that (s)he was out of that cold dark hole was what sent me over the edge. That, and the fact that it wasn't a bird, but rather a fast-moving potentially-bubonic-plague-ridden creature of the outside IN-MY-HOME.

And let me also reassure you that I didn't actually calm down for a *good half hour* following this little incident. I was already at work by the time I stopped shaking.

Yep. That's me. Calm, cool, and collected, until it's all over. THEN I freak out.

Deans - thanks for stopping by! We'll have to meet formally at some point. :)

Aimee said...

OMG how fun. And who knew squirrels chirped? hmm.