This morning my husband left for work really early. While I was giving my son his wake-up bottle, I reviewed the emails I had received overnight. I had gotten one from my husband at 6AM that caught my eye.
Title: "Good news."
Content: "I caught the skunk."
Allow me to explain.
As some of you may remember, our home was recently invaded by a skunk attack. We lived to tell the story, but it shook us to the core. I started scanning the local real estate listings, but fortunately I am married to someone smarter and calmer than I. Never one to back down in the face of adversity, my husband copped some serious Ace Ventura pet detective skills and got to sleuthing in our back-yard. I would catch him just sitting out there, skunk-whisperer style, waiting for the grass to share the secrets of the lawn with him. Eventually, it coughed up the following facts:
1. A skunk is roaming our lawn on a nightly basis, foraging for food.
2. When that skunk is tired and full, he takes a day-long nap under our shed. The one connected to our house. The one we walk by every time we exit and enter our house.
3. That skunk has access to our shed all because my husband left a tiny gap between the foundation and the lawn that was enough for the little rascal to creep under.
4. We need to start using fertilizer.
Now I am sorry, but other than a Middle Eastern dictator trying to outrun the Arab Spring, a skunk is among the very last creatures I would like to invite to live under our shed. I don't know what it is about that place, but apparently it's cozy and there's a No Vacancy sign out front that our forest friends can read, because just last summer we had a woodchuck living under there, which my husband also had to catch.
(As an aside, for those of you reading this who don't live in Maine, I feel really great about all the free advertising I am doing about the joys of living in this state. See you soon.)
Anywho, once my husband isolated the variables at work, he put his two elbows to the table, propped up his iPad, and got to studying. If you have any questions about skunks -- their foraging habits, spraying tendencies, options for higher education -- just drop me a line and I will pass them along to him. After sleepless nights of serious analysis, my better half decided on the solution to our problem: shoot the skunk.
I think the real reason why this solution thrilled him so was that it meant (a) an excuse to go to Wal-Mart; (b) an excuse to wear a stupid hat (bought at Wal-Mart); (c) an excuse to buy a BB gun; and (d) an excuse to sit up all night patrolling the lawn for signs of life to shoot at.
The only problem is that I hate guns, and I especially hate the thought of a gun in my house. But my husband convinced me we'd only keep it until we (he) killed the skunk and then he would return it. Cross his heart and hope the skunk to die.
What happens next was a near-tragedy of epic proportions. The skunk indeed emerged from his cocoon under our shed, and indeed began foraging for dinner, just two gun lengths from my husband's perch in our half-bathroom. My husband, heart-racing and palms sweating, knew that this was his moment. He aimed, shot, and hit that sucker....somewhere. So he aimed, shot and hit that sucker....somewhere else. The point is he hit him twice but the area of impact was unclear, and our furry striped friend managed to limp BACK UNDER OUR SHED!!! To die a slow, smelly death right next to our porch furniture. Lovely.
Deflated but not defeated, my husband brought out the big guns. And by big guns I mean not an actual gun at all but the "Have a Heart" trap that had served him so well with the woodchuck. He laid out a can of tuna -- because skunks are stupid enough to enjoy mercury-laden sea bait, I guess -- and waited.
And last night, Petunia got hungry.
Upon reading the announcement that our uninvited guest had finally been evicted, I was equal parts joyous and horrified. Okay, mostly horrified. I called my husband as soon as I finished reading his email. Here are the funnest parts of our conversation. I'll leave you to guess who is saying what.
"YOU CAUGHT THE SKUNK AND JUST LEFT THE HOUSE?!? WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO? I MEAN WHAT DO I DO? THERE IS A SKUNK IN A TRAP JUST OUTSIDE OUR HOUSE?? I MEAN WHAT DO I DOOOOOOOOOOO???"
"Um, nothing. I will take it away when I get home from work tonight."
"BUT, BUT, IT'S RIGHT OUTSIDE!!!"
"I know. In a trap. It can't do anything to you.
"BUT WHAT IF IT SPRAYS AGAIN?"
"It can't. It can't lift its tail. And you don't have to go near it."
"BUT WHERE IS THE TRAP AGAIN???"
"Outside, near the bathroom. You can go look at it."
"Go look at it??? Are you HIGH? I DON'T WANT TO SEE IT!!!!"
"Then why did you ask where it is?"
I hate it when it talks to me like that.
Needless to say, I spent the morning hover-crafting around the house, yelling at the children anytime they went to the western wall of our house and commanding that we speak/gurgle in low voices so as not to alert the lurking beast . I was just waiting for that skunk to knock on the door, accost me for marrying such a wily trapper, and spraying me for all he was worth. I shuttled my children to the car like we were the von Trapp family fleeing Austria -- moving quietly but humming softly to keep our spirits up in the face of near-death.
And we aren't going back to that House of Horrors until my husband has taken the skunk to Canada. I pray to God he does not get sprayed in the process. I hear divorce is expensive.