One evening I decided to relax after a particularly horrible day by putting a log in the fireplace. I use those nifty pressed logs because they are simple and clean. My favorite brand is Duraflame - they have a lovely product that will burn up to 6 hours. My local Food Lion sells them by the 6 log case and I enjoy them very much. They only have one down side - they burn REALLY hot for the first 5 or 10 minutes.
On this particular evening I had settled down on my cushion in front of the fireplace with my back to the fire, much more pleasant than having the hot fire beaming on my toes and face. I was fiddling with my phone, updating my Facebook to say, "In a bad mood after a challenging day - have removed myself from other humans so I don't inflict my bad mood on them." Just before I hit the "Post" button, I heard a noise behind me.
I reached back to check the damper, figuring I hadn't pulled it all the way out and that the noise was metal expansion. Then I saw something move. That got my attention! Setting my phone aside, I stood up and looked into the fire to see...what? Is it squirrel? Is it a RAT? Squirrel? Rat?
Then it moved again and I could tell why I was confused...it was indeed a squirrel...with his tail fur on fire! With the fuzz burned off, the tail looked like a rat. Okay. Now that I've identified it - what now?
|My squirrel was not this calm or cool!|
Daddy? DADDY? Help! There's a squirrel on fire in my fireplace!
At this point the squirrel attached himself (had to be a boy squirrel - no female could be this stupid) to the fireplace screen - now looking like something you'd see suction-cupped to the back window of an SUV. My useless cat responded by stepping on my cushion, sniffing the smoking squirrel and looking at me. As if to say, "hey, you got a problem over here." And then the cat left the scene.
Calling louder to my upstairs housemates (who are now muttering to each other "did somebody call me?" "not me, maybe Chris?" "did you hear something?") I got their attention and started to look around for something to contain a fire-squirrel.
The fire is getting to its hottest point.
The cat is gone.
I keep picking up empty log boxes - finding that each brand uses boxes that have giant holes in their top when closed. I reached for a gift box that a friend gave me cookies in...way too small for a squirrel. Might have been able to transport a fire-mouse...
Now Mom and Dad are on the scene...and much like the cat, they seem to be cognizant of the fact that "hey, you got a problem over there..." but don't seem to have solutions yet.
Finally, I got a trash can and something to use as a lid - but as we tilted the screen forward to get Smokey the Squirrel...he headed for some sort of perceived safety. Under the grate. Thus, under the fire. Which is, I may have mentioned, really hot. So with the world's longest fireplace poker (I believe Dad made it himself - it is about 5 feet long) we got Smokey into the can, covered him up and Dad released him into the back yard.
Most every morning I look around for a squirrel with a fur-less tail. I hope he made it.
Sure changed that evening!
I used to think, after a tough day/week/experience that at least I'm not being chased by Sleestack. Now, at least I'm not a squirrel on fire.