Wednesday, October 10, 2012

On squirrels in bears' clothing and breathing

I met one of the squirrel ladies and got some answers about her little stone friends. More on that in a minute. First gourd sorcery (gourd-cery?).

After Friday's post I was all but convinced that the ill-gotten offspring of last year's pumpkin was indeed cursed. Not only had the garden clippers disappeared, but I lost a bag of groceries that contained sandwich bags and a much-needed blueberry muffin.

Upon returning home from the grocery store I had to unload the car to the chorus of two screaming babies as my blood sugar dipped to cranky new lows.

After throwing ice cream in the freezer and milk in the fridge I started scanning the house and realized the levels of crusty-ness were unacceptable - especially given the fact that Brad's parents were spending the weekend with us. How the hell was I going to make up for weeks (ok months) of neglect while tending to the girls and wrapping up my freelancing duties?

Commence panic. Blame pumpkin.

Of course after I put the girls down for their naps, ate lunch and got some work done the outlook got a little brighter. The house didn't get any cleaner ... But maybe I wasn't as worried about it.

Anyway, I was in a better state of mind when I headed out on the walk. Good enough that when I saw the squirrel lady out raking her leaves by the street I decided to get some answers.

I stopped and told her how much I loved her squirrels and how I looked forward to walking past her house every day. She seemed so pleased that I stopped and said thanks for letting her know that I enjoyed the little guys.

Then I told her I had a confession: I'd been taking pictures of the squirrels.

She laughed and said that's fine. She's seen people taking pictures from their cars.
"They're probably on the internet," she said.

At which point I made another confession. Yes, they were definitely on the internet.
She was just happy people liked them so much. I asked the story. She said dressing up the squirrels started out as a silly one-time thing that snowballed when neighbors started making suggestions for squirrel ensembles. They got clothes from the now-defunct Boyd's Bears and from Build-a-Bear.

I had so many more questions but she had a yard full of leaves and I had a strollerful of kids so on I went. As I left she told me she wouldn't think I was weird if I took pictures. 

Which is great news, cuz now I can get closer to the squirrels and take less pixelated pictures. Like this one:  

Even a squirrels gotta rake.
Getting to meet the squirrel lady put me in a much better mood on Friday. It was a good reminder to talk to more strangers. 

Speaking of talking to strangers, one of the joys of being a journalist is the opportunity to talk to people from different backgrounds about subjects they are passionate about, which inevitably results in a good lesson learned or a reminder about how to live better or somesuch.

 Last week I interviewed entrepreneur, author and former journalist Tim Berry for a blog post on how to have a life while running your own business. At the end of the interview he mentioned some advice he got from his 9-year-old grandson for when you're stressed (or in his grandson's case, misbehaving): Stop. Breathe. Think.

If I'd done that on Friday instead of blaming the pumpkin for lost items, I probably would've found these sooner:

Behold! The lost garden clippers.

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