In high school, my group of friends went through a period of being slightly obsessed with quoting the holiday classic Christmas Vacation. It’s one of those movies to me that if I had just watched it on my own and moved on with life, it probably wouldn’t have been one of my favorites, but since it has so much nostalgia tied to it, every year when it’s on TV, I always end up watching it several times. So you would think with all the good memories tied to it, I would have been more thrilled than I was to get to re-enact the classic scene of the squirrel running amok in the house. Alas, when I got the opportunity to recreate this scene in my very own home, I was less than thrilled. It’s funny now though and I got to re-telling this story recently as Christmas Vacation viewing season is here. And really, a squirrel sneaking in the house via Christmas tree and wreaking havoc seems to be appropriate for a 2020 Christmas. So here’s the story of my squirrel.
It wasn’t Christmas when the squirrel snuck in and it didn’t come in via Christmas tree. It came in through the wall. My old house used to have a bit of a squirrel problem thanks to many large trees in the yard that hung over the roof. I had gotten one of the trees cut back, but as I quickly found out, it wasn’t far enough away from the house to close the gap that squirrels can jump. With all the large mature trees, I guess the area was like a squirrel sanctuary and they quite seemed to enjoy jumping on my roof and running around. One day prior to the squirrel in the house incident, I had a squirrel come into my garage through the open garage door. And just like a bird getting into the garage (had that happen also) the squirrel didn’t seem to comprehend that it could just run back out the way it came in. Instead, it seemed to panic, climb the walls, knock stuff off shelves, and generally was making a mess. I decided to try and shoo it back out the garage door while wielding a broom and thought it was working until the squirrel took a sudden detour away from the door, climbed the wall and climbed on top of the open garage door, scurried to get perfectly lined up with me, then proceeded to LAUNCH itself at me. I screamed and batted it down out of the air with the broom then fled back into the house, conceding that the garage now belonged to that squirrel. The squirrel, still refusing to leave, went behind my washer. I left the garage door open and eventually it found its way out again.
So the day one decided to come visit inside the house itself, let’s just say it wasn’t my first skirmish with a squirrel. It was a Saturday morning and I hadn’t been up very long when I realized that me and my dog weren’t alone in the house. I was in the bathroom standing at the sink when I heard my dog sprinting down the hallway full tilt. I was just going to investigate what was going on when a squirrel went running across my bare foot, closely followed by my sheltie. I managed to get the dog out of the bathroom and close the squirrel in there alone.
It’s been a few years so I don’t clearly remember the path I took to find the person I called to help me get the squirrel out. I guess I just googled something like “person who gets squirrels out of house Nashville, TN”. Anyway, I found a company in the area that helps to relocate animals that have wandered into places like homes and to safely release them back into their natural habitat and within the hour, a man was at my door holding a net on a long stick. I had also called my parents, and they came over to the house, along with my brother. Looking back, I’m not sure what we were hoping to accomplish with this. Have the entire family gang up on this squirrel in the bathroom? Anyway, I guess they decided it was too good to pass up watching us attempt to get this squirrel out and they had all come over to watch and were there to greet this man with the long net on a stick with me.
My family waited in the living room and I took the man back to my bathroom the squirrel had taken over. He readied his net and slowly opened the door. From my vantage point standing just behind him, I could see the squirrel on top of the shower curtain rod just waiting for this very moment. As soon as the door opened wide enough, the squirrel jumped over the top of the door into my room and took off. My brother later described the scene from his vantage point in the living room and said first he heard the dog come tearing down the hall into the living room, followed by me, followed by the squirrel and the man and his net bringing up the rear.
Now the squirrel was in the living room where all the humans had assembled in the house. Keep in mind, this was not particularly a large living room. The dog began to chase the squirrel around with my mom, dad, brother, myself, and this man with a net all trying to avoid getting clawed in the meyhem. My very own recreation of the Christmas Vacation scene.
My brother managed to get ahold of my sheltie. Laughing hysterically, I might add. The man with the net on a stick was now alone in chasing the squirrel. He opened my front door and managed to just shoo the squirrel out the front door. “We could have done that,” my dad said . I’m sure we could have and as entertaining as I’m sure it would have been, I was grateful for the man with the net on a stick. He located the place on the roof that the squirrels had chewed open to get access to the attic and where the one had then chewed through the wall to get inside and helped to patch things up to prevent anymore squirrels from wandering in. My family may not be squirrel wrangling experts, but they did show up that day and were willing to help wrangle a squirrel out of the house if need be.
And so I can add one more memory to tie into watching this holiday classic. As Christmas 2020 approaches, celebrations will look a lot different for many families this year, including my own. I am grateful for my family who have always shown up to help battle those various squirrels in the house along the path of life. Here’s hoping no squirrels show up in the house this year, but it’s good to know I have amazing people in my life who will be there if they do and I am more grateful than ever for them this year.