I was late for work on Tuesday. I thought I'd probably used every single reason under the sun for being late in my life. But of course, I was wrong.
Tuesday is a bright, sunny, day, but a bit windy. Todd and I go outside so we can have a smoke before I can go to work. While we're smoking, along comes Sache. I've never mentioned Sache before, but Sache is a cat that lives in our neighborhood. Although, calling her a cat is a great injustice. You know how there is someone that runs every neighborhood? Someone who checks on everything, butts their nose into everything, always has to be on top of things? In many neighborhoods it's a person, in ours, it's Sache. She's a grey and white tuxedo cat with that smudge across the nose. I wish I had a good picture of her, but I don't. I've tried, but she's good at averting the camera.
So, Sache comes over, gets up on her hind paws and starts peering through the windows, making sure our cats are in line. Then, she sniffs the porch door and all around it, checking to see what other critters might have gained entrance to our place since her last inspection. When that is finished, she comes over for her pets from Todd and I. She won't just come up and beg for petting, she runs by and if you are down in the right position, she will linger a bit, and let you stroke her. Then, she rubs along you to mark you as hers, and trots off. She's always trotting, clearly running this neighborhood is a busy job. I adore this cat. She's pretty, she's bright, and she belongs to someone who loves and takes care of her, so I can pet her and enjoy her guilt free. She's got someone to take care of her.
Well, she marks and greets us, her loyal subjects, and leaves the driveway. Along comes a squirrel. She chases after the squirrel, as cats are prone to do. This squirrel though, runs under our car. I am not mad at Sache, it is in the nature of cats to chase squirrels. But, as in tune to the nature of cats as I am, I don't want a squirrel massacre going on under my car. So I try to get Sache out from under the car. She's not having any part of it. Meanwhile, the squirrel is trying desperately to get away, and decides to do something that I'd call a bit stupid.
decides to hide inside the wheel.
The back of the wheel, of course, can be reached easily by Sache and she's not giving up her prize. So, I run into the house and get a squirt bottle of water, while Todd makes a lot of noise and tries to keep Sache from getting the squirrel. I get outside and squirt the heck out of Sache. While she doesn't want to give up her prize, she also doesn't want to get wet. A struggle goes on, then finally, she decides that the squirrel dinner can wait, and wanders off.
We get down and try to assure the squirrel all is well, and he can leave.
The squirrel doesn't believe us.
We have some long, thin, seedpod bits, from trees that grow in our neighborhood. The pod pieces are like a stiff straw, but bend easily enough. We decide to poke said squirrel a bit, not hard, with these empty pods, hoping that will convince him that it's time to go. No dice. Scared Squirrel isn't going anywhere.
By now, I should have left for work. But, I'm always a few minutes early, so I continue trying to get rid of squirrel. I start the car, thinking the noise will surely scare him off. No dice. Very carefully, I roll forward about three inches, Scared Squirrel is not going to move even a little bit. Todd gets goves and tries to grab Scard Squirrel, but has no luck.
Now, I am going to be late for work. I sit down and try to explain this to Scared Squirrel, but he doesn't give a damn. All he cares about is that he's safe in this wheel. My issues of my job are my tough luck, not his. Also, I think Jesse called out to him in that universal language of all cats, "Don't worry, she's a sucker, she's not going to do anything to harm you! Stay in the tire as long as you wish." I'm sure it was Jesse who did this, because he's sitting in the window, making all sort of chirpy noises.
Todd goes into the house to call animal control. While he does that, I try to spray Scared Squirrel, figuring he'll dislike having a bath and run off.
Scared Squirrel just:
stares out at me, fixing that beady little black eye on me. Scared Squirrel is scared, but determined to never ever EVER leave my wheel. Scard Squirrel has decided that Todd and I are contributing too much to Global warming and is determined to make sure we stop driving our car right. now.
Todd comes out. "What did Animal control say?" I ask.
"When they stopped laughing?" He pauses and snorts. "They said they have a dog they're dealing with, so they won't be able to come out for at least half an hour."
"Did you tell them to come?" I ask.
"Yeah. If we can think of something, I'll call them back."
We squirt Scared Squirrel some more, and poke him with seed pods. Scared Squirrel doesn't budge. Finally, we decide that hey, we can take the wheel off! So, I dig out the jack and the lift and the DW40. DW40 is such a crucial thing to tire changing, that I feel a can of it should come with every single car sold. I soak the lug nuts with it, then a few minutes later, Todd starts loosening the lug nuts. When they are at the point where we can spin them freely, I jack up the car and remove them.
Scared Squirrel just hangs in there, until I'm actually holding the tire and moving it to the ground. I lay it down gently, afraid that he's dead or soon going to be, that we gave him a heart attack with all our thumping. Since I don't want to take morbid pictures, I don't even think of grabbing the camera.
I don gloves and gently touch Scared Squirrel. Much to my great relief, Scared Squirrel remembers he is alive and leaps out of the tire:
He lingers by the other side of the car, while Todd yells, "Don't you even think about climbing into one of the other tires you dumb squirrel!"
Scared Squirrel decides he's done all he can and has lost. We will continue to use our car, nothing he does will stop us. He runs off.
While Todd starts getting the tire back on, I run into the house and call work. "I'm going to be late."
My boss says, "Okay, why?"
I say, "I don't have time to explain, I'll explain when I get there. I should be up there in less than half an hour, probably closer to fifteen minutes." Before he can question me, I hang up.
Now I know that Jesse is responsible for this whole thing, because Jesse is on Todd's chair, looking like this:
I glare at him. "Don't play shy and innocent with me, buddy! You told Scared Squirrel it was okay to hide in the tire, that we wouldn't hurt him, didn't you?"
Jesse looks at me and chirps in a Most Adorrible Fashion, which means, I can't stay mad at him.
I run outside and help Todd get the tire back on. Then, we put the jack and the lift back in the car and finally, I am able to leave for work. I go to work, where I am asked, "Why are you late?"
I give them the quick version. "A squirrel was caught in the tire of my car and would not leave."
"Sure," my boss says, snorting.
"Ah, I see you are skeptical," I say, then triumphantly hold up my camera. "But I've got pictures!"
I figure the next time I call in late with a bizzare excuse, they'll just believe me.