Friday, August 18, 2006

Houston, we have a skunk.

We first discovered him Wednesday night. B and I headed to the backyard to feed the kitties, and we saw that distinctive tail hightailing it out of there. He had been on our deck (where we feed the cats), but as soon as he saw us, he headed to the back corner of the yard. We freaked out! Major heebie-jeebies.

So that was Wednesday. Last night, we're thinking, OK, so maybe there's a skunk out here from time to time. Maybe it was a one-time thing. Maybe it's gone now. So B and I step outside to feed the cats and shock the pool. We're very brave, laughing about how funny it would be if we saw the skunk again. Just as B closed the backdoor, I flipped on the floodlights.

And there he was.

So up to this point, we've had two sightings, and both times we were "sighting" the one part of a skunk you really don't want to see from a mere 6 or 7 feet away. This time we muttered a few words, and FINALLY, after much fumbling, B was able to open the sliding door and let us put that precious piece of glass between ourselves and our striped friend.

Mr. Skunk was no dummy. By the time we got back inside, he was long gone, probably hiding under the deck. Later on, R was feeling left out so he got a flashlight and, from the safety of the sunroom, made a quick sweep of the deck. Bingo! Mr. S was back in business!

It doesn't take a genius to figure out that he has taken up residence here, and as long as we're keeping him fat and happy every night, he's willing to tolerate a few incidents with the hysterical woman and the tall man who can't seem to open doors very efficiently. His own personal cat food buffet is worth the screaming he must endure. My solution? Shut down the Cat Food Cafe. I moved the food from the darkness of the deck to our well-lit front porch. That should do it, right? We found the cats and helped them find their food. Now all we had to do was wait for Mr. S to take a hint and get out of Dodge.

But then tonight, after dark, I just HAD to shine the flashlight on the deck. Yep. This time I got to see his better side. He has such a delicate face and tiny paws. He really is kinda cute. And he looked a little sad that the cat bowl was gone.

Fast forward through the evening. K is playing across the street with the neighbor kids while the rest of us are in the house. A horrified scream sends the three of us out the front door, just certain some calamity has befallen K or one of her friends. But it's not that. One of our neighbors has just seen a skunk on our front porch! By the time we're out the door, K and her friend are back on the other side of the street, so B heads in their direction. R and I are still just standing on the front porch when WHOOSH! A black and white streak rounds the corner and comes straight for us. We do what any calm, cool, collected people would do: SCREAM!

It was ChaCha, and I'm sure our screaming scared her nearly as much as she'd scared us!

For the record, I won't be opening the front or back doors of our house after dark without psyching myself up first. The thought of seeing Mr. S--cute face or not--on our front porch just sends shivers down my spine. I'll need a REALLY good reason to open the door.

Thank goodness these things are nocturnal. Otherwise, I might never be able to leave the house!

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