Friday, August 31, 2007

Revenge of the Chipmunk

Now I don't feel so guilty for bashing the brains out of Alvin the menace of a chipmunk that eluded my manhunt for a couple of months. He reached number one on my most wanted list just I closed in on him like Dillinger at the Biograph theater. I kept telling people, "I feel a little guilty" but not anymore. From his plastic bag of a grave he is laughing now that one of his kin has decided to test my hunting skills. Yes, another chipmunk has taken up residence under my patio already dislocating a brick, and he too will soon reach chipmunk heaven. And when he does the Earth will be that much lighter.

He brazenly dug a tunnel on the other side of the walkway where Alvin dug his burrow and where he met his end. Since I had an unused shipment of chemical weapons of chipmunk destruction I used it. Intelligence (Cranky's wife) told me the high value target was in his spider hole. I ran into the house and prepared my WMDs. Intelligence (again Cranky's wife) left her post so she was not able to confirm that the target was in its lair. I made a command decision and authorized the use of chemical weapons. I love the smell of sulfur gas in a chipmunk's burrow. Smells like victory. The after action report does not allow me to confirm the death of the high value target but any escape will be shortlived. I will not outsource this problem to Afghani warlords or Orkin. Simon will be brought to justice or justice will brought to Simon, but justice will be done.

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Thursday, August 23, 2007

Blogging in the dark

I'm blogging from my iPhone as I am sitting in the dark. No power. At least my battery back-up on my sump pump works. A 47 minute train ride home became a three hour nightmare. First we couldn't leave the station because of the weather and the threat of high winds and then because of a tree on the tracks. And then we thought we were on our way, we got an announcement that the delays had caused the train engineer to reach his limit under federal law for the number of hours he could work and that we all had to get off the train. Of course it was raining sheets of water outside as we were basically thrown off the train. Then when I got home I found out we had no power. The other side of the street had power but not our side. More good news. So here I am in the dark typing on my iPhone by flashlight just like Abraham Lincoln. Can't wait to see what tomorrow brings.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


A few months ago I noticed a perfectly round hole tunneled into the dirt at the edge of my patio. I thought it might be a snake hole or something when in fact it was a chipmunk den. What do I know about nature or rather varmints? I'm more comfortable in the Apple store than the woods. I had a brick patio put in to replace the "patio" that was already there. I'm being generous when I say there was a "patio" there since it was really a bunch of loose bricks placed into the ground which became quite the eyesore/trip hazard. After looking at it for too long I paid thousands of dollars to have a real brick patio put in. The guys who did it did a great job. I took pictures (see photos) of before, during and after the construction. They put like nine inches of crushed gravel and base gravel down. A layer of sand went on before the bricks. It turned out solid and level. It was firm enough to park a car on it. I would grill out there and when I had a free moment I would read a paper and drink lemonade. Then it showed up. The chipmunk.

At first I had no idea what I was dealing with since I've never dealt with chipmunks before. Weasels and rats yes but always in human form. I tried pushing dirt back into the hole but I soon found out that was a waste of time. It dug through that like it wasn't there. This is what the chipmunk was designed for and I don't mean intelligently designed for. It is a digging machine that is relentless. If I told you I filled up its tunnel with rocks everyday and it dug it out everyday for a couple of months I'm probably understating it. I tried placing wood sheets down to discourage the pest. It just dug under the wood to get to the tunnel. More wood and bricks placed down on the ground had no affect. Somewhere along the way, it's all a blur to me now like battle, I googled, "How to kill a chipmunk." The first hit I got I read all about chipmunks. The more I read the more I realized how serious this was. This thing lives for years and will never leave on its own. It's tunnel could be 30 feet long with different chambers for storage or for sleep. It will have offspring and they too will be impossible to get rid of. They will burrow under patios until bricks buckle and destroy the patio. That sick feeling in my stomach wasn't the bean burrito I had for lunch. I put myself on a war footing. This was my 9/11.

I failed to follow the Powell Doctrine of using overwhelming force. I followed the Bush Doctrine of using just enough force to lose. I ordered a cage trap with a trigger plate in the center and doors on each end. I waited a couple of days and when I got the trap I put peanut butter on the trigger plate and set the trap. All it did was give the chipmunk a meal since the trap didn't trigger. When it rained hard the rain triggered the trap but not when the chipmunk walked through it. I went back to the website and read more. I ordered the pecan paste and liquid poison. Your days are numbered chipmunk. I hope you like the taste of poison. Tonight you dine in hell.

I waited a few more days and when I got my smart bomb I mixed them together and put them in two snack-sized zip-lock bags. They usually held goldfish crackers but now they hold a trip to chipmunk neverland. I placed the baggies in the now two holes on the edge of my patio and waited. The next day I saw one baggie had a few gnaw marks on it. The next day there was just a pool of goop in the holes like a moat. I thought well he ate through the baggie and got to the poisoned jam and thats that. Wrong. Unless it had a twin brother it was still here. I could almost hear him laughing at me. It's hard to sleep when a malevolent chipmunk is in its tunnel beneath your patio laughing at you.

I went back on the "how to kill a chipmunk" website. I read through again the arsenal available to kill a chipmunk. In my desperation I ordered coyote urine. Yes, you read that right. Coyote urine. Seemed to make sense. It's a predator that eats things like chipmunks and marking the area with its scent through urine might do it. The website said it would work so in the year 2007 I did something I could never dream I would ever do in any year - I had a quart of coyote urine shipped UPS from Georgia. (At least it wasn't a gallon.) When it got here it looked like a jug of apple cider wrapped multiple times in plastic with the cap sealed with lots of shipping tape. You could smell it through all the packaging. If you want to have an immediate gag reflex and come as close to throwing up without actually hurling then get a quart of coyote urine and try to transfer it into a spray bottle. Guaranteed to make you dry heave. Sprayed it like crazy around the chipmunk tunnel opening. I sealed the pee in layers of plastic and went in my house thinking the chipmunk will get one whiff and run for its life. Any guesses if that happened? Didn't do a thing. It probably thought, "oh, another suburbanite buying that coyote urine. What an idiot." My rage increased to stroke levels.

I went to another site and ordered another trap. One that had only one door and a trigger plate. I waited a few days and the minute I got it I put a strawberry in the back of the trap and set it and waited. Within 10 minutes the chipmunk was casing the fruit. It walked all the way around the trap but didn't go in. It started to try to get to the strawberry through the metal cage instead of walking through it over the trigger plate to get o the food. This was incredible. It actually got a bite through the metal bars. I opened a door and it ran. When it came back again it walked all the way around the trap and walked by the open end to try to eat it through the metal cage. These varmints are smart. Back to the website for more weapons.

WMDs. The stuff we couldn't find in Iraq I found. Sulfur sticks. When I know the monster in in its lair I light the gas stick and kill it with sulfur clouds of death that will seek out the rodent even if it's 30 feet in the tunnel. I read that you could also use a road flare and just stick it in the hole but somehow I think with my luck the red flame thing will somehow burn down my house. I place another order. While waiting for my order I get the idea of putting glue traps around the tunnel opening with a dab of peanut butter for bait. My intention was to get the chipmunk stuck and then put him and the glue trap into the cage trap - transport him miles away and then pour vegetable oil on him to release him from the glue. (Yes that works.) I placed by glue traps and within 15 minutes I saw him licking the peanut butter off one of the traps carefully avoiding the glue part. Unreal. Then it seemed to touch the glue and not like it. It wasn't caught but it started to smell and lick its little paws as if to try to clean them. Then it made a mistake. It walked around the trap but got stuck. Then it flayed about getting more caught. I ran outside to put it into the cage trap. When I got there it had gotten tangled up in the lattice work of an overturned table used before and unsuccessfully to block the hole. It looked like it might be able to tear itself away from the glue trap leaving the sticky cardboard behind stuck to the table.

I tried, I really tried to get him into the open cage trap but he was jumping around in terror. I thought it might break free from the trap and fear of losing my Moby Dick made my heart beat fast. Then a murderous rage came over me. It was either him or me. I raised the cage trap over my head and down it came, over and over onto the body of the soon to be dead chipmunk. I later figured out that the red chunks of goo weren't exploded chipmunk organs but the strawberry that was in the trap/blunt murder weapon that had broke apart during the assault. It was a crime of passion and I'm sure no jury would convict me. And then looking at the newly deceased little brown furry gerbil-like creature a bit of guilt hit me. All it wanted to do was eat a berry and a nut and not get killed. I even argued my case with my wife. "I tried to take him alive but he wouldn't cooperate."

I filled up the tunnel I hope for the last time and cleared the battlefield of weapons used and unused. Mission accomplished and I have the body to prove it. Anyone need some sulfur sticks? They're on a UPS truck as we speak. Rest in peace Alvin. You were a worthy opponent but only one of us could live here. Forgive me.