As long-time readers already know—mostly because I have yammered about it for months and will not SHUT UP ALREADY—one of the things that drew us to this house is the fact that it has an enormous deck complete with a gazebo. Now that it is no longer 110 degrees every day, we spend a lot of time out there. One of our first new-home purchases was a table that fits neatly inside the gazebo so that we can dine in the shade and look for lizards. Because we are a high class establishment.
A few weeks ago while we ate dinner out there, I noticed that one of the support posts was looking a little… ragged. “Hey,” I said to Otto, “what’s this? What happened here?” And he cracked a joke about how if he didn’t know better, he’d think the deer had been up on the deck, rubbing against the posts.
That’s patently ridiculous, of course, because if there had been deer all the way up on our porch, there would be footprints in the butter. Or something. Also, there’s a fence and stairs and gates and stuff, and the last time I checked, deer did not have opposable thumbs or the ability to jump twenty feet in the air.
We decided that this was just further evidence of the half-assed way the former owners had tended to the house. Right before they sold it, they SPRAY PAINTED the deck. I don’t mean with cans of paint and gang signs, of course, but they loaded up an industrial sprayer with baby poop brown paint and SPRAYED the entire gigantic deck rather than staining it by hand. True, no sane person wants to hand-stain a deck of this size if there’s an alternative that yields the same results, but I am here to tell you that this did NOT yield the same results. Maybe the paint was just flaking off because they did a crappy job.
Then we were out there again a few days ago and noticed some grooves in the boards under the table. “Huh,” said Otto. “Did we scrape that, moving the table?” That seemed unlikely, given that we hardly ever move the table and we PICK IT UP when we do need to reposition it, but who knows. Whatever.
(Have you figured out where this is going, yet?)
So! Yesterday I was working away here in my office—which looks out onto the deck—and in an idle moment I was admiring our lush wildlife. My thought process pretty much went like this: What pretty butterflies, hovering around that bush. Oh, look, there’s some new birds at the feeder. I should probably empty the skimmer basket on the pool. We should probably close the pool. Hey, there’s our hawk back there. I wonder if hawks eat lizards? And there’s a cute little squirrel, just running across the deck. And now he’s licking the deck, that’s so cute, I wonder why he’s doing that? Wait. WAIT. THAT MOTHERFUCKER IS EATING MY DECK!!
I should’ve taken a picture, I guess, of that little squirrel, nose to the boards, DRAGGING HIS LITTLE EVIL SQUIRREL TEETH BACK AND FORTH on that groove as if his life depended on him getting his twelve essential vitamins and minerals from the spot where I like to rest my feet while eating barbecued chicken. But that didn’t occur to me in the moments before I burst out onto the deck, waving my arms and shrieking like a banshee.
The squirrel fled in a panic, and I inspected the damage. No question that these grooves had been worn by my furry little pest. The one I’d just caught him working on was all wet. With squirrel saliva. Because, you know, the whole thing hadn’t been disgusting enough.
I reported the entire episode to Otto calmly (translation: I looked to see if he was on Instant Messenger, and when he wasn’t, I sent him an email that said “Remember when we joked about deer on the deck? OH MY GOD SQUIRRELS ARE EATING OUR HOME! SAVE US!!!” and because he is a model husband he stopped at Lowe’s on the way home and asked them for advice. They recommended a few different options, one of which said it was specifically for foliage and the other of which said DO NOT USE ON DECKS OR SIDING. So we are unsure just yet as to how we’ll handle this. I am resisting the urge to douse the entire deck in Frank’s Hot Sauce.
Also, Squirrel Saliva would be a good name for a band.