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The mystery of the destroyed tomato sprouts

March 10, 2010

Tuesday night I came home and found this:

Almost two dozen tomato and hot pepper sprouts turned over, and a couple pounds of potting soil well settled into my carpet. Husband and I were completely puzzled (and Ben, who happened to be there too).

It looked quite deliberate. Soil on top of plastic that had previously been draped over the pots, and yet the pans that held them all were right-side-up. They didn’t simply slide off their stools. You’ll notice that one way over on the left too – removed from it’s tray and tossed without much disturbance (except some apparent mashing) of the pots in it’s same tray.

The front door had been left unlocked, which never happens, but who would do such a thing? Nothing else was touched. Nothing missing. Very mysterious. (Not to mention frustrating. An hour later I had it all cleaned up, and none of the sprouts were recover-able. Two months of nurture down the drain.)

Wednesday afternoon I was sitting at the foot of our bed praying. Alone in the house. Totally quiet. Suddenly, I thought I heard a sound from the kitchen. I stopped. Listened. No. It was outside and I’m just a little out of it.

Then, again:

click click click click click

It’s inside. It’s in the kitchen. It’s hard nails or claws on the kitchen floor. Something is scurrying across my kitchen floor.

I try to creep to the bedroom door, but I’ve become so domesticated that any predatory instincts I may have once had are now dull and ineffective. It hears me – somehow – and the clicking speeds up in the opposite direction. Then, suddenly: quiet.

It’s retreated to the basement.

I grab a boot.

Ceased creeping, ’cause it’s not working anyway, I throw a shoe down the stairs to see if I can scare it into moving so I at least know for sure it’s down there. It’s run-and-hide instincts are still in tune. It makes no noise. Still, I’m sure it’s there. I run down the stairs, pull the door at the bottom closed, and run back up … you know, in case it got out just in time and was in hot pursuit of me … or something.

I call Husband. He’s in the area. “Come home. There’s something living in the basement!” He laughs and a moment later appears in the driveway. I explain recent events. He slides the machette out of hiding.

“Um, don’t slaughter it in the basement, kay? That’s gross.”

He ignores me.

“Did it make any noise?”


“Kay. It’s probably just a squirrel or something, then. A raccoon would have squeaked or hissed at you.”

“Still though … with the not slaughtering …” But he’s already down stairs.

I follow. He bangs. Things in the ceiling start to wiggle and at the far end of the basement a squirrel appears on the work bench. I scream.

“Lexi, don’t scream,” he laughs. “It has to go that way to get out. Go upstairs and open the back door. I’ll scare him up.”

I obey. And I do one better by arranging a small barricade at the other side of the landing. Just so there’s no confusion as to which way the squirrel should go. I take up a covering position on a kitchen chair. Like a woman.

“He’s coming up!”

A moment later the intruder appears at the top of the stairs. He moves toward the door. Stops. Inspects the barricade. Checks out the door. Decides it’s too obvious and must be a trap of some sort. Jumps the barricade and charges me.

Well okay, he didn’t charge me, but …

“Ah! Timmy he’s going the wrong way!”

“Don’t stand by the plants!”

(Pause) That’s a weird response, but okay. I’ll stay here on the chair, safely out of reach of a small yet terrifying creature who daily climbs trees and poles infinitely taller than my chair.

Husband now appears. And laughs. “What are you doing? I said, ‘Go stand by the plants.'”

“Ooooooh. See that actually makes a lot more sense. I thought you said, ‘Don’t stand by the plants.'” We stare at each other for a moment, savoring the ridiculousness of our – my – situation.

Husband, machette still in hand, proceeds to coax the squirrel away from the shrunken set of tomato sprouts by the big picture window (that we assume Squirrel was trying to escape through – again) and out the back door.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. March 10, 2010 6:34 pm

    I laughed so hard while reading this. :) Thanks for posting!

    • March 11, 2010 7:39 pm

      PS: I forgot to mention that I’m sorry about your plants.

      • Lex permalink
        March 11, 2010 9:06 pm

        Nice. Thanks.

  2. Johnnie permalink
    March 12, 2010 5:09 pm

    ha, definitely one of the best stories i’ve heard in awhile =]

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