Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Chipmunk Incident

We had an unforgettable day at work today because we had a totally unexpected visit from a chipmunk!

These chipmunk photos were taken in my backyard.

Around 6:15 my office mate went to wash out the coffeepot. Sometimes the hallway lights aren't turned on that early and she said she had seen something out of the corner of her eye in the semi-darkness, so she walked over toward the vending machine area and there was a little chipmunk....trapped in our building....and running to hide under the snack machine. How he got in I don't know, but as the morning progressed, we heard from other people that a chipmunk had been spotted in different buildings in the complex for about 2 weeks. I don't know if this was the same little guy or not, but if it was this has been a harrowing 2 weeks for him.

(Just for the record, I happen to like chipmunks....a lot!)

Anyway, we kind of forgot about that chipmunk until around 9:15 when there were some godawful shrieks right outside our office door. We got up to look out and sure enough, there was the little chipper scampering down the hall and looking for an office to escape into. I grabbed a couple of wastebaskets and Mike M. came down from the other hallway with a box and we tried to catch him. Caught him in the basket once, but he leaped out before Mike could get it covered with the box.

The poor terrified little feller finally raced into Barb's office right across the hall from ours. Barb is a lovely, gracious lady and very calm. I went in there with my basket and we closed the door, so just her and I were in there and the other shrieking, terrified women were left in the hallway.

After a little trial and error, I devised a "trap" from a copy paper box by cutting a small hole in the side and putting it up against the edge of Barb's desk along the wall where the little chipmunk was trying to escape. Again, we just weren't quick enough to get him isolated in the box. He was quite frantic by then and running all around Barb's office, leaping onto her desk and computer. The entire time I was thinking "What Would Mary Do?" and so wishing that I had a camera.

I was reluctant to just grab the little guy because I worry about getting bitten and he really was quite terrified. Besides, do you know how fast a chipmunk can move? I can't believe how slow a human's reflexes are compared to a chipmunk (at least my reflexes are pretty slow).

Barb finally got a hold of a maintenance person who said they would get the "pest control" people to come in a little later in the day. And sure enough they showed up around 12:30. Barb came out of her office and the pest control guys went in and within about 6 minutes they had caught the little guy using the "trap box" I had devised earlier in the morning (so at least I was on the right track). They assured us that this chipmunk would be released unharmed somewhere out in the country where he would not be able to come back to IBM again. (I was thinking they could release him right outside and he would head for the hills on his own after the morning he'd just endured.)

I'm thankful that Barb wasn't terrified and spent the entire morning in her office with the door closed and this little chipmunk hiding out behind her desk. (Truthfully, Barb probably enjoyed the peace and quiet herself.) I was e-mailing Mary back and forth this morning, so she's already heard this whole story. She reminded me of her post on August 5th about rescuing the baby mockingbird from the drain outside her office. (Only after his rescue, I didn't have anyone to do a "victory dance" with.)

Needless to say, I didn't get very much work done this morning, but it will still be there tomorrow I'm sure. It gave me a good feeling to know that this little chipmunk was rescued and returned to the wild where he belonged.


mon@rch said...

I am soo sorry, I had to laugh while reading this! Glad it was released unharmed!

Mary said...

AMEN! You did a good job, woman - lover of nature... I offer you my celebration dance..."...Rehab, I said, NO NO nO... clap, snap, spin...Cha Cha...Arms in the air like you don't care."

Ok, I'm ready for bed now.

We all need days like this at the boring old office. Agree?

Trixie said...

Well, I bet that beat the heck out of whatever mundane job you had lined up. My DH had a black-capped chickadee in his classroom yesterday. Another successful release there. He called me after the fact.

Good job, Ruthie.

Cathy said...

You nice lady! This brought back the scene in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation when the squirrel jumps out of the Christmas tree and every one freaks! I'm so glad for Mr Chipmunk that you and Barb stayed cool :0) I know Mary is proud of you - me, too!

Jayne said...

What a story Ruthie! I can just see those women shrieking and jumping in the Glad you were there to assist in his "capture and relocation." Somewhere a little chipmunk has you in his

RuthieJ said...

Hi Tom,
Don't be was supposed to be funny! (although the chipmunk didn't think so!)

Hi Mary,
Thank you. I'm glad we were able to save this poor little guy too.

And I agree....a break from office boredom is good (but exhausting)

Hi Trixie,
I was having a hard time staying awake at my desk doing those boring old spreadsheets...that chipmunk woke me up in a hurry!
Awww, chickadees are so cute....and another successful wild creature release on the same Thursday.

Thank you Cathy. It was a lot like that movie--especially when the chipmunk was trying to hide in the silk flower arrangement in Barb's office!

Hi Jayne,
It was pretty wild for a few minutes....and the woman shrieking the loudest was about 250 times the size of that little chipmunk!

Larry said...

Chipmunks do move fast-They are fun to watch-like cute shrunken squirrels that had 5 cups of regular coffee.

RuthieJ said...

Larry, I'm definitely got that right!

Mary said...

Larry's a hoot :o)

Robin (Bumblebee) said...

After two weeks in the building, the fellow was probably glad to be caught. Good for you!

--Robin (Bumblebee)

KGMom said...

Loved this chipmunk story.
It reminded me of the time our one cat brought a chipmunk inside--he (the cat) had been out in our pool area, fenced in, but somehow caught a chipmunk and proudly trotted it into the house. Poor chipmunk ran upstairs, then downstairs, with 3 cats in pursuit!

RuthieJ said...

Hi Robin,
I'm glad someone was able to catch him. I don't know where he found water or food. I hope he learned his lesson and stays away from buildings for a while.

Hi Donna,
Cats are always so proud of catching something like that, aren't they? Your cats must have been very tired after chasing that chipmunk around!