The best Christmas contest ever and the squirrel threat…

They say a mother can pick out her baby’s cry from all others. That may be why at 6:30am I woke to Chester barking. It sounded like he was outside. I thought my husband would let him in but the barking continued with urgency. I got up to see if he was OK. My husband was at the door looking at him…out in the yard with a squirrel up the tree. Why on God’s green earth the stupid squirrels have to get up at 6:30am is beyond me.  I was mortified that the neighbors might think we left him out and were bad dog owners or that he would wake them. My husband went to make coffee and didn’t care one bit about the neighbors. He sat down to watch the news while I tried to get the hound in. I shook the Milk Bone box and called to him with excitement. I tried yelling “Kong, kong” over and over. Nope. The squirrel just sat in the tree clucking at Chester. Chester jumped up and down in the mud barking. Did I mention the whole yard is mud? From November to March. I went onto the deck with cat treats but finally went in, figuring that the vision of me in my pajamas yelling “Kong, kong, biscuit” would disturb the neighbors more than him barking.

What we didn’t learn until later is that those squirrels better up their game. They outsmart Chester easily and with glee, but recently we looked outside and saw a more significant threat.

Our new friend the hawk

This hawk has shown up before. My sister the naturalist says “you can tell by the relatively broad tail that this is a Red-tailed Hawk.  They are our largest of Ohio resident buteo (mammal-eating) hawks, so I am not surprised that you commented on its size when we talked on the phone!  The females are regularly larger than the males, so this is likely a female. Your squirrels better watch out! 😊” Oh no! Now I have to worry about the stupid squirrels!

We are having high winds here in Cleveland. My sister gets a certain pleasure from thinking about my little solar powered chickens being fine in the wind while the inflatables blow around the neighborhood. I take no pleasure in my neighbor’s misfortune, but I did take quite a bit of pleasure in the video of the bear attacking the inflatable reindeer. If you look up bear attacking reindeer inflatable you too can live vicariously through the bear. At this point, I’m right on the very thin line of love and hate regarding Christmas. One push and I’m rooting for the bear. That’s when the alcohol needs to come out.

See the source image

I wanted to take this opportunity to share what is one of our family’s favorite Christmas contests ever. It is destined to go down in Whitmer High School history. You see, my father was a high school English teacher for probably 30 years. The principal decided it would be a great idea and spread the holiday spirit if the teachers competed in a door decorating contest. My dad was all in.

My father was a fisherman. He had a mounted huge fish hanging on the wall of the garage. We kids thought it was weird but matter of factly lived with it, for the most part ignoring it. We ignored it for about 15 years when it made its grand appearance on the door of my father’s classroom. He had replaced the eye with a red light to give nod to Christmas. I’m not sure if he cleaned it up otherwise, but it was placed on a festive display of green and red shiny paper on the door of a high school classroom. The red light glowed as if a demon fish came out of the deep shiny green paper to leap into the pages of the English textbook. The ants in the room marched out to view the display of creativity and wonder.

The door did not win. The committee walked by but didn’t stop. My father was rather dismayed after all the hard work he put in with the eye and all. We just shook our heads and went about our day to day school trials, and the fish regained its place in the garage, albeit with a red eye. Ultimately I’m not sure what happened to the fish. It probably disintegrated to scales and cobwebs. But like a Christmas tree, it had its moment of glory. In our minds, our father won.

I don’t have a picture of the fish, regrettably. But here’s the next best thing. Chester was such a good boy to leave his antlers on for two minutes. That’s one minute and 30 seconds more than last year!

The reason for this cooperation is this:

Hang in there! Have a good week!