My father, dressed in his suit, stood on the desk in his home office, barking at the ceiling in the hopes of scaring away a squirrel on the roof. My father is a tall, stately man, well-traveled, speaks several languages, and easily converses with industry leaders and heads of state. So, it was surreal to watch this calm, thoughtful, knowledgeable man lose his cool completely and bark at the ceiling.
The squirrel on the roof had become increasingly bold over the previous weeks. In the beginning, my nature-loving family enjoyed watching the antics of this squirrel jumping onto the roof from the nearby trees, sweetly gnawing on the seed and nuts we left out for it, and grinning up at the ceiling when we’d hear the little pitter patter of its tiny feet.
In the end, that squirrel on the roof drove us all mad. Around five in the morning, I could hear it running around above my bedroom. My mother would find squirrel droppings and shell hulls scattered around the front porch, dropped from the roof. And, my father, who did so much of his work from his office at home, was constantly interrupted by the sound of the squirrel chewing whatever it was chewing in the attic space right over the office.
We finally stopped feeding it, and tried chasing it away when we saw it in the trees or running around the yard. My parents had me clean out the rain gutters while they searched for holes in the roof or attic. We would think it was gone, and then it would come back within a day or two, finding some new way into the house. Mom was afraid it was a female squirrel building a nest for squirrel babies.
We tried everything we could think of, but that squirrel kept coming back. The squirrel would run around on the roof, the squirrel would chew things in the attic, and we could not get rid of that stupid squirrel!
Which is why, one day when my father was preparing for a very important meeting, he finally snapped when a tiny little squirrel foot broke right through the dry wall on the ceiling. Little bits of ceiling rained down on his laptop. And, my stoic father jumped up on his desk and barked at the ceiling.
Mom made a phone call for help. Not for Dad’s mental state, but help to remove the squirrel from the roof and seal up the attic. Dad has never barked at the ceiling again.