Posts Tagged ‘squirrels’

We don’t exactly live out in the boonies here in Washington, D.C. However, our neighborhood is unique in that it doesn’t have rows of closely spaced cookie-cutter homes. Our street goes way back into a wooded area, with homes on big lots with 100-foot tall trees all around, and a small creek cutting right through the plot of homes. It almost feels like a national forest at times. And with all the wildlife around recently, it sometimes feels like we’re way out in the sticks.


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Technically, my first furlough day was last Monday, but since I craftily leveraged it to create a five-day weekend for our New England trip, it didn’t really feel like it. Today, however, is the first day I’ve been forced to stay at home after working four days the rest of the week. Rather than be frustrated, annoyed, angry, peeved, or otherwise malcontent about an unpaid day off because DoD couldn’t get their act together, I’m going to choose to enjoy my days off when I don’t have to get up ridiculously early and fight traffic and try to use them productively. I’m tentatively scheduled to take Fridays off, but I can shift them around so as to be of the most convenience to me. So, let’s get started with this temporary (no more than 11 weeks, at least during this fiscal year) feature on the blog: Furlough Friday.

Today, my main focus is preparing for two rounds of visitors we have coming in the near future. My uncle, aunt, and their grandson (my second cousin? twice removed? I have no idea) are arriving Sunday for a couple of days of touring Federal City. They were gracious to let Bart, Murphy, and me stay with them on our cross-country trek when we moved out here last November, so we are happy to return the favor. My brother and his crew will be coming the following week on their family vacation. Therefore, I’m taking the opportunity to address some neglected areas around the house, plan some meals, and otherwise tackle routine household chores. I confess that renting makes me less motivated to keep everything gleaming and ship-shape, but that’s no excuse to let things pile up!

My progress today has been interrupted by the local wildlife. I put the bird feeder out yesterday since I would be home to enjoy watching the birds out the kitchen window. However, a whole friggen squirrel posse showed up throughout the morning to raid the goods. I don’t mind feeding them; they’ve got to eat, too, and they are actually fun to watch. It’s just that they decimate the birdseed and don’t like to share with the actual birds. I have let Murphy sic ’em a few times, as it’s good entertainment for him. I’ve also let him out and in and out and in and out and in about two dozen times when he was desperately intent on investigating something outside. We also had another bird trapped in our sunroom, which happens at least once a week. It’s totally screened in, but we leave the door open so Murphy can access the yard, but that also allows critters (including bugs) and dirt to get inside. Here’s a bird I can’t identify from a couple of weeks ago.

Little bird trapped in our sunroom. Can anyone identify?

Little bird trapped in our sunroom. Can anyone identify?

Usually the birds make it out eventually, so when I lost track of this one, I assumed he’d made his escape. However, Murphy was quick to find the bird lying right up against the step down, completely inert. I was just certain he was dead and alerted Bart to the situation; however, when he looked more closely, he realized he was indeed still alive, just maybe hurt a bit. A gentle poke with the broom handle sent him flying around again, and within a few seconds he found the door and flew off into a tree. I hope the little guy’s okay. We decided it was probably time to shut the sunroom door and not keep it permanently propped open, although it’ll mean letting Murphy out the other back door, which is slightly less convenient but still possible. We’ll see how it goes.

My morale was also sidetracked by a trip to the grocery store. Now, I realize I was purchasing more food than usual due to our house guests, but I was pretty peeved at the grand total for this trip. I make a big effort scour sales, clip e-coupons, and use my store card for maximum savings, yet it’s incredibly disheartening to see the bill sometimes. Groceries are so ridiculously expensive here, even compared to Colorado, which I assumed had a relatively high cost of living, too. But it’s nothing on Maryland. Everything is expensive, and the quality of the produce is less than stellar. Also, I stock up on items that are at their rock bottom sale price, which saves in the long run, but when it is time to purchase those items, it makes one particular grocery bill artificially inflated, too (part of the issue today). I made it out of the store without an aneurism, though, so that’s a victory for the day.

I’m currently on a mid-afternoon snack-and-blog break, but I’m about to get back to my list of tasks for the rest of the afternoon. Cleaning and picking up are rather unsexy tasks to tell you about for my first Furlough Friday, but hopefully once that’s out of the way, I can share some more interesting projects in the coming weeks. Hope you’re having a wonderful Friday, either at home or at work!

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