Feeding Wildlife Isn’t All Fun & Games (AKA Today is NOT My Day)

Welp, I didn’t see Rube at all yesterday. Just had a chill evening with Ruby, as he hid nut after nut and fruit after fruit in increasingly far away places. 

Seriously!

I watched him dart through traffic with a shelled walnut in his mouth to go bury it somewhere in the median. That’s a ballsy squirrel, I tells ya. 

But I didn’t see Rube at all and that made me kind of sad, if I’m being honest. 

He’s got the most personality of all the squirrels. Rube is friendly and curious and gives me smart vibes somehow. 

Ruby just comes up the stoop, grabs a nut or fruit and goes and hides it away for later. 

There is another squirrel who made an appearance the other day. He was a little worse for wear, with a very short tail and bitten off ears. We are calling him Holyfield for now. 

I think he might be the one that goes and “cleans up” after the other two are done eating. 

Rube is a messy eater and lives grape skins and nut shells everywhere, but, without fail, it’s all cleaned up after I come down from my bath. I think this bitten off ear dood is the one that’s doing it. No real evidence other than the way he seemed to treat the other two squirrels with respect. I hope he is not getting bullied.

Regardless, Rube showed up early today, so I got excited and decided to bring him a picnic table snack early today!

I went to the kitchen to putter around gathering grapes and cherries and when I came back Rube was doing something NOT GOOD. 

For reference, this is Tracy Morban. He sits all day looking out the window, watching the birbs and guarding the unrefrigerated Squirrel Snax (aka nuts).

 

Well, Rube seemed very interested in Tracy when I came out of the kitchen with his fruits. Then I saw, that, no, he was not interested in Tracy – he was interested in the nuts he was guarding!

 

Very interested as you can see. 

I immediately shut the window and yell, “No!” to Rube and shut the front door. 

And immediately started a little internal freakout for a couple reasons. 

First, I felt like I fucked up by feeding them in the first place and now everything is ruined. Not just a small part of the screen, but literally everything – my relationship with the squirrels, the Professor Haus in general. Hell, my brain even tried to convince me that this would be the straw that broke everything. It moves FAST. 

That single thought fueled everything that followed. 

Luckily, Mickey was in the living room and kept me from getting too spun up. 

Or else I’d never feed a squirrel again.

And that thought made me really sad, because the squirrels are one of the highlights of my daily life right now. (And my daily beReal notification, of course.)

Mickey helped put it in perspective that they were wild animals that were just trying to stay alive and stuff. He also said something very helpful that I shouldn’t hate the animal just the action. 

Which is good, cause I really love my Rube time. 

So I bought some screen repair tape (in the wrong color, I think) and repaired it and now our screen looks like this. We will get a replacement eventually. 

 

I do not want my squirrel time to end and I think that is what fueled my initial reaction most. 

See? I get excited when breathing things WANT to spend time with me. Even if they are long-tailed rodents with a fake beard. Even if they are only coming around because I am giving them food. 

It works like this with people too. 

I don’t think I am enough on my own, so I provide things like food and event planning and creative work for people I think are cool and want to be friends with. 

Then things go one of two ways. 

The person I was providing “things” to takes advantage of me, which is kind of what Rube did today. 

Or, I self-sabatoge so that when the food/event/service ends, I don’t have to deal with the hurt of being left alone afterwards, knowing that the only reason we did a hang in the first place was because of the thing I was providing them. 

Now, I am also a person who gives many second chances. 

But I don’t approach it in the same way I did before. Before, I’d change nothing and just barrel forward, hoping the same thing wouldn’t happen again. 

So, after repairing the screen, I cleaned up with a strong smelling natural cleaner to discourage Rube and friends from coming near the windows or other entry ways. 

Then I did some reading on other scents and stuff that squirrels will not fuck with. I’m picking up peppermint oil from the Hippie Store in Allen Park next time we’re there. We also have been saving coffee grounds for pretty much the whole time we’ve been here. So we have some options to put at all potential entry points. Sometimes my overboard OCD is helpful in forming panic plans like these. 

I feel funny admitting this, but I also felt kind of shame-y for being so sad at losing my potential squirrel time. Something made me feel I should be embarrassed to be that excited about ’em. 

Like, my brain said to me, “Get a life, Jacki! Forget about ’em. They are just squirrels. Get back to the real world.”

My brain is mean sometimes. 

After some research and discussion, we’ve decided to leave the picnic table with its corn pole out on the porch at all times. And then when I come out to do my snack time, I’ll bring treats for the table part. 

Also, I have stored the nuts out of sight and smell radius. I should have known better than to put them where I did. 

What blows my mind is that previously, I had put myself into situations where the person I was with would feel the need to tell me that. 

Like, I was too dumb to realize I’d made a mistake and wasn’t already beating myself up about it. Worse than they ever could. They just compounded and added the things my brain was already yelling about me for. 

This is something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately – what are we trying to accomplish by yelling at other adults? Like, in situations like this, where they knew they made a mistake and were vocal about it.

Why add to that? What is the purpose? To make them feel worse? WHY.

Let’s rethink this y’all. We need to be treated with grace and patience. And when I say “we” I am including our own damn selves. 100%. 

I know when I do something like this, it’s the biggest thing in my brain at that time, overshadowing everything else. And every additional pointing out of what I did wrong in the situation is like a stinging slap to my brain. I can FEEL it. It doesn’t feel good. It just makes the swirl spin up faster

I didn’t realize this until it didn’t happen anymore. My brain still expects it, so it goes through all the possibilities that I could “get in trouble” for when something ‘bad’ happens. You know, so I’m prepared for when someone says something to me. 

I have had to tell my brain lately to stop that because the trouble doesn’t happen as often. It was a waste of energy and emotional whiplash reactions that I didn’t need anymore. 

The corn pole plan seems to be working good. I’ve spied Rube out there gnawing on it a couple times and he hasn’t come near the window at all either. 

I’m about to go hang out there with some nuts and fruit for ’em before my bath. 

One last thing, because I need to talk about this too. 

If you follow @JackiOh5 on Insta, you’ll see that I broke a plate today. What you do not know, though, is that it’s the only plate I own at the Professor Haus. We did a big kitchen purge before we moved and only kept the things that we loved. 

Like this plate. That now looks like this. 

It was a gift from KPerks and ever since I got it, I rarely ate offa anything else. 

Today for lunch we had corn ( 🌽  It has the JUICE! 🌽 ), which of course had some butter involved. 

I was washing the two plates (Mickey also only brought one plate with him) and turned his over to wash the back of it, cause it was SLICK butter, being stacked on top of my Snoopy plate. 

It only slipped a couple inches, but it was enough to break my plate. 

We have ordered a kintsugi kit to repair it, where it will live as a work of art on our wall. 

Anyone got a line on a good replacement Snoopy plate for eatin’ though?

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