An Idyllic Outing


Today, Scott the Physical Therapist put Max in a special chair and took him outside to get some fresh air.

We joined this nice couple, who were also enjoying some sunlight. They have been married for 61 years and she has been staying by his side for 12 hours every day. He had a massive stroke and has already spent weeks at a real hospital before being transferred to the illustrious facility above.

As we breathed in the fresh air, Max and I were annoyed by the brazen squirrels who came much too close to us, even perching on my bench. As their number climbed to four, Max worried that they might bite his bare toes, a definite danger given the aggressiveness of the squirrels, who some morons in the “hospital” have encouraged by feeding them nuts and cookies.

I swung my walker at the vermin, yelling “Fuck off!” when “Scram!” had no impact whatsoever.

The old man mentioned the Boston Celtics, and his wife told him, “Come on, you know we don’t like the Celtics, we’re Dodgers fans!”   He seemed preoccupied with the number 555, but when she asked him if he wanted to go back inside, he answered graciously: “Oh yes, I would very much like that.”

People, are we learning anything from all this? Are we learning that life and health are incredibly fragile? That love is all that matters? That in one moment, your entire world can be turned upside down forever? That human kindness is a precious commodity? That shoes are irrelevant, as are virtually all other consumer goods?

I am still trying to formulate a response to all the unwelcome input that keeps assaulting my consciousness. I never knew the danger of bed sores, for example. I never thought much about total helplessness.

I do know that I fucking hate squirrels. Why do people persist in thinking they’re cute? All they do is spread disease and chew through electrical wiring. I genuinely despise them. I need a means of keeping them at a distance, to protect Max’s toes and my own sanity.

What can I bring to the hospital to repel the squirrels, besides rat poison? Any ideas?

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34 Responses to An Idyllic Outing

  1. JK says:

    I don’t know that in California you can do what we do in Arkansas – but if you can – a Remington Model 1100 loaded with birdshot is pretty capable of squirrel eradication projects. Heck, even a Remington Model 742 (but then you need to be careful of ranging and errant shots).

    Squirrel dumplings beat the hell out of chicken dumplings. Leaner too.

  2. RoseWolf says:

    A water bottle with hot sauce in it usually does the trick for me. I use sracha (Rooster Sauce) and water in a spray bottle to keep the little bastards off my deck. One bit my grandson and it really pissed me off.

  3. deja pseu says:

    My dogs have gleefully volunteered to dispatch those squirrels for you.

  4. jools says:

    I loathe squirrels. And they terrify me. Every year you read about a rabid squirrel attacking some innocent human. (Rest assured this happens mostly in the spring).
    I think those Arkansas folks might have the right idea. As far as bed sores you can demand a special mattress that has air circulating that helps prevent them. Or you can rent the bed. Nursing homes hate them cause they’re expensive and they use a lot of electricity. But Jesus shouldn’t have bed sores and neither should Max. xo

  5. Lauren says:

    Sister, I am loaning you my border collie, who also despises squirrels. She’ll be on the next flight out.
    In the meantime, get yourself a BB gun or air pistol…does the trick for us here in the campground. Apologies to PETA.

  6. maria says:

    I used to think squirrels were cute until I was swarmed by a gang of them when visiting California last year. I have no suggestions on how to keep them away…it is possible that wearing squirrel fur will be “in” next year if erin wasson has her way.
    sending you good thoughts.

  7. Bevitron says:

    This is where your squirt gun could come in handy. Maybe one of those long-reaching squirt cannons, even. (Put something a little nasty but not lethal in the water, too, to help give them the idea to beat it.) A flame thrower is also nice, but I don’t know the rules of the facility. Also, the most realistic, biggest plush cat effigy you can find (short of a real actual cat), and maybe one that has a screaming, strident meowing feature. Some kind of mechanical job. Big rubber snakes in the grass could help, and perhaps an ornithopter made to resemble a hawk. Or a bat — hell, Halloween is only days away, just tell people you’re rehearsing for a big do. Or — just pluck a long, flexible, willowy switch from a nearby tree and beat the ground with it when the rodents look like they might approach.

    What you said about the fragility of life and health, and love? I’ve never heard it put more perfectly or more eloquently. We all really are only one slip or breath away from the kind of thing that only happens to other people. I’m just glad you got outside some with the trees and the fucking squirrels. Better and better, stronger and stronger.

  8. Style Spy says:

    I think the squirt gun with hot sauce is your best bet. The PTB at the hospital are going to frown on the BB gun. Although maybe you could smuggle it in in your cast…

    Have been too overwhelmed by what you’re going through to comment, because I didn’t think I had anything useful or insightful to say. I’ve held my breath reading every update, but today I let it out a little when I read, “As we breathed in the fresh air.” It’s a long way to shore, but it sounds like the damn boat is finally going in the right direction. Despite the evil squirrels. Thinking of you.

  9. andrea says:

    Yes, as far as the prevention of bedsores, there are several types of mattresses and beds that can be used. There is one with air that alternates filling up and deflating different areas at different times so as to lessen the pressure on any one part for too long. There is also another kind of bed that has the mattress part made of synthetic sand that keeps moving using air flow, which also alleviates pressure on the skin, especially where bones are close to the surface. You should see about that, too. I forgot the name of it. And also you can ask for a sheepskin (it’s synthetic) to put under his butt when he’s sitting up and under his heels when in bed, also to relieve pressure. It’s hard to believe, but you can get a bedsore on a heel. But it sounds like Max is making progress and I’m so happy for him and for you!

    Also you can make a squirrel stew- in redneck country it’s called burgoo. Yum!

  10. Suebob says:

    Bring Goldie. She LOVES to repel squirrels. You’re right – they are vermin. They are just rats with a good PR firm.

  11. sonja says:

    oh you are going to hate me for this, it’s not in keeping, but how about sharing the space with the other creatures that have had no say in the way it turned out. They are scrambling too. Just trying to get by. They exist through no fault of their own.

  12. sonja says:

    don’t be such a Major Cunt about squirrels! (just thought you might enjoy being called a Major Cunt, for some relief ) xoxo Sonja

  13. alittlelux says:

    their eyes scare the shit out of me. i’d never really seen one up close until i was in savannah this summer, one walked right up to me. NOT CUTE. it seemed like it wanted to hurt me.

    i don’t know how to get rid of them, but we used to have a neighborhood cat my dad hated and he would swear while chucking ice cubes at it. that seemed to work.

    love to you and max

    miss you

  14. Greg says:

    Glad you had a (semi) enjoyable day. Don’t let the squirrels ruin it. I think you should coexist with the squirrels. If they’re overly agressive from being hand-fed by people, a water spray bottle, throwing small pebbles, etc. will work just fine. Not only does it get them away from you, but it also teaches them a good lesson– they should not rely on humans for food.

  15. Fresh air! Yes your squirrels are little shits – we’ve been shooting them ever since some idiot introduced them to the UK and they attacked and nearly eradicated our peaceful native red squirrel.

    On the bedsore point I draw your attention to this – For patients with Stages I and II ulcers, the wound care team should use guidelines established by the American Medical Directors Association (AMDA) for the treatment of these low-grade sores. Be vigilant – make them act now before they get worse!!

    I agree bed sores make shoes irrelevant.

  16. Alicia says:

    A small dog (although equally annoying, but less gross) or a cat (which will have it’s own agenda).

    You could carry a small squirt gun or that canned air used to clean keyboards. That would be fun. You could shoot them without PETA coming after you.

  17. arline says:

    I was going to say a water bottle of squirt gun, but a few have already come up with that.

  18. Moda says:

    Yes, love is all that matters. It’s more important than all the other shit. I’m so glad that Max is able to really see the sky. Just squirt the squirrels. You’ve turned me into a fuckin hippy now…

  19. sarah.p says:


    If one touches Max I think you’d be justified nailing that fucker to the nearest tree.

  20. Dollybird says:

    Sister, glad to hear things are a bit better and I agree life, love and family are fragile and precious.
    Squirrels are indeed just vermin and deserve to be annihilated with a good old fashioned slingshot ? Just imagine the fun to be had stunning the little fucks , they’d learn pretty quick to run from you ! I can just see you roaring ” Run Fucker Run !”

  21. Angie says:

    Kooks is absolutely right about the bed. And cats love squirrels. In fact the other day my cat Emmet left one on my porch as a present.

  22. Angie says:

    I meant ‘Jools’. Sorry. It’s the annoying spell checker in my phone. Arrgh!

  23. Ann says:

    A water gun it is, with some hot sauce mixed with the water.

    The perspective that this whole situation has brought me is almost overwhelming. It’s impossible to read your posts as a fellow human with any emotional worth and NOT take an internal & spiritual inventory.

    The fresh air and sunshine must have done Max a world of good. Yay on you for being such a staunch advocate & taking no bullshit, be it from an inept physician or a tree rat.

  24. David Duff says:

    Pay no attention to that ‘Arkie’ wus, ‘JK’, and his piddling little Remington, what you need is a Kalashnikov and the hospital might pay you an intro commission for all the patients you will add to their intake!

    Incidentally, does this current burst of vitriol indicate a slight return to normality for the ‘Sis’ we all love – and fear?

  25. OMGGMAB says:

    Bazooka for the vermin. Gum and gun. Blows ’em up real good.

    Glad you and Max enjoyed some fresh air together and a change of scenery even though you were joined by unwelcome visitors. I hope you can soon enjoy your own home! All good wishes!

  26. hammie says:

    I like Rosewolf and the chilli infused water pistol. In fact I like that for a lot of things.

    Is Elizabeth Arden 8 hour okay for bedsores? if so will send some ASAP.

    Love to you, and your boys. All of them. xx

  27. hammie says:

    Ps. I just wanna tie about a thousand balloons on to that old guys chair. Can’t help it. xx

  28. annemarie says:

    It’s because of the inevitability of life, old age, sickness and death that we get sucked into desiring shoes and consumer goods.

    You can have my dog for the squirrels too. He loves them. If he has to battle all the other dogs offered to you here to get to them though, he’s fucked. He’s scared of everything except squirrels. You could say that he is the exact, diametric opposite of you.

    Although, if I was a squirrel and you waved your zimmer frame at me I’d shit myself.

  29. sam says:

    I think humans have a much larger case to answer for than the feckin squirrels….I guess I’m wondering who’s fault it is that animals like these are pests in the first place.

  30. WCGB says:

    Maybe the older gentleman was fixated on 555 because the Dodger’s won the ’55 World’s Series. It’s the only World’s Series they won while in Brooklyn.

    I forget that life and health are fragile more often that I’d care to admit. I mean, I know it’s true, but I don’t always act that way. Humans can be dumb mammals in great shoes.

  31. Joanie says:

    I don’t know if i am spelling this right but Chyene pepper works just sprinkle some around where you are sitting.
    Keep it in your pocket and walla the lil shits run for their life.
    You will find it in the spices at the grocery store.

  32. Bex says:

    You’re lovely.

  33. Mark says:

    I once witnessed a squirrel run up a girl’s leg, up her back, and into her backpack. It was horrifying.

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