Hold on to your hats folks because today's story is absolutely disgusting! So naturally I had to share it with you. Lucky you.
I will start by saying that here are a lot of oak trees here. They are called Live Oaks. Not to insinuate that other oak trees are not alive, but because these never lose their leaves. They are green year 'round. So it came as no surprise at all that we have a lot of squirrels here.
I don't mind squirrels at all. I know they are rodents but I think they are kind of cute. They have terrific personalities, are kind of goofy (which I like) and have loads of energy. So without them being actual pets, they still serve as they same sort of level of entertainment.
So I was really rather sad when I came back from an errand the other day and found a dead squirrel in our courtyard. Awwwww ;(
I have no idea what happened to him. Perhaps he was just really old and had a little squirrelly heart attack while short cutting through the courtyard. Or maybe he was trying to jump from High Point A to High Point B and missed? Maybe another squirrel contracted a hit on him? Or he ratted out the wrong guy, see? Honestly no idea. And yet, there he was. Without question deceased. In our courtyard. Which makes it my problem to deal with. sigh.
So the real question was..what to do with him? Having never run across this problem before. (seriously never) I really saw only two possibilities. Bury him somewhere in the yard. Or wrap him in a plastic bag and toss him in the garbage. That second option being simpler and me being a lazybutt, is exactly what I did. Please note that handing this problem off to someone else never even crossed my mind. What an idiot I am!
So anyway, armed with a double layer of plastic bags and a dustpan (which I later washed to within an inch of it's life) I shrouded the squirrel in the plastic bags, wrapped it around him very well, said a few brief but sincere words over him and deposited him into our outside garbage can, then promptly forgot about it.
Until yesterday. Tim and I do not produce a great deal of garbage. So usually by weeks end our GIGANTIC outside can has only two bags in it at most. Yesterday late afternoon, I emptied all of the smaller cans in the house into the larger kitchen garbage bag which made it full enough to warrant taking it outside.
The instant I flipped the hinged lid open, I gagged. Oh my dear it was so disgusting! What on earth? And then I remembered. Ah! Dead squirrel + heat + humidity + giant black garbage can equals simmered dead squirrel. Gaggola! Just the nastiest smell I have run across in a long time.
I did what anyone would do. I threw the new bag in on top of the dead squirrel and wheeled the garbage can to the curb. Luckily for me, we have twice a week garbage pick up here and this morning was the pick up morning. for one of them. Perfect timing. I almost never take advantage of this second pick up day but this time I absolutely did. But I knew what that meant. It meant that today, when I wheeled that empty can back, I would have to face the music. Or at least the stink.
So I didn't bother to shower when I got up today. I put on my oldest, yuckiest, paint spattered, hole ridden, worn out clothes and my rubber sandals (so that they could later be washed), threw my hair up into a ponytail and went to work.
So there I am on the side of the house trying to decide how to do this while ignoring the stench and the maggotty grossness left behind.
This garbage can is enormous. It stands about mid-chest tall on me and I cannot reach across it. It's like a tunnel on wheels which makes it harder to clean than your basic garbage can.
First of all I decided that water, and a good deal of it would be in order. Luckily for me, there is a hose on that side of the house. Unluckily for me, I never can figure out how to coil a hose properly so that last time I used it I left it just kind of mounded in a heap. My bad.
It is an extraordinarily long hose and very heavy besides. And it simply refuses to coil. I have fought many a battle with this hose and I lose every single time. I think I have given up and let the hose win. The problem with letting the hose win is that when it sits in a heap, it somehow morphs from a rather gentle heap into a series of kinks. I'm not sure how or why, but there it is. So I spent quite some time trying to unkink the hose enough to allow ANY amount of water to run through it. It was not exactly at power wash level by the end but more than a trickle. Somewhere in between there. Sufficient water.
Then what next? I hmmmmed a bit in the utility room and decided that ammonia ought to kill about anything. It stinks almost as badly as the dead squirrel did but at least that smell ought to dissipate...eventually. So I poured in a healthy dollop of it. The smell of the ammonia combined with the existing fragrance of dead squirrel was enough to make my head swim. You'd think I might have puked by then right? Not me. I'm made of sterner stuff. Not only did I live on a working farm at one time, I also had three lively, active, rambunctious little boys who delighted in anything disgusting. AND most of my adult life I have worked my medical professionals some of whom delighted in trying to gross out non-medical people. I've already run the gauntlet and survived. I can handle dead squirrel stink.
Because the can is so big and deep, I absolutely couldn't reach the bottom to scrub without climbing in to it and I am absolutely NOT doing that. It's hard to gross me out but I am claustrophobic and no. Not climbing into the can to clean it. So I rigged up an old towel on the end of a rake and used that as my scrubber. Over and over. I'd add water and ammonia, scrub and empty the can. Emptying the can was interesting too. It's big and heavy. I am small and while not as light as I used to be, I'm still not very big. I am however, thanks to Pilates, much stronger than I used to be, so I was able to grab that now extremely heavy can by the wheels and heave it over, lift it to drain the dirty water, then pull it upright again. Over and over.
Finally, I ran out of ammonia. My assumption then was that if I used an entire bottle of ammonia it must be sufficiently clean. But just in case, I started in on a bottle of dish soap. Water, dish soap, scrub (with a new towel), empty, over and over until I ran out of dishsoap. I officially declared it clean.
I left the can with the lid flipped open until it dries. The first garbage that will go in there are the towels I used to clean it which are in a garbage bag waiting patiently. I have hosed off the area I was working in and left the hose (turned off now of course) in it's customary heap so I can complain about it again the next time I need to use it. I may throw away the clothes I was wearing at the time as well.
I've showered but I still have this urge to dip myself in Lysol which I am resisting.
And I have vowed solemnly that should another squirrel drop dead in my courtyard, this time I will bury it will full honours in something biodegradable like a shoebox in my yard. The VERY back of the yard. Never again will I use a garbage can as a dead squirrel coffin.
Let this be a lesson to you. If I cannot be a good example, I should at least serve as a cautionary tale.
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.