As I’m writing this Pennsylvania is experiencing one of the coolest summers I can remember. It’s absolutely beautiful! Today, especially, there was a strong breeze blowing. Turning off the air conditioning and throwing open all the windows and doors, the strong summer breezes made it feel like we were working near the ocean. As evening turned to night, I was looking forward to a good night’s sleep without the hum of the air conditioner, curling up under a comforter and falling asleep with the windows open.
And then it happened.
A skunk roamed through our back yard, filling our house with it’s defining aroma!
My brother yelled, “Does anybody else smell that? Quick shut the windows.”
Thus began the frantic race to close up every nook and cranny of the house before our unwelcome guest sprayed and well, you can imagine. Honestly, it didn’t take long. In less than 3 minutes every window was shut except for the window in the room where my Dad was sound asleep.
So we knocked on the door and said, “Dad, you have to get up and shut your window, there’s a skunk outside.”
“I-don’t-wanna-get-up-what-do-you-want-from-me” and a few other unintelligible grunts came from the other side of the door.
“Dad, you have to shut your window there’s a skunk outside.”
More grunts----more groans, and a mumbled growl stating that he didn’t want to be bothered was all we could hear.
Well, fine! Don’t wake up. If the smell doesn’t bother you, then just let your window open.
Rather than deal with a grumpy old man, I decided to just go to bed. It wasn’t worth the hassle. (Besides, the smell of skunk had pretty much already spread throughout the house anyway. PEW!!)
Then another noise came from my Dad’s room. Only this time he’s completely hysterical. “Jamie, ‘Dess, there’s a skunk outside, everybody close the windows.”
Well, duh---what do you think we’ve been trying to wake you up for?
When I asked him about it the next day, he didn’t remember anything. (Is anyone starting to wonder why the Crazy Lady is so crazy?)
Well, here’s something I do remember. It’s our most outrageous incident with a skunk ever. It happened several years ago before my Mom went to Heaven. Still, I think every time I smell that odor, I’ll remember “The Night The Skunk Dropped In”
It was late at night and everyone was in bed when we heard a THUD!
What was that noise?
My Dad jumped up and ran to the basement. He knew something had fallen into the window well, but when we got to the basement, we all panicked when we saw that it was an oversized skunk!
The skunk wasn’t crazy about the idea of being trapped either. He kept moving around and trying to find a way out. The only thing keeping that skunk out of our basement was a window. (Not a very sturdy window either.) Imagining what would happen if that window happened to open and the skunk got into the basement, I was so scared.
Not having alot of experience with pest removal, we had no idea what to do.
If the skunk sprayed, everything at that end of the house would be ruined.
If he got into the basement–I still can’t bear the thought. I knew the result of a skunk that sprayed in an enclosed space. When I was a freshman in college, a skunk sprayed under my best friend’s dorm room. The smell never completely left her things. She tried everything to try to remove the smell, but in the end she had to throw a lot of stuff away.
Remembering this event, I couldn’t imagine that happening to our house, so I frantically started moving everything at that end of the house to the other end of the house. Every single piece of clothing, pillows, comforters, anything we didn’t want to replace was piled high in the living room. (Which then looked like a tornado hit it!)
While I was moving everything, my family was trying to figure out how to get rid of the skunk–who by this time had fallen asleep.
We couldn’t shoot him because of the smell. (Yes, this is rural Pennsylvania–guns are big here.)
Eventually, we called 911.
Here’s a tip: 911 does not handle wildlife emergencies.
They didn’t help at all–unless you consider laughing uncontrollably and making jokes to be helpful. They were so busy laughing that they could barely give us the phone number for the Game Commission who does handle wildlife emergencies.
At least they are supposed to. The Game Commission didn’t help either–they laughed harder than 911. Apparently, having a skunk in your window well isn’t an emergency.
Finally, around 3 a.m. we called a man who worked in pest control.
Another piece of advice, if you are going to wake up a trapper at 3 a.m. ---expect to pay overtime. He came and informed us that it was one of the biggest skunks he had ever seen and he wasn’t sure how to get it out.
He decided to put a board into the window well and see if the skunk could get himself out of the window well. Of course, first we had to wait until the skunk woke up. (Funny, the skunk is the only one who slept that night.)
Then the trapper left and said he’d be back around daylight. (I guess he didn’t want to join the vigil of a family of four watching a skunk sleep---go figure.) So the trapper left and we spent the rest of the night on pins and needles waiting for a skunk to wake up.
Finally, around 6 a.m. that the trapper came back, the skunk woke up, crawled up the board and ran into the woods. Of course the skunk could run off into the woods, he had a good night’s sleep!
The next day we went and bought window well covers. We weren’t going to let that happen again! The interesting thing is that my Mom wanted window well covers for years, but my Dad said, “We can’t have them.”
After a sleepless night babysitting a skunk, we could have them!
Of course, this isn’t our only skunk story. Nope, I’ve got loads of them! Fast forward 1 year and the skunks were back again–only this time there were three of them.
Once again we were all in bed when a mother and her two little skunks set off our alarm system. Then the three of them continuously circled the house like the Israelites circled the walls of Jericho.
They sat for awhile at the front door, and then they continued wandering around our house. After about an hour of this, we decided to call THE MAN (our friendly local trapper) again. And just like before, we woke him up to come and deal with the skunks.
And it was good that we did. When he arrived, he discovered that one of the little skunks had wiggled its body into our rain spouting.
Another disaster in the making if that thing sprayed! The only way to remove the skunk was for the man to completely disconnect our rain spouting with the skunk still in it. Then he took the skunk to an undisclosed location to dispose of it.
This left us with just 2 skunks. We never did find out what happened to the other little one, but the professional did find the mother skunk.
It was hard to miss it when it sat on his foot!
That’s when I learned an important lesson about skunks.
A skunk will only spray if it feels threatened. Apparently, the skunk didn’t feel threatened by the man because it didn’t spray. It just sat on his feet until it was ready to leave, then it ran away into the bush.
Then he came and told us of his adventures, collected his fee and went home. Another sleepless night, another bill for skunk retrieval, and yet another skunk crisis averted.
Maybe it’s all of these “stinky” incidents that cause my family to respond so quickly whenever even the faintest aroma of skunk fills the air. It’s definitely why I won’t be sleeping with my windows open at night! Nope, this crazy lady will just have to learn to endure the sound of the A/C unit. Because trust me, I’d rather hear a little noise that stink like a skunk any day! (That’s not crazy at all!)