You Could Drive a Person Crazy

Company...Mr. Sondheim again.

First, the good news:  I have been driven crazy with joy this week over the influx of Helen Benefactors pledging to our Kickstarter fund. 


Second, the bad news:  something else really is driving me crazy, and not crazy with joy.


This is war, people, and those gray, fuzzy little rodents are my enemy.  And while this may not directly have anything to do with Helen, those little critters have become so distracting during the early mornings (the time when I like to get Helen stuff done, before I head off to work) that they are preventing me from giving Helen the attention she is due.

This has been an ongoing war.  Over the ten years that I've lived in Brooklyn, they've followed me from my container garden on 474 8th St.  (where they ate all my cherry tomatoes and cucumbers), to my fire escape on 195 Underhill Ave. (where they ate their way through the dish of Chocolate Peanut Butter Squares I left outside to chill), always wreaking havoc and leaving nothing but a trail of paw prints and fur in the their wake.

Should I be surprised that my current apartment is no exception?  The apartment I live in now has a tiny yard and patio area.  It's one of the many charms that makes living in a studio of 400 square feet bearable.  This summer, I filled the patio area with containers of flowers, vegetables, herbs, etc.  All went well for a few days.  And then they came along.  Word must have gotten out amongst the squirrel community because by the end of the week, they had dug up or knocked over every potted plant, eaten half my flowers, buried shelled peanuts in my fresh basil container and basically just destroyed everything in their path.

I did everything to keep them away.  I tried rocks in all of my potted plants.  I tried organic dried blood (whose blood is it, anyway?).  I tried cayenne pepper.  Nothing kept them away.

This fall I decided to plant bulbs in my tiny yard, so that when spring rolls around I will see daffodils and crocuses out my kitchen window.  If I had a dollar for every shelled peanut I encountered buried in my yard, I could put all that money in our Kickstarter fund and be done with it.  I mean, who still eats shelled peanuts?  I only know two people who eat shelled peanuts--my father and my friend Ken--and I know that neither of them are feeding shelled peanuts to the squirrels in Park Slope.

My work was in vain, anyway.  My the end of the week, they had dug up just about every bulb in the yard, despite the fact that I doused everything with the cayenne pepper/dried blood solution.

Last month, to get myself in the fall spirit, I bought three pumpkins at the Farmer's Market before Halloween and a Mum plant.  There they sat, remarkably untouched for a few weeks.  I should have known it couldn't last.  Monday morning, as I was making a cup of tea, I looked out the window to find a half-eaten pumpkin.  I had to go outside in my pajamas, get the half-eaten pumpkin, bag it, and bring it inside to put it in the trash.  I'm sorry, my yard is not a soup kitchen for squirrels.    

Tuesday morning, there was a bite mark on one of the other pumpkins. 

When I looked out the window yesterday, this is what I saw. 

I mean, it's bad enough the squirrel is pigging out on my pumpkin, but did he/she have to knock over my Mum, too?  

I just feel violated.  And no matter how much I bang on the window or scream at them to go away, the only one who ends up looking crazy is me.  They just look like...well, squirrels.

David Sedaris, one of my favorite authors, has a new book out.  Normally, I run out and get anything he was written hot off the press.  But, here's his new one:

Something tells me I might not find this one particularly funny...or then again, maybe it's just what I need.