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And a Possum in the Dishwasher

I am a licensed, wildlife rehabilitator. In my work, a lot of funny things happen. Here is one funny story of an opossum gone wrong.

I can pull it off pretty well in public, being normal.  In my real life as a designer, I seem okay.  My hair is usually in place, I often wear lipstick and matching clothes.  I like to wear shoes that cause other women to rethink their entire lives.  I like earrings sparkly enough to make Amish women sin in their hearts.

All normally goes well until I’m consulting with a client, slip up and something like this tumbles out, “I LOVE dark stain on a floor with a high gloss finish.  I have that myself.  It usually looks great but yesterday, after I mopped, the stinkin’ oposum climbed up in the dishwasher, got her feet all wet, and tracked it all over the floor.”

Uh huh, that awkward silence that lets me know this was outside the parameters of what they were expecting when they contracted for design services.  What I do in my “other life” has crept into my big girl life and I’m getting that look from a volvo driving client who is over her head at home with just her goldendoodleschnitzapoo. 

We did have an opossum who lived in our house for years.  I retrieved her on a rehab call with her bottom jaw stuck in a fence.  She was so glad to receive my help that she snapped and growled her appreciation throughout the entire removal process. 

Although I knew I should probably euthanize her, I worked on her for weeks.  She lost a good portion of her lower jaw giving her an overbite and a lisp that would have made Drew Barrymore proud.  Glamorously named Jawbone, she refused all attempts for release and found every possible way to get into the house. 

Periodically, I would look up to find her reclining on my 18th century living room sofa with the $98 yard velvet, with her tail curled provocatively around her while she opened up a $6 truffle I refused to let my kids eat until a special occasion. 

My daughter was in high school at the time and threatened law suits, emancipation and/or dressing me polyester and not plucking my whiskers when I get old if the secret ever got out.  Once, when she brought a new boy home and he was standing in the kitchen Jawbone sauntered through the dining room behind him.  There was a moment of panicked filled eye swearing while JB continued through the kitchen, daintily plucked a treat from the cat’s dish and continued on in what I can assume was an errand of the utmost importance.  The boy never knew although I have put aside money in a special fund for epilation after age 65.

I love opossums.  I can’t understand why they are abhorred by people everywhere.  They’re not rodents, they’re marsupials, just like a kangaroo, the only ones in North America.  They carry their babies in their pouch and later on their backs. They don’t really carry disease, they’re slow and steady and eat all the garbage in the world.  I love anyone who will clean up after themselves. They’re slow, I admit, because their body temperature is a bit lower than other mammals, but cause no harm and only hiss and drool because they’re afraid. They almost never bite unless someone picks one up by their prehensile tails and belts out "hey y'all, watch this," and will occasionally do that really cool thing and play dead, a great talent for anyone in an awkward situation. 

I understand everyone doesn’t share my view, including some of my own family, but all creatures are here for a reason and deserve a swerve on the road to give them some room. 

The answer?  We’re not normal.  Normal is no fun.  Normal is boring.  Show me a woman who is afraid of an opossum and I’ll bet she’ll be the same woman who will refuse to dress up in a prom dress after a glass or two of wine.  Give me a woman with an opossum in her house and I’ll show you a woman who will blurt out something at a party that will cause her mother to alert the prayer chain.  Now, that’s fun.

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Becky Garrison August 27, 2012 at 11:42 PM
LOL! This is too funny! My husband says I have a 'way' with animals. In our old (previous) house, which was also old (as in over 100 years old) hubby woke me up at 4 am one morning to take a look at the bathtub where he was about to take a shower. In the tub was a young (few months old) possum. I told hubby to go find a box while I grabbed towels. When he got the box, I threw 2 or 3 towels over the baby, picked it up and put it in the box. Hubby took it to a place near the Chattahoochee on his way to work and set it free. A couple of weeks later I found another one in our living room. Hubby was already at work, so I found the box (yep, same one) and packed this baby up in the box and took it to a park and let it out. I have also caught a flying squirrel and numerous birds ... including a cardinal who lost all of it's tail feathers in the process. The live animals are fine with me ... it's the dead ones that I have a problem with. Last fall we came home in the wee hours from a camping trip to Florida and after we got the things we needed that night into the house I went to ... ummm ... use the facilities ... and luckily I happened to look in the toilet BEFORE I sat down. There, face up, eyes open, looking like it had just been taking a swim, was a dead squirrel. Yep ... he drowned in our toilet! I got the bag and the tongs ... hubby pulled him out and disposed of him. I will never forget the sight of that darned squirrel!
Susan Green August 28, 2012 at 12:41 PM
i'm lovin all this! What fun animal stories!!! I have a few, also....but NONE as grand as these! I tried to save a deer that I hit in Johns Creek driving home at night... the laughter from the neighbors...little did they know I took a half run over squirriel to the vet the day before! After the vet snickered, saying that there are LOTS of squirrels around and this would cost me over $500 and would still likely die, I said, "Go ahead and help the poor thing." The vet did and an hour later (waiting in the ante room)...the vet said the poor thing died... my bill $172.00... my husband was a little concerned and suggested a therapy group might be in my future...LOL! Anyone else have a story or two??
Dan August 28, 2012 at 02:17 PM
"blurt out something at a party that will cause her mother to alert the prayer chain" That is hilarious. Thanks for sharing with us!

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