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What a Night
[Misc] Flowers
Apparently, Alley is required by some sort of law to have a run in with an opossum every year. Last year, she found one in the yard and basically got into a Mexican standoff with it until I came out and broke it up so the opossum could waddle off into the sunset...er, night. All in all, pretty boring story.

Tonight, however, was anything but boring.

I was at my parents' tonight and I was in my mom's room, I think, when I heard Alley bark once. I was afraid it might be someone at the door, so I rushed into the living room to see what had her upset. She wasn't looking at the door, but she was sniffing around my dad's recliner. At first, I thought it was something under the floor, but she seemed really focused on the recliner itself, so I wanted to prove to her nothing was there. I carefully turned the chair over and prompted shrieked (although Mom later referred to it as a squeal).

There was an opossum inside the chair. If you've seen the inside of a recliner, you know what I'm talking about. It's hollow with springs and mechanisms and apparently makes a great place to hide.

I promptly put the chair back down and calmly walked into Dad's office and said something like "I'm not sure if this is true. Or possible. And it might be something completely different. But I think there's an opossum in your chair."

I got a predictable response of "WHAT? There can't be!" So I invited him to come in the living room and, after putting Alley out in the sun room, tipped the chair again to show him the opossum. I saw the skinny, bald tail at first and freaked out thinking "Oh, no! RAT!!!!" But Dad's like "No, it's an opossum." And then I was okay. In the middle of all of this, Mom comes out of her room and wants to know what's happening.

So, I take a deep breath and start thinking of the best plan for getting the little guy out. I move the end table away from the door, open both doors, and start to angle the chair toward the door to push it out. In the midst of this, I stop and tell everyone I need to get my camera to get a picture of it. (Again, my Dad's reply was "WHAT?")

I get the picture and try to push the chair out the door.

Problem one: A wide recliner will not fit out of a narrow doorway.

While repeating "He's more afraid of me than I am of him...I think," I basically managed to turn the chair over and push the bottom in such a way that the opossum pretty much had nowhere to go but outside. I figured that between the very well-lit living room and our dark front porch, the little guy would want to go outside.

Problem two: Opossums are fairly timid animals and when faced with a large amount of commotion, they retreat into what they perceive as a safe place.

In this case, it was the inside of the chair. It had absolutely no intention of braving the outside world when it felt safe where it was.

Problem three: There are a lot of hiding places inside a recliner.

Turns out that hitting the chair didn't make him more eager to leave. Also, trying to sweep him out with a broom didn't do much good because he kept retreating deeper into the chair and I really didn't want to hurt the little guy. He just found a nice warm place to hide and he was probably scared to death already.

The only answer was patience. Lots of it. I had to stand there with the chair propped up while he kept exploring and getting braver and braver. At one point, he ventured out of the chair but I blew it when I tried to push him the rest of the way out.

So, more waiting. Finally, he started climbing up the rockers and I had a horrible fear that he would crawl over the back of the chair to us. But after a while, he dropped back down (I even saw his tail wrap around something to balance himself) and slowly crawled out. I have to admit to getting a little nervous and using the broom to push him the rest of the way to keep him from deciding to come back in. Then it was over.

Except for telling my dad. He got a little exasperated with mom and me and suggested we just reach in and grab it. (That wouldn't have worked because he might have bitten someone and plus the chair had too many hiding places.) My dad's response was "Good. Did you put something out for it to eat?"

My first thought was "POISON? After all that? I bonded with him!" I'm like "What do you mean?" "Just what I said, did you put out some bread or something for it to eat tonight?" At this point, I'm cracking up and I went ahead and put a couple of slices out for him just in case.

And after all this, I have to admit it was a pretty cool and very funny experience. And the opossum was really cute. I hope he stays in our yard and does okay.

Also, I just want to point out that our house is really clean (although there were some crumbs under the recliner) and we have no idea how the opossum got in.