Becca Wilhite Blog

April 30, 2011

Skunk Watch Again

Filed under: animals,anxiety — becca @ 8:26 am

Remember the moment you realized that your life would never be the same? Was it when you graduated from High School, or college, and realized that you had to be the grown up? Was it when you got married? Had a baby? Signed a mortgage document?

Mine was the moment I realized that I’d been adopted.

By a skunk family.

Here’s the deal. We haven’t seen the skunk (as in visual verification of black and white body) since Monday. MONDAY. This is Saturday. And it’s been snowing (I know) – so I can tell you that I haven’t even seen evidence of the rodent for at least two days.

Do you know what this means? I think I do. I think it means ice chips and an epidural. I think someone’s in labor.

Oh, I want to cry.

Because now I have a crisis of humanity to add to my disgust of the skunk situation. Can I capture a nursing mother?

Oh, bless. (My friend Maura used to say that. Isn’t it cute? I’ve never used it before this moment.)

Part of my crisis is spiritual. Is it RIGHT to steal a mama away from her babies? Isn’t that cruel? Evil, even?

But the other part is practical. Won’t they die without her? And won’t that … stink, come July?

My life is forever changed.

(Thanks a lot, Skunk.)

April 27, 2011

Skunk Watch, Day 4

Filed under: animals,anxiety — becca @ 8:41 am

She’s eating the food, but not springing the trap.

You understand that I can’t talk about it, don’t you?


April 26, 2011

Skunk Watch, Day Three

Filed under: animals,anxiety — becca @ 9:45 am




Here’s how it went down, as well as I can recall it past the memory-altering chemicals I’ve taken to help me forget. (Those chemicals are all derived from butter. This is a G-rated site, remember?)

I called the Animal control peeps at 7:10 in the morning, because remember that over the weekend, their pleasant and polite message told me they’d be in at 7:00? The very  nice police station telephone lady commiserated with me, and told me she’d have them call me as soon as they checked in. Then I drove Kid 1 to school. When I came back home, want to guess who was strolling around my yard, marking territory and snacking on my dandelion greens? Yup. Mama Skunk. I snuck into my garage and closed the door behind me before leaving the car. (Because, duh. I don’t take chances.)

Fast forward five hours or so.

I am not kidding.

I made another call to the AC. The (completely different) lady at the police station telephone desk did not commiserate with me very much. Or at all. In fact, she said, “What is the problem?” and I told her, and she said, “Oh, well, hey. Animal Control doesn’t handle skunks.” Um, what? “Or badgers.” Badgers? Do I sound like a person who needs something else to be afraid of, here?

Side note: Once a deer, having presumably been hit by a car on the road not far behind our house, chose to stagger onto the grassy hill in the church parking lot directly behind our house, where it died. Quietly. But still. Right there. And it was warm. Like, summertime warm. I called Animal Control (this was several years ago) and asked them if they’d very sweetly come on over and collect the deceased before it, well, exploded. (Did you know that a deer can explode? It is less than beautiful, as far as Sights and Scents in Nature are concerned.) The AC people told me, well, actually, ma’am, we don’t do that.

So, what, I’m wondering, does AC actually DO? Dogs and cats, as it happens. Dogs? And cats? Thank you very much, but I think even I could do dogs and cats if it became necessary. I may have begged at this point. I am sure I didn’t shed a tear, but I was on the verge of saying some impolite words. I went slightly confrontational and told the lady that I needed some help. I could not live with a skunk. She had to help me. To which she said, and I quote: “Nobody’s going to come over to your house and catch a skunk. It would spray. And that would smell.”

And… thank you very much.

After what might have appeared to be a stunned silence on my end of the phone, she said she’d try calling someone (an officer, or maybe not) to see if he’d “rent me a cage.” In which I could catch my own skunk. Because nobody was coming to my house to catch it for me. Because, remember? It would spray. And that would, remember? Smell.


Bad word.

Is anyone else getting an image of me, looking like She-Ra, Princess of Power, lifting a caged skunk into the back of my almost-new Honda Pilot? Just wondering.

So I did a little waiting, and a very nice man called. He said I could come on over to the Animal Control office at four o’clock and “lease” a trap, and someone would show me how to use it. And that the trap was built so a skunk, once inside, couldn’t lift its tail to spray. As if that were some kind of sufficient help. I said, “Sir. I have to tell you, this is more than I think I can handle. I am afraid of this thing. I don’t know if I can go out and set a trap for it. And what if I do it wrong? It will be angry. I know it.”

He sighed.

And said, “See you at four o’clock.” And – this part will matter in a minute – gave me the address.

This is a skunk story, not a Very Busy Afternoon story, so I’ll spare you the details of everything I had to do to get to the next important point of the story: I put a big black trash bag in my car and drove toward 635 West Airport Road.

Ha! Ha ha! Ha, ha, ha-ha-ha! That was obviously the AC people’s idea of a little joke, because Airport Road ends at number 535. I kid you not. The road stops, and there is a warehouse squatting there, right in front of my car.

I called the police desk lady once more. And said, “Oh, I’m sorry, but I am having a little trouble finding the shelter, because there is no more road here.” (I refrained form saying any of the multitude of bad words in my head.) She said that I needed to drive off the road onto the gravel track, and follow it around the curve until I found a building. Oh, of COURSE. And then she said, “Who are you?” And I told her. Then she asked me to hold on, because she had to radio over to the AC guy to let him know I was still coming. Because (due to the total lack of roadway) it was now 4:04. I thanked her again. Because, hello? That is who I am.

I stuttered along the gravel track, bouncing and dodging large holes, until I saw a small industrial cinderblock building. There was an “open” sign in the window. Joy. I picked up my checkbook (remember checkbooks?) and my plastic trash bag and walked inside. Where the smell almost knocked me over. The smell of old, and rank, and filth and illness and many, many dogs. All of whom wanted to greet me through the solid, windowless wall separating us. I had to use my Big Voice to be heard by the girl behind the counter. (She didn’t seem bothered by the smell, by the way. I think it was the major hurdle for getting a job there. “Does that smell bother you?” “What smell?” “You’re hired.”)

She had me fill out paperwork and leave a $35 deposit, which will be returned to me if I get the cage back to them within the next ten days. I asked her, what if I don’t catch it within ten days? Do I become the proud owner of an empty skunk cage? She looked surprised, as if nobody had ever asked her that question before. I took that as a good sign. She also assured me that when I catch the little guy, I can just call the office and someone will come pick up the caged skunk. I wept with relief. Then I asked how to bait it. Again, she looked surprised, as if nobody had ever asked her that question before, either. I stopped taking that as a good sign and started wondering if she had actually been interviewed for her job at all. “We could google it,” she said. TRANSLATION: Lady, you can google it when you get out of here.

She fiddled around with the cage until she figured out how to work it, and then handed it to me. All 30 by 18 by 12 inches of rusty metal. With a grated end. For peering at my prize, no doubt. Which, if all goes well, will be the TAIL END OF A SKUNK.

I ran outside to my car. I breathed. A lot of good air. I brought the cage home, listening to the metal creak and slam as I dodged the man-sized potholes in the gravel road. I googled “bait skunk trap” and found a multitude of disgusting suggestions. I opted for the tuna-peanut butter-berry combination.

Which has not worked as of this moment. (Yes. I just went to the window and checked again.) But I don’t know whether to blame the skunkless state of the trap on the bait choice, or on the five new inches of snow on the lawn.

The thing obviously has some kind of skunky brain if it knows that the right thing to do on a late April day with five inches of snow (and counting) is cut your losses and stay in bed all day.

I’ll keep you all informed as to the latest developments. Don’t worry. As if there was any avoiding it now.

April 25, 2011

Skunk-Watch Update

Filed under: animals,anxiety — becca @ 10:04 am

Still there. No stink yet. Learning not to whine (me, not the skunk.)

Called Animal Control again. Maybe they’ll get back with me when they’re done their nap.

I’ll keep you posted.

April 23, 2011


Filed under: animals,anxiety,spring is coming,Where do I live? — becca @ 11:21 am

Okay. Remember that Springtime I’ve been waiting for? It is coming. Coldly, but coming. And it’s bringing with it an unexpected bonus.

That’s right, friends. I have a skunk. It’s decided that it wants to live here. At my home. Behind/beneath my little shed, to be exact. I have a tenant, except it doesn’t pay rent. I guess that means I have a squatter.

I’m a little afraid of my squatter.

Or of ever, ever retrieving my lawnmower. Ever again.

Here’s how it happened. So I was chatting with my cute family in the pre-soccer-game morning, and I looked out the glass door and saw a really fat cat. Or not. I said, “Hey, guys. Look at that. Please don’t bang on the glass, because there’s a skunk traveling through our backyard.” (See what an optimist I am?) I told them this was pretty cool, because all my scientific research points to skunks being nocturnal. (All that research based on me thinking I’ve probably never hit one crossing the road during the day.) We watched it scratch at some dead grassy weeds that grew up a lilac bush, and I said, hey, isn’t that nice, since I’m so bad at weeding that patch. Then we watched it sort of curl the dry weeds under its chin parts and scoot backwards along the line of lilacs. About this point, knowledge started to dawn. The kind of knowledge that says, “if that thing doesn’t reemerge on the other side of your shed, you’ve got some issues on your hands.”

It didn’t reemerge on the other side of the shed. In fact, it twiddled its thumbs for a few seconds and then came back from the same side of the shed, did its little scratch-and-drag dance again, and scooted back to the shed.

NOTE: I’m watching this all from the kitchen and mudroom windows, because it would take some kind of serious to get me outside at this point.

I called animal control. Want to know how that turned out? I got a recording. For the Police Station. Saying, “If you’ve called us during our regular office hours, seven a.m. through seven p.m. Monday through Thursday, we’re either helping someone else or on our lunch break.” 7 to 7? At the police station? Monday through Thursday?

Um, okay. Do you know what I’m dealing with here?

So we just watched some more.

As it rolled its little snuggly bed parts under my shed. And called the moving van over and unloaded its furniture.

And then that other kind of knowledge started to dawn. The kind of knowledge that says, “if it’s spring and that guy is moving in, chances are it’s not a guy at all. Pretty soon you’re going to have a whole skunky family on your hands.”

Oh, goody. I’ve got a pregnant squatter with a loaded gun sleeping under my shed. Kid 4 has named her “El Mustachio Grande.” Because, why not? Welcome, Spring. I’ve been skunked.

(All images from Google. Because if you think I’m going out there and aiming any kind of electronics at that thing, you don’t know me at ALL.)

April 18, 2011

I’m not old. I’m thirty-seven.

Filed under: body image,bookstores,Dads,spring is coming — becca @ 9:48 am

(If the proper accent with which to deliver that title doesn’t come directly to mind, never fear. We can still be friends. It just means I’m … old.)

Is thirty-seven really that old? My Kids think so. They’re quick to reassure me – “You’re cool, Mom.” But it’s the following eye-roll that sort of negates the compliment, you know? My knowledge of obscure eighties music might win me points with some of the Kids’ friends, but it always comes back to “Wow. You’ve been around here a while, haven’t you?”

Yes. Yes I have.

I recently reported that I’m annoyed with my old-lady eyesight. Update on that: I was waiting for Husband to meet me for lunch last week. I went into a bookstore and browsed through a section of biographies and memoirs, which I don’t read enough of these days. I would read a back jacket copy, put the book down, and read another jacket cover. After seven or eight of them, I looked up toward the exit door. And I couldn’t find it. I knew it was roughly that-a-way (the shafts of sunlight were a pretty good clue) but I couldn’t see the door. At all. I stood staring at it for a while, and it gradually came into focus. Whew. I was simultaneously relieved and annoyed. Which is pretty much where I live these days.

And then there’s movies. I love movies, remember that? I love going to the movies. I love watching films at home. I love it. Really. But why is almost everything c-r-a-p now? I think it’s because I’m old. My Dad said once (or maybe a thousand times) that a PG-13 rating translates to “Guaranteed to offend your mother.” Oh, shoot. I’m that mother. But I have to say, as offended as I’m likely to get by a PG-13 rated film, I stay far away from anything R-rated. It’s one of those commitments I made a long, long time ago that has proved itself useful to me. And now that I have teenaged daughters, I am glad I’ve stayed true to my commitment. Glad, that is, until “The King’s Speech” came out. I pounded my fists and whined. I moaned. I may have even cried. I got on every one of those websites for parents that tell you precisely which material you might find objectionable and why. I shook my head at ratings people. I moaned some more. But when it came right down to it, I said, “Here is my choice. It’s a movie that is – by all reports – stunning and uplifting and spirit-building. Except for that one scene. And even then, it’s only language. But there’s the principle of the thing.”



And so I didn’t see it.

UNTIL… the film company re-released it with some comically non-creative dubbing in That One Scene, which brought the rating down to a solid PG-13. (Which, under the circumstances, totally did NOT offend this mother.)

I went. I saw. I cringed for poor Bertie. I shook my head in wonder and awe at Mr. Firth. And Mr. Rush (oh, my). And Ms. Bonham-Carter. I cheered (inside). I adored this story and this film and the acting and the historicity. (I think that is a real word. Even though I might have made it up if it’s not.) I wasn’t even tempted to reach up and pull the camera down to actors’ head-level (like maybe Husband was).

And I was glad I’d seen it. And I was more glad that I’d waited.

Is that a sign of being comfortable in my old skin?

Speaking of my old skin… Oh, must we? No. We needn’t. So let’s move on.

For most days in the past several months I’ve replaced 2 meals with green smoothies. Want to know how much weight I’ve lost?


Not a bit.

It kind of makes a girl crave some caramel popcorn, if you want to know the truth.

Question of the day? How can you tell he’s a King? (If you choose to answer, keep it PG-rated, will you?)

Also it’s raining. Not snowing. And daffodils are coming. I see yellow parts. Yipee.

April 14, 2011

In which I unveil the Secrets to Happiness

Filed under: Uncategorized — becca @ 10:06 am

Here’s what’s working for us right now in the Finding Joy department:

* Say Thank You. Feeling grateful is one quarter-step behind feeling happy. Every time.

* Eat together. Good food. Lots of it. Including lemon desserts. As often as possible.

* Read out loud. Something funny. (Plug for Cuthbert Soup’s excellent sequel, “Another Whole Nother Story.”)

* Make your bed first thing in the morning. Best two minutes spent.

* Sleep in, but just a little. It’s amazing how fun it is to sleep till seven, and then feel like I still have a long, wonderful day to spend however I want. Kids, too. Except maybe seven is too early for a couple of them. It IS Spring Break, after all.

* Walk in the sunshine. Natural vitamin D. And all those other bonuses.

* Watch “Tangled.”

* Listen to happy-making music. Sing along as motivation strikes you.

* Make some goals, then achieve them. Small ones, medium ones, and big ones.

* Know the difference between “goals” and “dreams” – Goals are dependent on you. Things you can accomplish, steps you can take. Really, independent of anyone else. (Write five hundred words, or two thousand. Earn a 4.0 GPA. Walk a mile. Bake a pie.) Dreams, on the other hand, are more about what happens to you: publication, winning an award, getting chosen from your audition, making Academic All State – they’re dreams, and they’re good too. Unless your dream is weird, and you’re trying to talk to that friend from High School that you haven’t seen in over twenty years and she keeps swimming away from you. And for some reason, her hair is green. Spinach green. That’s less good.

Do you have secrets to share?

April 11, 2011

Spring Break! And Things!

Filed under: happiness,Mom,recommendation,spring is coming,word count — becca @ 10:15 am

Hey, friends. Welcome to Spring Break. We are doing all of the following to celebrate a whole week away from school:

Sleeping until seven every morning.

(Except I didn’t quite make it.)

Yep. That’s it. Big dreams, that’s what we’re made of around here.

Want to hear about my Big Date with Husband on Saturday? I thought so. We went to see a play. A musical. (I know. Husband of the Year. Again.) It was an adaptation of A Tale of Two Cities, which is my favorite Dickens novel (what’s yours?). I have me a little crush on the drunken lout Sydney C. What can I say? It’s my weakness for redemption figures. And he was wonderful in this show. The show played on Broadway for a while, then sort of did the Broadway equivalent of going out of print. (Poor little writer.) But it’s been “recalled to life” (get it?) in a run at Salt Lake City’s Hale Center Theatre. The writer/composer Jill Santorelli was there at the performance, sitting in the tech booth (she got an intro and a large ovation), and I wish that I could have gone over and given her a squeeze. But by the time the show ended, I was melted into a sobby puddle (yes, really) and I just sniffled my way to the car. If you care to get your hands on a terrifically moving and powerful song, find Madame LeFarge’s “Out of Sight, Out of Mind.” I wanted to take that woman home with me and reform her (and let her sing at me all day) – she was spectacular. My mom would have loved it. I’m sorry to tell you that  Saturday was closing night. I wish I’d seen the show at the beginning of the run, so everyone who lives within a couple hundred miles could have heeded my invitation and seen it.

It was good, okay?

Then yesterday! Yesterday, our cute friends-who-were-neighbors came for a visit. We ate yumminess and talked for several hours and giggled at their cute children and had pie. Don’t you love reconnecting with friends? Especially the kind who want to move back close? And eat together again and again? And also, pie? Me, too.

WRITING ACCOUNTABILITY TIME: I got more than 1,000 words in this morning before I had to be all done (read: Husband and Kids wanted to TALK to me). I liked my scene. I hope you will, too. Someday. 🙂

The sun is sparkling on the new mountain snow. I have crocuses, and tulips are coming. Nobody goes to school for five whole days. Remember that I love spring? I remember.

Older Posts »

Powered by WordPress