“Whoa!!!” I yelled, lifting my legs onto the couch where I was sitting and typing in our new, very old house.
“Eep!” yelled the large, furry creature that was not my dog in the middle of our new, very old living room.
We both froze in some kind of homeowner/wild-animal-in-the-living-room standoff, until I stood up and yelled at it.
“Hey, you furry beast, get out of my new, very old house,” I demanded. “Go back to your den or nest or burrow or wherever you came from.” Obediently the animal turned around and ran out the door that I had left open to get some fresh air into the house.
Note to self: Do not leave the door open when you have a new, very old house near the woods.
It all happened so fast I really had no idea what the thing was. It was bigger than a chipmunk, but it was smaller than a bear. As I hadn’t yet researched which animals lived in the area, I couldn’t figure it out. But whatever it was, it felt comfortable enough to come into my house, uninvited, without even a housewarming gift or a plate of cookies to welcome me to the neighborhood.
Once the house was free of unwanted animals, I decided to take a look on the internet to see if I could figure out what it was. At the very least, if it came back, I’d know what to call it.
“We had a beaver in the house today,” I said to my husband when he got home from work. I showed him the picture I found online.
“What do you mean we had a beaver in the house?”
I told him what had happened and sat back proudly so he could tell me how smart I was for identifying the interloper.
“It wasn’t a beaver,” he said. “There are no beavers in the suburbs. It was probably a woodchuck.”
“It was a beaver,” I insisted. “I found it on the internet, so it has to be true.”
“Did it have a flat tail?”
I thought for a moment. I did not remember a flat tail. Was that a necessary feature to be a beaver? If it had a flat tail, it could have been a platypus, too, although I didn’t remember the beaver having a bill. Plus, platypi only live in Australia, so it would have had to come an awfully long way just to run through my new, very old living room.
I guess it didn’t make much sense that it would be a beaver. There were no bodies of water in my living room and nowhere to build a dam. Of course, it could have been lost, looking for a place to build a dam, which was why it turned up in my living room.
“Umm, maybe it was a muskrat?” I said.
“Honey, I’m pretty sure it was a woodchuck,” he said.
“I’ve seen woodchucks before. This was no woodchuck. It may, however, have been a groundhog.”
“They’re the same thing,” he said.
“Not in my living room they’re not.”
The next day I made sure to keep all the doors closed and opened the windows instead.
“You are not going to believe this,” I said to my husband later that day. “A squirrel flew through one of our windows into the living room.
“Oh, come on,” he said, shaking his head. “Why would a squirrel come in the house?”
“I think It was looking for the platypus.”
Tracy Beckerman is the author of the Amazon Bestseller, “Barking at the Moon: A Story of Life, Love, and Kibble,” available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble online! You can visit her at www.tracybeckerman.com