The Little Woman can become easily obsessed, especially when it comes to anything that involves the south 40 of the Ponderosa -- a.k.a our backyard.
During the past couple of years I have chronicled our bouts with near-sighted squirrels, crazed woodpeckers, hefty ground hogs and other fur-bearing brethren of the neighborhood we moved into a couple of years ago.
My motto is usually, "If they're not bothering me, I'm not going to bother them." The animals were there long before us, and as long as there is no squirrel or rogue redbird in my mancave trying to steal a chilled Zinger or Hostess cupcake, I could care less what they do.
The way I see it, the outdoors is the animals' own personal mancave, and as long as they don't tread on my own personal mancave I wish them the best.
Not so with the Little Woman. There are times I think she goes out of her way to start trouble with the animal kingdom.
Our -- and by "our" I mean "her" -- latest battle is with a chipmunk. She is convinced a particular chipmunk is going to reduce our happy home to mere rubble. I don't even try and tell her this obsession is beginning to border on the Robert DeNiro character in "Taxi Driver."
The Little Woman is convinced the chipmunk is tunneling under our garage and will ultimately damage the foundation, which would ultimately cause the garage to cave in, which would ultimately pull the rest of the house with it. And there we would all be, living in one huge sinkhole.
In my esteemed opinion, being the veteran of the outdoors that I am, I would think this whole process the Little Woman has outlined in her head doesn't have much of a chance of materializing, at least in our lifetime. It's one of those nature things that would take like 7 million years to actually come together. And I won't be around then, so I really don't care.
What I do care about is the Little Woman and her desire to catch -- and by "catch" I mean "kill" -- the chipmunk. She has plugged his hole in the ground by the garage with this foamy type of material, she has filled it in with dirt and she has placed rocks and other stone blocks atop it to try and prevent his entrance.
So what happened? He digs a new hole, simply to torment her, I'm sure.
Her latest attempt to "catch" the little critter was by placing a bucket of water near the hole, with a small board leaning at a 45-degree angle against it. Sprinkled on the ground were sunflower seeds. There were more sunflower seeds inside the bucket, which also included a few gallons of water. Her hope was to entice the chipmunk up the ramp and into the water (seeking more sunflower seeds) where he would meet his demise in Davy Jones' locker.
She read about this process in Field and Stream magazine or some similar publication as a way to get rid of an unwanted chipmunk. But let's just say it didn't work. The squirrels, who are bigger than the chipmunk(s), bullied their way to the sunflower seeds, then would knock over the bucket of water to get at the rest of them -- without drowning.
My wife also stopped feeding the birds, because as we all know, bird seed also attracts varmints like chipmunks. So not only did we have the chipmunk to deal with, but a couple of dozen irritated birds who longer were getting free handouts.
After months of these kind of things, I believe the score was: Chipmunk 33, Little Woman 0. Much to my own relief, at this point I was able to convince her to give up this quest. The garage was still standing, so was the house. Let bygones be bygones and let the chipmunk roam free.
For several weeks, peace reigned across the south 40.
And then the Little Woman's brother, a friendly chap named Dan, dropped by the Ponderosa. As we were all standing in the garage talking, he looked down at the concrete floor and said to no one in particular, "Is that a crack?"
At that very moment, I didn't even have to look at my wife. I simply walked to the back door that opens to the backyard, stuck my head outside and hoped the chipmunk could hear me.
"Run!!!" I yelled, hoping the little guy would be smart enough to move his home base and make my life a little easier.