27 September 2009

Elvis has left the building: Meet my nemesis

Meet my nemesis: Tamias minimus.

Yes. You read correctly. Nemesis.

Many of us have one. Heck. Some of us have more than one.

It could be the guy who always gets the last double chocolate doughnut with the sparkly sprinkles on the rack leaving you with the stale unglazed-because-they-forgot-to-ice-them generic-things-that-could-be-better-used-as-hemorrhoids-cushions doughnuts; the woman who, regardless of which store she's in, can always get an eager and helpful sales clerk, while you've an armload of items to try on and the clerk guarding the changerooms is too busy texting her friend to bother unlocking a door for you, or the gal who can always get the cutest pair of shoes in her size, at 60 per cent off regular price because her feet are just so dainty. (Umm...yeah--I'm the one who usually gets the last good doughnut, sales clerks (and waiters) fawn over me and umm...I have teeny feet).

I hear you cooing over the cute, fuzzy wittle woodland cweature above. "How could such an adorable little thing be a nemisis?" you ask.

Trust me. They're only cute and fuzzy when they're in a woodland setting. They are NOT cute and fuzzy when they're running through and hiding in your main floor. When they are running through and hiding in your main floor, they are what I call "vermin."

And while I've not had dealings with this particular chipmunk before, I've lived the main points of this tale before. We have a history.

I had a rotten morning, punctuated by miscommunications and my jumping to conclusions; by noon I was hoping for a do-over. Since I don't have a TARDIS, my next best option was to ponder my stupidity by planting some lovely violet and plum coloured icicle pansies and assess the bunny damage to my plants. The front doors were wide open, so I could traipse in and out as my little bewildered heart pleased.

That's when the little begger decided to stage a home invasion.

Sure...strike when I'm down. I expect that from my enemies.

Admittedly, I didn't notice anything was wrong at first. I cleaned up from playing in the mud continued my contemplative therapies, this time armed with bucket, broom and mild abrasives.

And that's when I saw him...standing all cock-of-the-walk-like on my credenza. Sure he could have been mistaken for a stuffed animal (my little stuffed
Cthulhu does live in the dining room), but really given my B&E history with others of his ilk, I have no desire to keep reminders around.

Insert monosyllabic expletive *here.*

It scampered into hiding, behind the stack of cookery books I have yet to review.

Insert monosyllabic expletive *here.*

There's poo and pee all over the credenza. There's poo and pee all over a shelf I've set up for food photography. A teak shelf. A teak shelf that's now chipmunk pee stained.

Insert monosyllabic expletive *here.*

I clean it up and go into the kitchen. There's poo in several places...including the cat's water dish and my aprons' tails.

Insert monosyllabic expletive *here.*

Darn you, you little cute furry little woodland creature who's out of his element!

I summoned the cats.

The cats did not come.

I went to look for the cats.

Hagia was on in the TV temple, snoozing on the couch. She opened her big pumpkin eyes.

"Hagia. Time to earn your keep. Go stalk and eat the chipmunk."

She closed her big pumpkin eyes and went back to sleep.

Zeus was in the carton behind the fireplace, willing himself to be invisible...or so I think...I couldn't see him.

Insert monosyllabic expletive *here.*

After almost three hours, camped out in the dark, eyes trained on the open kitchen door, ironically quiet as a mouse (well, not so quiet--I was occasionally updating
my Twitter feed about this), the chipmunk exited my condo.

Yes, after a few false starts, Elvis has left the building...

...but not before helping himself to the cats' food and water. The door was closed after him.


I went into the dining room to take a look at whatever damage the critter caused.

I might as well have not cleaned up the dining room after lunch. I'd heard little animals void their bowels while running, to make them lighter, ergo, faster. Apparently chipmunks are poo-propelled as its output rivalled that of a bull moose.

I even found poo in the bowls of my mini muffin tin.

Insert monosyllabic expletive *here.*

A few hours later, my fingers wrinkled from rinse water and the air pungent with bleach and other cleaners, and every surface Elvis obviously touched, ran over or simply looked at was scrubbed within an inch of their anthropomorphic lives, I was in need of a bit of sweet solace.

I've been preoccupied with chocolate chip cookies as of late. It's very much unlike me--to crave chocolate chip cookies, that is. Growing up, My Dear Little Cardamummy baked the occasional batch, but returning to a cookie-perfumed house was not the norm.

My little kitchen must have churned a score or two of chocolate-studded biscuits since the end of August. The main problem being I've misplaced the slip of paper that holds my favourite chocochip cookie recipe. I've tried several recipes and while I've not replicated the *one,* This version by Alton Brown is a step in the right direction.

Unlike most other cookie recipes where you start by creaming butter, sugar and eggs and then add the dry ingredients, this one is put together as you would muffins: sift the dry ingredients together, then mix the wet ingredients, tip the wet into dry, give it a stir and drop onto the prepared sheet.

The number of cookies you get are entirely dependent upon the generosity of your cookie spoon. I used my 1.5 tsp sized spoon and could get about five dozen cookies.

The result are lovely chewy-crisp flat cookies, perfect with a cup of coffee.

Even more perfect after yet another run in with your nemesis.

Chocolate Chip Cookie No. 10
I'm Just Here for More Food by Alton Brown (opens into my Amazon.ca shop)

150g ap flour
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
150g sugar
145g brown sugar
225g salted butter, melted
2 eggs
1tsp vanilla
300g chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 180C/375F; line baking sheets with parchment.

Sift dry ingredients together.

Mix wet ingredients together; Tip into dry and stir until combined. Fold chocolate chips into batter.

Drop by spoonful onto prepared baking sheet, leaving about 2.5 cm between each blob. Bake for 6-9 minutes or until golden brown.


Chipmunk photo credit:
Douglas Haase, via Flickr.

I'm a quill for hire!

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Dharm said...

Insert monosyllabic expletive *here.*

That doesnt sound like fun at all!! I've had trouble with a rat getting into the house before but not as challenging as this little chipmunk fella!!

NKP said...

Oh my! What an ordeal!
I had no idea that chipmunks were poo propelled - I get scared enough when an earwig gets in my door!

Karen Baking Soda said...

Oy! That must have been around the time we were chasing the look-what-the-cat-brought-in mouse.
I made cheese-cake after that but I like your choice of chip-munchies!

creampuff said...

Please don't get mad at me for saying this but this is just about one of the FUNNIEST things I've ever read. I don't mean to laugh at your ... ummm ... predicament. But really. Too funny. Except for the pee/poo part. Bad chipmunk! Baaad chipmunk!

Chuk said...

I don't think cooking with chocolate chips would be my first reaction to having to clean up chipmunk poop. I would lend you my squirrel-killing cat but I think she only likes to kill the baby ones, also, there are logistical difficulties.

Madam Chow said...

My dear Canadian friend who now lives in North Carolina has a squirrel in her backyard. He invaded a bird house and took it over. He delights in tormenting her cats, and my dogs when we come for a visit. Canines and felines are united in their hatred of their nemesis, aptly named, "Fat Bastard."