Urgency has a way of turning into an emergency unless one is very careful. From time to time we all become slaves to the tyranny of the urgent no matter how hard we prepare of how meticulous we are in our maintenance. This almost happened a few weeks ago when Cathy opened the water hydrant at the gazebo where our well pump is located. We only use it for washing the cars, but when you need it you need it—and with soap drying rock hard by the second she needed it. The only problem was nothing came out—not one drop.
I checked the electrical breaker and it was on. I cut the power and sanded the points thinking they might have been stuck due to a build up of moisture—still nothing. The green light was glowing on the safety switch but no water was coming out. I was quickly coming to the end of my well pump expertise. That’s when I noticed something unusual. The electrical wire running from the pump to the pressure switch appeared melted or at least that’s what I thought from my horizontal position peering in through the lattice work.
What I thought would be a simple job was now turning into a chore. The only way to get at the wire was to remove some of the gazebo flooring located just above the wire. I backed the screws out of the flooring, peered down into the hole, and found the problem. The wiring had not melted, it had been eaten. Eaten—yes, you heard me. I could not believe my eyes. In fact, I rubbed them several times and pinched myself hoping this was all a bad dream. It wasn’t.
The 220 volt electrical wire once covered in red, black, and yellow insulation was no longer covered—it had been meticulously gnawed off. That’s right—gnawed—bitten off bite after bite. What I saw was certain death by electrocution awaiting the unlucky soul who unwittingly put his hand in the wrong place. I immediately turned the power off and got a closer look. It seems a ravenous squirrel or vicious tribe of ravenous squirrels had attacked, devoured, and decimated the electrical system my well pump was dependant on for power. I believe it was a conspiracy especially contrived to drive me crazy since these hairy long-tailed deviants had to crawl over some of the most succulent acorns available this side of the Blue Ridge Mountains to get a mouthful of plastic insulation. After a few moments of screaming incoherent phrases and curses (their meaning known only to me, God, and a few mocking birds who stopped by to make fun of the human standing on his head screaming), I began looking with anticipation for the electrocuted carcass of the hairy little culprit who had munched and crunched himself hopefully to an eternity in squirrel hell. Incredibly, I did not find him.
To make a long story short, I was forced to buy new wire, install it, case it in conduit, and make the lattice work along the bottom of my gazebo rodent proof with the help of my wife, a stapler, and a roll of hardware wire. I’m probably leaving out the most exciting part of the story, but some things are better left to the imagination and certainly unwritten.
At the end of the day, power was restored and water again flowed freely from one hundred feet below the surface of the ground I call home. And—I now have a deep seething hatred for squirrel’s which I consider to be nothing more than rats with long furry tales. I no longer find any joy watching them scurry across my yard or traverse the limbs of my trees like acrobats in Circus Solé. Instead I find myself praying for hordes of hawks to blacken the sky in a squirrel feeding frenzy or frantically looking for my shotgun with an intense desire to help as many of my furry friends on an all expense paid permanent vacation to a luxury accommodation smack dab in the center of a cruise ship captained by Satan which will ultimately dock in fiery Gehenna.
I know—I know—you need to let it go Nelson and I have (somewhat), but you must understand that little detour into the abyss of squirrel hell took a day and a half of time I did not have the luxury of giving up. With the stress it created added in, it took another week off my otherwise ever shortening life span. I’m trying to let it go. Yes, life is unexpected. You never know what might happen next and the most unexpected usually does—that’s just life. You can adequately prepare, but you cannot always anticipate what will come next. Most of the things we encounter are out of our control anyway—whether it’s a doctor’s visit, a drive to the store, or the wiring on a well pump. You do the best you can and leave everything else in the hands of God. Now some may think that’s fatalistic—I think it’s biblical. In fact, I think that’s what faith is all about—trusting God for everything. You may think I have a bad case of squirrel fever, but really I’m just learning a new lesson in faith.