My parent's house is on a beautiful lot, right on the water and is covered with oak trees.
And where there are oak trees there are these.
Lots of them.
And my father hates them. Actually, despises is probably a better word.
He says they eat all of his bird seed and they jump on the bird feeders, knocking them over and emptying all of the seed onto the ground.
He doesn't want squirrels - he wants birds.
So he's become a travel agent and he "takes the squirrels camping."
He baits a Have A Heart trap in his yard and then every time he catches a squirrel he relocates it to a park a mile or so from his house.
And he catches a LOT of them. 18 in the past week. 18!
We've all just kind of accepted this as one of Dad's weird quirks but after talking to him this weekend I've decided that the man has gone over the edge.
I asked him how his relocation program was going and he told me that he's started a new thing and then told me to follow him.
We walk around the side of the house, where he stops and points at some stuff.
I see a wash tub, scrub brush and some gloves.
"You're bathing them?" I ask
He shakes his head like I've lost my mind and points to a can of fluorescent orange spray paint.
"Oh My God! You're spray painting them?"
"Just a little dot here and there so I'll know if they come back" he tells me.
I just couldn't think of anything to say at all. Nothing.
A little later my sister and I were talking about it and I asked if she knew about the spray paint.
She says that the other day he took a squirrel to the park but then a little later saw one in the yard that looked just like the one he'd just relocated and somehow that convinced him that as soon as he lets them go they come right back.
From the park - a mile away.
And don't most squirrels look the same?
I asked Dad what he's going to do if he spots one of the painted ones in the yard.
He smiled and said "I'm only taking them camping once. If they come back I'm taking them swimming, like the rats I catch"
The rats he catches don't get to go camping - they go "swimming" instead.
I'm not too worried about any of the squirrels "sleeping with the fishes" because I'm pretty sure they aren't following him home.
At least I hope they aren't.
But I am a little worried about Dad.
Spray painting squirrels isn't exactly normal behavior LOL