Sunday, June 13, 2021

Life & Style

Nature Makes a House Call

Thank God birthdays only come once a year.

The day of my birthday dawns, sun bright and spring warm. An auspicious beginning. I don’t bother to read my horoscope to tell me what will happen during the day. I don’t believe in horoscopes. I just know that there will be cake and that’s enough.

I step out of my apartment into the sunlight, a change from the almost constant rain we’ve had. And then I realize something is wrong. First, I smell it. Not good. Then I see it. Even worse.

How can I put this politely? All I can tell you is that I’m standing there with soft sunshine caressing my face and I’m thinking, Is there suddenly a wildebeest here on the Connecticut shoreline? An elephant? Do dragons actually exist and did one relieve itself here on my deck?

Everything about this is wrong. The stairs to my deck are steep like Mount Everest. I’m wondering how this rude creature managed to get up them. Why has it left me this nasty present? How did it know it’s my birthday?

At least I know this was not produced by a human. I’m sure I have my fair share of enemies as everyone does, but no human being eats that much grass.

The worst thing is, I’m running late and can’t even clean it up. So, it’ll have to remain on my deck and bake in the day’s sun until I’m home from work. I’m not overly neat by any stretch, but leaving this here the entire day is distressing. I can’t even leave dishes in my sink when I leave the house.

When I get home that evening, I take a picture of it so that I can send it to a local wildlife expert. I want to know what did this. I’m a little spooked by the fact that some sort of wild thing with an overactive colon took it upon itself to climb all the way up into my personal space and make this revolting deposit.

I have to remove it with a snow shovel. I use half a roll of paper towels and half a bottle of Lysol to scrub up the residual stain. Then, after crop dusting the entire deck with disinfectant, I head to a local restaurant for food and a birthday libation. I deserve it.

The next day I receive an answer from the wildlife expert. He says that due to the size, color, shape, and “taper” of the object, he’s able to identify the culprit. Okay, this is where the six-year-old in me comes out. It’s that word: taper. I start to giggle.

Let the six-year-old in you out. Taper.

Okay, we can move on now.

I feel a sense of relief when I read that it must have been a coyote. Not a bear. Not a mountain lion. Not a dragon. This makes sense. A coyote not only would have been able to climb my breakneck staircase, it also may have smelled that there is a cat up there. I keep Wolfgang indoors at all times, but coyotes have a strong sense of smell. So perhaps it came up there looking for a kitty meal. All I know is that coyote must have been one healthy eater.

The next week my sister-in-law and niece are visiting while looking at colleges. After hearing the story of my unwanted birthday present, they want to see the picture. I pull out my phone and pull up the image. The shrieking and exclaiming goes on for at least five minutes.

My niece is into astrology and looks up what my horoscope was for that day. As I said, I’m not a believer in astrology. It usually sounds like a bunch of unrelated nonsense that doesn’t apply to anything. But this time, I have to wonder. There’s one line in particular that gets me: “It is time to take ownership of your crap.”

Now ain’t that the truth?

Juliana Gribbins is a writer who believes that absurdity is the spice of life. Her book Date Expectations is winner of the 2017 Independent Press Awards, Humor Category and winner of the 2016 IPPY silver medal for humor. Write to her at Read more of her columns at

Juliana Gribbins is the Columnist for Zip06. Email Juliana at .

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