Work is usually predictable. Every day, I sit at my desk writing op-eds, creating media lists and pitching story ideas to journalists for clients. So lots of typing, staring at a computer screen and talking on the phone. I can pretty much expect this every day I go into the office.
One day, my boss goes out for a lunch meeting – nothing unusual there. He, his wife, and I work from their office at home, so he every time he has a meeting in town its a couple hours before we see him again.
About an hour passes and I go downstairs to their kitchen to heat up my own lunch. I’ve got my little microwavable chicken pot pie in one hand and the fork I brought from home in the other. As I reach the bottom of the stairs and turn to make the left into their kitchen, I notice a white and orange cat laying on their dining room floor.
I pause and look at the cat. It looks back very confidently – like it belongs. Naturally, as a lover of all furry creatures, I consider going over to pet it. And innocently enough, I think, “Hmm. That’s funny. The boss didn’t tell me he got a cat.”
But I smile and brush it off. Probably just slipped his mind.
So I take a tentative step towards the cat – I didn’t want to scare it away. I also didn’t want to barge in on my boss’s wife, who sometimes works in the dining room. Oh hey, hi, sorry. I don’t normally wander through the rooms of your house. Just trying to pet the new cat. [Cue awkward, nervous laugh.]
Then a brown, bushy tailed creature zips by. And the cat gets up to chase after it.
My jaw drops.
At first, I am in denial about the whole thing. There is just no possible way in hell that I actually saw a squirrel run through my boss’s house. I must have been delirious and in dire need of a cup of coffee. But…
The cat saw it, too. I didn’t imagine that.
Armed with nothing but my chicken pot pie and fork, I tiptoe into the dining room. I don’t hear any animal noises, but I’m still afraid I’m gonna walk in on a vicious fight.
The cat is flicking its tail back n’ forth in a I’m-winding-up-my predatory-butt-to-come-eat-you kind of way.
And the squirrel is making scary come-at-me-bro noises. And I’m like…
WHY ARE THERE WOODLAND CREATURES IN MY BOSS’S HOUSE?!!
Backing away, a little bit in shock, I go look for my boss’s wife to break the news to her.
Luckily, I find her pretty quickly out on the back patio. Her back’s to me and she’s typing away on her laptop. I open the door and say her name timidly.
“Yes?” she replies, almost a little sternly. I’ve obviously interrupted her.
“Did you know there’s a cat and a squirrel in your house?”
She whips around. “WHAT?!!!”
“Yeah…They’re in the dining room.”
It’s not every day that you can say you chased a squirrel out of your boss’s house. And a cat. Yeah, the cat didn’t belong either. Both wandered in when the gardener left the basement door open.
With a little bit of team work and amateur herding skills, my boss’s wife and I got both animals out of the house. Everyone, humans included, escaped the situation unscathed.
My boss was pretty amused to hear about it, too, when he got back from his lunch meeting. For a moment, I considered asking him, Can I put “Squirrel Herder” on my resume?