Life is an adventure: MNatti in NZ

Thursday, April 17, 2008

An anecdote- It rained Tuesday. It rained HARD. It rained REALLY hard. I went to work.... I got wet. I got REALLY wet. We WOULD have gone home.... but we were called out on an emergancy tree job. Ah, the old "tree on a house" routine! Ok, so with 6 guys working, 6 BIG chainsaws and a 22" chipper with a mounted hydrolic winch... we thankfully slammed out the work in short order. We were back at the workshop by 10:30am (all 6 of us looking like drowned rats dipped in sawdust!). The rest of the day was cancelled.
So, pouring rain and no work for the day.... what to do? Rock climbing, of course! I was (somewhat understandably) only able to talk one of my friends into a climbing mission (and Ryan is about as loopy as I am, so it didn't take a lot of convincing). We met at our new crag at the Mangaokewa reserve. Why? To see if our hopes that this crag was weather proof could actually be true. After a 5 minute run up the track (in full rain gear), we entered the main climbing area..... we took off our coats, our rain pants, poured ourselves a hot coffee out of the thermos and smiled. The rock (and everything under the 15 foot long roof of limestone 50 feet above our heads) was dry. We could actually walk around and had our choice of 15 routes to climb on (though a few did have wet spots here and there). Not too shabby.

Another anecdote- Ok, so the weather report was for another full day of BAD weather. So what do you do? You call work and tell them that unless they REALLY need you, you are going to take another day off for rock climbing (the bosses were beginning to think I was a bit nuts at this stage!). I had no camping gear with me, so I headed back to Ryan's for the evening (quite convinient as that MY home is 1 1/2 hours from the crag and his is only 10 minutes). We had a few beers and a pizza. We watched climbing videos. He went to bed and I sprawled out on the couch and read (looked at the pictures) of a climbing magazine until I dozzed off.
Here comes the REAL story.
I was woken up around 2am by strange noises in Ryan's kitchen. He had, earlier in the evening, told me about a possum that had been sneaking into his house recently. So... there it was, eating the fruit in his fruit bowl!
Now, as you may have read in earlier entries.... Possums are cute, Austalian marsupials which were imported into NZ a long time ago, for a reason tha no one really agrees on. The problem with Possums in NZ is that they have NO predetors, BIG appetites and a VERY high rate of reproduction. Their prefered food sourse is NZ native bush.... which takes AGES to grow. It is possible for one possum to do enough damage to a single 500 year old native tree in 3 nights of "grazing" to completely kill it. That being said.... when in NZ, the only Good possum is a DEAD possum.

And so we return to the fruit bowl..... I bet you have an idea where this story may be heading!

I leaped of the couch and dove into the kitchen. As that I wasn't sure of where the light switch was but I definitely knew where the fruit bowl was. As my night vision got better, I charged the table and grabbed for the possum! I only managed to grab his tail... and he did not want to stick around long enough for me to get a better grip.... so with a quick burst of energy and a little less fur on his tail....out the door he went! Victory was mine! I curled back up on the couch and dozed off.... dreaming of their little red eyes, trapped in my headlights.

Not long after.... I woke up again. Shuffle, shuffle. Sniff, sniff. Shuffle, sniff, shuffle. Ok.... I missed last time, but now he's back. SWEET! I'll just wait here, on the couch, until I hear him on the table again. Shuffle, sniff. He sounds close... I have to be ready.... shuffle.... any minute now.... sniff, sniff...


That's right folks. I was maliciously attacted by a possum and lived to tell the tail. There I was, lying on the couch, waiting for the opertunity to attack.... and that damm possum snuck up on me and bit my big toe.
It was on. No more mister nice guy! No Australian, fruit stealing, tree murdering furball makes me bleed my own blood and gets away with it! I jumped off the couch, grabbed a blanket and ran around the house for a good 10 minutes... chasing the possum and trying to catch it in the blanket (they, apparently, DO have teeth!). After a few close calls, I managed to get the little bugger cornered and covered and so I brought the writhing blanket outside. It was time for the death blow! I held the blanket over my head and started to swing. My plan was to generate a good amount of speed before smashing the little toe biting demon into the ground (sorry about the blanket Ryan!). Sadly (though perhaps a better ending overall), just before the final swing.... the edge of the blanket released. The possum (already quite dizzy, I'm sure) took flight. I don't actually know what happened to it, as that there was no trace of it the next day..... but oh, did it fly. Although squished possum in a blanket seemed an ideal scenerio at the time.... in hind sight, the thought of launching some poor possum through space to some unknown fate is actually quite a bit more entertaining.

So that was my day off. Hope you have better luck with YOUR days off! Loves ya all.


At 11:57 AM, Blogger NateG said...

I think you've developed a new sport....Opossum Tossing. Can't tell you how many of those buggers I've caught in Hav-A-Heart traps over the years. Remember the skunk we caught when we were kids?

Nate G.


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