Thursday, July 23, 2020

The Nine Lives of Totoro

Yesterday, a squirrel completely altered the course of my day.

Not that the day had much direction to begin with. I spent most of the morning working in the garden and then reading. But as I sat with my book on the garden bench, I heard our ceramic Totoro bell give a noisy rattle and saw a squirrel run past it up the walnut tree, leaving it swinging from its stub of a branch.

The squirrel sat in a notch in the tree, unmoving, for several minutes. I knew it was up to something. Sure enough, as I watched, it ran back down the tree, grabbed Totoro (!), and carried it up the tree before freaking out and flinging it from a high limb. Totoro hit the ground and exploded like a grenade.

Something told me to intervene when that squirrel was sitting there mischievously. I should have listened to my instincts.

Totoro has been knocked from his perch many times, and he's even been broken before. Some critter stole his bell clapper, and I fashioned a new one out of a green plastic bead I found on the ground at the cemetery. So he's already been through a lot.

This time, I thought he might be toast.

But because we got him in Shanghai and he's a precious souvenir (not to mention a forest spirit), I walked up to Homebase to buy more Gorilla Glue in an attempt to repair him. (I got a flowerpot for our new rudbeckia as well.) I came home and sat at the dining room table, piecing him together, and voila:

The nine lives of Totoro!

(After I took this photo, I wired him to the tree, hopefully reducing the chances of future squirrel mischief.)

And once again, my fingers are covered with dry scaly patches of Gorilla Glue, which is driving me crazy. I don't know why I can't glue something together without also gluing myself.

(Top photo: A gatekeeper butterfly on ragwort at the cemetery a few days ago.)


Frances said...

What a brave little cat. You did a good job there!

Yorkshire Pudding said...

I know three reasons why you get Gorilla glue on your hands.
1) Utter carelessness
2) Not wearing gloves
3) You are not a gorilla and the stuff is not intended for non-gorilla usage.

Linda Sue said...

4 Lessons to Learn From "My Neighbor Totoro"
Accept change.
Explore nature. . ...
Spend time with your family
It's OK to be sad.
- from the webs, I am so glad you have the patience for glueing him back into his little plump self. I know what you mean and I know the feeling of glued fingers. Annoying! De-solves it sometimes works, and sometimes coconut oil works To move the skin under the glue.
Totoro's adventures! Thank you for binging him back...again.

37paddington said...

Wonderful repair job. Totoro smiling again. I’m reminded of that ceramic repair process where you paint along the cracks in gold to track the repair history and show that though it has been broken it has also been mended and loved.

Andrew said...

Yeah, probably wear tight fitting gloves, the kind you would use for.......

So good to see Totoro back in one piece.

Mary said...

Humpty Dumpty could have used you in his life. Excellent work on Totoro. As for the gorilla glue--well, as they say, no good deed goes unpunished. :(

Michael said...

Squirrels sure can be a pain in the neck. They drive my dog nuts whenever he sees one. Glad you got Totoro back together!

Fresca said...

LOL! I had to laugh at the image of a freaked-out squirrel throwing Totoro out of a tree.
I think you were lucky to see that---wish it'd been on video.

Having said that, poor little Totoro!
What a trooper.
Good for you for repairing what was broken.

Mend and Make Do!

ellen abbott said...

that squirrel really didn't like Totoro. when I'm gluing things like that together I get a toothpick to transfer the glue from the tube to the object. keeps my fingers clean.

Ms. Moon said...

One has to wonder what the squirrel thought he was going to do with your Totoro. Ellen’s advice about the toothpick is a good idea but even when I use that method I end up with glue on my fingers.

Red said...

Great story. Good for you to have the patience to put Totoro back together.

My life so far said...

Bloody cheeky squirrel. I guess they like to screw with people too.

I read you last post and I checked out my old blog name and there it was, even with my name, but alas it was someone else's blog. Apparently there many tired mums in the world.

Sharon said...

Totoro looks as good as new! What mischievous squirrel.
Great butterfly photo and you capture a bee in there too.

Edna B said...

You did a great job fixing Totoro. It looks great. It was smart to wire it to the tree. Squirrels can be so pesky. However, they are fun to watch sometimes. I tried to use the Gorilla glue but I couldn't get it to come out of the tube. You have a wonderful day, hugs, Edna B.

robin andrea said...

Wow! You did a great job fixing Totoro. I wonder what the squirrel was up to and why it wanted Totoro. Mmm?

The Bug said...

The image of the squirrel makes me laugh - ha! I love your determination to keep Totoro in one piece.

Sarah said...

Totoro looks happy to be back together again. Next time you glue something wear vinyl gloves!

jenny_o said...

I think that squirrel was trying his best to tell you something, and that something was not a compliment to your choice of garden ornaments :D He'd probably prefer the edible kind of ornament. (Or she.)

Would a piece of strong tape (think packing tape or duct tape) be enough to pull the glue off your skin? One hopes it would not also take a chunk of your flesh! You did good with Totoro. How many lives does he have left, I wonder?

Ursula said...

Whilst wishing every living creature good luck as to their destiny, I also wish that squirrels (grey) wouldn't swing from one tall sunflower to another, breaking their heads in the process. Red squirrels I may forgive.

Judging by many a thoughtful and gentle comment of yours I have read at a number of blogs and their comment boxes, not least the blog in which I have been made persona non grata may I add to what you said at the latter's last post.

I don't mean to be harsh, just offering a straight point of view.

Being GAY is so old hat. The Parade keeps drawing attention to the fact that gays THINK themselves different. Nay, special. Well, you aren't. You are, as all of us, somewhere on a spectrum. The incessant mentioning of "oooh I am GAY, hit me with your rhythm stick" is tiring. It doesn't help the "cause". Be what you are. Don't, by which I don't mean you personally, Steve, so self conscious of your sexuality. Keep it in the bedroom. Have confidence. Stop talking about closets. Wardrobes are for Narnia Land and children.

The likes of John don't do themselves favours. Just get on with it. Integrate. More importantly, ALLOW yourselves to be integrated. Stop drawing attention to yourselves. The eternal victim. If Oscar Wilde and Quentin Crisp could live with it (the former at penance) then so can anyone else in this day and age.

Stone me later. I need to do the washing up first.


Moving with Mitchell said...

Gorilla Glue is dangerous ... and oh so good. I wish I could find it here! I should try again. Maybe I have a number of repairs to do. YOU are an artist!

Catalyst said...

What you need is a squirrel trap.

Allison said...

I used to often glue my fingers together. Mass quantities of hand lotion will speed up the de-gluing process. Tortoto is looking good, glad he survived to live another day.

Steve Reed said...

Frances: Totoro is very persistent!

YP: Well, I'll dispute reason no. 1, but I concede reason no. 2 and I'll take reason no. 3 as a compliment.

Linda Sue: If you've never seen the movie, you should watch it. It's fantastic.

37P: Yes! Totoro is very "wabi sabi" now!

Andrew: Ha! Do I have any of those gloves handy? Hmmm...

Mary: It's funny you mentioned Humpty Dumpty -- I was thinking about that as I was getting Gorilla Glue all over myself!

Michael: Yeah, Olga too. She can't stand squirrels. Fortunately as she's gotten older she's less likely to take off after them and trample our garden plantings.

Fresca: It was amazing to witness! I'd even thought of making a video, knowing that squirrel was up to something -- but I didn't, and I will never forgive myself.

Ellen: That's a good idea. The problem is when I first open the tube, the glue inevitably gushes out -- apparently it's under some pressure.

Ms Moon: I'm thinking his squirrel instincts and tiny squirrel brain told him it was a piece of fruit.

Red: Squirrels demand the cultivation of patience!

Lilycedar: You mean they archived your blog header on someone else's blog?! I've never heard of THAT happening.

Sharon: Yeah, the bee was a happy accident!

Edna: I actually like our squirrels, as much as I complain about them. They ARE entertaining.

Robin: I think he thought Totoro, hanging from the tree like that, was a piece of fruit.

Bug: You should have seen the way it pitched Totoro off that branch. Quite deliberate, I'd say.

Sarah: Yeah, I should!

Jenny-O: I got most of it off, finally. If I picked at it and developed a loose corner I could peel it away.

Ursula: At the risk of moving that whole conversation here, let me just say that being gay only seems "old hat" to people who aren't gay. To me, it's central to the core of my being. Would you tell a black person that being black is "old hat"? We ARE different, and Pride is our celebration of that. We don't want to be invisible, we just want to be treated equitably -- and happily, that is happening more and more (at least in our Western democracies), largely as a result of our increased visibility a la Pride.

Mitchell: I bet it's available somewhere. I get mine at Homebase, which is a big-box house & garden store. Amazon surely would have it. If not, I'll send you some!

Catalyst: We have way too many to ever trap them. We're in the middle of a squirrel hive, fueled partly by our big walnut tree! Besides, they're just part of the ecology. I don't want to get rid of them, I just want them to behave. LOL

Allison: Good to know! I've managed to get most of it off, but I'll remember that hand-lotion solution for next time. (There will surely be a next time.)

ellen abbott said...

and now we see vividly why Ursula is persona non gratis