Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Attack of the Killer Shrew

What is a shrew?

Before I relive the horrific story of the attack of the killer shrew, I think it important that you get acquainted with the layout of the Camp Gray Office. Please refer to Figure 1.


1. Front Door - The front door of the Camp Gray Office happens to be 1/4 inch shorter than me, which is frustrating (and painful) on days that I forget this fact.

2. The desk of the Camp Gray Administrative Coordinator - This 9 month volunteer position has proven to be a breeding ground for excellence, as a who's who cast of Camp Gray All Stars have manned (or womened) these reigns. In the past 4 years alone, the likes of A.J. Steinbrecher, Andy Miller, Sexy Pat Andera, and Jenna Keller have called the A.C. desk home.

3. "Pee-Wee" - This quaint little desk is home to a Dell laptop from the mid-90's, which most likely has a background picture of a cross country skier. Mo-T and Pat, our co-head cooks, frequent this desk space (and laptop) to order delicious and nutritious food for the thousands of campers that visit Camp each year.

4. Work counter

5. Sharp Arm237 Multifunctional Printer

6. Mail slots for the staff of Camp Gray - My box is usually empty save the occasional card from my mother. (hint, hint)

7. Desk of Camp's Program Director, Sara

8. Desk of Christopher Clyde Aderhold - It's usually a little more disheveled than it appears in this life-like drawing.

9. Desk of one of Camp's co-Director, Rebecca

10. Clock

11. Desk of Camp's other co-Director, Jeff

12. We'll just call this Tricia's Bungalow - In this tiny 8'x11' "office", Tricia handles every single retreat and rental group registration, as well as all 1,330 summer camper applications.

Now that you have an idea of what our office at Camp Gray looks like, we'll continue with the terrifying events of January 15th... Please refer to Figure 2.


1. As is the case on most days, Jenna, our current Administrative Coordinator, was hard at work doing A.C. stuff on this chilly and overcast afternoon.

2. Mo-T was using the afternoon to order delicious and nutritious food.

3. Although I had been busy at my desk TCB (takin' care of business) and jamming to my Pandora radio, I overheard Mo-T and Jenna engaging in some important Camp business, and decided to join the discussion to offer my professional opinion. As I was discussing the aforementioned important information, I glanced to my left and noticed creeping slowly behind Jenna's desk a huge shrew (located at the X), to which I pointed and excitedly exclaimed, "RAT!" (because I thought it was a rat).

4. As panic overtook Jenna and Tricia, Mo-T and I sprung to action, but by this time the shrew had galloped (are horses the only gallopers?) behind the staff mailboxes (which still had no mail from friends). Mo-T just so happened to be holding an arrow from the archery shed (don't ask me why), and immediately she decided the best course of action would be to impale the shrew with the arrow (which I personally felt was Mo-T talking a big game - I mean seriously, who wants to stab a shrew with an arrow?). As the little guy waited patiently for us behind my empty mail slot, we decided to make noise to scare him out, which worked, but then he bolted for the safety of the underbelly of Rebecca's desk (Underbelly? Yeah... don't tell me you saw that one coming).

5. Five marks the spot where Tricia passed out and hit the ground (okay, no one actually passed out. I don't remember why I put the "5" here, so this is your opportunity to make up the most ridiculous side-story of this whole ordeal).

6. As we continued our stomping and scaring strategy, a chair may have been kicked, which then slammed against the desk causing the clock to come crashing from the wall. Yes, it was an intense time in the Camp Gray office.

7. Tricia quickly engaged the "Ketch All Multiple Catch Mouse Trap" (which actually doesn't kill the mouse - it only catches them in the box so they can later be released back into the wild. If you were concerned earlier by the threatening behavior of Mo-T and her questionable arrow, and now have peace of mind because you're relieved to read that we strive to harmlessly eradicate rodents from our buildings, then you should stop reading, exit this blog immediately, and sleep well tonight with the thought that no rodent is harmed at Camp Gray).

If you're still here, please refer to Figure 3...


1. It should be noted that as the shrew was hiding under Rebecca's desk, no doubt contemplating whether or not Mo-T had the guts to actually pierce him with an arrow, Jeff & Rebecca strolled into the office with Andy Denny, their 3.5 week old son. A.D. was sleeping when they entered, and they placed him here as he lay in his baby seat.

2. Not three minutes after the shrew had sought refuge under Rebecca's desk, the rascal decided he liked the prospect of safety in Tricia's Bungalow (or maybe he caught wind of Tricia's secret stash - which is frequently stocked with delicious snacks and candies. I can't tell you where it's located, but I can tell you that it does exist, and it is spectacular - so, no, I don't blame the shrew for putting his neck on the line for this kind of paradise).

3. For whatever reason, the shrew paused here, although there was no cover and therefore no safety. I was able to remove my left boot and heave it at him (which, regardless of what Mo-T tells you, wasn't underhanded), but he scampered behind Tricia's filing cabinet scant seconds before contact. He popped his head out a minute or so later as if to mock me, which gave me an opportunity to redeem my previous boot throw with another (this time with my right boot), but again, his quickness and nimbleness of foot prevailed.

4. Most likely realizing that when you anger Tricia, you anger Mark, the shrew bolted from Tricia's Bungalow, turned on a dime, and dove behind the copy machine.

5. The little guy came to rest under the shelf stocked with colored copy paper, which sits between the copy machine and the work counter - present location of the still sleeping baby.

6. Sensing that safety was toward the front door, our heroic friend made one final dash for freedom, but came to rest here as he quickly remembered that unlike velociraptors, shrews lack the ability to open doors.

7. Wanting to avoid a Mo-T Massacre, I lunged toward the front door and swung it open, hoping beyond hope that the shrew would realize that although it was -20 degrees outside, it would be better for him in the cold than to face Tricia, Mark and Mo-T. I wanted nothing but freedom and safety for our new friend. Obviously fully aware of the sacrifice I was making for him, he nodded at me as if to say "thanks", then jogged around the open door where I quickly pushed open the screen door and then slammed the front door. FREEDOM!

I was thrilled! 20 minutes of hard work and dedication resulted in a shrewless office, a still sleeping baby, and peace of mind knowing that one more shrew would be around to live another day.

That is until Mo-T decided to check on our friend outside. She opened the front door, only to find that when I had swung open the screen door, it recoiled too quickly for our obviously exhausted new friend.

The shrew met his maker on that cold afternoon, not because of an arrow or a trap, but because of an office screen door (it should be noted that the screen door most likely only crippled the shrew, but luckily Jeff finished him off with a large size 12).

Rest in peace, Shrew, Rest in peace.

(This is what happens when I get a day off (MLK) and I spend the afternoon reading and doodling at McDonald's with a d-lish McDonald's Mocha)

See ya next week!

Peace be da journey,



Andy Miller said...

Wow, that was great. I think I might read that every morning just to wake me up. I felt like I was there.

BTW I do feel the need to mention that the AC position goes back even further. It also includes such notorious people as Nick Porter 04-05 and TJ Burke for the Winter and Spring of 04.

Jennamus Prime said...

That was beautiful; I don't think it could be described any other way. I probably made a poor choice to read it while in public at Starbucks b/c I could not contain my laughter...people were staring.

Jenn said...

"I was able to remove my left boot and heave it at him (which, regardless of what Mo-T tells you, wasn't underhanded), but he scampered behind Tricia's filing cabinet scant seconds before contact. He popped his head out a minute or so later as if to mock me, which gave me an opportunity to redeem my previous boot throw with another (this time with my right boot), but again, his quickness and nimbleness of foot prevailed."

well penned, sir. well penned. I haven't laughed that hard in ages. see you in about 2 weeks!