I'd actually managed to resist coming back here to check to make sure everything was okay during my days off, so of course I had visions of fires and floods running through my head as I opened the door.
No water on the floor, no sign of fire damage, so that was good. But as I entered I noticed a lot of stuff all over the floor, menus, pens, cups...that kind of stuff, and my first thought was that we'd been burglarized.
But the register and other obvious targets for thieves were untouched. There were these plastic shavings everywhere, and as I looked around I found a jar of Nutella in the floor drain that had it's lid gnawed clean through by something. And just as I started to say "what the..." out loud, something furry whizzed by my head.
It was scampering around up in the vent hood above the hot line, so I went around and opened all the doors and grabbed a broomstick with which to politely suggest that Mr. Squirrel go find another place to squat.
It became evident how the squirrel had gotten in as I tried to move him out. The lip under the front edge of the hood funnels air from outside up into the canopy to prevent the powerful fan from sucking out all the air from the dining area, and the squirrel had somehow gotten into the air intake on the side of the building, crawled through the vent tunnel, and come out the other side with a fierce craving for Nutella.
After a few good swipes with the broom, he seemed agreeable to the idea of going back the way he came. I heard him running around up in the ceiling for a minute, and then appeared to head out, although I didn't actually see him on the outside.
All day, of course, I've been listening to see if he comes back or emerges from some hiding place, but he's either gone or is a really quiet hider. I stuck the broom handle all the way up into the vent and set the flashlight nearby at the ready, but never got the chance to use it.
(Sadly I didn't have the presence of mind to take some cell phone pictures while doing battle with the varmint, and I half hoped he'd return just so I could snap a couple shots for this post. But I'm glad he didn't return.)
...my enemy is a varmint. And a varmint will never quit - ever. They're like the Viet Cong - Varmint Cong. So you have to fall back on superior intelligence and superior firepower. And that's all she wrote. -- Carl Spackler
Off to Home Depot for some chickenwire or something to put over the air intake.
At least it wasn't a fire or flood! Thanks for reading. Happy New Year.