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I came home from work Monday night and went through the usual routine.

After greeting Laura I dragged my gym bag to the basement to toss my sweaty stuff in the laundry. I flipped on the laundry room light and two beady, nervous eyes stared back. It’s not every day you see a chipmunk standing on your washing machine.

First reaction: This isn’t a good thing. A rodent by any other name is still a rodent. And this is a rodent.

The chipmunk was staring up at the small window. I was staring at the open washing machine wondering if there was some way I could knock the critter into the drum and close the top. Neither of us got what we were wishing for.

Alvin – let’s call him Alvin – jumped to the floor and disappeared into the labyrinth of basement that unfolds from easy access from the unfinished walls of the laundry room.

I just stood there with wet sweaty shorts and t-shirt in hand, a bit flummoxed as to my next best move.

My first reaction was, well, if Alvin wanted to exit the window then I’ll open the window. That was harder than it sounded.

Laura, I said, we have a problem. After I explained it she agreed and five minutes later, as darkness fell outside, she put forward the very sensible proposition that leaving a window open for a chipmunk to exit may actually make the problem worse if raccoons, skunks, squirrels, a small moose, cougars, turtles, mongoose, wolverines, badgers, Away sales people or federal election candidates see the opening as an invitation to enter.

So, I closed the window and stood in the laundry room with my hands on my hips in a very “I have no clue what to do now” kind of way. I have learned a lot of things in life but catching a chipmunk ain’t on that list.

As my clever son Chris would say, that’s why they invented Google.

When I went up stairs, Laura was way ahead of me and was Googling for a solution. In short: mouse traps.

So, peanut-butter laden mouse traps were deployed. It was too late to call a pest control place (we did that the next day) and  were told we had to wait until Thursday. And we did.

Alvin has not been seen or heard from since. The pest control guy, noting that the creamy peanut butter in the traps was untouched, said Alvin — like Elvis years ago — most certainly had left the building. The pest guy toured the perimeter of the house and caulked a couple small holes and left $90 richer for his 20 minute visit.

Alvin? Well, I suspect either he has a great story to tell the family – a sort of chipmunk version of the bunny journey into Mr. MacGregor’s garden – or he’s just as glad to be clear of the big guy with the smelly shorts as we are to be clear of him.

Godspeed, Alvin.

I haven’t worked out since Tuesday morning, which in my world is a big deal. I came down with Category 7 (on a scale of 10) Man Cold™ and it laid me out like a tuna on a Wedgeport pier.

I stayed home altogether on Thursday. I’m not sure it helped so I went back to work today because I’m a tireless and loyal employee and I have a TV in my office (early Jays game? Really? I had no idea!).

Actually, I’m not gonna lie. I’ll be out of here early today. I want to avoid the post-game GO train chaos that will ensure conveniently at rush hour because of the early start today. And it’s Friday and a long weekend and I still don’t feel 100 per cent.

I am thinking I’m going to try to go back to the gym tomorrow if I can remember where it is, and if I survive that then I’ll be at a peewee hockey game later in the day.

And if I don’t survive it … I’m not sure anyone will notice for a few days.

I will say that I had forgotten what a decadent pleasure it is to sleep until 6a or 615a on weekday mornings. Wow. If not for the Man Cold™ I’d feel great.

– – –

A short word about Thanksgiving.

This is the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend (for some reason I’ve acquired some US readers so I needed to explain that bit) and as usual there’s plenty to be thankful for and about.

For me, it starts and stops with the three people closest to me in the world. We will miss Pad this weekend but he will be at the front of our thoughts as Laura does her thing, Chris eats and sleeps and I take up space. We’re having friends in Sunday night and I’m looking forward to the long weekend.

We are lucky to live in Canada.

I’d encourage people to learn to be thankful for what they have in the moment they have it. You can’t change the past and we’ve all done things we’d like to do over. But you can certainly influence your future by what you do today.

So, be nice. Extend a kindness. Be grateful and remember that everyone has problems big and small, burdens that can crush or burdens that can be overcome with support of friends.

But mostly, just try to be nice. Nice will take care of a lot of the other stuff. Everyone appreciates nice.