The impossible happened recently. At least we always thought it was near impossible as I’m sure most people would if faced with the task.

We decided to clean the garage out. Now this isn’t just straighten up the tools and get rid of a few odds and ends. No this was 40 some years worth of Mom saying, “Put this box out in the garage for now,” or Dad keeping old garden tools. Or my boxes of paperback books or my brother’s old tires from a car he got rid of a long time ago.

There were boxes below and boxes above. There were push sweepers, powered string trimmers, chairs and more chairs.

Upon opening the garage door we’d often think “We need to get this garage cleaned out” but then glancing around the task seemed so overwhelming that it was near impossible and so life would go on. But recently with the help of my brother, sister-in-law and nephew we were able to make a large dent in the project.

A dumpster was set in the driveway the day before we were to begin. Jim was very optimistic thinking that it would A. all fit in one dumpster and B. that we would accomplish the entire task in one day. He had forgotten one key fact – Dad is an excellent packer. He can stack stuff so that there is room for more, and more, and still more.

We filled the dumpster by lunchtime without any problem. Turning around and surveying the garage it was as if we’d been at a standstill. The upper storage area had not been touched and we’d already begun to pile up items for a second dumpster. But we were not discouraged. We looked at the upper portion of the garage and decided on a plan. We’d move everything from there to the main floor so that when we had the second dumpster delivered, we’d just have to move the boxes one last time.

The upper portion of the garage is just a storage area; no steps access this area that covers not quite half the garage. We would need a stepladder to reach it. My nephew was elected as the one to stand on the upper deck (him being the youngest and most limber) and my brother stood on the ladder. My sister-in-law and I waited below for items to be handed down to us. We’d then decide – dumpster pile or donation/sale pile.

We were moving along, with more than half the upper deck cleared when everything came to a standstill. My nephew who had been walking towards the next box he would hand to his dad, suddenly stepped back quickly and kept moving back. Then I hear him say, “That’s it. I’m done,” as he moves towards the ladder.

Something had jumped out of one of the cardboard boxes, as he was moving towards it. What was it?

Was it a mouse? we asked. No. Was it a bat? No.

So what was it? A squirrel.

“Was it a red squirrel or a gray squirrel?” I asked. It didn’t really matter but I was curious as we used to see red squirrels around the yard.

“I don’t know,” was the answer. “I just know it had a bushy tail.”

Yep, it was the deadly gray squirrel – the terror of garage cleaners everywhere. I’m assuming it was gray simply because the little red squirrels that once visited the back yard had fairly skimpy tails.

The squirrel, of course, was likely just as scared. We’d been in the garage since early morning moving stuff and talking so when things began moving on the upper floor I’m sure that poor squirrel likely was hoping to hide from whatever was causing all the comotion. But the comotion kept getting closer and closer so it was ready to run as soon as it realized something was approaching its home in the cardboard box.

After some good nature kidding, we resumed our work, this time with my brother on the upper floor and my nephew on the ladder. We were moving along when my nephew went to adjust a box to get a better grip on it before lowering it down to his mother and I. He slowly angled the side of the box toward himself and before he knew it he had two beady eyes looking at him. Well, that little mouse must have been just as startled as it clung for dear life to the outside of that box.

Everything happened so quickly. The mouse jumped on my nephew’s hand, which my nephew than shook and the mouse went airborne towards a corner on the main level of the garage. Where he went after that, we never knew.

To my nephew’s credit, he didn’t fall off the ladder nor did he drop the box. But he was quick to hand the box off to my sister-in-law and I and to climb down the ladder.

“Just give me 15... or 20 minutes,” he said, as he moved outside to stand in the driveway.

Several deep breaths, a few sips of water and 15 minutes later we were able to get back in gear and move the few remaining boxes from the upper level.

For Dad and I it was an impossible looking task that is nearly completed. We have a pile of items ready to fill the next dumpster. For my nephew it was likely a slightly traumatizing experience what with “deadly squirrels” and an “attacking mouse.”

I wonder if I can get him to help us clean out the basement or the attic? Hmm...I may have to bribe him with sugar cookies or maybe, pizza.

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