Several of the inhabitants of Chinchilla Towers made a bid for freedom today.
I had answered a call from work and wandered outside. As I listened to G_____, I noticed a rather bedraggled chinchilla curled up asleep (upright) under the barbecue. It took me a moment to realise what I was looking at and then it was all I could do not to yell, “OMFG!” and leap for her. If I had, she’d have legged it and I would never have found her.
Goodness knows how but I calmly finished the call and approached like a ninja. Before she realised that I was there, I had scooped her up with one hand and was holding her cold, wet little form close to my heart. I took her up to Mr PinQ, who had been sleeping after a long night at work.
When I went back down to put her away, I noticed that a length of ship lap had come loose at the back of the Towers, had a look ’round the back and spotted the other chinchilla and a rabbit. Trust the boys to be wussy and hide behind the Towers and our tiniest girl to have had the courage to explore the garden!
That was it, no more sleeps for Mr PinQ. I blocked off the top two floors once the other bunny and the male guinea pig were accounted for, removed the offending ship lap from behind the Towers and crawled into the opening of the first floor. At that point I was grateful for two things: 1 – Chinchilla Towers was sturdy enough to take my diminishing weight (which is still somewhat significant) and 2 – There are enough floors to make sure that the fur-babies could be locked onto two and still have enough room not to get on each others’ nerves.
I’d grabbed the cheeky chinchilla first and put him upstairs with his little girl before the rescue attempt for Rocky the Rabbit. Mr PinQ encouraged him to come closer to me with a broom handle – no he didn’t poke him! I grabbed him, hoicked him up and held him close. He was freezing cold, drenched and very, very smelly. A warm shower and a couple of thick towels sorted that problem out and lots of cuddles followed.
All were then removed from the Towers and given the run of the stairs and landing whilst the repairs took place. We tried for over an hour to move the construct forwards to give me the room to get behind and work on the errant ship lap but to no avail. It’s funny, just last night I had been thinking that the only way that was going to move was if a crane was involved…
In the end, we gave in, having tried brute strength and putting tracks under the frame. We headed to the timber yard, bought some brackets and I crawled into each floor and secured all of the planks from inside. I could see where the ship lap had given way. The little terrors had had a bit of a chew, exploited one of the planks that was pinned, rather than screwed into place and just heaved! All of our efforts were watched in fascinated silence by the female guineas from their plush little pad across the way.
It got emotional, I was breathing in sawdust, hay, pollen and rabbit poo, trying to move and fit brackets with tiny screws in a very small space and in absolute agony. Mr PinQ is so big in the shoulder that it had to be me. I was exhausted.
However, job done, fur-babies back home in their nice, warm apartment block with fresh hay, fresh food and fresh water. Now I just have to learn to stand up and walk again :-/