Improving attorney quality of life one complex litigation project at a time

Virtual Paralegalism

The Blog Formerly Known As Practical Paralegalism

Working Girl Wednesday: Critter Control Ain’t in My Job Duties

Working Girl Wednesday: Critter Control Ain’t in My Job Duties

I’m a longtime paralegal. I like to think I function well under pressure, and that I can handle pretty much anything thrown at me in a fast-paced litigation practice. I’ve always been proud of my ability to solve problems and think on my feet in emergencies.

But recently, I’ve had reason to be less proud.

It’s All Sinbad’s Fault

Late last Saturday night, the hubby and I were enjoying some rare down time with the big screen television all to ourselves. For almost an hour, we’d been laughing our rear ends off to one of Sinbad’s routines on Comedy Central. I was in total agreement with him not to let your grown children move back home.

Life was good until my husband said, “Don’t look, honey. The Cat brought us a present. I’ll take care of it. Just don’t look.”

My husband knows I hate dead things – and am not overly fond of The Cat, either.

I still couldn’t resist taking a peek from the safety of the love seat.

I peeked enough to see a very long rubbery tail, and hit the panic button, assuming The Cat had gifted us with a loathsome and large Winston-Salem City Rat. As a shiver of revulsion scurried down my spine, my husband approached, trying his best to reassure me, “Honey, I’ll take care of it. Don’t worry…I think it’s dead.”

But by that time I had seen enough to know that a good-sized possum was attached to the long rubbery tail, and despite suffering from laryngitis for several days, found that my Inner Operatic Shriek still worked perfectly fine.

While no wildlife expert, I knew enough to raggedly scream at my poor husband, “It’s PLAYIN‘ DEAD! ‘Cause that’s what possums DO!!!!!”

Which caused said possum to miraculously revive like Larazus from the tomb, and streak across the living room to the safety of the sofa underworld.

Which caused said paralegal to scramble over the back of the love seat to put on her rubber galoshes and grab a broom – because the other factoid she retained about possums is that they are excellent climbers.

Get Your Own Broom

In defense of my emergency problem-solving skills, I want to add that I also grabbed the dogs and The Cat to shut them safely away in bathrooms and bedrooms, and blocked off every exit from the living room – except the outside patio doors – with sofa pillows and laundry baskets.

My husband and I then intensely analyzed the situation, using the nice flashlight I got as a speaker gift from the North Carolina Bar Association to pinpoint the possum’s exact location under the sofa. The Cat was not the culprit. The critter was not hurt. It likely walked in the open patio doors on its own four legs and involuntarily became comatose when it heard people shouting with laughter because Sinbad is so dang funny. I helpfully offered that I’d be spending the night in a hotel if the possum stayed. I promised to try not to scream again.

I did think of getting a vendor to do this specialty work, and called Critter Control, listed in the Yellow Pages as a “humane” remover of pests from your home, only to get a recorded slow Southern drawl announcing, “This is Robert from Critter Control. I am sorry that I cannot assist you right now, but I am in the field. Please leave a message.”

Clearly, it was a hoppin’ Saturday night for the critters, which left my husband and me on our own. We learned later that we didn’t follow the recommended possum removal process (using cat food to lure the unwelcome varmint into a trash can tipped on its side). After we upended the sofa, the thoroughly traumatized possum did a fabulous job of continuing to look like it had been dead for hours. My husband used a broom (not the one I refused to let go of) to gently but firmly roll it (think Olympic curling) out the back door. It remained unmoving, except for an occasional ear twitch, for another 45 minutes before miraculously reviving again and beating a hasty retreat.

It’s important to learn from your traumatic experiences, right?

I learned that possums are a lot cuter at The Nature Science Center than in your living room, and not to leave the patio doors open at night.

3 Responses to Working Girl Wednesday: Critter Control Ain’t in My Job Duties

  1. I have to admit that even my husband and I laughed hysterically for about 90 seconds after I shrieked my pearls of wisdom about possums playin' dead, before we had the "intense discussion" (read "big argument") about how to remove it. I waved the broom around menacingly the whole time…:P

Contact Info:

Lynne J. DeVenny, N.C. State Bar Certified Paralegal

Owner & Virtual Paralegal, DeVenny Paralegal Services

Email: lynne.devenny[at]

Telephone: 336-582-0003

Inquiries are welcome, with free quotes available.

Meet Lynne:

Lynne DeVenny is a North Carolina State Bar Certified Paralegal with over 27 years of experience working on complex litigation cases, including medical malpractice, personal injury, workers’ compensation, and Social Security disability.

Disclosure: I am not a lawyer and cannot provide legal representation or legal advice.

Website design by T.Marie Hilton-Girly Girl Geek Designs