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This morning, while I was reading in bed, I heard a loud pop outside and the power went off. Erik came into the bedroom and said, “Did you see that?” See what? “There was a flash of light out back before the power went off.” It had come from the direction of the transformer, which sits high on a pole along the alley behind our shed.

We went outside to see what we could see, me in my nightshirt and robe. Erik surmised that a squirrel had hit the transformer. I reached the scene before he did and, sure enough, there was a squirrel on the ground, all stiff and wide-eyed, at the bottom of the pole.

The transformer out back, September 5, 2010.

The transformer out back, September 5, 2010.

The dead squirrel, September 5, 2010.

The dead squirrel, September 5, 2010.

I went back in and called Minnesota Power from my cellphone. (Now that we have our phone service through cable, we can’t use our phones when the electricity goes out.) Minnesota Power has an automated system for reporting power outages. At one point, the male voice asks if you are aware of why the power is out, and I said, “Yes,” but the system didn’t give me a chance to say anything about the squirrel.

Erik thought we ought to leave a sign for the Minnesota Power personnel, so here’s what he whipped up:

Sign for MN Power personnel re: power outage, September 5, 2010.

Sign for MN Power personnel re: power outage, September 5, 2010.

"He completed the circuit," sign for MN Power, Sept. 5, 2010.

"He completed the circuit," sign for MN Power, Sept. 5, 2010.

Hey, we weren’t about to take the blame for the power outage.

Incidentally, a few weeks ago we called the power company because we had vines growing up the pole that were getting scarily close to that transformer. We asked Minnesota Power to come remove the vines precisely so something like this wouldn’t happen.

Silly squirrel. I feel bad for him (her?).

As a friend of ours has often said, “What’s the second smartest mammal on earth, after humans? Squirrels, because they know how to complete a circuit.”

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