Two Mysteries: Houdini Squirrel and Every Word

Mystery 1:
Today was car-tire(s)-buying day. Yuck. So, as I’m talking on the phone with the guy at the tire store, I opened the kitchen door that leads to the screened in porch. A gray blur ran by. Ummm, not good.

I walked gingerly out onto the porch and I saw it. And, it saw me. A squirrel. Mr. Squirrel began frantically running around my porch, scaling the screens and in general, FREAKING OUT! I slammed the door, told the tire guy I’d have to call him back and hung up. It was a squirrel emergency!

I opened the screened door to the deck under the pergola while Mr. Crazy Squirrel frantically tried to exit the other screened door that was still latched. I went back into the house, went around to the family room and came out that door. I tossed a votive candle in Mr. Squirrel’s general direction (only thing handy at the moment) and he didn’t budge from his resting spot on the top of the swing. I slowly started walking toward him…and it worked. He ran to the other side of the porch and out the open door.

This is what he had been doing on the porch.

Every night after the cardinals finish their late evening visits, I bring in the bird feeders to keep the raccoons from cleaning them out overnight. I always set them over in the corner near the kitchen door, far, far away from the screens. Apparently, wily squirrel was too impatient this morning to wait for me to put them back out, so he just decided to come onto the porch and help himself.

So, here’s the mystery: How in the world did Houdini Squirrel get in? Β  Both doors were latched. I’ve done a thorough inspection of every single screen and there are zero holes. I thought for sure he had chewed his way in through a screen but, nope. Not a single hole anywhere. And the screened doors latch really snugly. I pushed on them to check and they barely move at all. Weird, huh?

Obviously, I won’t be leaving the feeders on the screened-in porch anymore. Have you ever had anything like that happen? Bizarre!

Mystery #2:

Recently, I treated myself to a Kindle . I’ll never, ever quit buying “real” books because I adore them. I love holding them while I read, I love turning the pages, I love seeing them on book shelves, tables…you get the picture. I love books. But I’ve been wanting a Kindle for travel and times when I’m stuck in waiting rooms…buying tires. Yuck.

Do you have a Kindle? Here’s how it looked when it arrived. I went with a white one but they also have it in a new graphite color, too.

When you turn it on, it goes through various little screens while it syncs itself to your Amazon account. Once it’s charged, it will last about a month with normal use before it has to be charged again. Cool.

I immediately loaded some of the classics onto it because I love those and they are that magic word: Free! Yay, for free. I also loaded a free game called Every Word…more on that in a sec.

Nancy Drew Mystery Stories:
My favorite books from age 8 to age 11 were Nancy Drew Mystery Stories. Every two weeks I took the $2 allowance I earned for keeping the house clean, and walked a few blocks to Joyland Toy Store with my best friend. We would agonize and agonize over all the mysterious and intriguing titles, finally choosing different books so we could swap to read each others when we finished our own.

Back then, a brand new Nancy Drew book was $1.50, exactly one and half week’s allowance…not too bad. It’s one of the happiest memories from my childhood. Did you get an allowance? What was your favorite thing to buy? Were you a big Nancy Drew fan, too?

Now, if you get a new toy, you just gotta have something to keep it safe and scratch-free in, right? An idea popped into my head, and I googled. Sure enough, someone had created a Nancy Drew case for Kindle. I couldn’t resist. πŸ™‚

I knew this one would be a little too big since mine is a Kindle 3G. But since it snaps, I was pretty sure it would work fine as a carrying case. Besides, it was just too cute to pass up.

Here’s where I need your help. I’ve started playing the game Every Word. There are 10 levels and I’ve made it all the way to level 8. Now, I’m stuck. I’m pretty sure I’m allowed to phone blog aΒ friend” for assistance. πŸ˜‰

So, here’s the deal. You’re supposed to unscramble the letters you see along the top to create words. As long as you get the longest word (which uses all 7 letters) you can proceed to the next level. I’ve normally been able to find the longest word right off the bat…even before finding the much easier shorter words. But not this time. Actually, the rules say that you don’t even have to find any of the shorter words, the game will let you proceed to the next level as long as you find the longest word. I always try to find as many words as I can, though, because it increases your score and it’s fun figuring them out.

But now I’m really stuck. I just can’t seem to create a seven letter word with the letters you see across the top: A M T C S A R. (By the way, the word can’t be a name or proper noun.)

Any ideas? I’m sure someone is going to immediately see it…but it’s totally alluding me. UPDATE: Ashleigh figured it out, as did Lori! Man, I should have asked you guys sooner! On to level 9! πŸ™‚

Do you have a Kindle? Have you played this game? What’s the “funniest” game you’ve put on your Kindle? Do you just use your Kindle for reading books?

The game, Code Word is a lot of fun too. You can yell at thank me later when you find yourself spending hours deciphering code words. Think of it as exercise for your brain. πŸ™‚

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  1. Ashleigh@Sincerely says

    Is "tarmacs" a word?

  2. Ashleigh@Sincerely says

    I'm pretty sure I just made that up haha!

  3. Susan (Between Naps on the Porch) says

    Ashleigh, I'll try it…be back in a sec.

  4. Susan (Between Naps on the Porch) says

    Ashleigh, you're a genius…that's it!!! lol

  5. Tarmacs

  6. Susan (Between Naps on the Porch) says

    What the heck is a tarmac. lol I think I've heard of it. Is that what planes sit around on? I need to google that!

  7. Ashleigh@Sincerely says

    Hahaha! I'm glad I could help you out! I played a lot of text twist in my day, which is similar πŸ™‚

  8. Oh too late

  9. Susan (Between Naps on the Porch) says

    I should have asked you guys sooner!!!

  10. Designs By Pinky says

    Tarmacs are what a plane lands on, a runway. Yeah, Askleigh!!!! I LOOOOOVED Nancy Drew books toop, Susan, they transported me too from a difficult childhood. I also want a KINDLE!!!!!!! XO, Pinky

  11. says

    Amtracs would work too. Enjoy your new toy!

  12. Your Mr. Squirl story freaked me out….I have a healthy fear of the (rats with furry tails) fuzzy buggers. Last summer I came downstairs one morning and went to make my lunch and the loaf of bread (we kept it on top of the fridge) was open…strange I thought but I made my lunch and didn't think too much of it. My daughter called me at work about an hour later freaking out when she came downstairs and there was a squirl sitting on my counter eating a bagel. She's screaming at the squirl…it takes off and goes through a hole (thanks stinkin squirl) that was put in the window screen! So when I get home I take the screen and put tape over it (you know that tape that no guy can live without), turn the screen upside down so that part is at the top and go about my business. Next day my hubby calles me…the squirl is back in the house this time he was found eating an English muffin…stinker chewed a hole in the screen in the other window and was running around my kitchen when he saw my hubby, daughter and the two grands thought it was too funny. Needless to say I was afraid to open my windows the rest of the summer and I put all my bread products into my toaster oven after that!

  13. It wouldn't surprise me if starcam pops up someday as a word.

  14. Susan, I'm going to wonder all night how that squirrel got in. Aren't squirrels the biggest pains? Congrats on your Kindle! Susan

  15. Susan (Between Naps on the Porch) says

    Sue, that is a riot! That was one determined squirrel! The ones that hang out around my house are just as bold, I think. After I put the feeder out today, I found a squirrel (probably the same one) pigging out on it. When I walked onto the deck, he jumped off, ran to the edge, went over the side of the deck. Then he lifted his head up over the edge of the deck and peaked to see if had left or was still there. That stinker was going to go right back as soon as I walked away. He jumped off when he saw I was still coming toward him. They are devious! I can't believe he came back again and just helped himself to your food! Brazen!

  16. Good going with "tarmacs"!! I love Everyword, it's absolutely addictively fun! I'd actually been playing the "hard way" for a little while now, not realizing that if you hit the right pg forward button, you could re-scramble the letters, which is generally helpful if you're stuck and sometimes even feeds you a few words πŸ™‚

  17. Susan (Between Naps on the Porch) says

    Alex, that really does help, doesn't it. I didn't discover that until I'd been playing it a few days, too. πŸ™‚

  18. Susan, no ideas to solve your squirrel mystery, but be warned that squirrels tend to repeat behavior. He may return. Those pesky critters have destroyed our patio cushions and our Japanese Maple. Squirrels are not on the favorites list here at HFTS. πŸ˜‰
    Good luck! ~ Sarah

  19. Barbara F. says

    I loved Nancy Drew when I was the same age, we would borrow them back and forth from my circle of school friends. I also liked the Happy Hollisters (I may really be dating myself here!). I want a Kindle, too. xo,

  20. Annesphamily says

    Thank squirrel was a pest wasn't he? Rude too! Trying to get a free night inside. How in the world did he manage to get in? A mystery! This was quite a story to tell! Have a great weekend! Anne

  21. Entertaining Women says

    One time Dickens, our Yorkshire Terrorist, chased a squirrel into the breakfast room. Mr Squirrel promptly lodged himself behind the Welsh Dresser. To get him out, we had to completely unload the hutch, which was completely packed with the Spode Tower Pink on top, and numerous other sets underneath…and move it out from the wall. Sweet Mister was able to direct him out from behind the dresser and out the breakfast room door with the help of a mop handle. I play Words with Friends, a form of Scrabble on my iPad/iPhone, so I'm always after those 7 letter words, too. Cherry Kay

  22. Donna@Conghaile Cottage says

    You are So Funny Susan… I have learned to LIVE with flying squirrels because we can't figure out how they get in, hehe. BUT your squirrel is LOTS bigger. BUT they are such clever little creatures! I think you are right though NOT to leave the food in the screened area. "You WILL eventually have something break in for it"…Here the bears will do that, UGH!!! How fun your kindle must be, I agree though, I LOVE MY real library and won't EVER give it up…But I would like a kindle too…
    Have a wonderful weekend,

  23. Donna@Conghaile Cottage says

    Tarmacs is paving, like on the runway OR even a road… You can get AMTRACS from your jumble too, That is a US Amphibious assault vehicle…

  24. Modern Country Lady says

    What a great post, I love the squirrel story- and what a pain in the behind he sounds -hahahahaha -so naughty!!! I loved looking at the Kindle, but think am sticking with real books, I just love the feel of a book- but it's great to have an inside view !!!

  25. LOL Susan. All these squirrel stories make me think of that old song about the Mississippi squirrel.

    Good luck with "Houdini".
    Have a great weekend,

  26. Tamara Kemp says

    Love the kindle, Your word is CARMATS. I play wordWarp on my I phone. It is very similar.

  27. Awwwww,I love squirrels,I love watching them,I can sit and watch 'em for hours they are so clever,I raised one last year,and set her free,I still see her come to feed everyday,she is so sweet,I think she has a little family of her own,we shall see.

    That is a mystery,you say no torn screen's anywhere?..Do you prop the screen doors open while taking the feeders and umbrella's in?


  28. Love the cover. I got a Kindle (graphite)in February and LOVE it.
    I just posted about my new Nancy Drew cover – made from a real Nancy Drew book.

  29. Terry @ La Bella Vie says

    OK well this post has been such fun to read, something I needed today! As for that Squirrel escapade, nope never had anything like that happen but it made for a cute happy story…he's one smart little shopper!
    The Kindle like you I've been thinking of getting one but I too love every thing about books so I've been hesitant. However knowing you can get cute covers for them, that makes all the difference!!!
    Not a clue on the word…

  30. Nellie's Cozy place says

    I got it too, but my first thought was tarmacs, that probably isn't it because it has an s on end!
    It would probably just be tarmac, so then I kept looking and saw where you said someone had solved it!!

    My Best friends as a young girl used to read Nancy Drew all the time, I have to say I wasn't much of a reader back then……….now I love reading.

    Yea, it is amazing how these critters can fool you, he may have scurried in when you had the door open or were going out the door, he might have been right by it and ran in behind you when you went out, so that's why you didn't see him.
    Also check at the very bottom of your screens by running your hand across them, because our cat used to bump our screens out but you couldn't easily see it, but when you ran your hand across it you realized it was open. Also it is more visible from outside!

    Our screen is like a pet door now in one spot that is fortunately behind a shade because everytime we fix it
    Miss Molly bumps it out again so we finally just let her have her way!!
    So she comes and goes as she pleases!! Lil Brat!!

    Blessings Hon, Nellie

  31. My sister and I have nooks and we can lend books back and forth to each other. You are gonna love it.

  32. Love the Nancy Drew case for your Kindle…didn't we all grow up with Nancy and her adventures? Sometimes my sisters and I would pretend we were Nancy Drew and her friends and make-up mysteries to solve.
    And the squirrels! We live in an old farmhouse and sometimes they climb into the walls…scratch, scratch, scratch…pesky little critters.
    Have a great weekend,

  33. afternoon tea says

    The squirrel may have been in the porch all night. They're quite devious, especially if food is involved.

  34. Susan, so sorry to hear about your squirrel fiasco. That can be frightening to have a wild animal in an enclosed space. I would look up toward the ceiling for places he is getting in and remember, they can fit in a hole the size of a silver dollar. Like rats, they can squeeze themselves pretty small to get through things. Good luck finding his place of entry.

  35. Stephalicious says

    I still have the 1st generation Kindle and I love mine, there are so many free books that are so good! And even more .99 books πŸ™‚ Try Pixel of Ink on Facebook, they keep an eye out for free books and they are awesome!

  36. Tamara Jansen says

    Good thing I have teenagers in my house because they help me figure out all my techy issues. They keep telling me that it's all very logical. All you have to do is think your issue through.

    Apparently I'm not that logical πŸ™‚

  37. Grammy Goodwill says

    Years ago we kept our cat food in a closed Rubbermaid trashcan on the back screened porch. It was about 3 feet tall. One night I was doing the dishes and glanced out the window. There were eyes looking back at me. A raccoon family had come through our screened door – latch didn't stay latched – and were busy undoing the lid to the trash can – successfully, I might add. After that, we had to keep the cat food in the house.

  38. Miss Char says

    Spelling is not my strong point so I would have never been any help on this one. I thought about a Kindle but I've become such a lazy reader and I spend so much time away from the house and in the car that I just download on to my ipod and listen away wherever I am. In the car I always have books on tape going, it makes the time fly by.

  39. Melissa Miller says

    Susan the squirrel must have already been in your screened porch since you found no holes. I'm guessing here.

    I devoured all of the Nancy Drew books at the same age! I WISH I still had them. Sigh….:)

  40. Gold Shoe Girl says

    I still have the original kindle and I love it. I too was a real book person but now it's just too easy to get new ones in 30 seconds. I have actually read way more since getting my kindle because of the ease of it. The only thing I miss is having books to fill my bookcases. Hope you enjoy yours.

  41. Susan….it might not be a squirrel at all… could be a mouse! Living under your hutch? Look for droppings. Put out a trap. Let us know how this gets solved! Toni

  42. Susan (Between Naps on the Porch) says

    Toni, it was definitely a squirrel…we stared each other down. lol

  43. Susan (Between Naps on the Porch) says

    Jo, I do prop them open but for just a sec. I can't imagine him following me in…but maybe that's what happened. They are brazen critters!

  44. tammylovesdishes says

    I can see how this game would be addictive! I have Scrabble on my iPhone and it is addictive.

    I loved Nancy Drew, too! I still have my books and occasionally still read them. What a cool cover for your Kindle. Love it!

  45. I'll bet you that the squirrel snuck into your porch when someone was using the door. He probably hid somewhere until nightime and then proceeded to raid your feeders. They are very intelligent little buggers!!
    We had one come down the chimney during a cold day in New England no less..and couldn't climb out. He then proceeded to trash my living room until I found him. I frantically called my husband and he proceeded to chase him with a broom until he slipped out the open front door. It's a good thing he came to invade us before we put up the Christmas tree. He would have thought he was in a gated community and never left. Good times!!
    Jane from Massachusetts

  46. Susan (Between Naps on the Porch) says

    Jane, lol at the gated community! I hope he didn't get ash all over your living room. They are sneaky and bold!

  47. Hmmmmm….. maybe Mr. Squirrel followed you on the porch when you brought the feeder in the night before???? I have lots of bird houses but no feeders for the very reason that there are too many squirrels around my house. My dogs usually keep them at bay, we can't even say the word "squirrel" in front of them or they go crazy. Good luck, I hope you find the "escape route". Lana

  48. Heaven's Walk says

    LOL! What a hoot, Susan! I could just see that little guy freaking out while you were popping votives at him! lolol! Tell ya what though….give me a squirrel in the house anyday compared to a BAT – which we had last summer. Talk about one crazy woman FREAKING OUT! lololol!

    xoxo lauire

  49. Beverly@southernhomesweethome says

    My Mom had one come thru her fireplace one spring and he climbed her drapes a few times jumping from window to window.

  50. Adrienne says

    I want a Kindle! And your Nancy Drew case is just perfect. I'm sitting here beside my collection of Nancy Drew books from my younger years. Can't part with them yet but would sure love to have a new toy that would let me read them again anywhere!

  51. Lori Lucas says

    Oh my goodness. My best friend Lisa and I did the same thing with books! I still have all my Nancy Drew books and I continue to buy them for my little niece! I have a Nook. I love the cover. I will have to get one for my Nook. I also have a Nancy Drew/Mystery Tablescape planned, but I am in the middle of a BIG move. I even have everything ready to go, but I wanted to do it in my new dining room. Enjoy your game! Lori L

  52. Betty Mae says

    Hello from Lithuania, Congratulations on the new addition to the fmily. I love my Kindle so much I named it, and it is tucked away in my tote bag whenever I leave the flat. Who knows when I might have reading time? It allowed me to come to a country where I don't speak or read the language with only one paperback for take off and landing.

    Are you signed up with Free Kindle Watch? It's a free service that notifies you daily of the books Amazon released for free. I've found some really good stuff that I nevr would have taken a chance on if money was involved.

  53. There's a squirrel eating at my bird feeder as I type…I glanced up and KNEW he would be there. Thanks for proving me right you little seed scarfer! Susan, watch your step as I recently had an "enounter" with one of the little overgrown rats. We take our feeders into the garage at night or else we have racoons. Yeah, squirrels in the daytime, coons at night. Anyway, one morning the feeder was still in the garage just inside the side door. I open the door and go charging in and I kinda step on something furry…and it kinda squeals. Then it kinda thinks about running up my pants leg. Then I kinda almost wet my pants. Yep, it was little ole seed scarfer himself! He had come in through the open garage doors after my hubby left and was munching away at the bird feeder. I think he was pretty happy in there (before I came along) marveling at how he had the seeds all to himself without any of those pesky birds around to bother him. And as for me, I sill get the "willies" just thinking about it!

  54. Beverly says

    You are going to love your Kindle! And don't be surprised if your desire to own dead-tree books completely disappears. Mine did as soon as I realized my entire library could be with me all the time. And the dictionary in the Kindle is awesome. It is clearly better and more user friendly than the Nook's dictionary. And did you know library lending is soon coming to the Kindle? Enjoy it.

  55. I loved Nancy Drew. My Mom bought me a subscription and once a month a new book would appear. My other favorite was Victoria Holt. Unlike Nancy Drew I'm still reading her novels LOL

  56. Metamorphose says

    Hi there –
    I've been reading your blog for a few months now. Love your pretty home, and posts.
    I used to work for a pest control company, and it's amazing the space those rodents require to get in. (A squirrel is a rodent). A mouse can get under a door, if there is enough space for a ball point pen to slide under it. They compress there bones – the little contortionists. You may want to make sure there is weather stripping, or a brush sweep on the bottom of the door(s). Have a look around with a new eye remembering the pen test. Good luck with the stinker. -Lisa from Canada

  57. Susan (Between Naps on the Porch) says

    Thanks, Lisa! I bought Cole's "Hot Meats" for the feeder today. I still have the mixed seed in another feeder that's fairly squirrel proof. Hopefully the hot stuff will deter the little stinker!:)
    I had no idea they could come through an opening that small. Wow! Well, I'm definitely not leaving any seed on the porch from here out. I'm so glad he didn't chew a hole through the screen!
    Thanks for info and tips!

  58. Pattie @ Olla-Podrida says

    Okay, I googled, but I could not find that particular case. πŸ™ Can you provide any help? I am PASSIONATE about Nancy Drew (as you can read here:

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