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Friday, November 4, 2011

What is it with the critters?!

I'm completely done with flora and fauna. Game over.

It all started, of course, with the bird. But it doesn't end there. . .

Many weeks ago, I was at the computer (as I always often am), when I heard the pitter-pat of little feet scurrying over my head. My first thought was, "Oh, squirrels on the roof."

Then I realized:
I'm on the first floor. Of our 2-story house. Hmmm. . .that sound shouldn't be, because I can't possibly be hearing something from the roof when I'm downstairs. And Boy #1 is not in his room.

I didn't give it much thought until I heard it again a few days later. And then squeaking.

But squirrels squeak. I know squirrels squeak!

The Husband, of course, hadn't heard a thing; but he wasn't usually home when the scurrying took place. After the third incident, I told him he needed to call someone.

The very next day, a friendly and knowledgable wildlife control person knocked on our door. I told him what I'd heard and he began his rounds, checking out the exterior of the house and then proceeding to the attics. The conversation was going well; lots of "No, I'm not seeing destruction like gray squirrels would leave." and "I'm suspecting flying squirrels." And encouraging comments like that. I mean, I like squirrels well enough -- they just don't belong in my house.

And then he opened the door to the walk-in attic. "Oh," Kris said.

There was so much in that one syllable. Just 2 letters, but they dashed my hopes for flying squirrel pets for the boys.

I really didn't want to, but had to ask. "Sooo. . .you're still thinking flying squirrels, right?" His face told me most of what I needed to know, but he picked up something from the floor and showed it to me.

You know where this is going, right?


Rats. In our house. Mere inches from my children and their bedrooms. I had the heebie-jeebies for days. Cleaned like a madwoman. Cast disgusted looks at the attic door whenever I was in the area. Flinched anytime a floorboard creaked. And never mentioned a word to anyone outside our family. Uggggghhhh, bleck and double-yuck!!!

I've since learned that rats are like cockroaches in the South. If you live here, it's only a matter of time before they decide to "overwinter" with you. (Isn't that a nice euphemism? Sounds like a lovely someone coming for a visit, not a hoard of vile rodents chewing their nasty little way into the sacred space where you raise your children.)

It's got nothing to do with how neatly or cleanly you keep your home, and everything to do with whether it seems to be warmer inside and if they can get in. Rats can fit through a hole the size of a quarter. One. Small. Quarter. Builders down here routinely leave gaps between the roofline and the facia boards (behind the gutter), so there are ample entry points.

Anyway. . .

We've lived with this disgusting revelation for several weeks now. My friendly catchers came once a week to check the traps and deposit much of our insulation on the closet floor. (The closet hasn't been this clean since we moved in.)

And then this morning, Glen -- my new, scruffy-bearded, carpenter BFF -- showed up at our door. Missing half his teeth, sporting tatoos and a camo 'do-rag. Scraggly Glen and his cohort (whom I believe he called "Ringo") are now sealing up the house. And God bless them! They're putting screens over the vents and wrapping the space behind the gutters in metal strips. They sealed up the holes left when the previous owner pilfered satellite TV service and strung the cable themselves in all the bedroom closets; they've got a plan for our chimney.

And they can stay as long as they want, and I will happily write them a large check, because we all have the same goal: The varmints has gots to go.

-ma'am

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