Going squirrely

This afternoon, a pest control company phoned me.

images-1You see, I seem to have acquired a squirrel in my attic. I wasn’t sure, but for a couple of weeks now, I’ve been hearing intermittent scritchy-scratchy noises in the ceiling in one corner of my bedroom. I’ve heard them outside when I’ve been relaxing on my back deck. I had my suspicions, but despite lots of gazing up at the roofline and soffits of my house, I never saw anything. I thought that I should probably contact my strata council anyway, but I hadn’t yet done so.

But yesterday evening, my next door neighbours (you know, the guy that clips his toenails outside in his back yard!) were outside barbecuing (again! These people practically barbecue their breakfast!) and heard that scritchy-scratchy noise. They looked up at my house and spotted a squirrel. It disappeared and they also spotted a hole that it had chewed through the wood to get into my attic. At about that point, I went outside to see what was going on, and although I couldn’t see even the hole from within my yard, they assured me that it was definitely there and that it was definitely a squirrel. I went back inside and composed an email to my strata council to the effect of “Get that squirrel out of my attic and clean up/ repair any mess it’s made!”

Hence today’s phone call from a pest control company. They are coming over on Friday morning to scope out the situation and determine their course of action. According to their website, they usually put a one-way door at the place where the squirrel usually goes in and out. The squirrel can then exit, but not re-enter. They (the company, not the squirrels!) come back a week later to remove the door, to look for other entrances, and to check for structural damage to the building. They will also, for an additional cost, clean up and repair said damage.

That’s the part that concerns me. I mean, I don’t really know how long that squirrel has been up there. DD and I have heard little noises off and on for a few years (though never as much as I have heard recently), so for all I know, there is a huge and well-established colony of squirrels living above my bedroom ceiling. Who knows when that ceiling is going to come crashing down, squirrel nests and all? Maybe the electrical lines are close to being chewed to pieces and I’m about to lose my electricity. Perhaps next time it rains, it will be raining indoors too, due to enthusiastic squirrel chewing on the underside of the roof. I just don’t know what to expect – nor do I know if I will have to pay for that type of cleanup and repair. I sort-of think that I won’t, that because it may be more of a structural issue, it would be the strata’s responsibility, but I’m not entirely sure.

And another concern I have is if cleanup and repair are necessary, what would be the logistics? I am going back to work quite soon, and I live alone, so how is this supposed to happen? Most of my friends work too, and I don’t know my neighbours well enough to give any of them a key to let tradespeople into the house. I’ve always had DD home to do that kind of thing, but she’s at university all day now – plus, she doesn’t live here any more anyway. I might be able to ask my mom, but she’s not very comfortable with stairs, and my house has ‘em. Am I going to have to actually miss work for this?!? That just seems ridiculous! How do working people DO this?!?

Oh well, cross that bridge when I come to it. The pest control people haven’t even come by yet, so I shouldn’t speculate on what may or may not happen.

Still …

… effing squirrel!


It seems that the teachers and the government of my province came to a tentative agreement very early this morning. At about 5:30 am (because I was up bright and early for my picket shift that starts at 6:30 am) I read it on the Intarnets – but of course, not everything on the Intarnets is true! But this actually was. And then the texting from colleagues started. At first, we weren’t sure whether or not we should still go picket, but logic prevailed and we soon realized that our strike isn’t actually over until the proposed deal is ratified by us teachers, and we were pretty sure that we hadn’t yet done that.

So the mood on the picket line today was joyous and light. We were all so relieved – it was almost over! Soon our bank accounts would get a deposit instead of another damn withdrawal! By 7 am, we heard that our vote would be on Thursday, so we had at least two more days to picket. There was a whole lot of speculation as to when schools would reopen – we thought maybe Friday at the earliest, but more likely Monday – and whether or not we would get a day or two to organize our classrooms prior to the kids arriving (which most teachers normally do in August, often a week or two before the actual first day of school). We had no actual information on the terms of the proposed agreement yet, but most of us didn’t care – we would vote yes just to get back to work! We got many more honks and waves from passing vehicles this morning than we’d ever had – and my school is on a fairly busy street, so we’ve had quite a bit of support throughout all this. The administrators of my school came out and chatted with us for a long time too, but they didn’t know much more than we did at that time.

I was quite happy and energized when I got home at 9:30 am. I threw a load of laundry into the wash, quickly made a grocery list, and headed out the door to purchase said groceries. I came home, put my groceries away, tossed the laundry into the dryer, zipped around with the vacuum, had a fast lunch, made some phone calls and sent some texts, watched the government’s press conference about the tentative settlement (I still don’t trust that Liberal government!), sat in the sun and read for a while, watched the teachers’ federation press conference about the tentative settlement (Can ANYBODY in my union actually give a straight answer to a question?!), took the laundry out of the dryer, ironed a couple of items and put everything away, had a good look at the tentative settlement on the union’s website, had a leisurely dinner, watched a little light TV …

Yep, it’s been a good day.

And yep, I’m happy with the proposed deal and I’ll be voting to approve it.


Random conversations on the picket line

images-1Walking on the picket line every day, as I have done for the past week (plus a day during the summer, plus two weeks in June, plus a few more days in May), can be quite an edifying experience. You see, lots of the people there don’t walk at all, they just stand there like candles (as my mom is wont to say when her favourite hockey team, the Vancouver Canucks, have just been scored against) or sometimes sit in lawn chairs that they’ve brought from home. Some saunter up and down the sidewalk every now and then. And some, like me, pace at a fast clip for most of the three hour shift. And when you walk as seriously as I do, you often don’t hear whole conversations that your fellow picketers are having, only little snippets here and there.

And that’s where the learning – or more accurately, the rampant speculation – comes in. It’s SO much fun to imagine what the topics of conversation actually were when you only hear a line or two every few minutes!

I give you a sampling from the past two days:

“And then I peed a little!”

“He said he didn’t want to have sex with me any more, that we needed to take a break.”

“That right there is an argument against losing too much weight.”

“I thought I’d seen her big bum before!”

“You. Are. Dead. To. Me.”

“I could perform a Ukrainian Orthodox ritual on your car, if you want…”

“So what exactly can you do with kale?”

“I looked at her, she looked at me, and then we both burst into tears.”

“You remember the guy – he’s the one who thought he was God’s gift – the real self-centred one – and he wasn’t even that good-looking.”

“I gave them two really nice picture frames from Sears … and two thousand dollars.”

muttley_gq_9mar11_rex_bIsn’t it just delicious to imagine the actual contexts of those statements? (Gotta get my fun somehow, these days!)