More squirrel news

The pest control guy has come and gone, twice now.

The first time, he crawled around in my attic to see what was going on up there. He first called down to me that he saw rat droppings, but not to worry, they looked really old, and besides, if there were still rats there, there would be no squirrels. Evidently, they don’t co-exist very nicely, he informed me, so I was not to concern myself with rats in my attic.

No rats? Oh, good.

Then he determined that my attic was currently home to a mama squirrel and her two babies, but again, not to worry, because the babies were actually pretty grown-up already and had big, bushy tails, so they were well past the nursing stage and were obviously going outside to forage on their own already.

Only three squirrels? Oh, even better.

He said there really wasn’t much damage in the attic, just a bit of insulation ruffled up for a nest and some of the styrofoam at the soffits was chewed up a little, so he didn’t think they had been in there too long. In fact, whenever I heard that scritchy-scratchy squirrely noise, it was actually mostly them scampering along the styrofoam, stopping to chew it only occasionally. Oh, and I shouldn’t be anxious about squirrel droppings around the nest, because squirrels don’t soil near their nests, they would be going outside for that. Then when he came back down, he showed me a couple of photos, and it was true, not much was disturbed up there. I asked about them chewing, particularly if they might chew electrical wires, and the guy shook his head. He said it could possibly happen, but it really wasn’t likely at all. I shouldn’t even entertain the thought, he said.

Minimal damage? Oh, the best news!

The pest control guy didn’t happen to have in his truck a one-way trap door to put up outside the hole in the soffit at the top of my house, so he had to come back with it the next day . He installed it in about 10 minutes, and told me that he’d be back next week to remove it and patch the hole securely. I asked how he’d ensure that the squirrels were out of the attic before doing that (I’d hate to think of living creatures trapped in my attic, unable to ever get out!). He didn’t seem at all concerned about that, repeating that all three squirrels would have to leave the attic in order to find food, and they’d have to do it at some point during the week, so in his experience, it was extremely unlikely that any or all of them would still be up there seven days later – unless there was another entrance. If I still heard squirrely scritches by mid-week, he asked me to call his office and let them know, because they would then have to move on to Plan B: try to find their secondary entrance and set up a one-way door there as well, then coming back a week later to cover up that hole too. But again, I was not to concern myself with that, because it probably wasn’t going to happen. Oh, and when he came back to remove the one-way door and plug the hole, he wouldn’t need to get inside my house, so I wouldn’t even need to be home.

I won’t have to be home? Oh, better than best!

squirrel3And in case you’re wondering, I haven’t heard the squirrels at all since Saturday morning. Sounds like they’re outside where they belong for good. And that’s the supremely best of the best!

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.