Friday, June 23, 2006

The One-and-a-Half Floor

Last night--okay, technically at 4:13 this morning--I woke up on the basement couch to hear a scrabbling sound coming from the ceiling.

Rewind. I was on the couch because of a thunderstorm. My dog gets nervous and won't rest until someone goes downstairs with her and turns on the TV to one of the soothing digital cable music channels, such as "Soundscapes" (New Age) or "Smooth Jazz" (All Kenny G, All the Time, aka, Jeri Takes an Icepick to Her Eardrum station). Meadow prefers the latter, since it makes more noise to cover the sound of the thunder.

So Meadow, Brutus, one of the cats (Misha), and I had yet another weather-induced slumber party. I finally dozed off at 2 AM with the aid of a bowl of cereal, a generic Unisom, and the soothing, alpha-wave-inducing Soundscapes channel.

4:13 AM. Scrabbling sound.

Something relatively large, maybe a squirrel or rabbit, is living above our basement's drop ceiling tiles. It was not the least bit soothed by Soundscapes.

The animal was either trapped or trying to lose weight, because for half an hour it ran laps around the perimeter of the room. Every time it reached a corner--bang!--it ran into the wall, so I'm guessing it's a squirrel. They probably have bad night vision.

I sat up, thinking,
I should do something to help it. Lift a tile so it can escape.
But the thought of a terrified mammal with big pointy teeth dropping onto the family room floor--or worse, my head--stifled this impulse. The drugs allowed me not to care, allowed me to lie back down and let my cat worry about the Thing in the Ceiling.

Whose environment, I imagine, is much like that of the office from Being John Malkovich. Maybe there's a portal in there leading to Bambi's Brain.


My squirrel encounter is this:

Three years ago we had a spring ice storm and Mr.Squirrel decided to hop from the tree that overhangs my house onto my roof. Once there he realized he had precious little good footing and somehow managed to cling to my chimney.

For some squirrely reason, he decided the chimney looked like a hollow tree and climbed INTO it where he promptly fell PLOP! into my fireplace.

I was sitting in my living room minding my own business and there on the other side of the fireplace door is Mr. Squirrel.


What do you do with a 7 year old screaming her lungs out and a frantic trapped squirrel? FYI they are MUCH bigger up close then they are on trees 30 feet away.

Anyhow, I propped some firewood against the door, grabbed my kid and went off to work (they expected me there and prolly would not believe the squirrel excuse after the groundhog excuse, the black bear excuse, and the murderous turkey buzzard excuse. Another long story).

I return home later that night to find my house TRASHED by Mr. Strongman Squirrel who pushed OPEN the fireplace door. I also had a nutty puppy at the time (but that is another story). We (daughter and myself) search for Mr. Strongman Squirrel in Hiding WITH nutty puppy on leash and find nothing.

We think, erroneously, that Mr.SSIH has found some miraculous way to get out of our home. I settle both puppy and child on the couch and start straightening my house.

Cue the skreechy squirrel noise.

Cue the yapping puppy.

cue terrified screaming child.

Seems that Mr SSIH burrowed INTO my couch!!!

My child was practically sitting on an irate rodent!

It was a horrible experience. But Mr. SSIH eventually found his way out...after three days of terrorizing my family.

Needless to say, I tend to aim for the little bastards when I am on the road.

My child still has nightmares. True story.


Posted by: Blogger moonhart at 6/23/2006 9:33 PM

A couple of winters ago we had an extremely mild winter. Normally, squirrels hibernate during the winter, but because it was so warm they were out in full force. My mom and I hung out our christmas decorations complete with lights. The squirrels ATE them. Glass bulbs and all. We spent over a hundred dollars replacing what the squirrels destroyed THREE times. In the end, we decided to never hang out christmas decorations again. We just can't afford it.

Posted by: Blogger Unknown at 6/23/2006 9:46 PM

Wow. I've never in my life used an exterminator, but after these stories, I might change my mind.

Speaking of extermination, my dog caught her first adult creature tonight (a rabbit). Unfortunately, we had guests arrive shortly thereafter (Brutus's new parents). Meadow stayed in the yard, um, enjoying her catch while they visited with Brutus. About half an hour later she finally ran in, bursting with pride and eager to meet her new friends and lick their faces with her bloody mouth and jump on them with her bloody paws (the blood was dry by this point, so really it was worse than it looked, and the people were extremely cool about it, so we said they could adopt Brutus, and they will, next Friday).

So she got a bath, which totally failed to ruin her day.

Posted by: Blogger Jeri at 6/24/2006 8:35 AM

My story concerns racoons. When living in the house The Kidz grew up in, I realized racoons, or some such creatures, had moved into the fireplace chimney in the living room. So I called the township animal control unit. A gentleman came over and confirmed that a racoon family was, indeed, nesting in the chimney.His advice on hwo to get rid of them: Light a fire and smoke 'em out. My concerns were both humane and pratical. What if they died, and then rotted in the chinmey? Needless to say I did NOT follow this suggestion, and eventually the racoons moved. But I was left with small regard for our township's competence.


Posted by: Anonymous Anonymous at 6/24/2006 9:42 AM

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