Seeing Things

I swear to you, there are mice in my apartment.  For a month now I’ve seen them scurrying around and jumping from place to place, but no one believes me.  I called the landlord right after I saw the first one run out from under the couch and he called a company to perform and inspection – but nothing.  They found zero, zip, zilch, NO evidence of mice anywhere; so I convinced myself it was my brain playing tricks on me.  Until a week later and I watched one jump off the counter and run into the pantry and I KNOW that was not just an illusion. They’re there, but nobody believes me.

In the last two weeks, I just see them everywhere.  Constantly running across the furniture and hiding under gaps and in crevices, but no one will come out and look at the problem.  My landlord doesn’t think they’re there so he won’t call another person to do an inspection, and no one will come out without the landlord’s permission!  I don’t know what to do, there are mice in the apartment; they’re living in the mattresses and the cushions.  The problem is the only signs of them is me actually seeing them.  They haven’t tried to chew through any food in my pantry and I can’t find signs of feces anywhere, but I can smell them.

I just need someone to come help me, or at least someone to see them so I have evidence to my claim instead of everyone thinking I’m batty.  I don’t want to share my apartment with mice, I don’t want to be living with rodents, I want this taken care of!  I don’t know what I have to do to get people to believe me, but I have to do it quickly before it gets worse.  I know there are multiple living here, but its them against me and apparently my word doesn’t mean anything anymore!  I may be old but I’m not senile yet!

A Warm Welcome Home

You know those terrible things that happen and your friends tell you, “you’ll laugh about this someday”; and you’re always so mad that you don’t believe them but a couple years down the road you find yourself retelling the story and in fact, laughing.  Well here I am, four years after my raccoon problem and I’m finally laughing.  At the time, I was living my worst nightmare.  At parties when people brought it up, I’d go red in the face and freak out; but now, I’m the one telling the story, and since everyone else has gotten to hear it, I thought I’d share it with you today.

It was my junior year in college and some girlfriends and I were renting a house near campus.  To us, it was a much better living situation than a dorm or an apartment, especially because the house backed up to the woods which meant lots of parties and night games that we could host.  What we didn’t count on was the wildlife, it was everywhere!  Eventually, we deemed it the Snow White house because there was always some kind of critter in the backyard.  We also didn’t count on the raccoon problem that we would encounter that spring.

It all started with the New Year’s party we threw; it was off the hook!  Honestly, I look back and I’m surprised none of the neighbors called the cops – but then again it was New Years.  We had the hot tub open, bottles of apple cider and champagne, people were having snowball fights and playing capture the flag, my friend’s brother was playing music, everything was great.  Until someone broke out the ski’s, that’s when I should have realized we were in trouble.  He took to the roof with the ole’ red white and blue flying behind them, he flew into the crowd and took out maybe five people with his skis.  Of course it would have been all good fun, except then several other people climbed to the roof to jump into the snow banks.  Unbeknownst to me, someone’s foot went through the roof, and that was the start of the raccoon problem.

A few months later, its spring break and of course my roomies and I head to Mexico for the week.  What we didn’t know, was that a raccoon had used the hole in the roof to move into the attic and when Emma left the attic hatch open after grabbing her suitcase, that the raccoon would come down to explore.  The good thing was that everyone closed their bedroom doors before they left, that is everyone except me.  For seven days, this raccoon ravaged and searched and tore through anything it could find, including my room.  When we got home, I walked upstairs to find everything ripped apart.  Whatever was in my mini fridge was strewn around the room, my sheets were shredded and covered in raccoon poop, even my backpack was torn and its contents were littered around the house.  I was heartbroken and very, very angry, which is why it has taken me four years (and moving into a new house), to be able to laugh about it.


I live in a ranch house in a residential neighborhood and have smelled skunk for some time – about a year off and on. However, it has been really bad this year. I leave my windows open because right now my central a/c needs repaired. The smell was so bad a couple of months ago that it woke me up and I had to leave my bedroom. I do have an old shed at the bottom of my yard and the skunk(s) might be under there. The hole was once occupied by a groundhog this past year, but it is gone. There are numerous ways an animal could take up residency underneath the shed. I also have a pile of tree branches and weeds near the shed as I have been trying to clean up my yard. I threw out some bird feed in the grass to attract some birds to entertain my indoor house cat. Last evening, my cat jumped off my lap and made a beeline to my screen door. When I looked out, I saw a skunk walk by. This evening, I closed the door to the screen. When I turned the back porch light on, there was a skunk – about 3 feet from the door eating the seed that I had thrown out a couple of days ago. I have no decks nor porches around my house – just a small cement stoop outside my back door. I have a mature asparagus bed, a two large maple trees (one in front and one in the back) of my yard. Also, bushes around the house and hydrangeas. And I am trying to start a “lasagna” garden with compost (this is near the front of my shed). I have not checked my lawn for holes. I do have a chipmunk and I know that he has burrowed some holes, but these holes are small. I am very concerned and I know that I cannot take care of this problem. My neighbor behind me has a small deck with a small pond, bamboo and oriental grasses, flowers etc… A row of evergreen bushes (around 20 feet high) separate our yards. The neighbors to my right have a wooden shed too. They also have a small pile of wood/junk in the middle of their yard. Their property is not kept very well. So a skunk would have a heyday in any of these back yards – ! including mine. I fear going in my backyard or even front yard once darkness falls. I was afraid to put out my garbage tonight. I just want to rid my yard of these pests, please help!

One Bump, Two Bump, Three Bump More

There’s some kind of animal in my chimney, I would assume a raccoon or a squirrel but I’m not at all sure.  This morning I woke up fairly early, around five o’clock.  I’m nine months pregnant so when the baby tells you to get out of bed and pee, you just get out of bed and don’t look at the clock.  Anyway, I went downstairs to make some tea and toast when all of a sudden I heard a loud thump in the chimney.  It startled me, but I thought it could have just been my mom brain making things up.  I listened carefully at the mouth of the fireplace for any other sounds, and for a minute there was nothing, until I head it stand up and shuffle around.  I quickly closed the damper but other than that I have no clue what to do!

My husband left two weeks ago for New York (he’s stationed there as a pilot), so I have no back up at home to deal with this.  I know when I was younger, my family had a bird fly into our chimney and my dad told me “Veronica, if there’s ever an animal in your fireplace you get it out as quick as you can so it has no chance to settle down.” Of course, it’s much easier to get a bird out of the chimney than a raccoon or squirrel; and that’s not even mentioning the watermelon on my stomach that would keep me from bending down to look up the fireplace (which I have no desire to do).

So no husband in town, no dad to call for help, I am stranded on this with no clue what to do.  I’m trying not to stress out about this too much because there’s no way I’m going to let this animal in the fireplace send me into labor early.  Now maybe it’s a myth or maybe it isn’t, but I won’t be having this baby until my husband gets home next week so I won’t be living with this animal.  I need someone to come out and take care of this, preferably long before I bring my new daughter home.  Help is much more appreciated than advice since I can’t do a lot of stretching, reaching, or moving really.  Please!

Gopher vs. Terrier

This is kind of unusual, but I have a gopher problem in my front and backyard.  Yes, that seems like a normal sentence, but the gopher isn’t my problem.  We’ve actually been living quite harmoniously with the little creature for a couple of years now with no serious issues.  As long as he stays out of my vegetable gardens, I let him dig around and have the time of his life.  I’m a very strong believer that unless an animal has proved itself a danger to you or your things, there’s no reason to harm it or even bother it for that matter. And that is where my problem comes in: I just adopted a Boston terrier.

Now I’m not looking to get rid of my sweet dog, I rescued him from an abusive home and worked very hard to get him back to health and into a mental state where he was ready to live in a home again.  Unfortunately, he thinks that the gopher problem is something that he needs to address and take care of.  Whenever I let him outside, he instantly sniffs out the gopher and tries to dig the little thing out of the ground.  I let him do his thing for the most part, dogs will be dogs I suppose, but when he comes back into the house with small scratches bleeding on his nose and face I have to intervene.

I don’t want to hurt the little gopher, but I don’t know how to get him to leave naturally to another place, and trapping him is way out of my league as a veterinarian.  Shots I can do, your cat needs surgery? I’m all over it.  I am good at helping animals, but I have no idea how to remove them.  So what I’m saying, is I need help to solve this gopher problem.  I don’t know if there are any companies that have a natural removal process for gophers, but I would be very interested in hearing about it.  Of course, if there isn’t I recognize that my dog’s safety is more important than the gophers.

Straight out of a Horror Movie

It happens every morning without fail, when you get out of bed to get ready for the day you can hear it and every scratch and scrape on the drywall can be felt in your own flesh.  Maybe I’m being overdramatic, or maybe the raccoons in my ceiling are actually tormenting us with their constant, looming presence.  I’m telling you, it’s terrifying.  Imagine you’re brushing your teeth, and all of a sudden you hear a loud thump above your head that slowly drags itself away, and then thumps across to another part of the house.  If I didn’t have tension in my shoulders before, the constant anxiety of wondering where the next sound will come from has made some pretty good knots in my neck.

What’s so crazy about this to me, is we’ve lived here for 8 years and there has never been any problems with wildlife, not even mice.  You would think, or at least I think, that if there was some way for animals to get into the house they would have done it by now.  Especially because the landlord does regular maintenance on the house for just that reason.  If a single shingle were to blow off the roof, he would have it fixed within hours so that there was no chance for leaks or something like raccoons in the ceiling.  I’m just very interested to find out how they got into the house, and I’m very anxious to get them right back out.

As you may (or may not) have guessed, I never watch scary movies so living in a house that likes to play haunted is NOT my cup of tea.  If I wanted another roommate, I would have them turn in applications, do interviews, and select the one I like best (and I am very particular).  Having this family of lunatic raccoons in the ceiling is not my idea of a proper roommate agreement and I can’t keep living every day wondering where they’ll show up next.  Honestly, sometimes it sounds like they’re about to fall right out of the ceiling.  I need help; we need help.  Please get these things out of my house before they scare me to death.