Bat in the House

I recently dealt with a bat in the house, and had a whole adventure with it before finally calling Allstate Animal Control to get rid of the bat and make sure I didn’t have any more living in the attic or chimney or anywhere else.  Before this all happened, I had no fear of bats.  I saw them in the zoo.  I caught glimpses of them flying around the nearby park when I was running at twilight.  I know they keep insect populations down, especially mosquitoes, which are a real problem around here.  I know they are pretty amazing animals.  So, I never had a fear of them.

Until I stepped on one in my bare feet.

Yep, that was pretty awful.

It was mid afternoon.  I’d just come home from class and I was getting ready for work.  I’m trying to get my bachelors degree, and then I want a masters in business administration.  Between work, school and my social life, I keep myself pretty busy, and I don’t spend a lot of time at home.  So, I didn’t know I had a bat problem.  I had grabbed a bowl of cereal for lunch (don’t judge me), and was taking it back to my room so I could eat while looking for my shoes, since I didn’t have a lot of time before work.  I turned the corner into my room quickly and as soon as I stepped down, I knew something was terribly wrong.  Something hairy, squirmy and very angry was wriggling beneath my foot.  I pulled my foot up, and this black shadow flew straight up to the ceiling, bumped around up there, and then settled out of sight on the top of my book shelf.  I didn’t even have breath left to scream, and I desperately needed to disinfect my foot, make sure I didn’t have a bat bite, and probably hire a hypnotherapist to make me permanently forget the memory of stepping on a bat.

I certainly didn’t want to investigate to see whether the bat was still alive.  I pulled the bedroom door shut, washed my feet about twenty times, cleaned up the spilled cereal, pulled on a different pair of shoes from the downstairs closet, and headed out to work.  During my break, I called United Wildlife Control so they could send a professional out to get rid of the bat in my house, and check to make sure I didn’t have a bat colony lurking around anywhere else.

Now, of course, I’m terrified of bats.  I’ve gone running in the park a few times since then, and every time I see one out of the corner of my eye, innocently swooping around in the air to catch itself some dinner, I stifle a shriek, start to shake, and my foot involuntarily curls up.  I’m sure my reaction will lessen as time goes by, but in the meantime, I think I’ll join a gym and run on a treadmill.

Beaver Damage

beaver removal

My wife got so sick of my bellyaching about the beaver damage down by the creek, that she kicked me out of the house this morning with my video camera so I could at least record it.  It’s just such a shame to have so many trees comin’ down out there.  We’ve lived here for near on twenty years, and we’ve never had so much trouble as we do this year.  I’ve been trying to get the county to do somethin’ about it, but they keep tellin’ me it’s lean times and all, and they barely have enough funds to keep up with snow removal and fixin’ pot holes.  It means the landowners around here are gonna have to do somethin’ ourselves, or we’re gonna be in a real fix before too long.  Property taxes have been goin’ up something awful over the last few years, and the county council members all got raises.  Plus, they hired a few more people up in the county offices.  So, I’m getting’ pretty worked up that they refuse to help us out here.  If they don’t, I think they’ll find the beaver damage will cost ‘em a lot more than if they’d removed the beavers causin’ all the problems in the first place.

Well, my wife has heard me say this over and over and over again.  She keeps tellin’ me I ought to do something about it other than just preachin’ to the choir.  So, she shoved the camera in my hand this morning and told me to get out there and get something on record.  That way, I’d have something to take to the city council and see if they’ll finally get off their butts and do something about it.

So, I got myself out here with my dog, Trixie, and we had no problem findin’ most of the trees the beavers took down.  Most of ‘em are pretty young trees, only about two to five years old, maybe.  There’s one that’s an old oak tree, though.  Been there for as long as we’ve been here, and you can see the beavers have been working at it.  Probably taken ‘em weeks and weeks of chewing on that thing just to get it down to a point where it’s teetering over a bit.  Won’t take ‘em much longer to get that old tree down.  Shame.  Just a shame.

I counted over thirty trees been taken down, some of them in the creek, and you can see where the creek’s risin’ up past the banks.  Downhill from here, about only a quarter mile or so, is a main road.  When that creek gets dammed up, no telling what the water damage is gonna do.  Some of the trees have been knocked over a popular jogging trail, so someone’s going to have to clear that up come Spring, when people come out here to walk or ride their bikes.

Yep, I’ll have to bring this tape into the council and see if they’ll figure something out so they can afford to get some professional in here to rid of the beaver and clean up the beaver damage.  Dunno what I’ll do if they ignore me again this time.

Armadillos in the Yard

armadillo removal

As a recipient of many, many boring videos from Grandpa, I’m so grateful he and Grandma now have armadillos in their yard.  Grandpa retired about five years ago.  It almost drove him crazy, and it almost made Grandma homicidal.  Grandpa is the kind of guy who just wasn’t cut out for retired life.  He needs to always have a project, a hobby, ways of filling up the hours of every day.  He was born towards the end of the Great Depression, and his parents were extremely hard working, frugal people. So, that’s how he grew up.  He worked hard his whole life, threw himself into whatever he did.  He was an engineer who helped build water systems for cities, pipelines and dams.  Even though he had a demanding job, he would come home and spend hours working in the shed, tinkering around with one thing or another.

He didn’t want to retire, either.  But, Grandma was tired of moving around from city to city every few years when an engineering project was complete.  She wanted to live near her grandkids.  So, after a few years of back and forth between the two of them, he retired.  His eyesight had already started to fail him, so tinkering around in the shed or work room became more and more difficult.  He drifted aimlessly around the house, getting in Grandma’s way, and starting one project or another, and then losing interest in it.  He needed a hobby, and he needed one soon, or things could go horribly, horribly wrong.

My Dad got together with my aunts and uncles, and they all decided to chip in and buy Grandpa a new video camera for his birthday.  He loved it, and started filming everything.  One of my cousins got the not-so-bright idea to show Grandpa how to edit the films and email them.  Soon, our emails were flooded with videos showing Grandma planting tulip bulbs, the dust in the chimney (seriously, we got a video about dust), and videos of photo albums.

Then, the day arrived when Grandpa discovered armadillos in the yard.  It gave him an interesting subject.  He documented the scrapes the armadillos made in the grass.  He lay in wait until they came out and filmed them scuttling around the yard, foraging.  He showed how they lived under the stairs.  They even came right up and sniffed his boots, and he got that on film.  Of course, he had to explain that he was sorry the lens cap was in the frame, but the camera was pointed straight down and there was nothing he could do about the dangling lens cap.

Grandpa’s editing techniques leave a lot to be desired, and certainly his narrative could be livened up.  However, with the armadillos in his yard, at least his subject is a lot more interesting.

Woodpecker Damage

Woodpecker damage plus that horrible ruffling, feathery, rustling noise followed by the blasted bird tapping on our roof and walls equals a very angry man in the morning.

My husband is a very even-tempered guy.  His favorite phrase is “go with the flow,” which, of course, drives me crazy sometimes when I’m particularly frustrated at something beyond my control.  But, he’s helped me to learn to be more easy going and find good things about even the most frustrating moments.

He particularly helped me when we were building this home.  We did the general contracting ourselves, which turned out to be one headache after another, since we didn’t really know what we were doing.  In an effort to keep the costs down, we also did a lot of the work ourselves.  We’d work all day, then change into grubby clothes, drive out to our new home site, and put up dry wall, or build railings, or sand walls, lay carpet, or just clean up the site.  We literally poured blood, sweat and tears into this home.

I would get angry at some subcontractor for not showing up when he said he would, or a flooring supply company for overcharging us.  My husband would remind me that there are more important things in life, and he’d take over, calmly renegotiating and eventually getting everyone to follow through on their promises.  I learned to keep calm and let the tension go.

My newfound character improvement came in handy, though, when the woodpecker started attacking our home.  After all the hard work we put into the house, and all the hard earned money we sunk into it, my husband went nuts when he surveyed woodpecker damage up near the eaves.

We woke up one morning to this odd rustling noise just outside our second story bedroom window.  We were confused, because we don’t have mature trees, yet, and so we don’t have a lot of birds or squirrels around our property.  Then, the unmistakable tap tap tapping started, and we knew it had to be a woodpecker.  My husband charged outside, scared off the bird, and came in fuming mad about the woodpecker damage.

He repaired the damage on Saturday, but Sunday morning, we woke up to the awful knocking noise again.  The woodpecker was just perched on the stucco, tapping holes into our brand new home.  My husband went nuts, cursing and throwing things at the bird.  The bird was back not ten minutes after my husband came back inside, and I really thought he was going to lose it.  I reminded him of his “go with the flow” philosophy, but he would have none of it until I got online and found the contact information for Allstate Animal Control.  They assured me they could have someone out to our home soon to get rid of the woodpecker, and repair the woodpecker damage.  I explained it all to my husband, who was finally able to calm down.  I have to admit, it was nice to be the one reminding him not to be tense for a change.

Mouse Removal

how to get rid of mice

“Are you crazy??  Asking me to get rid of the mouse.  Please.  Do you even know me?”

Jenna looked at her roommate, Ally, as they sat on the couch in her room, both making sure their legs were nowhere near the floor.  Jenna had shoved a blanket under the tightly closed door in the hopes the mouse they’d spotted wouldn’t be able to get in the bedroom.

This was one of the rare nights when they were both home at the same time.  Usually, one of them had a date, or had a shift at work, or had class.  So they’d decided to make homemade pizza and watch an old chick flick together.  They joked and talked about Ally’s boyfriend and Jenna’s most recent dating catastrophe while they pulled ingredients out in their tiny kitchen and laughingly argued about the best ways to make pizza dough.  Jenna had opened a cabinet to search for pizza sauce when something moved behind the boxes and cans.  “What the . . . ?” Jenna said, pulling things out.  She was, by far, the braver of the two girls, and thought it was possibly a large spider that needed to be killed.  Instead, as she pulled out a couple of boxes of pasta to see into the back of the cabinet better, a little brown mouse leapt out of the cabinet, onto the kitchen floor and disappeared under the refrigerator.  A breathless moment passed, then both girls screamed, dropped whatever they had been holding, and ran into Jenna’s room, slamming the door behind them.

Jenna was the braver of the two girls, but not by much.

Now, they were stuck in Jenna’s room.  They’d both left their cell phones back in the kitchen.  Jenna’s laptop was also in the kitchen, where she normally did her homework.  They were either going to be stuck in Jenna’s room for hours until Ally’s boyfriend dropped by after his shift at work, or one of them would have to overcome their fears and get rid of the mouse.  Neither option sounded really good.

Jenna had hoped that Ally would step up and offer to get rid of the mouse, since Jenna was always the one who killed spiders and other insects that got into the apartment.  It was a long shot, she knew, but it was worth a try.  Ally would have none of it.  She was a girlie-girl in all senses of the word, and didn’t get near creepy-crawlies on principle, as well as a deep-seated fear.  Jenna would have to do it, or wait until Ally’s boyfriend came by hours later.

Jenna used a hanger to peel the blanket away from under the door while she stayed on the safety of the couch.  To their relief, no mouse immediately ran in to attack them.  Then, she reached over the arm of the couch, yanked the door open and peered into the hallway.  With a deep breath and a squeal, Jenna jumped into the hallway, ran to the kitchen, snapped up her cell phone, ran back, and slammed the door behind her.  The first call to Ally’s boyfriend got them nowhere.  He couldn’t get off work early, but he’d come as soon as he could.  The second call was to Allstate Animal Control.  Ally’s boyfriend assured them they’d send someone out to get rid of the mouse, and make sure there weren’t any more mice running around.  Neither girl got any sleep that night.