Something Fishy

There are mice in the crawlspace of my house. I can hear them running around there and in the walls and I am this close to losing my marbles. I’ve set out poison and I’ve set out traps, I even had an exterminator come but let me tell you what good that did, he just left a couple of bait bags in the wall and crawlspace. Well if my poison didn’t work then why would his! My real problem isn’t just the mice, yes they’re annoying and smelly and could be causing who knows what damage to my house. My problem is that the other night when I brought home salmon to grill for dinner, large pieces of the fish went missing, and I know exactly where they went because I CAN SMELL THE ROTTING FISH IN MY WALL!!
Like I said, I’ve done everything I could think of to get rid of the mice in the crawlspace, I set traps, poison, and closed a vent hole in the wall trying to keep them from getting in; I even called in a cheap excuse for an exterminator and gave him my faith (and money). Before I know it I’ll be the crazy cat lady because I don’t know how else to get rid of them! And as if the mice and salmon weren’t enough, I’ve found holes in the backs of my cupboards and pantry and plenty of chewed open boxes and bags. They’re trashing my kitchen for goodness sake and using what’s supposed to be my food storage, as theirs!
Well call in Arnold Schwarzenegger because I’m ready to say “Hasta la Vista” to these pests. I’ll call whoever it takes, I’ll even tear down my own walls if I have to. I can’t live in this house for one more week with the putrid smell of mice AND fish. Tear gas, machine gun, blow torch, even Bruce Willis; I don’t care what it takes to get the mice out of my crawlspace and out of my life!

Skunk in the Shed

I have never been so ticked off with my dad. Last night he tricked me into following a skunk into our shed. BAD IDEA. I didn’t even know there was a skunk in there! It didn’t smell like skunk and I sure as heck didn’t see any black and white creatures waltzing in and out of it. But sure enough, as I dug around trying to find a trap my dad laid for the skunk, that I did not know about because he just asked me to go get the trap from the back of the shed, I found a shiny metal trap, and a big fluffy butt at the same time. I’ve showered so many times I can’t believe my skin isn’t falling off of me from all the scrubbing. I even stole my little sister’s loofah for extra scrubbage, but don’t tell her that.
I turned 16 a couple of years ago so I’ve been driving long enough to have smelt a skunk or two in my short life, but wow it does not compare to this. While the skunks in the road smell like rotting trash, you can drive past it and it’s not intolerable. The skunk in the shed though, I’m almost positive the smell of that is engrained in my pores and singeing my nose hairs every time I breathe. I’m sure if you cut me open in an autopsy right now, even my lungs would smell like skunk. Every breath I take is laced with the awful tinge of skunk spray.
To be honest, his trick with the skunk in the shed isn’t even why I’m upset. Once, I locked him in the bathroom with my friends ball python as a joke, he’s seriously afraid of snakes, these are the kind of things we do to each other. Why I’m really mad, is because I had a date last night with the girl teenage boys dream about talking to. I HAD TO CANCEL MY DREAM DATE BECAUSE OF THIS! I’m just praying that my dad gets the skunk out of the shed and I get the smell out of my skin soon so I can reschedule

Scare of a Lifetime

I’ve lived a lot of places and seen a lot of things, from snakes in the kitchen to bats in the ceiling, but a rat in the toilet takes the cake. People always talk about the scariest moments of their lives. You hear a lot of near death experiences, the occasional skydiving story, and more often than not you hear about people coming face to face with their worst nightmares. Well last week I lived what has got to be the scare of a lifetime.
The scariest part about this I think, was that it was in my own home. When I saw the snake in my kitchen, I was in Texas, the bats in the ceiling were in a rental home in Michigan, and I even came face to face with a whale shark while snorkeling in Australia (not too dangerous but definitely unexpected). I have a knack for attracting animals to me, but this was unreal. Ever since I was a little girl I’ve suffered from a moderate form of musophobia since I was a young girl and found a mouse in my Chinese food, so you can see why a mouse in the toilet would come to #1 and not the whale shark.
It was your average Joe Saturday morning, I had woken up early (okay 8 o’clock) to try and get a run in before I met my mom for brunch. I got up set my clothes out, did a little stretching, and then headed to the bathroom for an early morning pit stop. I just got the toilet seat up when I heard an unusual sound from the toilet. Thinking it might be clogged, I looked down to find my nightmares staring back up at me. A huge, black rat was splashing in the toilet. I screamed so loudly I’m sure the entire apartment could hear me but I didn’t care, I left that building as fast as I could, and told the land lord I wouldn’t be back until the problem was solved. Let me tell you, there’s nothing like a rat in the toilet to really start your day! Talk about a butt pucker!

Rowdy Raccoons

You know, I hear about people with raccoons in the attic all the time, but my story seems a little different. Like hundreds of other people in the country, I was hearing the sound of thumping and rustling in my attic that I could only attribute to raccoons. Unlike other raccoons though, these two HATED each other. I could hear them fighting in the attic, hissing and bumping against walls and into various objects. Not uncommon for raccoons, but a little uncommon for one’s that were sharing a living space.
The next odd thing about these raccoons, was that they despised the rain. Whenever it rained, they got louder and they fought more. Weird, right? Anyway, while my sister was letting the dog out one night, she heard the too familiar sound of hissing and a new squealing come from the wall next to the door. As she turned on the light to check on the yard, she saw a raccoon fall from the attic, onto the ground, and roll over to look her straight in the eye, luckily the screen door was closed still so she had a barrier between her and the raccoon (needless to say the dog slept inside that night).
They’ve been in the house for maybe 4 months now, but there was a month of silence where we sincerely hoped they were gone. At the end of that month, I covered the hole that I had learned they’d been using. Not too soon after that, they raccoons were in the attic again. They’d pulled down my cover and were back to their same old tricks. Well it’s been over a month since then, and I really think it’s time to get rid of them. They’ve scared my dog straight and kept me up plenty while they run around. I think it’s about time for me to call in the trappers, let someone else deal with the raccoons in the attic.

Rat Blaster

I can’t deny it anymore: there are rats in my house. I tried to ignore the droppings I would find now and again and even brushed off the scuttling in the walls, but when I opened my son’s dresser and found a nest of wrappers and poop, I lost it. Now that I’m out of denial, I can see exactly what I’ve been blind to and what my husband has been trying to point out to me.
There are droppings underneath the couch, near vents, scattered in the carpet, and covering the floor in the shed. Not only are those subtle signs everywhere, but last week when I turned on my kitchen light in the morning, one sat right in the middle of the floor and looked me dead in the eyes before he ran off. I really lost my top after that, to think I would willingly let rats in my house? You’d be out of your mind! Especially since my son is only 18 months old, that just doubles the trouble!
Well I went Ghostbusters on the darn rodents, I sent Mark to town to bring home all the traps he could fine, big and small, then doubled it with poison boxes set out (I didn’t get as many of those but with a son so young I don’t want him to happen upon one and mistake it for a treat) for them to take back to their nests. I’ve even considered buying a little cat to keep the rats in my house in line and I would too, if Mark wasn’t allergic to them. After a week we’ve had no luck. Instead of finding dead rats, I’ve only found teeth marks, scratches, and a shredded bag of flour in a cupboard above the stove.
Even if I can’t get rid of them, I won’t give up. If the army couldn’t solve a problem, they wouldn’t give up they’d just call in the big guns, so that’s exactly what I’m doing. I just got off the phone with Allstate Animal Control, and they said they have just the man to help me with the rats in my house. Hopefully, within the next couple of weeks I’ll be rat free, and worry free.

Gophers on the Septic Mound

There is a gophers living on top of my septic mound. Living in Park City, I’m a little bit further out in the “country” than quite a few people in Utah, although not by much. Anyway, back to the gopher. Living where I do, gophers aren’t uncommon for me to find on my property, I’ve actually had to deal with them several times since I moved here. This is a little bit different though. Normally, I would just set out traps and catch him myself like I do for other gophers in my yard, but I don’t want to unearth my septic mound and damage it. Do you see where I’m coming from?
I’ve heard a theory about using a bottle and sticking it a few inches into the gopher hole and that will scare the animal away, but once again with the gopher being right on top of my septic mound, I don’t want to scare him deeper into the ground. Even if they don’t normally chew on lines like that, it’s a better safe than sorry situation.
I’ve looked through my options and I can either try the bottle method, try to trap it like I have in the past which would be significantly harder (especially since it’s on a mound), or pay someone else to do it. Since I’m not in financial distress, I’ll take the latter option. Hopefully I can get a trapper out here before more move onto the same area. That would not be good. It’s bad enough to have ONE gopher on the septic mound let alone TWO!

Skunk Assassin

Nothing smells more like death, than skunk spray. And let me tell you something, it’s one thing to drive past a dead skunk on the road and smell it, it’s a completely different story when it’s in your garage and house. I always knew that there were skunks in Park City, I was never ignorant to that (my dog as a little girl got sprayed by a skunk), but man I never thought living with them was this bad! My husband and I have two cats, and we love them, but we love them outside, we leave the garage door open a crack at night so the cats can crawl under the door and get food. Unfortunately, a skunk figured out the trick.
Skunks, as it just so happens, are scavengers and love nothing more than the easy to come by pet food. Figuring my house was a safe haven from these smelly creatures, I didn’t give second thought to my routine of feeding the kitties and sourly regretted it later. A few nights ago, my husband and I woke up to the peculiar smell of skunk spray, we tried to ignore it the first time, but it came back every night! Since it didn’t go away we had to assume the obvious; there was a skunk living outside. We never would have guessed that it was in the garage with Crookshanks and Pebbles. Well just yesterday morning after I woke and went outside to feed the cats their breakfast, I saw the black and white bugger standing near the door. I called Dave right away and told him what happened, and before I knew it he was home from work and looking for his shotgun.
VERY unfortunately for us, we didn’t know one of the most important things about skunks, and you think we would have considering that they spray when they get hit by cars and that’s why it smells so bad, but sometimes skunks spray before they die. Even when you shoot them. And this one sprayed BAD! It covered the wall and our backpacking gear! I haven’t been home since it hit, it was like tear gas it was so bad. I couldn’t believe how awful the smell was! We packed whatever we could in 15 seconds, and took off for his mom’s house. My advice is this: call a professional, not your husband or you too will be staying with your mother-in-law, it almost makes the skunk spray seem bearable.

Caught Red Handed

I went out to my rental house about 5 days ago to check some things out for the renters, and I found raccoons in the attic. At first I wasn’t sure if they were cats or raccoons, but after setting up a camera outside, I know its raccoons. I watched them crawl up the drain pipe on the side of the house and up to the rafters. Well, being as intelligent and cunning as I am, I sneakily slid a board in front of the hole they were using to get into the attic. Point 1 for me.
As it turns out, that was a mistake. For about 3 or 4 days after I blocked the entrance to the attic, it was silent. I was pleased with my handiwork and the tenants were happy that the problem had been seemingly taken care of. Well last night, the raccoons wanted out of the attic, and they wanted out badly. I don’t know if they ran out of food or they got impatient or even if they were going stir crazy up there, but they found a way out. Since they couldn’t get through the old way, they scratched and chewed themselves a new hole through the ceiling into the back room, which wasn’t quite big enough.
Now I have a video of a raccoon stuck in a hole, AND another raccoon very angry still in the attic. Luckily, the raccoon stuck in the hole wriggled its way out after a few hours and plopped onto the carpet and out the backdoor that we’d opened (point for the raccoon), but there’s still one more up there. The renters got so fed up with the whole situation that they moved the board that was keeping them out, but also in (another point for them)! Well now I’m not sure if there are more in the attic or if the one got out, but I do know that it’s easier to patch a hole the first time then to try and beat the raccoons in the attic.

Cats Gone Wild

I always knew my grandmother had a big heart, but I never knew she’d let 6 stray cats live in her house!  We recently lost my 86 year old grandmother to a stroke, it was hard but we gathered together to go through old family treasures at her house and find old pictures for the funeral.  We were prepared to find some weird things, my grandma was a “collector” after all, but when we walked in and were met by the stench of urine and the meowing of several cats, we were all stunned!

Old Grandma Nan had always taken in the needy.  She adopted two of her six children and often let their friends stay at the house when needed.  She was known to buy frequent fliers new coats, shoes, and school supplies since their families didn’t always have much.  Two things you could count on at Nan’s house were a warm bed and a hot meal, no matter who you were.  Well, apparently that’s just what she gave to these stray cats.  She had bags of cat food in the closet and enough milk to serve the army, and newspapers laid on the basement floor for them.

Since anything even slightly usable in the house smelled like cat pee, we salvaged what little we could and instead visited the aunts for some of grandma’s memorabilia.  After all was said and done, we still had the house.  It was paid off long before so it was ours to pass off to whoever would take it, and I took it.  My husband and I are now busy tearing out the carpeting and staining the wood walls, but even with all the renovation in the world, nothing will stay nice without getting rid of these darn stray cats.  As much as my grandma would hate me getting rid of them, they’ve got to go.