Something in the Attic

Sheepdog has been traveling for work way more often than he has been home lately.  The kids and I struggle when he is gone, both emotionally and schedule-wise.  I really hate it when he is gone.  We all miss him and I miss his second set of hands for wrangling kids.  Things run more smoothly when he is home and, conversely, they sometimes fall apart when he is gone.  That’s what happened last week.

Sheepdog left for an early morning flight last Tuesday.  I had a fitful sleep on Monday night (fretting over how I would possibly get all of the kids all of the places they needed to be on my own, plus Sheepdog was sick and snoring like a wild, angry bear all night long) and I was completely exhausted the next day.  I was so tired that I actually made the choice to have Kid E nap with me after I picked him up from preschool even though I knew it would result in him staying up (and thus driving me crazy) at bedtime.

I snuggled in with my bedside alarm set to wake me just in time to greet Kids C and D as they got off of the elementary school bus.  Kid E seemed game for a little winter’s nap, so much so that he drifted off before I did.  I started entertaining my worry-thoughts for a very brief moment but then crashed into a deep, dreamless sleep almost immediately.  It was like I had hit the exhaustion wall, but I rebounded into a pit of fluff and marshmallows.  It was one of those glorious naps that happen only once in a rare while.  Until I woke to hear the pitter-patter of little feet… directly over my head.

As I lay in my soft, warm bed with my eyes still closed I began to put the cold, hard information together.

Pitter-patter, pitter-patter, pitter-patter.  Skitter, skitter, skitter.
Maybe Sheepdog hired someone to fix a hole in our roof.  Yet we don’t have any holes in our roof.  Crap.
Pitter-patter, pitter-patter, pitter-patter.  Skitter, skitter, skitter.  
Maybe DirecTV is adjusting our dish so that we get more consistent reception.  That doesn’t even happen when you manage to get a tech out to your house for a scheduled appointment.  Double crap.
Pitter-patter, pitter-patter, pitter-patter.  Skitter, skitter, skitter.
Maybe my neighbor hired a company to power wash her roof and they came and power washed ours by accident (true story… that really happened).  But the odds of that happening twice are probably slim.  That’s a steaming pile of triple crap.
Pitter-patter, pitter-patter, pitter-patter.  Skitter, skitter, skitter.
Pitter-patter, pitter-patter, pitter-patter.  Skitter, skitter, skitter.
Pitter-patter, pitter-patter, pitter-patter.  Skitter, skitter, skitter.

So apparently there is some thing in my attic, the handling of which normally falls under Sheepdog’s domain.  Our deal clearly states that I take care of laundry, buying presents for all our relatives and talking to the girls about getting their periods.  Sheepdog gets rid of the unwanted varmints.  But he is in California until the weekend so I have only two choices.  I can crawl under my cozy covers and cry about it or I can get out of bed and take care of business.

So after remembering that Sheepdog said I wasn’t supposed to touch the guns while he is away, I got on the internet and did some quick research.  I called a couple of critter catchers and played the part of a damsel in distress.  My hero was able to come over immediately.

He headed straight up to the attic to check things out.  I started to hyperventilate at one point because he left the attic access open while he was investigating (I guess I expected he would shut himself in there instead), and all I could picture was a flying squirrel coming out of the opening and me having to trap it in a coat and smack it with a hammer.  Fortunately, the critters must have heard him coming and they dispersed like a bunch of underage drinkers at a fraternity party getting busted by the cops.  I reluctantly put my hammer back in the drawer.

A photograph direct from my imagination. This critter apparently trained with Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka.

Then the critter catcher tells me that no thing was up there at present but there was indeed evidence that some thing was recently exercising squatter’s rights.  Apparently it is common for southern builders to leave a gap under the eaves and soffits, which is just the right size for squirrels and such to sneak into our attics.  He went on to explain that this could all be remedied by having him install 190 linear feet of flashing that will essentially block the animals’ access.  And any thing that is still inside on installation day gets trapped in cages left behind and carted out by the critter catcher during random checks over the next couple of days.  No hammers necessary.

As the critter catcher goes out to his truck to go write out my estimate, I tell him in no uncertain terms that he “will definitely be installing whatever it takes to get rid of these things and I don’t really care what it costs.  But please, oh please, do not gouge me on price because I just said that.”  I was still out of my mind picturing the flying squirrel scenario.

Fortunately he came back with a very reasonable estimate for the work (my sisters had the job done on their houses and I knew approximately what it should cost) and suggested I talk it over with my husband.  I laughed out loud and told him that he got the job and to put me on the schedule ASAP.  The installation starts first thing tomorrow morning.

When I recounted the story to Sheepdog he kept apologizing for not being at home to handle it himself.  If he had been in town he could have done his sheepdog duties and rid the house of varmints.  He could have been my hero.  When I told him I spent $1700 to take care of the problem he just sighed, knowing he had no right to complain considering he was not here to do his job.  I think he may have even gone back to his boss and requested a little less travel in the future.

Mission accomplished.  No crap.

Wish me luck for tomorrow…

 

One response to “Something in the Attic

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