Thursday, May 22, 2014

Squirrels: 2

So, Joe and I sat down last night and constructed a squirrel exclusion door.  An exclusion door is a steel wire gizmo with a spring-loaded door, designed to allow the squirrels to exit from their penthouse suites, but not to re-enter.  Kind of a low-tech bouncer.  

I measured, Joe cut.  I climbed the ladder and did the fine-tuning on the bending.  I screwed our creation into place, and went to bed secure that I was one up on the little buggers.

This afternoon, I climbed out of my car and startled a squirrel who was hanging out on a portion of the roof where I don't normally see the nefarious pests.  He jumped, ran up the roof, and disappeared.  I stepped back a bit to see where he'd gone, and sure enough, they've made a matching hole on the north end of the house.  He was peering over the edge at me, as if to try to figure out if I'd seen where he'd gone to hide.

Back to the hardware store I go...

However, I'm not spending all of my time chasing squirrels.  Last weekend, I had a great time tearing down the walls in the kitchen.  

I found some more bad karma cooties lurking in the ceiling.  I'd suspected the bath faucets almost had to be leaking, but hadn't been worrying a whole lot about it since there wasn't any water coming through in the kitchen below.  When I got into the ceiling, I found the water hadn't been leaking because they'd green-rocked the area under the leak.  (Green-rock is a mold and water resistant type of sheetrock.)  In two layers.  The leak wasn't bad enough to come through both layers, but there was enough water to foster a healthy layer of black mold up there.  The kitchen smells much better with the cooties banished to the trash pile in the back yard.

I also got the main electrical line moved this week, from the back of the house to a new mast on the garage.  (It's buried between the garage and the house.)  The framing is moving along, and while there's still a ways to go, it's getting to where you can see the bones of the shape of the new space.  The amount of work to be done between where we are and the finished rooms is a bit overwhelming to think about, so I'm trying to focus on one step at a time.  It will get there eventually if I keep chipping away at it.

Kind of like the squirrels, chipping away at my eaves.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Squirrels: 1

squirrel taunting cats
The other day, I woke to the unwelcome sound of squirrels in the eaves.  again.

I cussed a bit, then went outside to see what I could see.  Sure enough, the little varmints had managed to get back into the eave I'd blocked off earlier this year.  This time, there are four of them.  Young ones, which is probably why they were initially able to worm into the hole.

I wasn't sure why the coyote urine had stopped working, but figured it out later in the day when I saw some green plastic when I was cleaning the gutter.  They'd managed to get the packet out of the pocket, and tossed it over the side, where it landed in the gutter.

I can hear it now.

"Look guys, what a great fixer-upper!"
"Yeah, but what's that smell?  It's awful!"
"It's coming from this pile over here.  Let me just get rid of it, and we'll have ourselves a great place to live."
heave.  ho.
"See?  The stench is clearing out already.  It'll be just perfect for us in no time!"

Back to Google.  No, you can't poison them - they REALLY smell bad if they die in the walls.  I can't shoot them, we're within city limits, and besides, I'd probably just take out a window or two.  Searching further, I found some designs for one-way squirrel doors.  I picked up the materials this last weekend, and plan to build me one this week, and try it this weekend.

Wish me luck...

Sunday, May 4, 2014

No Good Words

my new kitchen island
When he heard I was working on my kitchen, my friend Ron offered to build my kitchen cabinets for me.  We've been friends for some 20-odd years.  He's helped me on projects before, and is the one who taught me how to sweat copper plumbing.

I was more than happy to accept his offer; I've seen his work before.  He got started on the cabinets last fall, before he and his wife went to Arizona for the winter.  He called me in late March, letting me know they were headed for Missouri.

I sent him a message a week or so later, letting him know my construction project is finally progressing, and to see how he was.  I didn't get a reply, which was unusual for him  I waited a week or so, then sent another message.  This time I got a reply that started:  Janice, this is Marilyn...

I knew it couldn't be good news and it wasn't.

Ron is dying of cancer.  I went down to his place to see him.  In just over a month, he's gone from healthy to a constant morphine drip.  He won't be alive much longer.

I am so glad I went.  He's not able to say much, and the drugs muddle his thinking, but we were able to talk some.  I told him this really sucks.  I let him know again that he will always be my hero.  I let him know I was grateful for his help and friendship over the years.  We gave each other a big hug, and cried on each other's shoulders.

But my words felt so inadequate.  What words should I have used to say goodbye when I knew it was likely to be the last time I will see him?  I still don't know.  I can only hope he understood the language of my tears.