pameladean: (Default)
[personal profile] pameladean
I'm posting this both because it's been too long since I posted anything other than a plea for help with tree services and other domestic matters, and in order to see how crossposting from Dreamwidth to LJ is going to work for me.

A couple of weeks ago, the last leaves came off the ivy at the corner of the roof where the sunrooms at the front of the house meet the main body of the house. It looked weird to me. I finally got a look at it in good daylight and realized with dismay that the intermittent gnawing of squirrels that I had been hearing was not, in fact, their fruitless attack on the fortified window air conditioners, but a successful attempt to chew right through the fascia board and into the attic. Raphael and I had both heard the thunder of squirrel feet, which sounded pretty much like cats running overhead, except that we don't have cats in the attic. I provided this news to such fellow residents as were at home and started looking around for a small, reliable, cost-effective outfit to deal with the squirrels.

In the interim, the handle broke off the upstairs bathroom faucet. David had a terrible cold and was not available either for faucet replacement or for anything involving using his voice, which was on strike. I called our usual plumber, who had very strong opinions on what kind of faucet was best -- certainly not the kind that had broken -- and where I should get it, and said he would install it when I had gotten it.

In a frenzy, I got on a bus and went over to Park Supply America in our old neighborhood -- it's at the corner of 26th Street and 27th Avenue -- and bought the cheapest faucet they had in the brand recommended by the plumber. This was not, as it turned out, the optimal faucet for the various uses to which it is put, and in my frenzy I had failed to inquire about these. Raphael had assumed that I would get the same kind as the one that had broken, but I had taken against it because it did break, and also because it was rather vehement for the size of the sink and tended to get water on the floor. However, we are waiting to see how it will work out. I do recommend Park Supply, though; they apparently have All the Faucets and are very nice people.

Raphael, now up and ready to face the day, came out and collected me and the faucet and took us home, then departed on errands; and I called the plumber, who had expressed a strong disinclination to begin work after three and then get caught in before-Christmas traffic. We were perilously near his deadline, but he was no longer in his comfortable office, but finishing up another job nearby, and decided he'd rather do the work that day than the next. So he came out and installed the new faucet, observing to me that "that faucet you picked out" -- a very optimistic view of what had happened -- did not have a pop-up assembly. I did not see why any faucet should have a pop-up assembly, until he explained that it was a part of the drain that comes with most faucets and enables one to raise and lower the stopper by means of a lever attached to the faucet. I did not expostulate about how he had told me a brand, not explained that faucets usually BUT NOT ALWAYS come with drain assemblies and parts that sound like entertainment for small children. In any case, he had a standard drain assembly in his truck that he installed, and we have the stopper from that, which works fine; you just have to pry it up with your fingers when you want to empty the basin, and we almost never fill it up in the first place.

The plumber takes cash or checks only, so I wrote him one. Then I started looking for a squirrel whisperer. I got an email from Angie's List at about that time reminding me that Angie's List is now free, so I joined it and looked for squirrel whisperers, or Wildlife Exclusion and Control experts, as they are formally called. I found a guy who sounded perfect. He answered his phone at once but told me he wasn't working at present because he was laid up with a bad knee. He asked where I lived and recommended the pleasingly-named Beast Wildlife, which is in South Minneapolis. I called them and left a message. It was now December 23rd, so I was not unbearably surprised not to hear back. On Boxing Day I did get a call back, followed very shortly by a pleasant and mellow young man named Keith, who referred to going up into the attic as "entering the abyss." He confirmed the presence of squirrels and set up some traps, and a trail camera that would text him when it noticed movement, and would email him photos of what was going on. I think this is extremely cool. Thus far he has removed four squirrels in traps and noticed a dead one that he will try to remove once the live ones are out. Over the past weekend he took the traps away but left the camera and some bait, and on Monday he came back with another trap, because there was yet another squirrel. I expected to hear from him today that it was in the trap, but it must be cannier than the other ones.

Keith also noticed that a vent in the roof was missing its roof boot, leaving a back door for the squirrels, as it were; and recommended that we get a roofer to deal with that. I called one, again from Angie's List, and they came out early the following morning, examined the situation, and emailed me an estimate, and were calling by ten a.m. to ask if I wanted them to do the work or not. I did, so they came out and put a thing like a gigantic thermos on the roof vent. They didn't stay to be paid and apparently take credit cards, which is just as well, because the squirrel whisperers only take cash or checks.

Sometime while all this was going on, the heater for David's waterbed died. We had a discussion in which he said that in the long run he wanted to switch back to a regular bed, but didn't want to rush into it, so he ordered a new heater. Yesterday he went to drain the waterbed so that he could extract the old heater and install the new one, but had to stop the process because the basement floor drain was backing up. This meant no running the dishwashers or doing laundry, and threw into doubt whether it would be a good idea to take any showers in the morning. I had various horrible visions of terrible failures and hideous amounts of money. David, now recovered, took care of calling drain people, and they found that the issue was actually some kind of blockage in the laundry line. We have had this issue before, and may need to change the lint trap on the washer more regularly. In any case, the charge for that was moderate enough that David just wrote them a check.

I sincerely hope that nothing else will break any time soon.

Pamela

I think the default footer that will appear on the LJ version of this post says to comment on DW, but it's fine with me if you comment on LJ. If the comments turn out to be disabled, I'll have to fix that.

ETA: Okay, that didn't work, trying again.

Date: 2017-01-04 01:07 am (UTC)
graydon: (Default)
From: [personal profile] graydon
It would appear you are not merely over-blessed with the passive hostility of inanimate objects but also by an ancillary ration of pushy arboreal rodents.

I do hope nothing else breaks for a goodly long while!

Date: 2017-01-04 12:24 pm (UTC)
graydon: (Default)
From: [personal profile] graydon
I'm not sure tree trimming would do it. (Nor is keeping trees off the power lines an especially optional act of maintenance!)

As I understand it, squirrel populations are set by the availability of cavities suitable for whatever not-quite-hibernating is properly called (estivation?); the big blob-of-leaves nests don't work so well. So squirrels chewing their way into your attic seems more like a population uptick looking for a cavity-equivalent than a shortage of trees. Even a big mature tree would only have one squirrel -- they're territorial like that -- so getting a bunch is most likely a young-of-the-year bunch of siblings who are still getting along. (Or you have really gregarious squirrels, but that would imply "swimming in food" rather than habitat pressure.)

Inanimate objects love neither justice nor mercy and dwell with entropy in all things and all days. I think this is why so much fantasy has inanimate objects that are at least one of able to talk and implausibly durable.

Date: 2017-01-04 10:29 pm (UTC)
graydon: (Default)
From: [personal profile] graydon
We mostly have grey squirrels with the odd black one. (and a few grey-red hybrids and even fewer red.) The grey squirrels are very photogenic but also highly territorial; one sees them hurtling about and pummelling each other over "MY TREE" and "MY PHONE POLE" and similar issues of material possession. (There was an (as apparent to the simian observers, anyway) ongoing dispute over which squirrel got the oak in High Park an enterprising (and possibly famished) juvenile redtail picked the incumbent out of during the hawk watch year before last; it went on for a couple weeks.)

So different squirrels seems entirely plausible. Squirrels showing up by tribes doesn't have much of the character of an improvement, somehow, though an elm able to maintain six nests seems exceedingly prosperous.

The mild winters are apparently the explanation for the increased numbers of snowy owls; perhaps you'll get one and it will thin out the squirrels as a sort of concatenating consequence of mildness?

Date: 2017-01-04 01:52 am (UTC)
kore: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kore
It is so good to see you here!

....yikes, that is a lot of breakage. I feel you must have met a quota.

Date: 2017-01-04 05:49 am (UTC)
azurelunatic: A glittery black pin badge with a blue holographic star in the middle. (Default)
From: [personal profile] azurelunatic
One thing after another! Here's hoping things calm down.

Date: 2017-01-04 04:14 pm (UTC)
minnehaha: (Default)
From: [personal profile] minnehaha
How delightfully handy to know about the people who sell all the faucets. Our kitchen one has issues, and a plumber once offered to replace it with one he happened to have in his truck for such a shocking amount of money that I almost fell over.

Perhaps if I had the faucet, my plumber-in-law could just replace it for me.

K.

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