Tuesday, May 19, 2015

wherein a squirrel moves into our roof

Here’s an illustration of how my life has changed on returning to work from mat leave. Though it’s been months since downloading images from my camera, when I went to do it now I only had 70 photo’s. And that file spans the period of a couple of months.

Only 70 photo’s in 3 months? Fine for my Mum and Dad when I was a kid, but there is no excuse for that kind of frugality nowadays. I’m telling you, these kids of mine are pretty damn adorable. They need to be captured on film so that I can distribute images near and far and the world may adore them as well. Things must be pretty busy to interrupt my mission of documentation.

And we are busy. And I see the kids less and don’t take as many photo’s. But I think that life has found it’s rhythm. I don’t know if it always makes me happy, but it is a rhythm nonetheless. What I don’t like, is how life can whip by without me being aware of its passing. As in, summer has now burst into our lives in the space of a couple of days and it’s filling my soul with joy, but I have no idea where Spring went. The weeks really do blur, punctuated by incidents that mark one moment from the next.

Thankfully we can rely on Mountain Dad for episodes of light entertainment and blog fodder. This most recent involved the culmination of a long battle with our resident squirrel. Reminiscent of our time in Berry, (Australia) where Mountain Dad (then just a Mountain Man) waged a war on the local possum. Possum insisted on scaling our verandah each night, to eat all the vegetables we had growing in boxes. I awoke one night to the sound of scuffling and grunts. Mountain Man was heroically defending our vege’s! When he returned to bed, he told me that the possum was so cocky and confident that he wasn’t scared off by naked men lunging and yelling at him. Mountain Dad had actually walked right up to Possum and pulled his tail and only then did the animal deign to leave his pantry.

Alas, such strategies were to no avail. Possum eventually decimated our fledgling garden.

Rodents – 1. Mountain Dad – nil.

This time, Mountain Dad would be victorious.

It has been slowly dawning us that there is a squirrel in the roof. We hear scrabbling noises in the eaves and see him lurking around the carport. Mountain Dad’s muttering became uneasy as he viewed the potential and I think he was in denial for a long time.

“It’d be bad,” he sighed,  “In the roof. In the walls. He’d be in the insulation.”

Shea went on to explain that with the house renovations we’re doing this summer, we run the risk of building the squirrel into the roof and giving him no options of exit. As the old and holey boards are replaced with thicker, newer, straighter pieces, the squirrel would get trapped inside.

He sucked his teeth and solemnly concluded, “Hmmm-hmmm, we don’t want a squirrel in the roof.”

So it was no surprise to actually see the squirrel disappear into the soffit one day.

“Daaaaaad!” Little Ladie shrieked when he returned from work. “The squiwel is in the roof!”

Turns out that Mountain Dad had already begun measures of persuasion to lock the squirrel out. He had the Mountain Kids on high alert, watching to see when the squirrel left the roof so that he could screw the sagging boards closed and effectively, lock the rodent’s door. He had already done this. Case closed, right?

“Daaaaaad!” Little Ladie shrieked when he returned from work. “The squiwel is BACK in the roof!”

Fancy that, eh? Squirrel had found an alternative crack to squeeze himself through and Little Ladie was onto him. It was she who alerted Mountain Dad to the squirrels leaving home one afternoon and in a flurry, he was up the ladder and screwing a huge piece of wood across a huge area of soffit.

“That’ll keep him out,” he smiled smugly.

And it did. And the squirrel sat on top of the shed roof and chattered and chastised Shea the whole while. And when we’d gone in for dinner, we could hear him scrabbling around the outside walls and roof as he sought another entry.

Then he began eating the house.

We checked on him after dinner and he scampered back to the shed roof to yell at us while we inspected the damage. We could see a hole in the siding already. Mountain Dad swore the squirrel was eyeing him up and ready to leap onto his face. We went in for kids bath-time.

As we were reading her night-time story to her, Little Ladie asked with concern why the squirrel was still making noises. It was getting to her and it began getting to me. It was incredible how loud it was, though we were inside. You could actually hear him chewing on the house. It went on all night. Through kids-to-bed, dishes, our showers. Right before we went to bed, Mountain Dad cracked. I think it had something to do with me deciding that our boy-squirrel was actually a girl and most definitely a mother. There really couldn’t be any other reason for such determination. She was obviously desperate to return to her babies who were right now stuck inside the walls without their mother. They could die, Shea! A mother would do anything for her children, I know this now. And she’ll do this all night, I’m sure. We won’t be able to sleep, it’s so loud. A mother would do anything for her children, I know because I am a mother. Imagine being locked away from your babies?!?!

When it comes down to it, Mountain Dad’s a way bigger softie than me. At 11pm and under the vocal direction of the irate mama-squirrel, he was back on the ladder, unscrewing the big block of wood he’d previously installed. The soffit sagged again and gaped open a welcome door to our happy housemate.

We heard her scurrying around in there and then quiet for the rest of the night.

Rodents – 2. Mountain Dad – well, I think he’d admit that a happy wife does equal a happy life.



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