You know the old saying, "there's no place like home?" Must be true...especially my home, which seems to be a pretty popular place.
I've got four or five house guests who just refuse to leave. Don't get me wrong, I'm normally a pretty hospitable guy...but when the guests start tearing up the place and making a mess, welp, it's time for them to go.
I've got a two-story, four-bedroom home with an attached garage. As you look at my house from the street, the garage is on the right side. My bedroom extends over half the garage and my daughter's room is on the left side of the second story.
Our unwanted house guests are squirrels. I think there are two of them living in the attic over the garage, and an additional two or three have taken up residence in the attic over the main part of the garage.
The squirrels over the garage appear to go in and out of that attic through a hole they made in the soffit on the right side of the garage. They climb up a trellis in the back yard, saunter across the garage roof, and go through the hole in the soffit to get to their attic domicile.
The squirrels living in the main attic climb up a tree in our front yard, and jump from it to our roof. Then they walk across the roof to a hole in the soffit over my daughter's bedroom and use that as their entry/exit to my main attic.
I decide to get rid of the squirrels and call an exterminating company. They want hundreds and hundreds of dollars to trap these cute little varmints and relocate them. However, I've been told that trapping them myself without a permit might be a Federal offense, and I really can't see myself poisoning the critters, so what's a guy to do?
I pull out some wood, a ladder, a saw, a hammer and some nails. Climb up on the ladder and build a little platform under the garage soffit right where the squirrels have their hole. The varmint removal folks put the trap on the platform, and push it right up against the hole. They bait the trap and leave, I go in the house to go to bed. I look out my bedroom window, and can see the very end of the trap.
Look out the window and see that the trap is tripped, but can't tell how many squirrels are in it. Run downstairs and outside, only to find the trap is empty. Go in the house and dress. Go back outside, climb the ladder and discover that the squirrels didn't like having my platform attached to the soffit. Seems that installing the platform had partially blocked their entry hole. Rather than move to someone else's attic, the squirrels evidently decided to spend Friday night remodeling. They tripped the trap, moved it back out of the way and chewed on the edges of the entry hole until it was large enough to suit them.
Obviously, I've underestimated the difficulty involved in getting rid of squirrels. To add insult to injury, hearing a bit of chattering, I turn and see two squirrels sitting on my roof (just over my daughter's bedroom) watching me. If I didn't know better, I'd say the squirrels are laughing at me. Forget the rat killer, anyone have a .22?
Later Saturday Morning
The varmint catching expert stops and resets the trap, and then I head upstairs to take a shower. Before climbing in the shower, I look out the bedroom window and see that the trap has been tripped again. Running downstairs and outside, I discover two things. One - my neighbors think I look pretty funny with a towel wrapped around my waist, and Two - we've caught a squirrel in the trap.
After getting dressed again, I call the varmint control folks and they come relocate the squirrel to someplace far away. Figure we have the squirrel situation on it's way to being under control - all we have to do is reset the trap and wait for the rest of the squirrels to volunteer for relocation.
Still no squirrels in the trap.
The trap is tripped, but no squirrels. Don't tell the varmint control folks, but I reset the trap.
Look out my window and see the trap is tripped. Get dressed (who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks?) and run outside. No squirrel in the trap. You see a pattern here? I reset the trap. The squirrels laugh at me and trip the trap. I see the trap has been tripped and run outside, only to discover that the trap is empty. I reset the trap and we start all over again.
This goes on Sunday morning, Sunday afternoon, Sunday night, and then on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, I reset the trap in the morning, come home at night to find it tripped, reset it at night, and wake up to find it tripped. If you're keeping score, that's Squirrels - 10; Me - 1. That rat killer starts looking again like a pretty viable option.
After work, I climb up on the garage roof and go to work on the soffit over my bedroom. Take off a piece of trim so the squirrels can get in and out of the main attic on the right side of the house, and then build a platform so I can put the trap right in front of the hole. Move the ladder to the other end of the house, climb 40 million feet in the air, and close off the hole the squirrels use to gain access to the main attic. Move the trap from the garage attic to the main attic and call it quits for the night.
Look out the bedroom window, but can't see anything except the bottom of the platform holding the squirrel trap. Get dressed (see - I really can learn new stuff) and go outside, only to discover a dazed squirrel sitting in the squirrel trap, which is sitting on the hood of our Honda Civic. Best I can figure is that after Mister Squirrel tripped the trap (from the INSIDE this time), he got a wee bit excited. Probably ran back and forth inside the trap...maybe even banged against the sides of the trap. All this activity must have caused the trap to slide a bit...and then slide a bit more. Next thing you know, the trap is falling the eight feet from the platform to the garage roof.
Mr. Squirrel probably got even more agitated as he saw the garage roof rapidly approaching. The trap hits the roof with a bang, and then begins sliding down towards the gutter. Mr. Squirrel might have breathed a sigh of relief - expecting the gutter to catch and stop the trap. Mr. Squirrel would have been wrong, as the trap catches on the lip of the gutter and begins spinning end over end as it drops the 10 feet towards the ground. I don't think they have rides like this at your local amusement park.
I guess Mr. Squirrel was fortunate, in that the trap didn't drop the full 10 feet to the driveway. Mr. Squirrels good luck is our Honda's bad luck, as the squirrel trap smashes onto the hood of the Honda and scrapes the paint. Amazingly, the trap landed right side up, so it's a simple matter to pick up the trap and put it in a box so he can wait for the varmint catching professional to arrive. Last I see of Mr. Squirrel, he's going for a ride with the varmint control guy.
If you're keeping score, that's Squirrels - 10; Me - 2. I'm still way behind, but I appear to be on a roll. When I get home from work, there's another trap up by the soffit.
I look out the bedroom window and see the trap has been tripped. Since I'm still dressed from work, I can run outside and check the trap.
Squirrels - 11; Me - 2.
Reset the trap and go to bed. Dream about the pitter patter of little feet running around the house. Waitaminute - my youngest is 16 years old - I don't dream about the pitter patter of little feet any more. Must be hearing the remaining squirrels running around in my attic.
Score is now Squirrels - 11; Me - 3. I'm definitely on a roll.
This may be the last of the squirrels from the garage attic, assuming it's Mrs. Squirrel and not one of the squirrel kids.
My daughter wakes me up a 5:50 AM to sign some forms for a soccer tournament. I fill out the forms. Before starting to work on my web page (http://www.cCreations.com), I check the trap. The score is still Squirrels - 11; Me - 3.
(Did you notice how cleverly I fit my web page address into this story? That way, if the story gets forwarded to other folks, they'll be able to visit my site and find out about the neat buttons, magnets, name badges, and dry erase boards we make.)
I check the trap every couple of hours, and it looks like there were only two squirrels living in the garage attic (or any remaining squirrels have found a safer way to get in and out of the attic. Guess it's time to have the varmint removal folks move the trap to the main attic and see about encouraging the one or two squirrels still up there to relocate.
If you happen to be in my neighborhood, feel free to stop by and climb up on my roof for a talk with the squirrels in my attic. Tell them that it would be in their best interest to take a close look at the inside of the trap. Because if the varmint catching professionals don't get us up to 4 or 5 points pretty soon, we all may want to consider investing in rat killer stock.
Okay...I know. This story doesn't have a THING to do with our Customized Creations business. But it's my web page and I can put just about anything I want on it (as long as my wife doesn't object). If you've got a few minutes, how about taking a look at our customized magnetic-backed dry-erase fridge calendars (we can even put photos of squirrels on them) or our red hat name badge web site. Both products are pretty neat, and if we sell enough of them, I'll be able to hire someone to come and evict the squirrels!
Customized Creations; 9520 Monroe Ave; Brookfield IL 60513 • 614-214-7261; E-mail: rob@cCreations.com