The Old Lady Who Swallowed the Fly (and The Study)

canstockphoto1439705It was a long night last night. A squirrel got stuck in the interior wall next to my desk yesterday. Being the problem solver I am, I called and scheduled an animal rescue guy to come out and get the little bugger out of my wall today. Obstacle one – overcome. Obstacle two arrived home last night with his own ideas about how to solve the problem.

So now I sit at my desk, next to an empty wall with the exception of two holes, a couple of five gallon buckets, a piece of plexiglass, some tools and a squirrel that has now been fed peanut butter and is resting for another round of ‘jump up the wall and slide down, claws scraping all the way’.

Not to say that I don’t have compassion for the poor little bastard. But an inexpert rescue by hubby and yours truly that allows a funniest home video to be shot of a squirrel attached to my face, is not in my rescue plan. I’m sure our animal rescue guy won’t be surprised by another couple of homeowners attempting to solve the problem themselves.

My husband and I have always been relatively self-sufficient and he, stubbornly so. And that was fine when we didn’t have a child or jobs with loose boundaries. These days I’m more inclined to hire an expert, prior to turning our home into a demolition site. I am always reminded of the children’s song about the old lady who swallowed the fly and then a spider to eat the fly and then a bird to catch the spider. This is the nature of solving problems inexpertly. More problems are created.

When you’re younger, with fewer responsibilities, solving your own problems is character-building. When you get to be middle-aged, your character has done been built and now it’s all about other challenges – saving for retirement and the kid’s college education. The likelihood of you falling off a ladder is not only higher, but the injuries more significant and the consequences more dire for your earning power.

Spring is on the horizon. I do all the landscaping and gardening. I’ll be re-staining our decks and fences. I have rooms to paint in the house, the garage to reorganize, various other patch and repair jobs. Somebody else will be replacing the gutter screens and trimming the taller trees. I have my limitations – but it allows me to spend my time doing more of what I enjoy and am capable of doing instead of creating bigger, more expensive messes.

For now, the squirrel and I await a little assistance.

41 Comments on “The Old Lady Who Swallowed the Fly (and The Study)

  1. May the squirrel be relocated to a fabulous tree in the woods at least 100km away from your wall!

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    • This trapper guy actually takes them out to a park reserve and because the temps are in their 30s and it’s likely a furred juvenile, he should be okay. No guarantees of course, but that’s about as humane as I can manage, short of giving it the guest bedroom.

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  2. I totally agree. Sometimes, especially as a man, there is a stigma about having someone else do things such as work on your car, but I know what I am good at and like you said, I know my limitations. Taking my car to an expert mechanic not only gives me a piece of mind that the problem will be solved correctly the first time around, but it saves me from wasting time that could be better spent doing something else. Thank you for an excellent post.

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    • Both my husband and I come from blue collar homes, so we definitely feel the stigma of not “doing for ourselves”. And he doubly so, as a man. I try to pay attention and not remain completely in the dark, but unless I plan on studying mechanics’ guides and watching countless YouTube videos on squirrel removal (I admit to watching a few!), it’s not worth the time and energy…or the subsequent mess we make getting it all wrong. Thanks for reading and commenting!

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  3. I’m surprised that you aren’t creeped out. I hate the sound of their little claws scratching behind the drywall….mating….multiplying….

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    • Actually I’m a little more upset about its misery in trying to escape. We’re going through a whole removal process, because we have an open attic that runs over the garage and obviously don’t want generations of squirrels moving in. Fortunately, they don’t start with litters until later this month and next, so the timing is pretty good to prevent that. Fingers (and claws) crossed!

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  4. Lol. Just like a man. I love this post. Thanks to you and your new house guest I have a huge smile on my face.

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  5. For some of us, stubborn self sufficiency gives way extremely slowly to those nagging sagging temporal facts so in-eloquently asserted in fits by the passing of time. It was/is a very hard lesson for me, but I notice I lose the battle ever so slightly more often with my self than I used to.

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    • I barely even enter into battle with home projects anymore – I’m fine just wrestling with writing. Much happier and quicker to wave the white flag and call for help in areas where my expertise is limited!

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  6. My girlfriend once had a squirrel living in the roof of her building. We called it Mr. Scritchy. Apparently, it was actually Mrs. Scritchy, and the pest control guy had to seal off the ceiling with the babies stuck inside. I still feel bad about it.

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    • I’ve had to have a conversation with my 8 year old this morning about how it’s not good for wild animals and people to live in the same structure. It would be nice if they could live in the attic and clean up their poop and not chew through anything, but the reality is that they get stuck in walls and can cause illness and poop and pee on everything.
      It’s a mixed bag, this and I’m trying to be reasonable, but it does make me sad.

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  7. Years ago, when our house was for sale, we discovered a water leak in the garage on Easter Sunday. It was coming from the upstairs bath. My husband and father (problem solving dynamic duo) cut a hole in our bedroom wall, a shade of green, (that will become important to know) to reach the plumbing they suspected of leaking. Somehow a tool was fumbled into this hole which perpetuated the need for a second hole. (Because the tool was some sort of magical tool passed down through generations of problem solvers and must not be lost to a hole in the wall.)
    The first hole, in turned out, didn’t uncover the source of the leak. Buyers were coming to do a walk thru the next day, my husband had to leave for a six hour drive to be at his new job the next day, my dad too was expected out of town. I was left with a leak and two holes to patch and paint. No big deal. I took a piece of the wall to Home Depot to match the forest green or hunter green or deep woodland whatever and returned to make the repairs.
    Yeah, the paint didn’t dry the same color as the wall. It was more than obvious that something had happened on two square sections of that wall.
    With the walk thru looming, I returned to Home Depot for a gallon of paint and proceeded to curse, I mean, repaint the entire wall. The next day I called a plumber. Problem solved.

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    • Good grief. I fear what de-squirreling our house will entail, but there will be painting involved. The green study will be a whole new shade of green, I’m sure. Thanks (I think?) for sharing your own experience!

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    • Oh, as if my comment wasn’t long enough…when selling the next house, we had a squirrel problem which my two problem solvers remedied with peanut butter.

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  8. Save the squirrel! I’m glad you are hiring an expert because I think the amount of stress it could cause by having the squirrel not come out of the wall is worth the expert’s fee.
    I liked the fact that you say your character is done being built! Yay to that!

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  9. I feel like the squirrel sounds like a Patrick. Or maybe a Morris.
    Me and my other half have a severe mould problem. We had to ring the landlady before being allowed to clean it, as it could be in the wall itself. Now we’re off to get face masks to stop inhaling the spores and mould killer. I sometimes wish it wasn’t both character building but also cheap to do everything yourself. I’m all for self sufficiency, but I’m also a bit of a fatalist and have images of the walls collapsing on top of us or being eaten by a mould monster. Oh well.
    Good luck to you and your squirrel friend!

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  10. Your post reminds me of the saying, “Who is the strongest [wo]man? The one who knows their limitations.”

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  11. My father could and did fix anything. I married a man who cannot fix anything. When he picks up tools, bad things happen. Perhaps I should send him to your house, he can simply pick up a hammer, and the squirrel will flee in terror. Probably to my house.

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    • Very funny! I grew up with women who had to rely on themselves, but that meant doing aesthetically awful work or hiring it to be done. I have decent skills and married someone who is adept at problem solving, but aesthetics are not an issue with him (if it works, it’s fine. If it doesn’t, we’ll move onto the next round of damage). I don’t like the time and frustration involved with problems outside my purview. Nor the inevitable cleanup!

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    • To cover the bucket, should the critter lounge about with the peanut butter in the bucket – to slide it down the wall and trap it. Any flat piece would have served the purpose, we just happen to have plexiglass. I was puzzled about why the creature wouldn’t just run back in the hole once it heard someone moving about. I don’t think I was wrong about that, since it obviously didn’t work.

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  12. Why don’t you try making a pet of him like Jo of Little Women did with the rat?

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    • I have a love/hate relationship with the pets I have (cats). Of course, I wouldn’t have time to develop a relationship, since the cats would do their thing. “Scrabble” would end up a meal.

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      • I can’t imagine not loving animals. Four cats own me. I used to have a pet rat, but can’t any longer because of the cats. my son would love a pet squirrel, but I tell him it would be cruel since they are wild animals. I hope you were able to get him out and free him without harming him.

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        • I sure hope so. We used to have a king snake living in our attic and the side of the house. Every once in a while there would be a horrific thrashing up above us as he killed a rat. After many months, he left the way he came in. I think he’d killed all the rats.

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        • Wow. I had to explain to my daughter why wild animals and human habitat don’t mix well. Nor do cats and any small rodents. A snake….I’ve never encountered that issue!

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  13. I loved the line: “When you get to be middle-aged, your character has done been built and now it’s all about other challenges – saving for retirement and the kid’s college education.”
    (I don’t know how to copy lines from the post – I know it’s not the same without your italics!)
    Also, we are so NOT do-it-yourself types around here…we’ve given up trying to handle even the simplest household fixes ourselves. And our characters still have a long way to go, I’m sure…:)

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  14. Pingback: Blog Burnout: When the Hair of the Dog that Bit You Doesn’t Work | The Green Study

  15. I battle squirrels every year in my shop building. The destroy my trim and chew their way in and then hide inside the cinderblock walls. I’ve tried traps, noise, bait – nothing works. The only expert around here says that the solution is a shotgun – I’m desperate, but not that desperate.

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