Monday, April 12, 2010

Rats with furry tails

I've been talking about it on facebook and twitter, but we have a squirrel in our attic.

After the big snow storm in February. I heard a bunch of grating and scratching sounds above our ceiling. I went up into the attic to look but did not see anything so I figured whatever critters there were, they were outside on the roof. I was very wrong.

On March 30 I found a chunk of our soffit wall--the space between the attic floor and the top floor ceiling--laying on our back porch. When I looked up, there was a large gash in the side of our house below the eaves.

Oh great. Squirrels.

So I called our pest control guy as they were scheduled to come for their annual termite inspection anyway. He came last Friday, but he said they don't set traps on weekends because they are closed and a trapped squirrel will not survive in a trap more than a day. They aren't licensed to kill squirrels.

Say what?

Apparently, it's illegal to kill wildlife critters in Virginia unless you're properly licensed?

So what do you do with these rats with furry tails?

After trapping them, they take them 15 miles away and set them free. 15 miles seems to be the magic number for squirrel sonar. Any closer, and they will find their way back to the nest that they had newly called home. Personally, I wished they'd do something a bit more dramatic, like give it to a cousin named Vinny or Paulie, so they'd take care of the little pests more "permanently" if you get my drift.

Well, the guy in charge of wildlife came today, and it turned out to be our regular pest guy, the guy who comes quarterly to check our house. I didn't know he was in charge of wildlife as well--I guess he's a versatile guy--but it was a relief to know that the guy who will be crawling around in the attic is a guy I've known for about three years now.

He set a trap but said not to expect a catch on the first day. It takes a while for them to get used to a new contraption in their space. But once they start catching, and depending how many of them there are, it will take as long as a month to get them all--especially since they've been up there for at least a month. Only after they are satisfied that they have caught all of them will they seal the hole in the wall and I can finally get a carpenter to fix the structural damage. Geez, what a headache.

Anyway, I paid him their hefty $485 dollar--this includes all work and a one-year critter-free guarantee.  For that kind of money, I really wished the guy we were contracting did have a name like Vito or Sal, y'know what I mean?

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Meeting Sulu

My brother is art director at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles. He came by in January to set up an exhibit at the National Archives called Fighting Democracy. My brother invited me and the missus to the exhibit's unveiling and soiree. It was a nice exhibit called Fighting Democracy. Apparently, it is a "traveling" exhibit that has been to New Orleans, Tuskegee, and soon to Memphis at the Martin Luther King Museum.

While the exhibit was nice and the food adequate--actually much better than most of the fare I get at school functions--the highlight of the evening was meeting George Takei. Musubichan was so excited to meet a celebrity. I have to admit that meeting Sulu was more interesting than addressing Senator Dan Inouye in the elevator: "By all means, after you, Sir." Yeah, that's all I could muster.

Anyway, it was a nice evening, but even nicer was getting reacquainted with my brother who stayed at our place for a week. Living out in Virginia/DC, you kind of lose touch of the people who are important to you, especially family.