The housing crisis is now hitting the critters. I’m not talking about cash-strapped families giving up their pets. This is about evicting critters from my house.
It all started with our deferred maintenance program, which allowed a gutter to drip onto a windowsill. The windowsill developed a hole that allowed birds to squeeze into the space inside the siding. The birds didn’t bother us. Sure, they bulged out the siding a bit. Otherwise, they were good tenants that stuck to the terms of their six-month lease by flying south in the winter.
The birds, however, were not popular with my neighbor. He didn’t like having the equivalent of Midway Airport so close to his kitchen window. He urged us to cancel the lease and close the opening.
Before we had a chance to do this, the birds mistakenly sublet to a squirrel. They let one squirrel in and before you know it, the squirrels were carving Xs in their runways and forcing the birds to move out.
The birds decided to build a nest in a downspout, safely out of squirrel range. They still had daily flights but the air traffic declined to the level of a Palwaukee Airport.
The siding now bulged with squirrels and they were not good tenants. They came and went at all hours. Their scampering inside the wall disturbed us and drove the dog bonkers. They extended their lease to a full year and wouldn’t share any of the mixed nuts they were squirreling away.
To get rid of the squirrels, someone suggested we pour mothballs into the wall, because squirrels can’t stand the smell. As soon as I emptied the box, the fumes were overwhelming. Moths immediately designated Forest Park as a no-fly zone. Our kids complained that the house smelled more elderly than usual. The only creatures unfazed by the fumes were the squirrels.
I tried launching a sonic attack. I noticed that my piano playing irritated the squirrels immensely. I could hear them pounding their tiny paws against the wall, squealing at me to stop. But I couldn’t keep up the barrage of bad notes long enough to make them leave.
So, we called in some wildlife control experts. They covered up the opening and fashioned a small funnel by which the squirrels could exit but not re-enter. We finally had quiet walls again.
The wildlife experts had warned us, however, that the squirrels would try anything to get back into their condo. The next morning, we saw a big bushy squirrel squeeze between the storm window and the frame and disappear down the hole. The scampering started again inside the wall. Quick, somebody open the piano!