That rattling in the ceiling?
That’s squirrels, skittering about in the attic of my antique house, living up there without even offering to pay rent or do any of the household chores.
I wonder how they got in there, until I notice a gaping hole chewed in one corner of my roof. A ragged aperture, and growing. Where once there was a beautiful angle, the roof pleasingly connecting to the exterior wall in the style of the era — now the point of connection is ragged, an open scab on my beloved 1817 Federal Period house. Hee hee! the squirrels seem to snicker. We’ve bitten a hole in your history!
What alarms me most was that they’ve put in a doorway without a single Town of Ipswich permit. This could mean penalties — serious fines — possibly loss of membership in the Assistant Building Inspector’s fan club. These wretched rodents could ruin my finances and my social life — on top of the ugly cavity they’ve gnawed.
How to fight back? I am helpless. My primary experience with squirrels is tsk–tsking as I drive by their squashed carcasses on Linebrook Road. (“Too bad,” my heathen side mutters. Then my religious side takes over: “Give rest, Lord, to the soul of Your servant [insert squirrel’s name here] who has fallen asleep, where there is no pain, sorrow or suffering. In Your goodness and love for all, pardon all the sins he [she] has committed in thought word or deed, for there is no [squirrel] who lives and sins not. Amen.”)
In my besieged home, I need help. My squirrel-squatters are eating my mortgaged wood; they have apparently failed to qualify for food stamps. My domicile is being decimated, nibble by nibble. I need a pest professional. A varmint vanquisher.
The uniformed professional who pulls into my driveway is nonchalant. He shrugs. He has fought this evil before, and prevailed. He is armed not with a gun or a poison, but with a small, squirrel-sized door. He climbs up a very tall ladder and affixes the door over the dreadful defect. If I didn’t have trouble with the Ipswich building inspector before, I am sure to now.
But this is no ordinary door. This door only opens one way: out. A squirrel can leave the comfy confines of my attic, but when he tries to return….
“Honey, I’m home!”
(Skittering and scratching sounds from inside.)
“Honey, it’s locked!”
(More squirrel sounds.)
“Honey, come on. Open up.”
“Harold? Is that you?”
“What do you mean, ‘Harold, is that you’? Do you normally have guys coming to visit you when I’m not home?”
“Harold, why are you outside? Come in the house!”
“I’m trying to tell you, woman! I’m locked out!”
“Oh, for Pete’s sake. I didn’t lock the door.”
“Will you please just open it?”
“It opened just fine when you left for work this morning.”
“I know that! But it doesn’t seem to be working now!”
(Skittering sounds. The door swings open. She steps out.)
“Look. It works perfectly. You are so squirrelly.”
“Thanks a lot. I love you too.”
(The door slams behind her.)
“Oh, great. Bang on the door. The kids can let us in.”
“The kids went to the park.”
(They stare at each other for a long moment.)
“This is how it went for Adam and Eve too, isn’t it.”
“I hate moving.”