Cute little bugger, isn't it? So are her six hundred relatives and friends (I embellish just a little) that have decided now that the racoon is gone, the crawlspace under my house makes the perfect summer retreat.
Just when I thought I had my home back.
Well, I'm not happy about it, and neither is my home insurance company who were so kind as to finance Operation One: Repair the duct damage caused by the racoon that decided my house made a perfect winter retreat. To be fair to the wonderful folks at Foremost Insurance, they have been the best to work with and have gone the extra mile to help me through this current disaster. Kudos to Foremost! (Enthusiastic "Plug" intended.)
Not more than three days after my ducts were replaced, the system cleaned, etc., I noticed the horrible odor that had put me in the hospital recently (read "The Houseguest From Hell") had returned, and my air conditioner would not shut off. My HVAC company returned and investigated. This time, rats had eaten through and taken up residence in the BRAND NEW! duct work and are using the air exchange system as their freeway and the under-house ducts as their housing. I saw the evidence myself: feces, leftover food, bedding and nesting materials, and general disgusting litter.
Bloody, bloody hell... oh, bloody hell...
Walking the perimeter I discovered numerous entrances the little farts had found before I did. These doorways to the kingdom are in addition to the others I was working on sealing from the prior invasion. It seems this winter's storms did a real number on my home's foundation, as the structure itself moved a bit off-kilter, and some of the skirting failed to follow suit - leaving gaps.
I always thought rats made lots of noise to alert us to their presence. Not this crew. They have sneakiness down to a science. Even my worthless cats didn't notice them. But, don't get me started on my worthless cats...
Because of all the damage said rats have done to the air conditioning system, my HVAC guys have cautioned me not to use the air conditioner, as the damage will burn out the unit. Oh, boy, swell! Redding, California, is Hell on Earth in the summertime, rivaling Death Valley for the highest recorded temperatures on the planet from July through September. As I type this, the temperature in my house is a lovely 98 degrees, my deodorant/antiperspirant has given up the fight, and I am soaked with sweat from head to toe. On the plus side, though, because my hair is perpetually damp, I am now sporting gorgeous curly tresses reminiscent of those glamorous 1940's actresses. How people managed to live in this town before the invention of air conditioning is a mystery.
Although I have been living at a hotel this week, I still have to come home every day to take care of business. The cats live mostly outside (even in this heat - they prefer it - go figure - crazy buggers), but they eat inside, and they do miss me when I'm gone. Then there is the fact that I work from my home and, because I am Wilma Flintstone and don't own a cell phone, I must come home to check messages and conduct business. You can be assured I make these visits as short as possible!
Eventually, this problem will be solved and I will happily put it behind me. Experience is the greatest teacher. This year's lesson is Home Maintenance 101: Pest Prevention.
I wonder what will be next once autumn comes and temperatures finally cool in late October. I suppose (in my warped little mind) I should prepare for the next disaster/potential invasion with a healthy supply of clubs, baseball bats, sledge hammers, guns and ammo.
After all, they say Zombies go down easy when you shoot'em in the head or otherwise destroy the brain.