Infested

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What was that noise?

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Was that the dog? Looking at him (see pic), I determine that it’s not the dog.

Is it my keyboard? After abruptly silencing the keyboard, I hear the noise. It’s not the keyboard.

Oh. My. God. You may be seeing us on a future episode of Infested! on Animal Planet.

It sounds like a huge critter – chipmunk? squirrel? possum? raccoon? Believe it or not, we’ve had run-ins with all afore-mentioned critters with the exception of the squirrel (yes, we have squirrels, but none have been so bold as to enter our house).

Possums:

In our previous house, we had a h-u-g-e one (it was the size of a beagle) die under our deck a week before we put the house on the market. Didn’t we notice that our nightly visitor hadn’t been seen in a couple of days? Sure, but we didn’t realize that he had met his maker under our deck until the stench of rotting flesh permeated our house. Needless to say, the hubs and his dad had to tear up the deck to remove the dead possum. We did get the house fumigated, the deck repaired and the house sold within a week of the possum’s demise.

In our new house, we had baby possums dropping from our ceiling in the basement. That was fun. Our first home improvement project? Replacing the drop tile ceiling with a drywall one.

Raccoons:  In our very first house, we had a detached garage and there was a very large raccoon living up in the rafters. Eeeeek! It didn’t stay long, thank goodness.

Chipmunks:  Check out the story here.  It’s worth the read – it’s one of our family favorites.

Okay, so back to the present. What did I do this morning? I did what every normal woman does in these situations – I bugged my husband at work with a problem that he couldn’t possibly do anything about and then got frustrated when he didn’t get on the crazy train with me. I needed a panic partner, not a calm fix-it guy.

[Duh! I knew that I should be calling a professional critter guy instead of you. Don’t you know me by now?]

Why do I do that? I do it so I’m not panicking alone, but then it always backfires on me. Because, of course, the hubs trying to be calm, sensible, and matter-of-fact added fuel to fire by saying, “Well, it probably means ripping out drywall and the ceiling.” 

Great. I’m now on the crazy train alone and shivering with visions of possums living and laughing in the space between our first and second floors.

I only wanted some validation that my gut was right in thinking that I should call our bug guy (yeah, we have a bug guy) for a critter guy recommendation.

Always go with your gut. Call the bug guy first.

By the way, I got a recommendation from the bug guy for a critter guy.  I called and got his voicemail – he sounds like what you think a critter guy would sound like (think “good ole boy” that’s seen a lot in his day). I hope he calls me back………..

The Engledows vs. The Chipmunk (circa 2004)

 

Let me take you back to the Fall of 2004 – this is story that I have meant to put in writing ever since it happened.  We are still living in the house where the infamous battle took place – it was epic.  Rachel was 10 (5th grade), Maddie was 7 (2nd grade) and Jack was 4. 

DAY ONE:  One evening during the work week, we all came home and everything seemed normal until we walked into the family room.  All of the mullions from our family room windows had been knocked from their places and were laying on the couch, all of the items we had on our fireplace mantel were knocked over and ransacked, and the mullions from the windows in our master bedroom were also askew.  It was crazy – nothing was stolen.  What had happened?  Mike did his duty as the man of the house and checked out the entire house to make sure that there weren’t any strangers lurking in dark places. We were all safe – Whew! 

Later, away from the kids, Mike confessed to me that he thought we had a critter problem.

DAY TWO:  The next day, he borrowed a Havahart trap from his parents so we could catch the mystery critter.  Again, we all came home from our usual places.   Again with the mullions askew, the fireplace mantel ransacked, etc., etc.  As we were upstairs getting on our comfy clothes in order to put our house back together, I opened our closet door and there it was! It was a chipmunk!  I screamed, slammed the closet door, and we shoved a towel under the door thinking that would trap the animal!  Yeah, right.  They can get through spaces smaller than a thimble.  So, Mike got the trap, quickly opened the closet door, placed the trap in the closet, slammed the door and replaced the towel.  We were going to catch a chipmunk!

We did the usual that evening – ate dinner, played with the kids and went to bed.  The girls were somewhat aware that we had a critter on the loose, but Jack was not.

DAY THREE:   The next morning, Mike carefully opened the closet door and the trap was empty.  Now what?  Was it still in the closet?  Doubtful. Where was the ding dang thing?  Well, we just did not have the time to worry about it – we all had places to be.  We would just have to deal with it when we got home in the evening.  But, how?

Once again, here we are home from work and school, dinner eaten, and no chipmunk sighting.  Was he still around or had he decided to torment another family?   Just when I was beginning to think we were going to have to survive another evening with the enigmatic critter, things started to get interesting.  Mike and I were in the kitchen cleaning up after dinner, Rachel was in her room upstairs and Jack was in the family room when Maddie yelled from the stairway, “Mommy, Mommy?!” 

Me:  “Honey, what is it?”

Maddie:  “My poop looks funny.”

Me:  “What!?”

Maddie:  “My poop looks furry.”

Me:  “FURRY?”

Back Story:  We found out about a year after it happened (why we were talking about it a year later, I can’t tell you) that BEFORE Maddie shouted down for help from Mommy & Daddy, she went to sissy for help first.  She did her business, flushed the toilet and the flushing wasn’t working (for obvious reasons). Concerned, she went and got her sister, Rachel, for a consultation. 

Maddie:  “What do you think?”

Rachel:   “I don’t know, what did you have for a snack today?”

Maddie:  “Fritos.”

Rachel:  “That’ll do it.”    [What?!  What kind of Fritos had Rachel been snacking on?!]

Mike looked at me with that knowing look.  I still hadn’t quite caught on.  Then, he said, “I think it’s our critter.”  Of course, I’m thinking, “NO WAY!”  We slowly crept upstairs and looked in the toilet . . . . . .  YEP, it was a poop covered chipmunk.  Well, you can imagine what happened next – we all broke out in extreme laughter!  Maddie had thought her poop had gone awry and it was just a sad, dead, really dirty chipmunk.

Well, how does one retrieve a poop covered chipmunk from a toilet?  We conferred a bit and Mike decided that the combination of a Target plastic bag and a pair of tongs would be best.  Now, as Mike was plucking the chipmunk from the toilet, his parents called so I told them what was going on and, of course, they found it funny and somewhat hard to believe.  We hung up and not 1 minute later, Mike’s sister, Beth, called to talk to Maddie about her experience.  Then a 1 minute after hanging up with Beth, Mike’s other sister, Sue, called to interview Maddie.  The Engledow phone chain was in fine working order (and it is faster than the speed of light)!

There were many questions surrounding the demise of the chipmunk – Mike thought he had committed suicide.  I guess we will never know.

The Christmas of 2004 was very interesting for the Mike Engledow Family.  We received a handmade board game that included tongs and chipmunk, as well as, 5 pairs of tongs (most of which are still in use to this day). 

I know that the story seems incredible, but many will swear to its authenticity!