*(This was written in March, 2016 before the bitter cold winter had come to an end)

I suspect that we have a Critter Problem.
It’s not like the time we had a chipmunk take shelter in our basement one winter who figured out how to turn the “touch” lights on.
Or the time that the cat went through a “bring a snake inside” phase because his stuffed mouse just didn’t squirm enough.
Or even when we had a slight mouse infestation in the cake mix cabinet, as gross as that was.
No, this is a very different Critter Problem.
It started with scratching sounds in the walls that was just loud enough for the cats to perk up their ears, stiffen their bodies and stare.

The addition of thumps, knocks, and more aggressive scratching caused the cats to jump at the wall.

For the most part. I was the only human who heard it, until recently when the critters were having a parade in the wall on their way up to the attic directly over Sam’s recliner.

“See???” I said.

“Call the exterminator,” Sam said.

Since I have been up in the attic  three times over the past few weeks and didn’t see any wildlife, or any evidence thereof, other than a large wet spot on an old mattress that I removed and threw away, I figured I could wait a little longer.

But that was before Big Foot moved in.

This morning as I was getting ready for work, the pounding was so loud and heavy that the cats ran away.
So much for curiosity killing a cat.
I was sure that whatever was up there was about to come crashing right through the ceiling.

I got scared.  Not so much because there was something in the attic, I already knew that.  It was more like that whatever it was would soon be joining me.  At the very least, that would have been one hell of a mess. And I don’t just mean the mess that the animal would make.

So I called the pest control people and they will come out on Monday morning. But before they do, they want ME to go up in the attic and look for either flying squirrels, or gray squirrels.  I was assured that it would only be one or the other – not both because they are enemies.  That is an interesting concept, “Sworn Rodent Enemies”. Small comfort. Although it is good to know, just in case it appears as a science question on Trivia Crack.

Oh, and bats.  It could be bats.  When he said “bats” I heard “rabies.”

Bob, the nice pest control guy who was giving me this crash course on rodent behavior, spoke in excited run on sentences, “When you go up in the attic, look up into the rafters.  That’s where the flying squirrels will be.  They’re cute and  have really big eyes because they’re nocturnal.  And the scratching at night might be then because the females are particularly active this time of year because they’re nesting.  If its a gray squirrel, they will be on the floor.  Look around on the floor for droppings.  If you see any don’t touch them, just leave it there.”

I can assure you, the last thing on my mind in that situation would be picking gray squirrel shit out of the blown-in gray insulation.

Rather, I’m thinking, how cute will it be when I flip out, scare the big eyed winged darling, and she comes flying right at me?

So I told him that l was not going up into that attic.  That’s what I pay him to do

Bob said, “We only have one wildlife guy whose qualified to do this and he doesn’t know your house like you do.  So it would be helpful if he knew what was up there.”

Okay, wait.  They only have one qualified wildlife expert that they will send.  They will not send any one else on a wildlife call.  Yet, they want ME to go have a look-see.

Will my homeowners insurance cover this disaster should I decide to take this challenge?  Or would that claim be filed against their insurance?

Also, since I am home alone, if either the flying squirrel, camouflaged gray squirrel, or pissed off bat attacks or bites me,  I won’t have anyone here to:

A)     Calm me down
B)     Get the freaking critter off of me
C)     Catch the freaking critter to be tested for rabies
D)     Take me to the ER so that  I can start the rabies vaccination series and explain to health care professionals that the Wildlife expert from the past control company wouldn’t come out until the clueless homeowner (me) did reconnaissance.
E)  Call a priest.

I realize that E) seems a little out of place unless you remember, as I have, that scratching sounds in the attic is how “The Exorcist” started.  That thought has been rattling around in my brain for as long as this critter problem has been going on. And it is far scarier than squirrel enemies and rabid bats so when I hear that scratching noise, I say out loud, “I belong to Jesus Christ.”

Maybe I’m over thinking this.

But, if for some crazy reason I decide to accept the “Attic Reconnaissance” challenge I will slip the two rosaries I own over my neck while wielding a crucifix up the pull-down attic stairs as I shout:  “THE POWER OF CHRIST COMPELS YOU!”

Wild, possibly rabid, rodents are one thing, they can screw with my life.  But the devil…..no thank you…I won’t let him screw with  my soul.  I have to get this critter problem solved before I get Pope Francis on speed dial.



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