Monday, December 8th, 2008

So anyone with a photographic memory might remember us paying several hundreds dollars last summer to get a wooden block inserted into the new addition where the raccoons were getting in. Just an other way in which Dan Lopez’s Virginia Design Builders screwed us was by using materials that were not sufficient enough to keep the local pests out. I can understand a hole existing on the side of our house that is almost 70 years old — but on brand-new construction? Just more money out of our pocket.

So we’d seen this new raccoon(s) a few times… Carolyn had run into him, and I had gone up with my samurai sword and poked him in the side until he left the house. I have since bought a wetstone and sharpening oil to make my sword sharper for next time. Carolyn also managed to trap this guy, but then he got out of the trap. Humane traps never work as well as death traps :)

So Carolyn re-baited the trap yesterday, and within 20 minutes it went off. Nevermind the fact that 9 times out of 10 that it goes off, there’s no raccoon in it. Or that you have to get fiberglass all in your skin just to go up there. The health effects of all this must be weighed in against the value of the intruder’s life, and as I cough painfully from the dust, I realize this is war. However, there is still apparently another hole to clog up, and I want the hole clogged up to prevent more raccoons from coming in.

So Carolyn’s making dinner, and I’m playing Culdcept, and she says, “I hear the raccoon!” And I’m like, “WTF! We’re downstairs! How is that possible?” “I think he’s climbing up the house!” she says. I realize this is the first opportunity in months when we’ve been aware of the direction of the raccoon’s movements. Typically, they’re supposed to go OUT at night, not come in. So I RAN upstairs, JUMPED to the chain that opens up my attic stairs, and growled loudly into the black openness of the attic to try to keep it from coming further inside.

Because at this point, they’re coming in on one side of the house (the old), but living/pooping/tearing up the new side of the house (where they originally got in, before the hole was clogged). Pre-addition, I’d only ever had one raccoon incident, and it got into our actual living area. So they didn’t know about this old hole until their hole was clogged up and they had to find a new way back in (more on that later).

So I deal with the blood on my finger from tearing my skin off by jumping up and pulling a metal chain down with the weight of my body. (The chain has square-ish links that are tightly wound around a metal ring, with sharp-ish corners.) Then I go up, and see him right there. Just standing right around where we think the hole is.

So we approach him closer than we have before, and more gradually. They’re supposed to get mad when cornered, but I’ve literally been within arms’ reach trying to bludgeon one with a board, and it just went into the area between the floors of the house — a 2’x1′ 20-foot long tunnel, basically. They’re definitely not cornered.

So I see exactly which hole he goes out off. It was pointd out to us by the people who fixed the first hole. I can’t see outside, but just where they get in. Apparently Carolyn went outside and reports a single visible hole there, near the top of the furnace to our boiler.


And I’m thinking — I need something to clog that hole. It needs to be about 24 inches wide — the distance between the roof rafters. It needs to be substantive enough that a raccoon can’t burrough through it. Where am I going to get wood cut in these dimensions? I can throw some random wood scraps, but they are light. They could be moved.

So I start emptying one of our many numbered, catalogged boxes of attic stuff. I find a box with…. 5 dead keyboards. I keep one to go back downstairs (for salvage reasons based on successful past experience). And the other 4? Guess what I did?

I wedged them into the opening where the raccoons were getting in.. I wedged them tight. One or two of those keyboards was ergonomic, and had extra curves to it, to help wedget it in. The fact that they are all of similar dimensions makes them almost like bricks. And the air circulation isn’t completely blocked off (which is part of the functionality of a roof soffit), so even better.

I also noticed that via their single hole into our house, they had carved out 2 tunnels into our attic. Two weak boards they broke through, basically. I wasn’t sure about the 2nd one. I wasn’t sure if they really used it.

But Carolyn noticed some spare boards in our attic. Longer than the lumber we bought at Home Depot to add to the attic storage floor. I remember now: We saw these on a street corner during a commmunity yardsale. They were basically out to trash. We had grabbed 3 or 4 of these 8-foot boards.

Now I laid them down on the unfloored attic. There was another half-width board there already, which I used to plug up the small gap that I couldn’t quite cover.

It was half-assed, but apparently crucial.

Within a half hour, the raccoon(s) was trying to get back into our house again. There’s no way anything’s getting past the 4 keyboards wedged into the soffet — it was trying the secondary entrance. Where I had laid boards. Half-assedly. Without being nailed down. Without even having anything over them.

But apparently the board was long enough that we THINK it kept the raccoon out. It can get into the hole (and possibly burrough into our house a 3rd way), but it can’t get past the first 2 ways out of its tiny hole. Carolyn heard the boards jiggling. She heard it systematically trying to get in.

20 minutes later, they’re on the far corner of our house — over Carolyn’s computer. We thought they’d gotten back in, but now I’m not so sure. I haven’t heard the fiberglass being torn up upstairs. I haven’t heard the banging — the reason I started this whole re-baiting business in the first place was because it sounded like they were buliding a fucking bar up there. I mean — they were setting up. Not just your normal scratching and tearing-up of instulation, but I was hearing wood bang around and what-not. I don’t wanna know — but solicit the public for wireless webcams (and WAPs).

Anyway, I think it/they were actually outside. They know where their room is. They know it’s here. They want back in. They were checking the other corners of our roof — looking for the same weaknesses that had created the first 2 holes (also in roof corners).

Damn pests. Maybe I should have put a high-powered BB gun on my christmas wishlist.

Maybe they’re gone.

Is it over?

Haha.. It’s never over. (more…)