Squirrels Take Over

We have been loving our RV this summer.  James only works 4 days a week, so we get 3 day week-ends most weeks and we love to head out and go places.  One Sunday evening after returning from one such jaunt and we were putting away our items, I was getting ready to sit down and relax in front of the TV to watch the recorded NASCAR race (big fan).  James was headed in to watch as well and heard a strange noise coming from the kitchen.

"What's that noise?"  James asked.

"Don't Know." I said and ignored it, intent on getting started with the race, knowing James had already sneaked most of it at the Rimrock club house earlier in the day (I was a bit miffed because he had kept giving me hints about the race even though I kept I would plug my ears and say "nah-nah-nah! I can't hear you!!").

He heard it again and headed towards the kitchen, paused and looked up at our solatube skylights.  Shocked he said "You gotta come see this!" 

Sitting in the round tube going through our kitchen ceiling towards the roof were eight little feet scurrying around and jumping.  Two little baby (maybe half-grown) squirrels stuck in the solatube.  Now, it had been a very warm day and I was worried they had been baking in there for hours and might be half dead from heat stroke. However, they scampered and scurried in that little tube pretty well, so they seemed energetic enough to cause trouble if we opened the tube without a way to keep them contained, so we noodled ideas on how to do just that. 

We ended up getting a chair and a box and another piece of cardboard. I wish I could have recorded the event, but I just didn't have enough hands to hold the box and the phone at the same time.  It would have been hilarious to see.  One of the squirrels went sailing past our heads into the sink and then out the pass through into the family room and started running circles around the corners of the room.  We did manage to put the cardboard cover over the box on the second squirrel and get it out of the house.

For the next 20 minutes the a tiny baby squirrel had us racing around the house with brooms, poking under furniture, shooing and sweeping toward open doors.  Did you know that squirrels growl?  Yes, they growl.  I never knew.  Finally it went out one of the three open doors.  Whew.  We headed outside and looked at the spot we were pretty sure the squirrels were getting in and James plugged the eave with several pieces of brick and stone (knowing they wouldn't be able to chew that).  While he was doing that one of the little critters got with in inches of his face several times trying to get into the hole!  Very persistent.

We then plopped down and turned on the TV and started the NASCAR race, ready to relax.  James headed to his office to catch up on his email.  Thankfully we had the situation solved. 

Not so fast!

Not 10 minutes into my race, I hear a crash and a long growl and four little legs planted square in the mesh on the fireplace door behind the glass.  Whaaaat! 


Apparently, since they couldn't get into the house via their normal route one of them decided to go down the chimney.  Well, we couldn't use the box method this time.  So we opened the doors to the house, got out the brooms again and then swung wide the fireplace doors and got ready to play squirrel hockey again.

I didn't finish my NASCAR race that night until about 11:00 p.m.

But wait!  That's not all!

The next morning (James is at work, so I'm doing this solo, mind you) I heard a strange sound coming from the 2nd floor of our home. 

"Oh great."

I dreaded going up there, knowing there could be dozens of places the critters could hide.  I opened the doors downstairs, got my broom out and headed upstairs.  I hadn't gotten three steps up and I come face-to-face with the tiny little bugger. We're doing a stare-down.  He's on the landing. Neither of us move; who is going to flinch?  I decide to move first.  He goes flying past my head and lands on the floor by my feet and heads into the living room. The chase is on.

I never find him all day.  It appeared he had hidden in the laundry room.  I left the doors open most of the day and could hear him growl off and on.  Finally I had to leave to run some errands and figured that neither my little dog, nor I have gotten bit so far, so I guess we'll be OK until hubby gets home to help in the hunt, so shut my dog in my bedroom and I leave.

Hubs comes home later, we fling the doors come open, brooms come out and the chase is on again.

We haven't seen the squirrels since.

We win.

Busy Bee During Sabbatical

The big news is that I am taking a sabbatical.  The not so big news is that I haven't had much excitement in my life on a day to day basis. since I've been home each day without a busy work schedule to take up my time.  But I can say that the stress level is near zero and it is very nice; with a capital V! I can't remember the last time I've felt so relaxed.  That's not to say that I haven't had plenty to do. 

Boeing had/has and still is going through labor contractions as it is trying to compete better and lower their costs (raise profits).  So every quarter they offer Voluntary Layoffs and when they don't get enough "bites" they start handing out layoff notices.  I didn't bite, so I did get a notice.  It didn't take long for us to decide (less than a weekend of discussions) it became clear that we could come out ahead financially to NOT stay at Boeing, but to go ahead and leave and pocket the generous severance.  My IT Project Manager skills are in high demand here in Seattle, so I can take some time off and then go do some contract work later this winter and work a few more years and continue lining the retirement nest.  I will turn in retirement paperwork and start my pension early next year.  The big question is where to put the money each month, because I don't need it now.  Roth?  Extra payments on one of the houses to get it paid off?  Lots of mental chewing gum.

Prior to leaving in late, I made a long list of things to do while I was off.  I knew I was going to be busy.  Now I'm not sure I'll get it all done!  I already feel the clock ticking away: tick, tock, tick, tock... I still have to paint the small decks, finish the upstairs bathroom, organize the pantry, organize the upstairs storage room...yikes.