The baby squirrel sat unsure about what to do on the futon in my downstairs bedroom.

“Really?  You are cute, but what are you doing here?”  I asked as I walked into my house after being away for a week.

A few seconds later I saw something run past the top of the stairs.  I put down my suitcase, closed the door to the downstairs bedroom and hesitantly walked up the flight of steps.  Good, no squirrel.  However, I did notice that the wood trim around my sliding glass door to the deck was now shredded to splinters. I even saw what looked like blood on the window.

Since I didn’t see any other squirrels, I thought that maybe that shadow had been nothing.  I ventured into my bedroom and sure enough, there was the mommy.  This is one of those moments when I REALLY miss my husband.  He would have dealt with this – somehow.  Instead it was only me.  I carefully opened the windows and doors, all over my house.  Then I ran next door to see Harry, my 10 pound Yorkshire Terrier, who had spent the past week with neighbors and his best girlfriend, 100 pound Black Lab Luna.

I was definitely a little freaked out by the scene and was hopeful that the squirrel family would figure out how to get out, and leave.  I stayed at my neighbor’s house for the duration of the hockey game, then quiet bravely took Harry back to my house. I checked around the house and did not see any sign of small furry gray rodents with large tails, so I cuddled up with my puppy and fell asleep in my own bed.

The next day I discovered where this all started. I have 2 fireplaces in my home that I do not even use.  The one on the lower level has a glass door.  I never pay much attention to that fireplace because I have never used it.  Apparently over time, the flue must have opened and not only was I probably losing heat from this space, but the family of squirrels had moved it.

I did call my homeowners insurance to see if they would cover any of the damages.  My deductible is very high and I was also told that my insurance doesn’t cover rodents.

Squirrels are considered rodents.

I didn’t need to hire an exterminator since they were already gone.

I made some phone calls this week.  It is time to fix things on my own.  Basically that means for me, making some phone calls and hoping they can help me without me going broke.

I started with the chimney cleaner.  He was appalled.  Not at the fireplace chimney which he said was fine, despite the nest at the bottom.  It was the boiler chimney that had major water damage and other stuff going on.  He made it seem like my house was about to blow up.  Well, I just had a friend who lost her whole house in a fire which started in a chimney so I decided to believe this man and pay to get this fixed.

I will work on fixing a few things like the splintered sliding glass door, loose siding and rotting deck.  There is always the option of selling the house and moving into something newer and smaller.  I must weigh the pros and cons as I move forward here.

I like my beach community, neighbors, commute to work and location.  My boys will be coming home in a few weeks for the summer and we have family visiting as well.  For the time being, I have confidence I can do this and am thankful that I can still afford to be in my home.

I finally tackled my closet this afternoon.  I emptied all the items and rehung them on new slender felted hangers.  I organized my wardrobe by length and color.  I filled 3 bags of my clothes to donate.  I even cleaned out Mike’s dresser and decided my summer clothes would be handy in those spaces.  I was finally OK with it.  My method of going through his closet has been to gradually donate or give his stuff away.  At this point in time I understand that he will not be needing them anymore.

The reality is that I chose to spend time in my closet so I wouldn’t have to deal with cleaning up the fireplace with the squirrel nest.  I know there are no critters in there but it still scares me a bit.  I am thinking of maybe hiring a teenager.  They like to make money, right? What would you do?