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challenges travel Widow

Runaway from home? Look who moves in!

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?

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54 comments

  1. I think I would have run screaming from the house.

    Reading about how you’ve been cleaning out your beloved husband’s closet, reminds me of my mom, after my dad died. She didn’t get rid of all of Dad’s clothes. And when she died in 2010, my sisters and I had to clear out both of our parents’ clothing. There are no easy answers. You do what you feel able to do and the rest will sort itself out. There’s no deadline on grief.

  2. this reminds me of the time we had a very mad raccoon stuck in our chimney in BowMar. Our scared golden retriever discovered it as it was screeching just above the flu in the fireplace!. We had to hire a varmint catcher. He put a cage on the top of the chimney with some Kentucky fried chicken as bait. The next morning we had the raccoon in the cage. And the guy drove it away and released it “into the wild”.

  3. Tough stuff, all the way around. Congrats on another successful adventure away from home! Love the stories of your adventures. Yes, a teenager would love the job of helping you; but save non essential things for your sons, should they be willing. So impressed that you are able to let go of clothes that others no longer need.

  4. Unfortunately, some workmen take advantage of single women. I hope you always get at least three bids before signing a contract to have work done. It’s sad, but true, that not everyone is honest. In addition – I’m not saying that it is true in your case – but insurance companies will often say “no” when actually things are covered, and hope you will go away. I’m glad you were able to get rid of your squirrels without too much problem.

  5. Enjoyed the squirrel story. Had a chipmunk in my bedroom in the middle of the night , it scared me to death. Left the doors open and he went on his merry way .

  6. Very good! Better than a howler monkey! My husband loved the read on Blue Spirit!!!!! So good to be home…. Christie

    Sent from my iPhone

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  7. Eek! My daughter would love a pet squirrel. I personally would not want any in my home though.

    You reminded me that I need to tackle my closet. It’s a mess.

  8. Oh man. Living in Australia, I’ve never seen a squirrel – they look adorable in the photos I’ve seen though! I’m sorry about the addition damage to your boiler chimney – how annoying. Good luck in all of your renovations – sounds like you’ve got a fair bit to do, ugh. Definitely find a teenager to help you. 😛

    Christie’s Take on Life. xx

  9. It’s really hard to do things on your own especially if you’ve been with somebody for a long time. He will always be your half, but it’s glad to know how you managed it well. You can ask your neighbors if they know someone who fixes those kind of stuff. Take care!

  10. Well, it seems that you handled that in a calm and collective way! That would have totally freaked me out. Regarding hiring help, I would first check with family members (nieces, nephews, etc). If I hired a teenager, I’d probably go with a fearless female over a male.

  11. The squirrel makes this story cute but I can feel the absence of your husband from how you describe things that need to get done around the house and throwing away his old clothes.

  12. Great post dear, we have a lot of squirrels out here in our Building garden, and you reminded me of the time when I had moved new here after my marriage and had tough time handling them, haha
    Thanks for revoking the memories 🙂

  13. Teenagers always love making money, so I’m sure you could find one. That sounds like quite an adventure! I would be frightened myself.

  14. That is a lot to take on at once, and you do it beautifully! I’m glad that you were able to deal with the squirrel situation.

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