The Blizzard of 2016 was largely delightful, and my family and I were all pleasantly surprised by how little we wanted to kill each other at the end of 7 days of quarantine. We lost our satellite, but ameliorated the situation with a few antennas we had lying around in the basement, and I came to appreciate the local ABC news team, who were genial, entertaining and adorable.
I was watching figure skating when my sister informs everyone there is water coming from her ceiling. Sure enough there’s a steady stream of water coming from the register. My immediate thought is the roof has partially collapsed, and snow is now in the heating vents, melting. So we tried to get a ladder in there to get into the attic, but her room is so messy we can’t unfold it. We drag a file cabinet into the hallway, and I wobble up the ladder in socks and my good blizzard snow pants. I come face to face with a dead wasp lying in the insulation, which was not cute. I find the wet beam the water is dripping down, but cannot see where it’s coming from, because even though the ceiling is vaulted… like a ceiling, there’s weird horizontal sheets of plywood suspended four feet or so off the insulation. So we shoved a roll of paper towels up there and hoped for the best.
We call a roofer, he declares it is “probably an ice dam” which is when ice gets in between the shingles, melts, and refreezes, pulling the shingles up and letting melting snow and water in, and that it “might never come back” which was highly reassuring.
A few days later, I’m standing in my room, when I hear a weird repetitive banging noise. It sort of sounds like a set of blinds smacking against a window frame in the wind, so I ask my sister if she’s left her window open.
“No. Are you talking about the weird scratching noise? The people next door have been drywalling at really weird hours.”
I go in her room and listen. Sure enough it sounds just like a metal putty knife scraping against the dry wall. But our neighbors have small kids, and sure-as-fuck aren’t drywalling at 3AM.
I make my Mom listen to it. There’s an animal in the wall. Because I am a dumbfuck, my mind immediately travels to Reddit and the assortment of cute baby animals that could be trapped in the wall, dying from my apathy. It could be a cat. It could be a mother cat and sweet, fluffy, baby kittens that climbed up 3 stories, rapelling their way up my house with a tiny grappling hook and a ball of yarn, seeking shelter from the Blizzard of 2016. I will open that wall, and whatever superificial damage is done to the house, it will be all worthwhile as I embrace my new cat friends, I’ll make sure they all get adopted to good homes except we’ll keep one precocious kitten I will give a cutesy, contextual name like Roofy, and live happily ever after.
It’s a fucking squirrel.
Please recall I was previously the biggest defender of squirrels. I was like the goddamn Erin Brokovich of squirrels. I bought multiple squirrel Christmas ornaments. I had toile sheets with squirrels frolicking in the park. Then this winter those motherfuckers ate two sets of expensive LED vintage recreation Christmas lights and now I think they can all burn in hell. They ate my Halloween pumpkin. The good one, from Whole Foods. Now they’re living in my fucking wall.
Then one night, me and my sister are sneaking around turning the thermostat up. A house without air conditioning or sufficient heating is a non-started, but you can’t turn any of it on. So we’re stealthily jacking the heat up a couple degrees while my Mom is already asleep. Woke up the next morning to a note on an old piece of mail: furnace out already called. The universe does not want us to have functioning appliances or animal free walls.
Other times I have been fucked with by squirrels
Squirrels that ruined the magic of the season
It was winter time, and we were about to start up the first fire of the year when a rolling mass of opaque, pitch black smoke, backed up into our living room and I thought we were all going to die. This was particularly hurtful because my family repeatedly ignored my attempts to form a fire plan. My Dad shuts the flue and closes the fireplace and calls a chimney sweep, (or something.) The chimney sweep hypothesizes a family of squirrels have built a nest in the chimney, and that we have to have someone come out and remove the nest and squirrels, and seal off the chimney with a metal grate to prevent them from rebuilding the nest. So a chimney professional arrives and removes a massive pile of twigs from the chimney. The kicker? No family, just a massive, fatass bachelor squirrel.