Gathering courage (and help) to face the attic intruders
We have had only one pet bird, Budgie, our late beloved blue, gray, and white parakeet. He watched TV with us and, just like me, woke up and jumped up and down when there was an action movie or “CSI” scene on the screen.
We fed him and decorated his cage, and cleaned it according to the best book we could find on his care.
When we went on vacations, we left him in the care of a local vet. Except for once when he was on vacation, too. So we left him in the care of a friend.
Before we were far away, we got a call from the caretaker asking if Budgie normally slept claws up at the bottom of the cage. We never did replace our bird.
One recent morning at 5:30 a.m., I heard a racket in our attic. I turned and looked at my wife, who was fast asleep with the hint of a small smile on her lips.
How on earth could she sleep through that racket?
Suddenly there was no more noise. It was my turn to smile and get some much needed rest, since I had to be at work in an hour and a half.
As I walked out to my car, I looked up at the pine trees on our property and saw that a number of large branches hung over our roof.
They must have used the branches as diving boards to get on our roof. I had read that squirrels have razor-sharp teeth that could gain them entrance to our attic and that they could flatten their bodies so as to get through very small spaces.
At dinner, I asked my wife what she thought was causing that horrible noise.
“Oh, isn’t it obvious? You have ‘Family Guy’ on too loud while we are supposed to be having a relaxing dinner.”
“I mean in the morning. Up in the attic.”
“I don’t know what you are talking about, George. Eat your dinner.”
The next morning at 5:45 a.m., the noises resumed. I turned to the back of my wife’s head and, as calmly as possible said, “Those noises. Squirrels in the attic!”
I climbed out of bed and went to the front hall closet. I put on a cardigan sweater, a raincoat, a hat and gloves, a scarf, and then went to my workbench in the basement and got a pair of safety eyeglasses and a flashlight.
I took a look at myself in the bathroom mirror and could not say I looked like any comic book or movie superhero, but I was prepared to search for those animals with the razor-sharp teeth and claws.
I pulled down the ladder staircase, took a deep breath, and slowly popped my head up above the floor of the attic. The line of light revealed no animal activity at all. The attic does not have a floor, only narrow walkways. I have size 15 shoes and I tip the scale. That is not an incomplete sentence.
I hired two slender brothers who have done a lot of great work for us. Within a half hour, they discovered a large empty bird’s nest that they cleaned out, and secured the point of entry as best they could. Later on, I got a carpenter to make a permanent repair.
That night, both my wife and I slept soundly until we had to get up and go to our jobs.
I had a strange dream, though. In my dream I believed that those birds knew how much we loved our parakeet and thought they could get good care at our home.
Well, I might have done that if they were as tiny as Budgie and would not mind giving up their wild freedom.
George Weinstein lives in Burlington. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.