Tuesday, July 25, 2006

if you smell a chicken ...

... it's probably me.

This weekend we finally took action to plug up the holes on the underside of our roof. The holes, which measure about six inches across, have been there for about two years and this spring began providing neighborhood squirrels with access to our third-story attic.

Originally the holes served as openings for the downspouts on an ancient pair of gutters that ran along the underside of our slate roof. When we had the roof replaced in 2004, we had the gutters replaced as well, so that we would have something that works and is more or less modern in its design. The downside, of course, was those holes.

The squirrels discovered the holes one fine spring morning this year, when Natasha awoke to the sound of one frantically scurrying about in the attic as it tried to find the way back out. We hemmed and hawed on the subject, and I finally suggested stuffing the holes with steel wool and spackling over it. The spackle alone should keep the squirrels out, but the steel wool would be lethal to any squirrel trying to chew its way back in.

Days passed, then weeks, and finally even three or four months, during which time the squirrels got into a fight with a bird who, feeling in a motherly way, built its nest in one of the holes and defended its home and its eggs with vim and vigor.

This past weekend I borrowed a forty-foot extension ladder so we could settle the squirrels' and birds' fight once and for all.

So why am I a chicken? Because I get dizzy at the mall when I get too close to those cut-away sections of the second floor, where all that stops you from plunging to your death thirty feet below is a glass partition. Because I take the first two or three steps of a ladder very quickly and then my speed decreases along a logarithmic decay curve.

Because I can't stand heights, and I defintely can't stand the idea of standing atop a ladder twenty-five feet in the air and letting go with one hand so I can stuff steel wool into a hole and then spackle over it.

I sent Natasha, and therefore I am a chicken.


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