Aug 25, 2009

Squirrels and four thousand dollars

You may recall that we had to replace one of our air conditioners at the beginning of the summer. It came at a very inconvenient time, but the unit was over 15 years old and we could hardly complain about it biting the dust. And the new unit has been FAB.U.LOUS. Still, $4,000 was quite a chunk of change.

So I was a little frustrated when this problem with the freezer popped up last month, and last week I finally decided to have someone look at it.

Turns out we just need new hinges on our doors, which have been bent permanently out of shape by (in our repairman's words) "POSSIBLY PEOPLE RIDING ON THE DOORS." What? In THIS house? I've really got to tell Grayson to stop doing that.

Again, the fridge is over 13 years old and this is the first maintenance we've had to perform on it, so I guess it's fine.

But two weeks ago when our kitchen SINK stopped up and wouldn't drain -- even after a quart of Draino -- I really started feeling like the gods of homeownership were conspiring against us.

Our plumber had to come Roto-Root the crap out of the sink, but he got it in good working order again -- $175 later. Still, a price I was happy to pay for a working kitchen sink. I AM NO LAURA INGALLS WILDER. I NEED A WORKING KITCHEN SINK. Among other things. After two weeks without one, I was going bananas.

So perhaps you can imagine my displeasure (and if I could think of a stronger word for "displeasure" that didn't involve profanity on my family-friendly blawg, I WOULD USE IT RIGHT NOW) when I came home last night and walked upstairs to feel a blast of 88.8-degree heat hit me square in the face. That would be the level of the house that is supposed to be cooled to the tune of $4,000.

I got a SECOND slap in the face when I walked over to my newfangled thermostat to see that it had gone completely haywire and was nicely showcasing every single setting known to man PLUS a not-at-all-helpful illuminated red asterisk.

The touchpad was immune to my touch. It responded to nothing, not even "Reset," "Reset," "Reset," and "RESET-RESET-RESET-RESET-RESET-RESET," and definitely not "Reset" in conjunction with "Clear," "Done" and a few choice audible words on my part.

Long story stretched to epic length, I called Danny (our intrepid appliance repairman), who came out at 7:10 last night and performed a very low-tech investigation. As it turns out, squirrels have climbed up a pipe on the outside of the house and gotten into the attic, where they have chewed lots of wires from here to kingdom come. They have also chewed on some of our rafters, but I'm not as worried about those. I AM WORRIED ABOUT NOT HAVING AIR CONDITIONING IN AUGUST IN ALABAMA.

Danny's going to come back today with some sort of mesh wire to close off the ends of the pipe, but then he has to completely replace all the wiring from the attic down to the new AC unit. GOOD TIMES.

I have never had anything against squirrels. Until today.


Grayson said...

I guess its time to get out the .22 and teach the boys to hunt squirrels.

Rachel said...

I like Grayson's comment. lol Sounds like a good solution. Stupid squirrels. :)

Wanda in NC said...

I know exactly how you 3 months time in 2006 EVERY appliance & the a/c in my house had to be replaced!!!Washer/Dryer; refrigerator, stove, dishwasher & the hot water heater...Good thing for credit cards (not so funny)

Megan Lauriana said...

Oh no! That is horrible. I'm so sorry. :(

I agree with Grayson! Or, instead of bringing guns into it, you guys could throw some repellent or poison up in the attic so they'll leave your wires alone!

Good luck and I'll be praying that the repairs limit themselves to easy google-and-fix problems. :)

Katherine @ Grass Stains said...

I'm totally against the shooting idea, but since I posted this we've also ben informed that they've chewed through some of the other household electrical wiring that's up in the attic. NOT A GOOD DAY!

jennhenders said...


I feel your pain. When we had a tree cut down a few years ago the electrical people had to disconnect a wire (three ply braided wire covered in rubber AND plastic) about the diameter of a golf ball. Apparently the squirrels had chewed it almost in half so the guys just replaced it instead. And they've done a number on our screens on the porch. Used to like the little creatures but now I see they're just rats w/ bushy tails!

The Smith-Case Family said...

I just wanted to say I love reading your blog... Your writing style is most entertaining. We live in Auckland, New Zealand and of course are just coming out of our cold, wet winter...bring on the heat I say!

Katherine @ Grass Stains said...

Jen, I didn't know you were still reading my blog! Glad to see you come out of the woodwork. :)

Smith-Cases, You've officially blown my mind! NEW ZEALAND! Wow! I feel like I've arrived. I don't know why I am more blown away than I would be if you'd said you're from Connecticut, but whatever. Welcome to my blog, and thank you for your kind comments.

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