Damn squirrels

Before we moved into our new house we saw evidence of animal (probably squirrel) activity in the attic. A condition of the sale was that the hole in the soffit where they were getting in be patched and some damaged ductwork be replaced. Not long after we moved in I noticed many strange sounds in the house during the day while I was alone at home working. I assumed/hoped the critters I was hearing were on the roof instead of in the attic. This went on for some time. The noises became stranger and stranger and louder and louder. I was fairly certain something was in the attic, but I didn’t know what, and part of me didn’t really want to find out.

We have a pest control place that has been taking care of spiders, mice, etc. so we asked them to come take a look. Squirrels. They were in there when the guy came out. It would be $450 to remove them and patch the holes where they were getting in. This isn’t unreasonable, but it’s really more than we can afford at the moment. I reluctantly took it upon myself to attempt to remove them. The first time I climbed up into the attic I saw two squirrels in different places. One of them I even pinned up against the wall with a board. I could have partially ended the infestation right then and there, but I didn’t have it in me to go through with it so I let the little bugger go.

The next step was to get a trap at Home Depot. I baited it with bread and peanut butter, as several people recommended online. The bread was stale and the peanut butter was organic. It was all we had. A few hours later I checked on the trap and it had been tripped, but the bait was still there and there was no squirrel inside. I reset the trap. A few hours later I checked and the bait was gone and the trap hadn’t been tripped. I guess it needed some fine tuning. I tried again the next day with fresh (stale) bread and (organic) peanut butter. This time the bait was gone once again and the trap was not triggered. Grrr. I could just hear the jokes about the squirrels outsmarting me.

After a brief hiatus for Thanksgiving travels I tried again today, this time using (organic) sunflower butter with the same old stale bread. Bingo. Within a couple hours I had one of the squirrels trapped. It was freaking out. I brought the cage outside while I waited for Melissa to come home so we could take it somewhere. I put the cage inside a rubber tub A) to doubly-ensure the rodent didn’t escape in the car and B) to try to calm it down a little, both of which were successful. We drove several miles to a park on the other side of town to release it. Adding insult to injury the damn thing urinated and defecated all over the inside of my rubber tub. As the gate opened it took off like a bat out of hell. Hopefully, we’ll never see it again.

Scared shitless

Now, I still have at least one other squirrel to catch. I hope that’s the last one, though I suppose there could be others. I wonder how much noise I’ll hear tomorrow while I work…

The Look

Things have been hectic these past six days, but Melissa, William, and I are managing okay (with an awful lot of help from Melissa’s mother). Fig William has settled into a routine of eating, sleeping, pooping, and making funny faces (with the last two often done in conjunction). He had some real doozies today.

He’s got the look.

He's got the look

One eyebrow raised? Come on, that’s my look.

The look

Incidentally, I’ve posted a number of pictures to my Flickr stream that have not and/or will not make it to the blog. So if you really can’t get enough of William (Grandmas, I’m looking at you) you can check my Flickr stream on a regular basis… or better yet, subscribe to the RSS feed.

The Electric Slide

Fig’s been doing the electric slide lately. Fig takes after her/his daddy.

Clearly when the electric slide line dance was introduced I thought it was totally lame. Apparently that’s just because I never saw anyone do it right. As my former ASP staff coworker Wyatt (Y-it) showed me in the summer of 1999, you have to exaggerate the motions.

Wyatt teaches Rob the electric slide

Wyatt (center-right) teaches Rob (center-left) how to get into the electric slide

Wyatt and Rob do the electric slide

Kick that leg

Wyatt and Rob do the electric slide

It’s electric!

The Water Drinking Contest

I was recently reminded of a humorous experience from 2003, the water drinking contest.

Water drinking contest

My friends Brett & John argued about who could drink a liter of water the fastest. There’s really only one way to settle such an argument. Brett won the contest by a small amount. Then he made the unfortunate decision to quickly repeat the contest against me. He beat me, then immediately ran to the bathroom to vomit. That was the night we learned the human stomach does not hold two liters of water.

The Hardman

A friend pointed me to this humorous blog post discussing various types of bicycle commuters. As many of you know I’ve commuted to work by bike for a number of years. Since we’ve been back from Nicaragua I’ve only driven a car to work three times, and all three of those times I was transporting large and/or heavy objects.

Back to the types of commuters. I’ve certainly seen each of these types of commuters before, which is why I found the article so funny. Clearly, I fall somewhere between The Pro and The Hardman.


That’s right – YOU. You didn’t think you were gonna get out of it so easily, did you? You’re the only one who thinks you’re the coolest kat in town. You’re the guy who gets all kitted up, pins a number on, rides the Zipps, and has an espresso flavored powergel on your way to work. But I’m sure you have good reason to ride in like this…It could be because you have a race after work, you need to take your bike to the shop at lunch, or it could be because you like to show to all your coworkers how PRO you are. Sorry, but we’re the only people on the planet that think spandex, shaved legs, and tiny arms look cool.

During the summer I show up to work on my race bike with shaven legs, just waiting to start my training ride after work.

The Hardman

This is the guy who hasn’t missed a day of commuting to work since 1993. This is a badge of honor to this steed and everyone at work talks about him around the lunch table like he could win the Tour de France. You pipe up every time and try to make them understand that he is not as PRO as you are and that you’re in fact the much more dedicated cyclist.

I also ride all winter long. I don’t hesitate to grab the bike lock keys, rather than the car keys, on my way to work in 5˚ weather.

El fuego en la nieve

The one day this past winter I didn’t ride to work wasn’t because I didn’t try. The roads were covered with ice, I fell, bruised my hip, and limped back home. I worked remotely that day.

Icy streets

The Natural

One of this week’s $0.99 movie rentals on iTunes is The Natural. This is the movie that introduced me to the word “bastard” as a child. I had no idea what it meant or even that it could be considered a bad word. I just picked up from the movie that it’s something you call someone when you’re mad at them.

Of course, this got me into trouble when I called my brother Travis a bastard at a family gathering. Nobody really heard it, but Travis promptly tattled on me and I got my mouth washed out with soap. The worst part was that I had absolutely no idea what I had done wrong.

I’ll freely admit that there were plenty of times in my childhood when I truly deserved to have my mouth washed out with soap (though my personal preference was for Lux, I found Palmolive had a nice, piquant after-dinner flavor — heavy with a touch of mellow smoothness), but this wasn’t one of them.

The Bender Mask

Bite my shiny metal ass

“Bite my shiny metal ass”

Futurama is one of my all time favorite television shows. The robot character Bender isn’t my favorite character on the show, but he seems to be quite popular with every other fan of the show. I was able to score this Bender halloween mask from emerchandise.com in 2002 for $7 and it has served as my de facto Halloween costume many times since then.

The Easy Hooker

We noticed a small wet spot in our ceiling a couple weeks ago when it was raining frequently. I assumed the gutters were clogged with leaves, as something similar happened last year. A few days later we noticed the spot again, except this time the spot was worse and this time it wasn’t raining.

After a quick resurvey of our house I realized I miscalculated earlier and the wet spot in the ceiling was not far away from our upstairs toilet. Crap. Literally. Fortunately, there was nothing wrong with toilet itself. The supply line was leaking very slowly, so I closed the valve. I went to the store and bought a new supply line, and, after several days of putting it off, I finally installed it today. The toilet is back up and running.

In the process of fixing the toilet I went to the garage to grab some teflon tape. There I noticed I actually already had a toilet supply line. I suppose I wasted a trip to the store. But, as I had a difficult time explaining to Melissa earlier, this supply line wasn’t to be used. It was a souvenir. Yes, a souvenir.

I believe it was my third summer working at ASP in southwest Virginia. I purchased many toilet supply lines that summer at the local hardware store. These supply lines were particularly hilarious due to the product name and packaging. Behold, the “Easy Hooker”

Easy Hooker front
Easy Hooker back

I bought one at the end of the summer so I’d always have a funny memory to laugh about. This supply line has stayed with me through numerous moves to new apartments and houses. It’s never been used, but it came awfully close today…

The Camel Clutch

Watching TV a bit ago, my story ended and professional wrestling came on next. I haven’t watched pro wrestling in 20 years, but 20 years ago I watched it a lot… mostly with my brothers. There was a lot of un-professional wrestling that took place in my house growing up. Being the youngest, I usually got pounded. I did have a few chances for revenge, though. I recall giving my brother Travis an unusually harsh camel clutch hold one time that he didn’t like too much. The camel clutch involves laying your opponent on their stomach, sitting on their back, and pulling their head back by the chin. If it were real, it might actually hurt.

Camel clutch

While working for ASP 10 years ago I made friends with a boy named Tim, who liked pro wrestling. Here is a photo of the sexy hermit demonstrating the camel clutch on Tim in the summer of 1998. Don’t worry, it was fake. It’s all fake.