Posts Tagged ‘construction’

A couple of years ago when our house looked like this:

We had a little problem with pack rats.

Actually the critters we have are called bushy-tailed wood rats.

Neotoma cinerea if you want to get all scientific.

They’re really kind of cute in a ‘ratish’ rodent type of way.  Full grown they are roughly the size of a small rabbit only with a long furry tail and cute little rat ears.

But do not be deceived by the adorable ears and fuzzy tails.  These are not the kind of creatures you would willingly invite into your home.  They chew on everything from food to furniture and they especially love wiring and plumbing.  They generally make a mess – not to mention the shock of coming face to face with one in your home!  I think I got about 147 grey hairs over a few weeks of construction – thank you very much.

As we started work on the house we were introduced to one particularly determined wood rat who eventually came to be known as Houdini.  We would see him as we worked on the old house.  He would show up at the most inopportune times and always when you didn’t have a weapon at hand to dispatch the furry little creature.  You’d move a piece of sheet rock or a box of nails and there he’d be.  You’d see him scurrying down the staircase or climb a ladder and he’d be there amongst the rafters to greet you.  He was everywhere!!! 

We tried to be humane – really we did.  We tried for several weeks to catch the little bugger in a catch-em-alive trap but Houdini had a way of springing the trap, eating the bait and disappearing all in a matter of seconds. 

He was good!

One day we saw him zip into the old hide-a-bed sofa that had been left in the house.  We quickly drug it out the door but once we opened it up Houdini was nowhere to be seen.  The same thing happened with an old cast iron wood stove.  It took four of us to haul it outside while holding boards over the openings just to find it was empty when we all collapsed outside.

Houdini was a master of escape but his days as master of our castle were numbered. 

After several alterations to the trap, my husband did finally catch him.  With his shiny little black eyes pleading to us through the fine mesh wire of the cage he faced his defeat. 

My husband didn’t want to shoot him, not because he had feelings for the rat – he didn’t want holes in his newly improved trap nor did he wish to risk Houdini’s escape by opening the cage to get a clear shot so after a fond farewell from me (OK – it wasn’t too fond) my husband hauled the trapped rodent down to the stock tank at Grandpa’s house where Houdini would meet his watery fate.

But don’t cry for Houdini yet!  The story didn’t end here.

As the cage sank into the slimy green depths of the stock tank the latch released allowing one of the doors to float up with the rising water.  Houdini, never one to pass up an opportunity, made quick work of this last-ditch shot at freedom.  He swam out the end of the cage and amid many shouted curses and a wildly swinging shovel that nearly ended it all, Houdini climbed to the lip of the tank and ran half-way around the edge, out of reach of the long-handled shovel. 

Hubby was no match for the soggy little rodent who was spurred on by a genuine fear for his life.  Houdini cleared the tank, shot between rows of tomatoes and onions in Grandpa’s garden and darted through a small hole in the back of the garage.

Hot on his trail, Hubby tore through the garage, throwing boxes and spare parts aside but the varmint had vanished once again.

Houdini had lived up to his namesake by making an amazing (and hair-raising) escape from the claws of deaths’ icy grip.

I hear you cheering out there. 

 I know – I wanted a happy ending too – and it could have been if Houdini had moved on.  

But he didn’t and unfortunately, this isn’t the end of the story…

To be continued…

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I would like to give you a short tour of our new home. 

Bob Vila – where are you?

Here’s our front porch.  Y’all come sit a spell. 

Can you say ‘redneck’?  I knew you could.

Actually the sofa isn’t usually on the front porch but we had to haul it out.  There was a pack rat living in it and we finally decided enough was enough when he started eating our Little Debbie snacks.  We can put up with a lot but when you mess with Little Debbie it’s over – Houdini the rat had to leave.  Unfortunately, unbeknownst to us, he wasn’t in the sofa when we hauled it out – hence his well deserved name.  But that’s another story.

Is that sewer pipe on the front of the deck?  And check out the front step made from huge cement pallets that are used for transporting transformers (the big can-like things hanging on power poles).  Did I mention my husband retired from the power company?  Now you know ‘the rest of the story’.

Actually, thank goodness, this front porch is no more.  This was what our place looked like when we started.  Hard to believe – some people thought we should just drive the D-8 dozer through it and start from scratch.  There’s just no accounting for some people’s taste.

C heck out the well-oiled, go-get-em work crew.  They are ready to spring to action at a moments notice.  Can you tell?  That’s our oldest son on the left, John – the best cement man in the world, our youngest son – who will grow up to do anything but be a carpenter and my hubby.  Yes, I have to admit they did deserve a rest.

This is me after I collapsed in the doorway.  No – not really.  But I deserve a rest now and then too.

Here’s our living room.

And hubby’s standing in the crawl space under the master bedroom. 

This cute little house was built in the 30’s.  We’ve heard rumors it was a Montgomery Wards house.  I guess you could order a whole house from the catalog – impressive isn’t it?  Anyway it did have some unique issues.  They must not have actually had the windows when they framed them in because some of the framing had been cut out and kinda just improvised.  I really wish I had taken some photos of that.  This house never had insulation (before it’s time) or plumbing and the wiring was done rather haphazardly.  And the biggest obstacle was the house wasn’t square.  It was like you had taken two opposite corners and pulled – boy did that make for some fun building!!!

And just look at this kid – nice nails sticking out of his hat.  He was having fun wasn’t he?

He’s the baby,  got to love him.

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