Another Monday in the Burbs

We’ve all been there.

The family is gone/sleeping/miraculously quiet for unknown reasons and then you hear it.

That repetitive noise that signals distress in your abode.

Maybe it’s a chirping noise. Or dripping.  Or tapping. Or air whooshing.   It’s something – over and over again, and now you are tasked with finding the source of the mystery noise.

Working away at the kitchen table yesterday, my ears caught a repeating noise – so faint I thought it was a drip in a far away bathroom (seriously – in The Treehouse I would have known where that was coming from instantly, but not with three floors of potential origins spread out for me to search through,) and got up to investigate.  Master and  hallway upstairs bathrooms were drip free, as was the main floor laundry, kitchen, and bath.   The ceilings all looked dry….  At the top of the basement stairs I heard the noise again, louder this time.  Was it a drip, or was it a chirp?  (I panted and wheezed at the top of the stairs for a moment resting contemplating this question.)

Bathroom, windows and ceilings all seemed dry – leaving only the utility room.  As soon as I opened the door the noise sounded again.  It was a chirp, not a drip, Not a fire alarm battery chirp, it was lower – Potter wasn’t losing his doggie mind yipping and running all over the house in desperation to escape.  On the contrary, he was sitting on the sofa watching me run up and down the stairs, having himself a doggie blast.

It was an alarm of some sort.  But beyond narrowing it to that little room, I couldn’t pinpoint the source. It seemed to come from everywhere and nowhere all at once. Bouncing off the furnace,  leading me briefly toward the unused whole-house-humidifier, before sending me back toward the radon mitigation piping.


I did what any grown-ass woman does when she can’t figure out what’s wrong with something.  I called my dad.  He didn’t answer, so I left a message and went back down to keep investigating.

Then I saw it. The pressure gauge on the radon system was a perfect U shape –even on both sides.  Not good.  One side should be higher (BTW – I am not a radon system expert – it says this very clearly on the pipe.)

Damn.    Off I went to Google to find a solution, and spent the next hour or so checking breakers and cords and switches and such, while the faint chirp taunted me from downstairs.

I noticed the switch on the outside of the house by the fan was in the “off” position, so I flipped it to “on.”

Nope. Nothing.


Daddy came over with his trusty tool bag,  poked around inside the house and out, but we couldn’t find anything.   Clearly the fan had gone kaput and I needed a new one, so he loosened the coupling on the top and bottom and pulled the fan and it’s housing out from its spot in the piping –  and stopped short.

“OH!!!  That’s your problem right there Ker-bear!”

I peered in.

Fairly fresh dead squirrel.

I jumped exactly nine thousand and two feet into the air while yelling a slew of strung together swear words that made no sense and included the Big F at least twice.  I can count on one hand the number of times I have dropped the F-bomb in front of Mom and/or Dad… that number may have actually doubled and moved on to the second hand yesterday. (Sorry Daddy.)   Of course I am always level headed and never over-react, so this was totally shocking behavior from me (where is the sarcasm button on a keyboard, anyway?)
We dumped the deceased offender into a hefty-bag for disposal at an alternative location, and surveyed the fan inside the now empty housing.

He had eaten the wires down to NOTHING – he’d even taken chunks out of the metal fan.  “Probably electrocuted himself” observed my dad, poking at the tiny nubins where the wires once were.

Internal conflict was rampant.  No one likes to think about a fluffy little squirrel diving down a pipe sticking several feet up off the top of a roof- plunging down into a slick-sided abyss he has no hope of escaping, then thinking “oooo – toasty in here though, and look – stuff to ea-AHHHHHHH!!!!”

BUT – that little douche killed my fan, and killed it so well that I have to pony up the almost 200 bucks to get a new one and then strap it to the side of my house.  So I kinda don’t feel that bad.  Except that I had to carry a little wrapped up parcel away and have a dumpster-side service before hucking him in, hoping he cleared the tall side of the receptacle and didn’t fall back down toward me seeking revenge from beyond the grave. (Yep.  I clearly have a very realistic idea of what goes on in the mind of a squirrel.)

We are 4 years into this suburban adventure –and as I have previously confessed, I’m pretty well soft on the place at this point.

But I have my moments, people. This shit didn’t happen in the city. I know I am sound bonkers but I maintain that city animals are smarter than wildlife in the burbs.  The squirrels in the city are scrappy and mildly suspicious even in the parks where picnic crumbs and  bulging trash cans demonstrate the usefulness of the humans around them.

Suburban squirrels are always wandering in  and getting caught SOMEWHERE.  Like many things in burbs, they are just too trusting and friendly for their own good.

Don’t even get me started on the damn geese out here.

Oh – and fun side note – that chirping noise?  Wasn’t even the radon mitigation.   As my dad pointed out – those systems aren’t actually equipped with a “squirrel electrocution alarm.”  The water sensor on the floor below the water heater needed a new 9 volt.

So, to make a long story short (WAY TOO LATE,) water sensor needed more power, squirrel needed less.

Just another Monday in the burbs.


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