Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Skunk Saga Continues
Well Mr. or Mrs. Skunk disappeared for two days--not a footprint, not a nibble at the trap. I stuck a small, easily movable stone in the vent opening, just to prove that the critter was gone. It stayed there. We were singing: "Hallelujah--skunk's gone away!" until Monday morning.
I arose early and took my walk, returning just in time to see the city "animal control guy" moving the trap. He had decided that the skunk had abandoned his comfortable home under our house, but had to be in the area, so he set the trap by the trash can and left. In a couple of hours I checked the vent, just to gloat. Alas. The stone was missing entirely. Thinking the skunk had pushed it in, I assumed he had taken up residence in his old quarters. For all of five minutes it depressed me, but I recovered nicely and decided it was time for me to stop letting the city guys solve the problem for me and go on the offensive.
On the advice of a good friend from church--who shall remain nameless --I bought a box of old fashioned moth balls, the kind you smell when you open an old trunk in your grandmother's attic. They told me skunks don't like the smell, so they could be scattered in the doorway of a skunk's castle, and work like a wafting curtain of repellent. I didn't want to put them in the vent, however, because it might drive the skunk further under the house, so I decided to throw them under the house from the access door that opens onto our basement stairwell. Cautiously, lest I surprise a skunk, I eased the door open and flung mothballs as far as I could throw them under the house. I may have thrown more than the recommended dosage...maybe...ok, probably. Well, a skunk's a skunk and we have a wedding in two weeks. He had to go! Right? So, I walked around the outside perimeter of the house and dropped a couple in every vent, where they were trapped between the screen and the outer vent. Finally, I emptied the white dust out of the box, right in the creature's doorway. In other words, since he had made our home his castle, I would poison the moat.
"What's that smell?" asked Claye a couple of hours later.
I sniffed. "Mothballs. It's probably just the trash where I discarded the box."
I carried it out to the dumpster.
Still, the smell persisted.
In a couple of hours, Turtle returned home and opened the basement door. He was hoping to visit the "man cave"--a tiny little den where we put the television and all the camping gear so he can have peaceful evenings madly changing channels to his heart's content and falling asleep in the rocking chair while he watches the history channel.
"Whoa! Are you trying to poison me? What's this smell?"
"Um. Under the house."
I had forgotten the holes in the access door and the smell was overwhelming.
Grumbling something about why hadn't I consulted him, he stopped up the holes with a couple of old rags and we thought our problem was solved...or at least would dissipate before we returned from Texas on Tuesday night.
It didn't. This morning, when I woke Turtle at five thirty so we could go pick up the U-haul to spend a day moving a son to his own place and a daughter back home, he complained of a bad headache. The house smelled heavily of mothballs, and the basement was noxious. We couldn't do anything about it, in view of the day's tasks, so we all drove out of town. The guys had to deliver a piano, heavy dresser, and couch to Elijah's new home. (He and Marie are getting married but that's another story). Claye and I drove down to her apartment and spent the morning packing the kitchen and the closets into boxes and bins. When the guys arrived, around noon, we loaded everything, cleaned the apartment, turned in the keys and followed them home.
Meanwhile, Elijah, taking advantage of the hours on the road, had called poison control and explained the situation. They advised us to remove all the mothballs, air out the house, and be prepared for nausea, respiratory problems and headaches.
Arriving home, around four o'clock, we immediately flung open the windows and turned on the fans. The house aired while we unloaded into the garage and carried boxes and furniture up to the attic.
Here I sit typing the entire story on the computer while Turtle hunts for a gas mask, goggles and a flash light.
Somewhere...a skunk is laughing.