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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

There's a WHAT??? in the chimney???

Most of you know Brillo, our dog (he's the one in the middle being loved on):
First you need to know that Brillo never goes downstairs without someone, especially not in the dark! He is always by our sides (underneath us) and follows us around. Brillo wants to be where the action is so he doesn't miss a thing...like going on a walk. He knows what's going on around our house and is a great watch dog.
Well, last Saturday he started growling and barking at the fireplace downstairs. We all thought, "Brillo, you're a dork, knock it off!" But he didn't. So later in the day I went down with Brillo and moved the fireplace grill so that he could get up into the fireplace area and fully check out the situation. He was growling again and sniffing up a storm and he seemed a little freaked out because his hind legs were shaking.

This is a gas fireplace so it is very clean, no ashes, you can see underneath it and all around. We never use it cause the gas makes this high pitched annoying sound. I asked John if he thinks there is a mouse or something back there..."Nooooo!" (in an annoyed you are so stupid, that-is-the-silliest-thing-I-have-ever-heard-kind-of-voice)
The day goes on. John and I are outside taking down allllll the Christmas lights (I really should blog that...Christmas, that is) John's on the roof (near the chimney) taking down the lights, I'm gathering all the extension cords, etc. etc.

Brillo is still irritated with something in the fireplace. We settle down that evening, John and I are watching TV. Around 8:30pm Brillo cannot take it anymore and goes downstairs and camps out in front of the fireplace barking. BARKING NON STOP FOR AN HOUR!!! Around 9:30pm Parker heads down there to put a stop to it. He takes a flashlight and decides to look up the flue of the chimney. John "KNOWS" there is nothing wrong, Brillo is just a freak.

Now imagine a Blood Curtling scream and a white-faced Parker screaming: "There's a RACCOON in the chimney. REALLY! I'm not kidding I saw it's face!!!

Of course John still does not believe it...Nooooo, there's not...
So we all head to the basement to check this out. Parker is staying waaaay back, I'm half way and John is completely sitting in the fireplace, opens the flue and shines the flashlight up there. "I don't see anything, I can see all the way up and outside." John gets up and hands me the flashlight. I gingerly sit on the edge of the fireplace and lean ever-so-slightly down to shine the light up and on the way up the light catches a lot of fur AND IT IS M O V I N G!!!!!! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!! (by the way Heather is on the phone for the entire experience laughing her guts out, cause all she can hear is screaming)

The raccoon IS there and it is off to the side and I'm realizing how lucky John is to still have a face and how glad I am that it is not a snake. Brillo is now looking ever-so-proud-of-himself and wagging his tail, knowing that he was a good doggie and a treat is sure to follow and has that smug "I told you so" look on his face.

Parker and I really want to see the raccoon again so up to the roof we go! No, really we did. As we carefully shined the flashlight in I saw more fur and the a little hand with long black claws push itself back to where it could not be seen.

Now you know me: I "GOOGLE" Everything! I googled the words: "Raccoon in chimney" and read all about how to rid your chimney of "guests". I found a picture of my chimney on the website, well, one that looks exactly like it from the inside, minus one or two raccoons.
Okay, this post is getting long, sorry.

I found out online that raccoons love chimneys because they are warm and dry and out of the elements. Baby season is March-June. They don't like bright lights or loud sounds. They will only move their babies when they are old enough. Animal Control does not take care of the situation, it's pest control, costs $500 and they kill the animals. Being nocturnal animals they love to sleep during the day, so making their den as uncomfortable as possible is your best bet.

Using my googled raccoon evacuation knowledge we tried to make the den a very uncomfortable space, so before we left for church we set up a radio in the fireplace and blarred some Fergalicous and other loud pounding music up the chimney. When we got home John took a hammer and banged on the metal flue for quite a while. Parker brought in his stereo with speakers and added that to the mix.

Then the storm started to blow in and it was raining and then the snow started...then I started feeling sorry for the little bugger and told Dex to turn off the music. I didn't think it was very fair to force the poor guy out and expect him/her to find another home. John says, "It's a freakin' RODENT, don't feel sorry for it.

Around 7:30pm Sunday Night, Parker and I bravely opened the flue for a quick check. No raccoon. I think the hammer pounding did him in. I bought chimney caps from Home Depot today. Oh, we are suppose to tape newspaper over the chimney. If after 4 days the newspaper has not been torn, you are raccoon free. Here's hoping! Brillo doesn't check the fireplace every 5 minutes, but he still does check it and then is able to leave it. I really don't think it is there anymore.

Okay, if you have made it through this entire story and would love to read more. Here's a great one. It is from a real live preacher man! He is a great story teller and tells his 5-day ordeal! It's hilarious...especially when you've lived through it. Raccoon Stories Rush Limbaugh got rid of his raccoon!

Apparently, raccoons in chimneys happens all the time!


mamaholstein said...

What an exciting weekend!! I love rodents so I would want to take them in and name them. We had a mouse problem in our house in WA and after trying to get rid of them by trapping them in a live trap and freeing them (stupid, I know) we had to call in pest control. Ben called us murderers and I cried over every one of them that died. I'm such a sucker for a cute face!!

suz said...

Too funny! I didn't even know we had raccoons around here...I have never seen one!

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