(A post in two parts.)
Mouse in a house
The house in question is the house-shaped birdfeeder (one of two we keep) which The Boy was bringing in to put in the shed for the winter. Both our feeders are hung high (maybe 5 feet?) on a metal post in the middle of the backyard, which makes them basically inaccessible once the snow sets in.
(I am thinking of hanging peanut-butter pine cones, or popcorn garlands or somesuch in the trees along our walkway for the winter birds, but I haven’t done it yet.)
Imagine our surprise when The Boy announced to me that the birdhouse had a resident — a frightened little mouse, grown a little chubby snacking on the seed. We have no idea how the mouse got into the birdfeeder: aside from the long climb up the skinny, slippery metal post, the only open part of the feeder was the little tray where the seeds slip out, but The Boy is glad he found him.
The birdfeeder is made of thin metal, and has no water in it; although the mouse was probably glad to have found a stash of seed to stock up on, it’s highly doubtful he would have lasted long this winter hiding out up there. The Boy released him under the hedge in the back, where hopefully the mouse can find somewhere to burrow till spring.
Soup in the walls
It all started with the ants. After the colony in the walls were, umm, taken care of, The Boy and his dad removed all the drywall on that wall and replaced the header above the window. With our home structurally sound again, The Boy commented that he’d like to change the cable coming up through the floor in the living room, so it came out of a wall outlet instead.
That’s still on the list.
In the meantime, since he had the walls open, The Boy felt it was a good time to replace any remaining aluminum wires with copper. So he removed the (hideous) built-in bookshelves by the fireplace as well and discovered what looked like moisture damage in the gyprock there. Out it came.
The Boy is something of a perfectionist when it comes to his projects. There is nothing wrong with this at all; if anything, it means that any work that gets done is likely to be done more carefully and thoroughly than it ever would if we hired a professional.
What is also means, however, is that The Boy gets frustrated when any given project ends up taking 10 times as long as he’d thought, because along the way he will inevitably find something else to fix as well.
As a result, our living and dining room walls are currently naked (i.e. without drywall) but the wiring is now all copper (except for one last wire) and the insulation has been completely replaced with stuff (made of rocks!) that has double the R-value of the previous insulation.
Along the way, while opening up a wall to remove the staples holding some aluminum wires in place, The Boy found this:
All this to say I’m glad that with all the work and frustration and added steps and side-projects, The Boy also manages to find things that make him laugh too.
I’m pretty excited about the dramatic changes our house is undergoing. They’re the type of changes that for the most part nobody will be able to see when they’re done (well, with the exception of those bookcases…) but it’s satisfying to us to know they’ve been made.
I’m waiting until we’re a little closer to being done, and I’ll do a better write-up on the full proceedings then.