SHHHH – Someone’s Trying To Sleep Here

Tuesday ended on an extremely high note – well, at least for an hour!!  Mike and the boys finished off the back walkway as far as they could until the driveway was paved. They would then return (hopefully mid-Summer) to finish off with the sanding and tamping and then proceed renovating the front walkway, along with putting pavers along each side of the newly paved driveway. All was right with the world at this point.

Once the boys were finished, Nat and I prepared large, juicy, Panko encrusted chicken legs on the barbecue, along with a delicious Spinach and Frisee salad. We had then just settled in to watch the news when the phone rang. It was Coliseum Paving with the news that one of the guys had some freed-up time and could come by first thing in the morning (8:00 AM) to at least dig up the old driveway. He knew we were getting anxious to get the driveway done in order to allow our landscaper (Mike) to finish what he had started. He felt this would be a good start, and he was right. Nat approved, but knew Mike was returning sometime this week to clear up the balance of pavers and dirt that was left behind on the driveway. Nat wasn’t sure at this point exactly what to do. With Mike, being as busy as he was, we were both concerned whether he would have time to come by early tomorrow morning before the paving guys. Nat decided to give Mike a quick call (all he could do was at least askand Mike was more than agreeable to come around earlier than the paving company. Nat and I agreed that we had hired a great company (GreenScape Niagara) as not too many landscapers would take extra time out of their day to arrive earlier than planned.

Finally the opportunity arrived where I really had no reason to get my ass out of bed earlier than usual. I went to bed Tuesday evening a little sooner than usual – absolutely nothing on television these days – and left Nat to watch his sports channel. My sleep was great – no weird dreams this time around – and come 6:30 AM I could barely hear Nat arise from his sleep to take out the garbage bins for pick-up, before my mind drifted back from whence I came . About an hour later, while still in semi-consciousness, I heard a pick-up truck hauling an empty trailer clanging along the side yard outside, then came the scraping sound of steel shovels on tar along with the chitter chatter of voices. I could hear Nat quietly walk past the bedroom to open the garage door and it became apparent that Mike and his gang had arrived for the clean-up. Damn, I thought. I tried to roll over and take comfort lying on Nat’s foamy support pillow, but it was apparent my lye-in was going nowhere. It was only 7:15. My eyes were still begging for sleep. I couldn’t block out the noises coming from the drive. I couldn’t get upset, they had their work to do. I gave it a second try – closing my eyes a little tighter – but to no avail. It’s now 7:30 am and I’m awake. What the hell, might as well get dressed and join the crowd outside.

I’m up, I’m dressed and now have an hour and a half before pill time and then down to the treadmill. I’m in the process of brushing my hair and suddenly more noise begins. The paving guys have arrived with their two-rear axle dump truck hauling a wheeled digger with back hoe, ready to make even more noise. It took a bit of maneuvering for the dump truck to find the best spot to unload the digger, but with true professionalism the deed was done. Mike and the boys had just nicely finished and scurried off down the road to finish the other jobs they had on the go. As I headed back indoors, I turned for a minute and watched Nat standing there looking on with that little boy enthusiasm as the digger driver began to do his thing. The digger pounded its teeth into the tarred driveway with prescision as it found soft spots to start. Then with aplomb the digger would take multiple stabs at the pavement as it cracked and broke apart in various sized pieces. At one point, it was like peeling an egg – where the whole shell came away in one long strip. I knew Nat would remain in the garage for the duration. It was impressive and what man wouldn’t be interested. A big truck, a lot of noise. The only thing missing was the sandbox.

Finally as 10:30 approached, the noise had stopped. The banging of the digger on the pavement was silent. The back-up beeping had come to a stop. I’m sure at this point in time the neighbours were as pleased as I was – all was quiet and no man in sight (except Nat, of course). He returned inside and it was apparent from the look on his face, his day was going well so far. As he stepped inside I added to his “good” day. I had called Informed Energy Solutions regarding our little furry friend with ringed tail. Apparently they were thinking of us, too, and would be sending someone out tomorrow to install the Squirrel Guard that had arrived Tuesday and was sitting on the work bench ready to go to work. NOW, Nat would be able to relax until the next instalment of machinery and noise would start up again sometime this June.

By way of a postscript to Nat’s “good” day, his usual Wednesday golf game (this afternoon) was one of the best he’s had this season. He broke 45 and was thrilled to bits, all of which was apparent as he walked in the door holding our bacon and ham pizza with a big grin on his face. May these “good” days continue!!!

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On Guard While We Socialize

The adventures with our raccoon buddy have now subsided and we’re hoping to receive the Squirrel Guard we ordered tomorrow. If the little bugger returns before then, he’d better enjoy ’cause his leisure hours are now numbered!!

With all of the goings on around here, we were delighted to join Nat’s golfing buddy, Al, and his wife to dinner Saturday Night. Like us, they enjoy going out for a meal every now and again and usually like to try different restaurants. After a conversation between the two men while playing golf, the boys decided Green Acres Restaurant down the street from us, would be nice. Al and his wife have only been once years ago and decided to give it another try. We met up at the restaurant by 5:30 PM and had a really nice leisurely meal of fish ‘n chips. Al and his wife both have roots in Quebec with Al having largely lost his accent, his wife still retains that lilting French voice. Her English is pretty good, but I’m sure I missed a word or two amongst the clatter and chit chat of the restaurant. However, we drove back to our place after the meal and enjoyed tea and homemade cookies in the peace and quiet of our own living room, where the conversation continued on for a couple more hours. We enjoyed the evening immensely, as the two of us are not exactly known for our social life, so this was a wonderful change of pace from our usual boring Friday evening. Nat and Al have so much in common with their golf games and I’m sure we’ll get together again, only, this time, maybe meet up down their neck of the words – Port Dalhousie.

Saturday afternoon Nat and I decided to head down to WalMart for a few items. We’ve been so bored and quiet in-between the landscaper coming and going, we’ve been looking for excuses to get out and WalMart (as much as I dislike shopping there) always has something to check out. It’s still very disappointing that our little area of Fort Erie / Ridgeway doesn’t have any other fair size stores for competition and it can sometimes be disheartening to have to drive all the way to Welland, Niagara Falls or (God forbid) St. Catharines to shop. It’s not worth the trips to either one of those Cities unless you have some sort of a shopping list to at least make it worth the time and effort. For us to drive into St. Catharines now, we’ll take a good sized shopping list to justify the gas expense and the headache and frustration of trying to get through all the traffic in, out and around Fourth Avenue where the big box stores are. The two of us are usually exhausted by the time we arrive home.

We’ve now got a new driveway on order. Naturally, with contractors, landscapers, etc. all being behind because of the rainy Spring, we won’t see the paving until late June (we hope)!! Mike (our walkway guy) is now doing the finishing touches for the back walkway. He’ll have to return after the driveway is done in order to fix our pooling problem by the office window and exit door to the garage. It’s a shame he’ll have to dig a lot of that corner up, but it has become very apparent that the area has sunken. Nat thinks we’ll have to contact Simon, our contractor, again, to see what (if he’s remembered) he plans to do with diverting the downspout from that corner. Nat is getting very anxious now to have all of this work completed. It seems to be an ongoing project and, at times, seems like it will never end. Mother Nature has been throwing the whole world a huge curve ball and it’s wearing pretty thin on the patience of all mankind!!

With the past few gorgeous days, Nat and I have finally started having lunch on the back patio under the protection and shade of the new canopy tent. At times it gets a little too relaxing and I can feel the old eyelids beginning to droop and fall into La La Land. Rising out of bed for those early appointments at the Red Cross Care Clinic in Niagara Falls have taken its toll on me. Thankfully, this morning was my last visit – the wound has healed very nicely according to the nurses. Now it’s my time to get back to reality – catch up on my sleep (no more of this getting up at 7:30 crap) get back to the treadmill regularly and do whatever it is I want to – at least until my next Nephrologist’s appointment.

The Raccoon That Wouldn’t Budge!!

Finally, gorgeous sunny days are upon us. This past week has been perfect and so it was the back walkway has finally begun and is now halfway completed. With uplifted spirits, Nat and I decided to put some fat and juicy chicken wings on the barbecue. We had found a new BBQ sauce we wanted to try, and everything was smelling delicious. Accompanied by some corn-on-the-cob, the wings brushed in that new sauce were terrific and gave your taste buds a bit of a kick near the end. Our day was coming to a good end.

As usual, after cleaning up, Nat went to close down the BBQ and, as usual, he takes a peek under the solar panels lining the roof and our pockets! I was just sitting down to watch the news when Nat comes back inside and explains how he sees a long dark thing between the panels and the roof. Unsure of what it could be, I accompanied him back to the deck and cranked my head so I could see what he’d found. It’s not an easy task cranking your head enough so as to see directly up between the roof and the underbelly of the solar panels. Somehow I finally managed to see that lumpy dark thing, and as Nat was taking a second look, he soon realized it was a raccoon! He could now see a paw with claws and a bit of a the tail. Yep, a raccoon, alright. I could see it, too. The look on Nat’s face was now one of bloody aggravation and despair. How in hell was he going to get that creature out of there. He was worried that the critter was going to start gnawing and chewing his way through our brand new roof and possibly do damage to the wiring connected to the panels. Not one to be undone, he put his thinking cap on and felt the only way to make this formidable enemy leave the premises was to spray the hell out of it with the power washer!! Yep, that’s right, let’s just spray the bugger with high-powered water. Poor Nat, he knew he wouldn’t be able to reach high enough on the ladder, as the raccoon was strategically lying at the top end of the roof, just far enough away that it would be a struggle to reach him.

With a look of determination on his face, Nat leaned the ladder against the eaves trough, climbed to a good height holding the hose of the power washer, squeezed his manly arm between the roof and the panels as far up as he could reach and began to spray. He sprayed and he sprayed. His enemy didn’t budge. The raccoon probably thought it had just begun to rain and would sit it out. Nat gave a small pause and then started up again. The splurge of water wasn’t quite hitting the raccoon as hard as Nat wanted, as he couldn’t quite squeeze his arm up high enough to reach his opponent. Suddenly, the raccoon decided to head for more drier ground and shifted his pudgy little body to the other side of the house. Nat sensed a bit of relief, maybe now he had him on the run. Nat took his ladder and placed it up against the other side of the house over to where the raccoon was now lying. Nat’s hose was doing it’s best to douse the enemy within (or underneath!!). I can only guess the raccoon had figured the rain had started up again and decided to wait it out. So far the raccoon was winning and my dear determined hubby was mad as hell. I kept telling him to give it up, that the raccoon will eventually head back to whence he came. NO, not Nat. Now that he had started he was going to finish the job. The splurge of water started up again as Nat was now spraying from the garage side of the house, when lo and behold, the raccoon started to flee from under the panels, but I could see that he was still hanging on for dear life along the roof edge and the panels. Maybe?? I think NOT. The rascal had managed to hang on enough and crawl back under the panels again. Never let it be said that Nat gives up early, as he now moved the ladder back to the rear of the house and began to douse the raccoon even more, but, alas, to no avail. This little bugger was going to stay put –  so there!!!! The sweat was now pouring off of Nat’s face in droves. From the second-last rung of his ladder, he turned and looked at me watching the goings-on from the patio. His face showed a sign of sheer frustration, sweat and anger. I told him that the creature from hell had managed to save himself and he had to either give it up or die trying and I (in a very firm voice, mind) told him the second option was NOT going to happen if I had any say in the matter. You can only imagine the look on Nat’s face – reluctant submission.

Nat finally came down from his perch, took a deep breath and resigned himself to defeat. I told Nat I would do some research on the internet about getting rid of raccoons and if there was any product out there that would protect our investment somehow and keep small creatures, birds and the like from getting underneath our precious panels. As luck would have it, there was, and it didn’t take me long to find a Canadian supplier. The product “Squirrel Guard”  is sold by a Toronto company, Boreal Solar, and is a wire mesh that is somewhat pliable, is attached by “clips” underneath the panels themselves to secure the perimeter of your entire panel system. It’s quite ingenious and after checking with our Solar panel company, they would be willing to install the Guard for us, as Nat is now unable to get up on the roof. With all of the information at hand we needed, Nat then perused the Squirrel Guard  printout in order to understand the system and determine the cost, etc. We could then discuss the matter and see how to proceed.

This whole little adventure took place last Tuesday. We’ve still been discussing what to do and Nat’s been checking underneath the panels now and again, as he always does, and to date we’ve been clear and free. Remember, however, this is US and nothing goes that cleanly and smoothly. What were the odds that just before supper, as we were finishing up a beautiful relaxing afternoon on the patio doing crosswords and talking, when Nat happened to look UP, AGAIN and what to his surprise, our little buddy was back!!!!! The little guy seemed to be relaxing under the shelter and shade of the solar panels – and in the same damned spot from Tuesday. I looked at Nat – he looked at me – and I just shook my head. I told him to face reality, there was no way we could get rid of this menace tonight. I figured it was our supper time and, after calling a pest control company in Fort Erie, had it confirmed the raccoon would be gone by morning. There was nothing the pest control people could do, except put out a cage trap, that we should trim any trees, etc. overhanging the house and “call him in the morning, if he was still there”. Nat and I now looked at each other and our decision was made. So it was, as we were still talking, I began to order “Squirrel Guard” online and requested an ASAP delivery. I couldn’t believe the efficiency and speed of response from Boreal Solar. As soon as I returned to the office after supper we had received an email, that the product would be sent to us on Monday, for receiving on Tuesday, via CanPar parcel delivery and we could pay through PayPal. Easy, peasy – Nat and I were relieved. Hopefully this will now solve our menacing problem. IF and that’s a huge IF, there’s a next time, I’m buying a pellet gun – I can’t stand by and watch as Nat tries to fight one of Mother Nature’s creature when we all know that Mother Nature gets here way – all the time!!