Saturday, May 22, 2010


What a day. Last night, we heard some muffled thumping noises outside our room. We saw one of the cats out there, so we assumed it was just the cat messing around. This morning, Shelly noticed the louvers of the end vent to the attic were pulled open and there was insulation on the roof right below it. We put two and two together and figured that a raccoon had gotten into the attic.

After a long hard day, made harder by the prednizone I am on for severe poison ivy (another story) and the challenge of unruly kids, I ventured into the attic at around 9:30.

Our attic is not a nice attic. There is a giant HVAC unit taking up all of the generous space up there, leaving just extremely tight crawl ways in front and behind. These are constricted even more by various ducts that obstruct the ways.

Well, the end vent is probably the hardest spot to reach in the entire attic. I was hoping that there would be some way to crawl around behind the furnace through the gap in the roof trusses (an inverted triangular opening through each truss) so I donned my blue jumpsuit, hat, mask, and rubber gloves to go spelunking in the attic.

Finally I got up in there and found some boards to put down to prevent falling through the ceiling. I crept my way forward and finally made it near the end vent. What I was very disappointed to learn, however, was that there is a giant duct below the vent but above where I was crawling that made it not only impossible to get to the vent, but impossible to find space to turn around.

I may not have mentioned that one of the side effects of prednizone is anxiety and edginess. The claustrophobic's worst nightmare is getting stuck head first in a crawlspace you can't turn around in. Well, I took a deep breath, but not too deep because of all the fiberglass floating around, and slithered backwards until I emerged into the larger part of the attic. Freaky!

Undaunted, I went around to the other side of the furnace and squeezed between some flexible ducts over top of a non-flexible one and manage to get my torso suspended so I could staple the hardware cloth to the inside of the sheathing over the vent hole. I also bent over several nail ends that were poking through the sheathing to keep the hardware cloth in place.

While my torso was up in this space, I was able to see very clearly several raccoon footprints in the dust on top of the giant duct that had almost given me a panic attack.

I hope my fix will keep the buggers out, because I don't want to have to go up there again.