Saturday, May 05, 2012

A bird in the hand is worth...

Every time my husband goes out of town, there is a minor family disaster. Last time, it involved back-to-back fevers by my kids that took me out of work for most of a week, using up more vacation and sick time than I could afford.

This time, instead of Mother Kristi, it was Mother Nature. Hail. Baseball sized hail fell on our old neighborhood last Saturday night. By "old neighborhood", I mean "location of our previous residence, which we still own and desperately wish to sell". Yeah, thinking that the holes in the roof, siding, deck, landscape lighting, and trees are not going to be highlights of the home tour.

Yes, we have insurance. No, we don't have contractors working yet. Yes, the insurance companies are massively overbooked with the damage. Yes, I could start setting up appointments before an adjuster gets a chance to total it up. No, I don't have time.

I do have a job. And two kids. And running drop-off and pickup singlehandedly all week, plus morning and evening routines, packing all the lunches, etc takes a lot of time when there aren't any extra credit assignments to complete. (Single parents, please stop throwing tomatoes. Yes, I'm whining. But most of you don't have to deal with a dead bird).

Yes, I said dead bird. Inside the house. Inside the hail-damaged house-for-sale. Dead. Inside. (All together now: eeewwwww!)

At least the thing had the presence of mind to keel over on the laminate floor instead of the carpet. Never fear, though, he did nail the carpet pretty good. And the bathroom. His method of entry: bathroom vent. I know this because the bathroom was by far the smelliest place in the house, because the vent cover was hanging down from the ceiling, and because we've had trouble with birds attempting to make nests in that vent before.

So Thursday I spend a precious "vacation" day (of which I have like 2 left, no exaggeration) to drive all over town, meeting with my son's speech pathologist about transitioning to Kindergarten, going to the eye doctor for new glasses, and doing a little yard cleanup at the old house. That's when I found the bird. If I had to guess, he got freaked by the storm and flew into the nice, safe-looking hidey-hole of the vent, found his way into the house, and wasn't smart enough to reverse course after the sirens stopped. And then died of some combination of starvation, dehydration, and banging his head desperately on the window in an attempt at escaping.

I have scrubbed the bathroom from top to bottom (most of a bottle of disinfectant), cleaned every window sill in the house (I think he checked them all), cleaned the kitchen (just in case), mopped the entire family/kitchen/breakfast room laminate floor, and steam cleaned the rest of the carpet in that house. I still need to go back and vacuum up the chunks of fuzz that the steam cleaner left behind (why does it always do that?)

I have also rigged up a bird-proofing system on the external vent cover that involved window screening and a staple gun. The hardware stores sell nice-looking plastic vent covers specifically for this purpose. Alas, the vent in question is in a tight spot under the deck and the pre-fabricated ones don't work without leaving a gap wide enough to keep out, say, a bird-who's-scared-sh*tless-by-killer-hail. (Engineering friends will not be impressed with my handiwork as I neglected to include duct tape in the final solution).

My husband is now home. My house-with-furniture is a mess. My tummy is full of a yummy steak dinner. And we have two yards to mow and a million errands to run. Plus the likelihood of arranging for new roof, gutters, siding, window screens, and deck railings and post caps.

I guess the minor family disaster is over and we are back to our regularly scheduled chaos.

1 comment:

Bethany said...

I'm laughing with you because I've had an emergency bird situation too. My Albuquerque place has a fireplace that didn't have a screen at the top, and I went away for 2 weeks for military training. A neighbor was watching my cats, and walked in one day (as she tells it) and there were a number of pigeons flying around my house. They were alive, which is far better than your situation, but I guess it was quite a feat trying to get the birds out of the house. I guess the cats weren't any help at all. I came home to a house that wasn't completely destroyed, but still needed to pretty much scour the entire place. Not exactly what I hoped would happen while I was gone! Hope your house gets back to new condition as soon as possible.