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April 7, 2009 - Plugging Holes

   If you've read my J-Pole in a tree page you know that my wife and I recently moved.  Last summer we bought a duplex across town from our old place.  One side is for rental and came with tenants whom have a lease until 2010. The other side we live in.  We also kept the old house and rent it to a friend. 

   Yesterday I found a voicemail on my cellphone left the night before by one of our renters next door.  He said something ate it's way into the walls, they couldn't get it out. He wanted me to call an exterminator. He also said it ate all the insulation and then ate a hole in the bathroom ceiling.  There are 4 people living on that side. They only had glimpses of the animal and depending on which one you asked and when it was either a bat, a squirrel or a mouse.  Being told that it ate ALL our insulation I was imagining something about the size of an elephant squished very very flat to fit in the wall.

   Being that I was already at work when I discovered the voicemail I sent my wife to check it out.  She found where it got in. The garages stick out from the main part of the house so there are two heights of roof.  Where the garage roof comes to a point it meets the house roof.  Whatever it was (my bet's on squirrel) it walked up the garage roof to just under where they come together.  The house roof overhangs the garage roof a little and it pushed it's way in through the siding.  It removed some insulation but not really that much. It did claw a hole down through the drywall in the bathroom ceiling.  That's where the tenants saw it.  They poked it with golf clubs and apparently it ran away.

   The one part which surprises me is how it got in.  It didn't eat through the siding it just pushed it in.  The siding is held in place by a track which had to bend to let it push in.  When I got home last night I had to do bend it again to pull it back out and it was pretty tough.  I can't imagine how such a small animal managed to do that.  It was definitely not a mouse as one tenant guessed.  I'm hoping that this animal was unique in thinking to push in the siding like that and that it will stay away now.

   Patching the hole in the bathroom ceiling was a bit trickier. For that I used metal clips which clip onto the existing drywall and form a bracket which a new piece can be attached to.  I cut a rectangular hole out around the hole the animal left so that I would have straight edges to work with. Then I attached the clips, attached a piece of scrap drywall to the clips and applied putty.  The reason I write about this is that I only had 3 left and I went to both Home Depot and Lowes looking for another box so I could use 4.  Neither had them and the guy in the drywall department at Home Depot hadn't even heard of them. I didn't talk to anyone at Lowes.  I guess this means I must have bought the clips at Ace as that's the other hardware store I go to.  I normally only go there on my lunch breaks from work when I know ahead of time what I need as it isn't close to home.  I ended up settling for using only 3 clips.  At Home Depot they wanted to sell me this metallic stick on stuff.  I don't think that would have been as good as actual drywall.  I'm going to buy some clips to stock up so this isn't an issue again. In case anyone reads this who has a hole to repair I'm going to take a picture of a clip so if someone wants to try it this way they will know what to look for. I did find some on the Internet by doing a search for "drywall clip".  They show up with lots of different names so I guess they don't really have a name.

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