In case you are just joining me, I am picking up where I left off at Part 1 of my story. It is the introduction to my story of how a simple house painting project became an animal extraction situation.
Allow me to catch you up. It is now Friday morning. Day three of my simple project. Half the facade of my chimney and portions of my roof had been torn apart. There was also an unknown small animal wedged into the substructure of my chimney somewhere between my roof and my living room ceiling. Temperatures on this summer day were expected to soar above 110 degrees and I was still unsure how I was going to remove the wedged animal.
Welcome to my life.
I began the day on the phone with the pest expert from the day before and gave him all the information he requested. I told him that I had no idea how the animal got into my roof and proceeded to explain the location and description of the situation. I asked him for his best piece of advice to which he said: "If I were you, I'd call the county's Animal Control division. They deal with this kind of stuff all the time." To which I thought, "Duh." Why didn't I start here at the beginning? I thanked him and quickly looked up the number for the officials who deal with this kind of stuff ALL THE TIME.
Now, I'm not sure how she was able to assess my situation and draw this conclusion, but the young woman on the phone who I spoke with at the Animal Control office had NEVER heard of a situation like this and was almost certain they could not help. Her first suggestion made me laugh: "You should probably call an exterminator, I bet they deal with this kind of stuff..." I assured her that she was my current expert on animal extraction services, so she promised to "run it past" the Animal Control Officer on call and get his opinion on the situation.
The Animal Control officer was very unhelpful and gave me several reasons why they were unable to help: "We don't remove animals from within homes or dwellings. You'll need an exterminator for that." He followed up with what I thought was the real reason for his lack of willingness to help, "I don't do roofs." But, followed up with the only excuse I couldn't argue with: "You actually live out of our region of service."
When I politely asked who took care of my "region of service" he informed me that my property location was actually covered by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. Then as if on cue, he promised me that they would be able to help with my issue, because they probably deal with this issue...wait for it...ALL THE TIME.
BUILD A LADDER
It was 10AM when I reached the voicemail for my local CA DFW field officer. I had now become a detailed expert on describing the situation and I laid it on thick. The roof destruction. The heat. The trapped animal. I told him about everyone who had already said they could not help and then begged him to call back and help me solve my animal, roof, chimney, rafter situation.
Then I waited for the bureaucracy of the government system to kick in to gear.
I was totally surprised when he called back in less than two minutes. Unfortunately, he did not listen to the Academy Award winning voicemail message I had left for him, so I was forced to repeat the entire situation to him again. I noticed something odd about this phone call. It sounded like he was struggling, because the entire time I spoke with the officer he was grunting and sighing into the phone. I felt like he was only half-listening to my dilemma. Something wasn't right on his end of the phone.
When I finished describing my problem, he said he was going to be unable to help, because he was currently involved in another "animal situation" out on the west side of the valley. Aha! Suddenly I understood all of the grunting and sighing. He was literally involved with solving the problem while he was on the phone and I pictured him pulling an animal out of another roof. Knowing I had probably found my solution, I begged him to make the effort to help me. "If I can help you," he said. "It won't be until late afternoon and by that time the animal in your roof will probably be dead from this heat."
Now, as I've said multiple times: This is not my area of expertise, but I could only imagine that a dead animal wedged in the rafters of my roof was exponentially worse than my current situation. Again, I'm no expert.
I must have sounded like Princess Leia in Star Wars but I pleaded with him as though he was my only hope. Without any confidence in his voice, he said that he would try his best, but in the meantime I should build a ladder for the creature to crawl out.
Build a ladder? What do you mean "build" a ladder? I could feel the noose tightening around my neck. My involvement in a simple house painting project was pulling me in even further.
I reminded the officer that it would take me longer to purchase the necessary supplies and build a magical roof-chimney escape ladder for my unknown wild animal than it would take for him to get to my house and solve the problem correctly. He interrupted to clarify and remind me, "...if I can get to your house." We agreed that I'd wait to hear from him after lunch, when he would have a better idea if his current "animal situation" was going to be resolved. I hung up slightly disappointed and void of any hope that this would be solved.
(To Be Continued)
Quietly making noise,