Things That Go Bump (or just move register grates) in the NightFeb 06, 2014
Just like everyone else in our part of the world, we've been lying low, trying to stay warm - and sane - through this never ending cycle of snow and cold. It's been a pretty depressing last month. Not much excitement at all. Until a Sunday morning a couple of weeks ago. I was looking forward to a laid back Sunday morning of coffee, my new book on my Kindle, the recliner and my favorite blanket. I got up early - a bad habit especially on a Sunday - and went out into the kitchen to start the coffee. I was half awake but noticed that the register grate (or whatever you call those things) was totally out of the floor, leaving the duct wide open. I thought it was strange and went and woke Roland up to ask him why he moved it. He immediately jumped out of bed and ran to the kitchen. He hadn't moved it. It still didn't dawn on me why he was looking all around. Then he told me to shut the doors to all the rooms. Then it hit - Critter! After I had a few moments of panic, a scream and almost having to go change my jammies, I did what he told me to do. At the same time I looked at my 2 cats, Elliott Stabler and Geno Marino Bambino and Reuben the wonder dog. Why didn't anyone alert us to the fact someone had broken through the perimeter?? What kind of guards are these guys? In fairness, they sleep in our room and on our bed so I guess they didn't hear either. So I put on my s#@! stomping Farm boots and joined the search. Roland went into one of the guest rooms and immediately backed out. One of the register grates was about halfway out in there. Were we being attacked on numerous fronts? Invaded from the crawl space below? And what was strong enough to push the grate up but small enough to get through? We spent the next 4 hours going room by room, looking and cleaning. And found nothing. Later we were at our granddaughter Bella's birthday party. One of our friends Sandy was there. I told her the story and she immediately said "raccoon." Roland had never answered me on what he thought it was but said he agreed. They're smart enough, strong enough and resourceful enough to do it. Then I really panicked. I was afraid to go home and find chaos and injured pets from a crazed raccoon. Those suckers are mean. The raccoons - obviously not my pets. But we went home to a quiet tranquil house with no signs of a raccoon rampage. That night before I went to bed, I put something on every single grate in the house to weigh them down. Bottles of wine, cans of food - all things that if they managed to get the grate open, would have enjoyed I'm sure. And maybe not attacked me in my sleep. I woke up about 3:30 am. I could hear a cat crying. It sounded faint. I thought maybe Miss Molly, one of our barn kitties, had gotten out of the barn and was crying for food at the door, something she does most days. I looked out all of the doors, but no Miss Molly or kitty prints in the snow. I could still hear it. I followed the sound into the smallest guest room. It sounded like it was coming from the floor grate. I leaned down and said "Buddy?" into the grate. I immediately got a return "meow" that got closer. Buddy is Roland's cat he's had for about 7 or 8 years he thinks. She was one of a litter a momma cat left in the barn and after he had them all fixed, the only one that stayed around. She's a beautiful black cat who when I first met her, wouldn't come near me. In fact, Roland had never named her - just referred to her as his little buddy. Thus I named her. She's pretty independent but comes daily to the deck for some fresh food and lots of pets. I went and woke up Roland and he came in and called her. She answered us every time. Roland said he had sealed up the access door to the crawl space a couple days before. She must have been under there the whole time. We waited until light and Roland went out and opened the access door. He had taken some food and water with him and she came right over to him and ate. He left the door propped open so she could go in and out. He was sure it had been her trying to get up through the ducts. She's very tiny but a strong girl. Strong enough to push that up, but just a bit too big to get through. I was getting ready for work and noticed Roland closed the door to our office that has the woodburner in it. He said Buddy - who has never been in the house - was crying at the back door. So he let her in to warm up for a bit. Mr. tough farmer guy barn kitties don't need to be spoiled they can take the cold and you worry too much Roland Richardson, brought in his little buddy to warm up by the fire. I went in and she was snuggled up on the love seat by the fire. She looked very happy. Me too. So the fear of being attacked by a raccoon or worse resulted in a very clean house and one very warm and contented kitty as she slept the morning away by the fire. Awww. . .. .