Tuesday, May 6, 2008

What's up... vent?

This is kind of how I was woken up this morning by my wife. (Hey... get your mind out of the gutter)
Sandra (loud whisper): Scott, wake up. I hear something in the wall. It's freaking Sam out. (our cat)
Me: Huh?
Sandra: There's a scratching sound coming from the wall in the corner of our bedroom. Sounds like... scratching Styrofoam.
Me: Huh?
I sat up in bed to listen. Nothing. Sandra is staring at the corner of our room. Sam is sitting in the hall at the top of the stairs, outside our bedroom, staring at me.
Me: I don't hear it.
Sandra: It's not doing it anymore. But it was loud. Like something is in the wall scratching. Sam was in here poking around the corner looking for it.
Me: Did you look behind the picture? (we have a large picture leaning against the wall in that corner.. it's been there for months, waiting for a spot on the wall to be hung up)
Sandra: No, not yet. Why are you chicken to look?
Me: No. (I was just asking so I didn't waste my time looking. Really.)
Sandra walked over to the picture and carefully pulled it away from the wall. Nothing was there. Not that we really expected anything to be there since the noise was supposedly inside the wall.

Sandra left the room and went downstairs to the main floor. I laid back in bed, listening for the mysterious noise. Seconds later...
Sandra: Scott! Come here.
Me: What?
Sandra: Come here. Quick.
Me: What is it?
Sandra: Just come here.
I dragged myself out of bed, threw on some track pants and slippers and walked down stairs. Sandra was standing outside the main floor bathroom
Sandra: Look in the bathroom.
I looked in. The toilet seat cover had dust clumps that had fallen from the vent above the toilet. (Hmm... yes... gotta get around to cleaning that vent -- again)

Ok... so we have something up in the vent. That would explain the noise from our wall, since the vent pipe appears to run up the corner of the stairs, inside the wall, in the same corner of our room where the sound supposedly came from earlier.

But what could it be? Bird? Squirrel?

Sandra closed the bathroom door, wrote a note -- DO NOT OPEN -- and taped it to the door.

We contemplated what to do. Do we call the condo corp? Do they deal with this? It's inside the house... stuff inside is supposed to be our responsibility. Stuff outside is their's. But clearly this came from the outside. The vent on the roof. That's outside stuff.

We decided to look in the bathroom again. I don't know why.

As soon as we opened the door, there was a loud scurrying, scraping, kind of sound coming from the vent. Dusty clumps fell again, joining their dust buddies on the toilet seat cover.

We looked up at the vent.

The sound stopped.

We turned on the bathroom light.

More scurrying sounds from the vent. More dust on the toilet seat. Sounds stopped.

Whatever it is, it sounded like it was just above the vent fan. Perhaps trying to (unsuccessfully) climb back up the vent pipe. I thought about turning on the vent fan. I decided that maybe that wouldn't be such a good idea.

Light off. Close door. Step outside for a smoke. Discuss options again.

Definitely call condo corp. Even if it's not their responsibility, surely this can't be the first time a critter has gotten into someone's bathroom vent.

We came back inside. I opened the bathroom door again. No sound. Turned on the light. No sound.

I turned on the vent fan. More dust fell, but there were no critter sounds. Where'd it go? Could it possibly climb back up the smooth inside of a sheet metal vent pipe and out the roof where it likely got in?

I turned off the vent, the light, and closed the door.

I checked the bathroom a few more times before we left for work. Not a sound. I even showed the kids what they were missing behind the DO NOT OPEN sign.

The critter has either:
  1. Had a heart attack and died.
  2. Fallen asleep.
  3. Left the way it got in.
  4. Or maybe it's trying to fool us into thinking it's gone.
Sandra called me at work later this morning. She said she called the condo corp and they're going to send an exterminator to deal with the critter. She was told that it's not easy for them to get squirrels out of vents, but they'll do their best as well as screen off the vent on the roof if it's determined that's where it got in.

But, it may not be today. O_o The lady said that they don't often go the same day that the work order is submitted.

So, now we wait. The exterminator will be calling Sandra at work to arrange the appointment.

Sandra said she won't sleep tonight, if they don't come today. I don't think we have anything to worry about. It doesn't look like there's any way that the critter can get out of the vent and into the bathroom. It would have to squeeze past the vent fan and chew through the vent cover.

I supposed we could leave the vent fan on all night. :)

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