Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Impossible Dream

     Tonight I am Dreaming the Impossible Dream. That dream is to be possum free in a matter of hours. To recap: There is a possum in my roof. I hate it. I suspect it is an agent of Satan.

     Today, on one of my precious days off, I organised for someone to come and fix that bit of the house under the guttering where the possum was getting in. It is called the fascia. So at least I learned something. The nice man fixed the fascia, and now things have gotten interesting. At about 6.30 pm the possum woke up and started scrabbling around. At about 6.32 pm it realised it couldn’t get out, and started screaming abuse. It’s now 8.14 pm and one thing I’ll say for that possum is it can sustain a tantrum.

     Because I don’t want to entomb a possum in my ceiling, there is an escape route.

     The usual process of removing possums involves calling a pest control company, and having them set up a trap for a week. Then, every morning at some ungodly hour they will come to your house, climb up through the manhole in the ceiling, and check the trap. This is an expensive, time-consuming process, and I have what I hope will turn out to be a better idea.

     The manhole is in the spare room. There is currently a ladder set up under that open manhole, with a plank of wood leading to the windowsill. I have parked my wheelie bin outside under the window.

     “You’re not supposed to leave bins under your window,” said my security-conscious mother.
     “These windows have bars,” I reminded her. And good luck, anyway, to any burglar brave enough to come face to face with that bloody possum.

     However, the ladder doesn’t actually reach the manhole. The eleven-foot high ceilings were part of the reason I fell in madly love with my house. The infatuation lasted until the first time a light bulb blew. Because the ladder doesn’t reach the manhole, my mother and I devised a makeshift rope ladder for the possum: using the handle of the pitchfork that broke yesterday (I don’t do gardening) and a knotted sheet held together with rubber bands (I also don’t do string, for some reason) we built a bridge for the possum to get to top of the ladder. From there I hope that his possum sneakiness will take him all the way down the ladder, across the plank, through the window, onto the bin and out of my life forever. I have sweetened the deal with strategically placed bits of bread.

     At about 7.30 pm, listening to the possum rampage through the roof cavity, I wondered if maybe he just hadn’t seen his escape route. Maybe I needed to shine a torch up there or something, just to help him spot it. I opened the door to the spare room, turned on the light, and startled the bejesus out of the one possum who’d already started to climb down the knotted sheet, and also out of the one who was staring at me from the roof cavity.

     Apparently I have two possums. A quiet, clever one who knows a good escape route when he sees it, and a foul-mouthed, furious one who, if he doesn’t follow his friend outside soon, will hopefully knock himself unconscious on a roof truss and shut the hell up.  It’s going to be long night. 


  1. These rodents are giving you such bother, and yet giving me such delight.

    I hope they took full use of your obstacle course and made like MacGyver and escaped from the trap with nothing but a pitchfork handle, a sheet, and a rubber band.

  2. They are very clever little critters. They did use the obstacle course. At least they're out of the roof now! They drove me insane up there.

    Also, they're not rodents but marsupials. They have pouches. It's weird, isn't it? One little biological classification in difference, and they don't seem so bad. I mean, if there were giant rats sneaking into my house to steal food every night, I'd be completely disgusted. But I can apparently live with marsupials. It's nice to know where I draw the line.



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