Another Critter!

Last weekend, an animal set off our outdoor live squirrel trap. I’m suspecting it’s the same creature that’s been digging holes under the ground for the last couple of months. Squirrel Guy came over on Monday to reset the trap. By Wednesday morning, the trap was once again set off—-and the peanuts were gone!

Once the rain began pouring this week, our scratching squirrel noises began as well.

There’s no hope!

(Comments from old site:)

The cute little squirrel

Have you ever considered, not a live trap, but a DEAD TRAP! Remember he is a RODENT. His brothers are mice, rats and beavers. If he ate his way into your attic, can’t he eat his way into your bedroom too? I don’t know if they’re too small but I have a couple of rat traps that you could use. And, if they’re not too small, they would be quick, deadly, and, most important, PERMANENT. Dad Town


We have a live trap outside so we don’t unintentionally kill or hurt another animal. The lethal (“dead”) traps are up in the attic, but the squirrel doesn’t ever get caught in them, although he sets them off. In general, squirrels don’t want anything to do with humans; they just want the benefits of a warm, cozy place to live. So, I’m not worried that he’ll try to get inside the house. I’m just annoyed about the noise he makes!

No more batteries for the Fisher Price aquarium


Brad “fixes” the Fisher Price aquarium [Helen’s public gallery at Picasa]

Elena loves her Fisher Price aquarium. In fact, she loves it so much, she turns it on several times a night. As a result, the aquarium, which takes four D batteries, goes through batteries like I go through grapes. (I like grapes. Note the nearly empty bowl of grapes in the pictures.)

We’ve got rechargeable D batteries, and they work fine, except for a couple of issues. First, they only last a couple of weeks on a charge. Second, when the batteries are run down, the aquarium goes from “works fine” to “sounds scary” pretty quickly.

Enter Brad, the guy with the electrical engineering degree. I found a power adapter, formerly used for an old Palm, and rigged it up to the aquarium. I checked voltages to ensure everything was okay, and voilà! Now she can turn them on as often as she wants.

My favorite fonts

You can get several of my favorite fonts by installing some free-as-in-beer software:

Some of my other favorites aren’t available with free-as-in-beer software (or at least I don’t know that they are), but are available with other software:

Fonts for viewing this site

(This information applied to the old site.)

If your computer has the font Candara installed, this site will use it. If the characters “0a1c2e” are all the same size on this site, you probably have it installed.

Candara and several other fonts are included with Microsoft Windows Vista and Microsoft Office 2007, both of which cost money. However, you can also get these fonts by installing the free Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack.

If you are on a Mac, you’d probably have to find a computer running Windows, install one of the products listed above, and copy the fonts from there to your Mac. I doubt that’s allowed by the license, though.

The Squirrel Chronicles

From Wikipedia

A year or two ago, I noticed that there was a lot of activity going on above the baby room. I mentioned something to Brad about it, but he didn’t seem too concerned since it wasn’t affecting us too much. Then, during the winter months, the scratching and pitter-patter noises began again — but this time, I could hear them in my walk-in closet (where I sit and do my scrapbooking). It was pretty noisy, but once again, Brad didn’t appear too concerned. The morning when the squirrel(s) woke us up with their “talking” and excessive noisiness, Brad asked me to take care of it.

Apparently there are a lot of companies out there that take care of these critters. Unfortunately, I think I chose the most ineffective (aka least expensive) one. It cost $100 for the squirrel guy (Bill) to come out and do an initial consultation. Most others charged more than this, or more for each squirrel (or other critter) caught. He immediately found two half-dollar (at most) sized holes on two sides of our house, leading into our attic. Squirrel Guy definitely found traces of squirrel food debris in the front portion of the attic. Apparently this was the work of the notorious red squirrel (a squirrel that’s pretty small, red, and looks like a baby) which is known in the wild, wild world of animals for being a nuisance.

About 4 weeks ago, Squirrel Guy set up a couple of lethal traps with peanuts all over them in the front portion of our attic. The next morning, we didn’t awaken to any sounds. We were excited. Squirrel Guy said he’d return the next day but didn’t. So, I called to get him out to our house, secretly hoping our ordeal was finally over. Upon his examination, he found that the squirrel hadn’t even touched the food. He left, but forgot to tell me when he’d return. After two days of no Squirrel Guy, I called the office again. He returned to find, once again no trap set off. We decided to try the back portion of the attic, where the scratching noises seemed to be originating from. Squirrel Guy said he’d be back on Wednesday morning to check it out. Of course, he didn’t show up. He arrived Thursday. Nothing. He said he’d be back on Saturday morning, and if nothing was caught, he would just patch up the holes (and charge us $50 of course).

Well, Squirrel Guy didn’t call and didn’t show up that Saturday morning. In fact, he didn’t show up the entire next week. Since I was pretty busy that week, I didn’t bother calling until the following Monday. By then I was irate. I called the main number, and received some apologies and then Squirrel Guy’s cell number. Then I called Squirrel Guy and complained. His excuse was that there had been a lot of new customers for him to see. In addition, he added that he was an airhead when it came to schedules. He promised me he’d be at our house the next morning before 10am. Thank goodness for him, he showed up on time. Of course, no squirrel had even touched the food. He was afraid to patch up the holes because he feared that the squirrel would just puncture more. So he set up traps with peanuts and vanilla wafers right next to the hole above the area where I was hearing the most scratching.

Two days later …. nothing! Finally, Squirrel Guy decided to set up a live trap outside, under one of our trees. On Tuesday morning, I noticed that the trap had moved about 3 feet to the left, and was discharged. I called Squirrel Guy to let him know. By the next morning, the trap had moved another 2 feet. Squirrel Guy returned the trap underneath the tree and placed a brick on top — ha!

Later that afternoon, I noticed that not our red squirrel, but a regular squirrel had gotten itself encased in the trap. He seemed quite upset as he kept digging, trying to get out. I felt horrible! Poor guy was probably hungry and thirsty, and he barely fit inside the trap! It was already 4:45pm, and I couldn’t get ahold of Squirrel Guy. So, after consulting with Amy and Lisa, I decided to give him some walnuts, Ritz crackers, and bird seed. Since there was no way in heck that I was about to open the cage to place water inside, I made two holes into a gallon of water and stuck two straws inside. The poor squirrel got some water out of the straw, but then after gnawing on it, the straw came right out of the gallon. I tried calling Squirrel Guy again around 8pm. He called back, and said he’d just release the guy since he wasn’t our main target. I feared that there was a chance that this could possibly be our aggressor, so I asked Squirrel Guy to release him to the wild. Of course I would be charged, but I just wanted to experiment and see if this could be our trouble maker. Plus, this squirrel was mad, and I didn’t want him in our yard any more after capturing him!

So here we are, back to square one. The cage is empty. I haven’t heard any scratching yet since Wednesday night, but I have a feeling we will soon.

20 quadrillion quadrillion electron masses

I don’t remember exactly what I weighed around the holidays — I know it was 223-point-something — so I’ve decided to declare that, since my weight is now 183-point-something, I have officially lost 40 pounds.

The logician in me thinks it’s not really that big a milestone for a couple of reasons. First of all, 40 isn’t that special of a number. Sure, it ends in a zero, but only because we use a decimal system. If people had had, say, twelve fingers (fun fact — hexadactyly is autosomal dominant!), we’d probably be using a duodecimal system, in which case a number like base-10 40 wouldn’t be that interesting. And what exactly is a pound, anyway? It’s pretty arbitrary.

The logician in me can be a real Captain Bringdown.