Man vs Opossum

A number of years ago I was changing the oil in our car and decided to change the oil filter as well. It was on so tight that I couldn’t get it off with my hands. Lianne saw me struggling with it and said helpfully, “Maybe you should call Eric, he could probably do it.”

Immediately a rage built inside me. I sputtered, “Eric!! It’s an oil filter! I’m capable of removing an oil  filter. I’m not a dolt. I just need to get one of those filter  remover thingys.”

I stripped the threads on the new oil filter when I tried to put it back on. The process took most of the day. Oil stains marked the driveway where I had toiled away at my task. I made four trips to the auto parts store, but by golly I got it done without any help from Eric, that’s for sure.

I was reminded of that day recently when Lianne mentioned that she heard an animal in the wall or ceiling near our bedroom. Of course Lianne, in her continuing efforts to emasculate me, wanted to call an “expert” as if I’m incapable of protecting my own family and property. So infuriating. I told her I’d set some traps to appease her. She’s always hearing things.

A few days later I’m in our bedroom and I hear one of the kids in the bathroom, but the lights are off. I call out to them. No answer. I can swear there is someone, or something, inside the shower fiddling around with the curtains or knobs. It freaks me out. I slowly open the bathroom door, heart pounding, ready to run or fight. I turn on the lights, and there is nothing there. I hear the sound again though. Holy moly, there is a large rat in the wall behind the shower! The scratching and thumping is impressive. Lianne really did hear noises! I guess something must be done.

That night we heard it again just as we were falling asleep. A haunted scraping, clawing, and banging, until it finally subsided into an uneasy silence.

The next day I crawled under the house, but couldn’t see any signs of recent activity, so I set a live animal trap. Jaron also crawled under there and we ran an ethernet cable back to his room for his Xbox. The whole “two rats with one trap” thing. The next day there was a small opossum in the trap. Double manliness bonus points!

Unfortunately, we still heard an uncommonly large creature of some kind knocking around inside the wall behind our master shower later that day. This was proving to be a bit of a challenge, but I was undaunted. Lianne was ready to make the call, but I figured it had only been a single week of restless nights, and we could hold out for awhile yet. I will admit however, that there was an aura of cautious quiet permeating the house. Lianne’s eyes were shrouded in fear, or maybe it was annoyance, I’m not sure. Ava would ninja-walk her way through the halls so that the monster wouldn’t sneak up on her. Davin thought it was awesome and wanted to dissect it if we caught it. I asked Jaron what he thought about the crazed animal living in our walls, and in his typical, laid back manner he drawled, “What animal?” He was clueless.

To calm Lianne and to avert the dreaded call to the “expert” I explained, “Look Babe, the worst case scenario is that the animal dies. We won’t smell the rotting carcass until Spring when the weather heats up, so there’s plenty of time. What’s the rush?” She was less than thrilled with this plan. I went back to work.

Next up, literally, was the attic. After some time searching around in the pink, fluffy world above our world, I found the opening in the wall behind our shower. I pulled back the insulation, shone the flashlight down there, and a good sized opossum peered back up at me! He was stuck. I thought about lowering a live animal trap down, but the opening wasn’t big enough. I considered squeezing down myself and engaging in some hand to hand combat, but despite the rugged appeal of this approach, I realized that the close quarters would put me at a disadvantage. I put a trap in the attic, and left him there to consider my options.

We continued to hear intermittent thumping from the bathroom, but it seemed to be growing weaker. I went back and listened closely one time and it sounded like the opossum was trying to climb out, but just couldn’t get enough of a foothold to make it all the way to the top. I had to help him get out. My first thought was to lower a 2×4 down, but there wasn’t enough space in the attic to lever a wooden beam down into the opening … hmm … maybe I could drop a brick on him, or poison him, but I’d much rather catch him alive. I just needed something pliable to lower down there. Some soul searching led me to my old towel. The towel I’ve been using for years, but which has seen better days. I hated to part with it, despite the holes … it was so soft! Reluctantly I decided to nail it to the beams and hang it down into the gap from the attic. I threw some bread down there to give him strength for the climb. I re-positioned the trap, and waited. A little more than 24 hours later, and I had him. He is now living happily in the woods a few miles away.

Phff, and to think that 10 days earlier Lianne wanted to call an “expert.” The 10 days of sleepy, showerless fear were well worth it in my opinion. I am man. I have dominion over the earth. I will not be denied. I am the master of this house, and some lower animal will not better me.

After such a stirring contest I would like to say that I truly gave it 110% out there. I want to thank my Dad, who instilled in me the gumption to tackle pests of all kinds. I am also so grateful to God for His gifts which granted me the victory: a prefrontal cortex, ingenuity, an old towel, and opposable thumbs.

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