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Service Stories #83, #84, #85: Save the Squirrels! (Part Two)

by | Jun 13, 2020 | Season 1 | 0 comments


Jake was great! Amazing service, incredibly responsive and awesome quality of work. We had a huge project and he approached it with positivity and creativity. I would truly recommend him to anyone. On top of that he had very fair pricing and was really flexible around our schedules. Can’t say enough great things about Storysold. Highly recommend!”

Produced for Yvonne E. of SE Portland

Service Story #83: Total Access in The Tabor Wilderness

As far as gutter line exclusions go, so far I haven’t seen this story’s equal. Yvonne called because she was hearing scratching in the ceiling of her kitchen. After a quick introduction, I popped into the attic space of the cozy little home sandwiched between 82nd and Mt. Tabor.

“Holy Moses! There’s fat gaps of light running all the way around her gutter line!” I thought as I crawled back to the addition over the kitchen. Along the way, I passed squirrel, bird, and roof rat droppings hidden under the new insulation.

It was The Same Old Story, new homeowner in home that had been sort of cleaned, reinsulated, and brushed up, but nobody (not the seller, not the real estate agent, not the home inspector, or the pest inspector) thought to mention anything about the entry holes beaconing all God’s creatures in the Mt. Tabor wilderness to come and play in Yvonne’s attic.

That’s not an exaggeration. Sometimes I wonder if The Industry has some kind of shady anti-exclusion deal with the home inspectors’ union. Then again, the previous exclusion attempt (cheap mosquito netting and foam) looked super old. My guess is, if there’s a conspiracy it runs deep. Dozens of folks: landlords, homeowners, neighbors, and homeowners must have noticed this gap over time (like decades) and nobody had done anything about it. Until now.

No joke. Day one, I made eye contact with the beast in the home it had made above Yvonne’s kitchen. We shared a special moment. It chattered at me. I banged the roof to match its obnoxious behavior. Two weeks later, I spent a day excluding the long gap around the roof with metal flashing. I kept an eye out for my buddy while I worked, but there was no sign of the squirrel anywhere. I even left the entry hole nearest its nest open, just in case.

The last thing I did that day was inspect the attic again. Still no sign of my buddy. So I decided to seal the last entry hole up and call it a day. There was no reason to “wait to make sure it was gone” and milk my customer. I could see the whole attic space, and squirrels aren’t exactly stealthily creatures.

Here’s the dialogue between Yvonne and I after the exclusion was done:

YVONNE: That looks great! Thank you. Just out of curiosity how does the attic get proper ventilation now. I know we have a vent up there but I just realized how much ventilation we must have removed with taking away the mesh. I’m not sure if that’s a common thing you run into or not.

STORYSOLD: Good morning Yvonne! Good question. I’ve never seen any home that planned to have one massive “soffit vent” running 3/4 the way around the edge of the roofline. It seemed to me that the mesh wasn’t planned. It was installed poorly in places where the original builders created a gap when they failed to connect the facing to the sheathing. That leads me to believe the mesh was meant to be exclusion. The back side of your home is a good example of that. No mesh was installed there, because the construction work is good. I imagine if ventilation was an issue, the original builder or some construction guy along the way would have installed soffit vents property…they would have built or installed a frame for the vent and they wouldn’t have used that mesh crap. It’s like door screen or something. Not something anyone would use for a soffit vent. All that said, it wouldn’t take too much to install a few more vents if a professional contractor agrees that the original builders failed to install a proper number of vents in your attic. All I did was put metal flashing where their should have been wood facing. The metal will breathe better than the wood would have if they built it like they did in back.

YVONNE: That’s great. I assumed that was case I just have never dealt with something like this so wanted to check! So the back and front both have wood and the sides just had the crappy mesh?

STORYSOLD: There’s wood all the way around. That’s what the gutters are attached to. The problem was, there was a gap between the wood that holds the gutters and the edge of the roof. In the back, the construction guys did a great job of making the wood flush with the roof. Not so much in the original construction. The mesh was a hack exclusion job…along with all the foam someone tried to use to exclude the massive gaps as well. Critters in attic was clearly an issue for whoever owned your home before you. Cheap landlord with a can of spray foam and a roll of screen door mesh is my guess…I feel like yesterday I corrected a decades old mistake that many many people saw and did not try to fix properly.

YVONNE: I would agree! Thanks for your awesome work


Service Story #84: Exclusion In Times of Virus

This service story was produced for Ron, a landlord with an old house in NE Portland. Outside of the giant mystery box of 80s porn I found in the attic space, this was a textbook squirrel venting and exclusion service.

Wilderness Corridor #1
Wilderness Corridor #2

I used to be shocked when I found open entry holes like these. I was like, “How could we (as humans) continue to trap and kill raccoons and rats year after year, decade after decade, without sending the simplest of signals…” Now I know that I can knock on almost any home, in any neighborhood, and find at least one open entry hole.

I know it sounds crazy, but somedays I feel like I’m exploring something new called “exclusion.” These entry holes were found under the eves of the dormers. Classic spots.

The real story here was the poor family who lived in the rental. Not only did they encounter a creature eye-to-eye through the vent in the attic room, they had to deal with another known carrier of disease and pestilence: Jake.

I’ve always know I’ve been a vector for novel characters such as Wilderness Security Guide and Pest Predator, but now that our planet was facing a pandemic virus…I was a possible host for that creature too. And the family was as frightened of that invisible viral creature as they were the critter in their attic.

They decided the best plan was to leave (like for the whole day) while I performed my work scene. Honestly, I’ve never felt more like a pest in my life. The male figure in the house texted me the next day to ask if I’d taken my respirator off at any time during the service. It was an usual feeling that dredged up memories of being picked on at school. Yet, at the same time, it was refreshing. Humans need to be reminded that we can be pests too.

All in all, I was thankful I was able to limit my pestilence and nail the ending in 2 services.

Service Story #85: Why Not Birds Too?

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (reviewed on Thumbtack): “Jake was great to work with. He responded quickly to my request. He was able to do the job by being creative. He sent a follow up email to let me know when he would check back. His rate was very reasonable.” – Kelly A. of SW Portland

Yeah, we know. Humans are incurably hooked on the idea that “Good Guys kill Bad Guys.” It’s the environmental “disease” Guide calls Systemic Death Production Disorder. We also know, every so often, we find a glimmer of a cure in The Action.

Kelly was one of the coworkers and friends Brenden of The Garage Liberation Front sent my way. She had a problem with birds nesting in the eves/vent holes of a large add on bay window thing. Normally, during in a bird service, Guide can access the nest from inside, physically scoop the nest up, and then exclude the entry hole. She knows relocating a nest is often a death sentence for any baby birds, but she supposes it’s better than killing them outright. In any case, we didn’t have that option. The addition didn’t have any access to the attic, so Guide had to come up with a creative solution…

At first she wanted to mark the holes (stuff plastic bags in them) and then return to remark them if the birds pushed them out. She was about to do that, when she suddenly remembered that our truck was stocked with a variety of squirrel venting equipment. Ten or so minutes later, she’d cut one of my one way doors to size and fixed it to the entry hole.

While Guide was up there, she realized that many of the vent holes were compromised by birds. Someone had used the same darned cheap mosquito netting/mesh stuff that was featured in Yvonne’s Service Story #83. A few light pointy pecks of the bird’s beak, and the birds would be back in business…

[ Not actual vent (same model). I put the birdseed lure inside roof void to test for activity ]

Once Guide realized her vent would be pointless unless she, at least, marked the other holes, Guide eyed the storm clouds gathering above us like a salty old sailor–then she said, “I have some expanded aluminum mesh in my truck…If we want the vent to be effective…I really should exclude all these holes now.”

Kelly was all for that idea. After Guide installed her first new vent screen for an example, her husband said, “Oh wow, that looks great! That’s going to add value to our home for sure!”

The actual number is lost to us, but we’d say Guide excluded at least 16 entry holes in less than 2 hours…all before the rain hit. Major victory! It reminded Guide of her days of thru-hiking, hustling to make camp before the storm hit.

And our victory was a true team effort. If Kelly hadn’t been watching the birds and called us when she did, the cute baby birds may have died trapped and separated from their parents. Go team! Wilderness Security Guide can now add a bird-venting-and-exclusion service to her lineup of action!


The Dialogue


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