Did I ever tell you about the time something died in our roof?

Wednesday 29 June 2011

I found myself saying those very words to a friend on a trip to Vancouver and figured that if anything deserved a blog post, it was this story and I'm a little surprised that I have yet to do it!

At the beginning of December we'd been living in our house for about a month, had only been robbed once, and generally felt pretty comfortable there.  As we often do in the evenings, Joe and I were watching TV when I heard some thumping coming from somewhere in the house.  I wasn't sure if it was inside or out and it seemed to subside quickly.  When I heard it again, I asked Joe if he was hearing the same thing.  He wasn't - but a few minutes later it came back louder than ever so we decided we had better investigate.

Hesitantly, we moved towards our bedroom in search of this mysterious thumping.  We looked in the cupboards, opened closet doors only to find nothing and hear nothing.  After our search, we stood in the bedroom perplexed when the thumping along with vibrations resumed directly overhead.  Joe and I looked at each other speechless and unsure of what to do - so we ran outside to get our guard.

Sunday night we always have a replacement guard.  Guards work 6 days a week so on their night off someone else replaces him.  On this particular night it was another young guard who doesn't know us nor speak English so I'm sure he had no idea what to think when Joe and I come running outside and asking that he follow us inside in broken and hurried French.  Nonetheless, he did and stood with us as we stared at our roof waiting for the thumping to resume.  Just as I'm sure he settled on the fact that we were crazy, it came back and the stunned look on the guards face was priceless.

The guard went off to investigate and came back with nothing.  He couldn't find an entry point nor did he have any ideas what it might be.  I thought it was a bat trapped inside flinging itself around, Joe figured it was a mouse or a rat but neither of us had any idea of what to do.  The thumping quieted throughout the night and eventually, we had to go to bed.

After a sleepless night, we decided we needed reinforcements and that was even more evident mid-afternoon when the smell came.  Whatever had been trapped in our roof must have died and begun to decompose.  (All roofs are tin and in 40 degree heat it didn't take long to smell.)  The extermination company came the following day but in the construction of our house, no one thought to make any access points to the roof so there was no way for them to actually get in there.  This resulted in more waiting as we needed to hire a contractor to make the access and then wait for the exterminators to return but by the evening, it was clear that we could no longer sleep in our room.  The stench was overwhelming and it was near impossible to breath in the area.  We moved our mattress into the dining room and set up a makeshift bedroom.

Remember the post on 'Africa time?'  Well this applies here.  The stench continued to get worse as the days went on and when Friday arrived we started to worry.  Our flight to Canada was that evening and we worried if it wasn't done before we left we might return to an even more unbearable smell.  After a few frantic phone calls, the exterminators arrived again and with newly constructed access to the roof, in they went to get to the bottom of the problem.

Gagging and breathless, out they came with a small, kitchen garbage bag containing 'it.'  In a strong French accent he exclaimed, "It was a %^*%$ cat!"  While we certainly relieved to have the problem solved, I was sad to hear that it was a cat as a cat suffering in a sauna of a roof seems much worse than a bat.  We boarded our flight that evening hoping that upon our return 3 weeks later, the stench will have subsided and that nothing else will have tried to make our home it's home.

We're starting to believe that if something is going to happen, it's going to happen to us!  We never seem to be short of ridiculous stories but I suppose that's a good thing for this blog!

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