Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Chipmunk "Issue"

Over the last few days, John and I have noticed an odor in the basement. It was a little gross smelling, but I didn't really have time to think about it. However, by yesterday afternoon, I couldn't ignore it any longer. After a bit of investigation Monday night, John and I both agreed that there was something dead down there. Probably a dead chipmunk that had sneaked into the dryer vent and fell down the pipe and couldn't get back up. Ha! He fell and couldn't get up! Anyway, we decided that there wasn't anything we could do about it Monday night, so we would get a new vent on Tuesday and just replace it. John picks up the tale from here: After returning from biking the Bend, I put on my work gloves and went downstairs, following the stench that lead inexorably to the dryer. I cleared a path, moved the foul-smelling machine, unplugged everything within reach (why? I don't know), and eased in for a better look. Nothing behind or under the dryer, so as we suspected, IT must be inside. Carefully, I wiggled the top of the dryer vent loose from its housing, standing as far away as my arms would allow. It popped off with one tug and, thankfully, nothing ran or dropped out of the opening. Next, I gave the pipe a twist, and slowly eased it off of the connection to the dryer, the whole time expecting a swarm of vermin to come shooting out and attack my ankles. Once the pipe was free, I saw a fuzzy little tail hanging out of the end, so I gave the pipe a twist, and the tail dropped into the elbow bend and out of site. I decided that outside was the best place to determine to what the tail was attached. Quickly I carried the long shiny sheath up the stairs and out the back door, trying in vain not to bump into walls and door frames, lest the dead be roused from its slumber. Once outside, I set the pipe in the grass, grabbed my shovel, and dug a hole near the shed to receive the departed. Burial was quick and painless - another twist of the pipe deposited the creature into its grave. My instinct was not to watch it fall, so I turned away when the time came, but later realized that I would have to visually confirm that an entire animal indeed dropped into the hole and did not leave a remainder stuck in some gross fashion inside the tube. Fortunately for all, but mostly for me, there was a chipmunk in the hole, dead and smelly but intact, and coated with a fine layer of dryer lint. I covered him with several spades of dirt, sprayed half a can of Lysol into the pipe, and washed my hands for 10 minutes - no tears, no eulogy. Circle of Life. Not exactly what Disney had in mind I bet. When I (Terri)got home this afternoon, John and I went to work putting the vent back into place. I noticed that the duct to the outside had quite a bit of dryer lint in it, so John suggested that I get the vacuum to clean it up. As I was doing that he noted that it was probably the vent hole in the dryer that really needed to be vacuumed. I moved to vacuum that, vacuuming from the side since I couldn't get down behind the dryer. I bet you didn't know that the vent tube coming out of the dryer is actually quite long. Most of the end of my vacuum hose fit in there. When I felt the vacuum suck up a huge clump of lint I pulled the vacuum hose out. There on the end of my vacuum hose was a large clump of dryer lint - with two back legs and a tail sticking out of the end of it! I screamed. I shrieked. I screamed. I really was squealing so loudly that John went running (away from me, I might note!) and the kids came running from all parts of the house. Somehow I was able to communicate the need for work gloves and some plastic bags. I don't really know at which point I turned off the vacuum. This little guy didn't get the respectful burial that his partner received. Just a tied-off plastic bag into the garbage can. It has taken me most of the evening to recover and I am now insisting on a new outdoor dryer vent. John can work on that tomorrow. The dryer vent tube is back in place and I have run the dryer with dryer sheets. The basement smells delightfully fresh once again. John was more right than he knew - sorry Disney. No more Chip and Dale!

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