I'm grading finals in the living room. My husband is doing ...something engineery in the office. There is a wall between us. I could hear him moving around and doing ...stuff? I wasn't really paying attention. Rearranging the bookshelves, maybe. Or kicking the wall while he calculates esoteric things.
I have 98 more final exams to grade by tomorrow, at 5 minutes per exam. I'm not paying attention to whatever-on-earth noise he's making in there.
Until he comes in. Stops at the door. Looks at me sitting peacefully with a fat pile of exams on my lap. Says "that wasn't you, then?"
Oh. THAT noise. That noise that's between my room and his but is also just about the spot where I noticed a grate was off the house today, leaving an open hole to the crawl space. Ok, let's admit it. I've noticed it off for the last two months, and have been deliberately turning a blind eye, because, hello, who wants to deal with the giant house rat who pulls off grates? Also, my husband keeps propping the grate back and wedging it with a spare roof tile, which is one of the most ineffective and un-engineer-like things I have ever ever seen him do, so I suspect he also does not want to deal with the giant mutant house rat who pulls off grates blocked by heavy clay roof tiles.
Also, we've been busy. Just don't argue with our excuses, k? Thanks.
Apparently tonight's noises steeled his nerve.
He has a flashlight in his hand. He passes the windows as he goes, and he does not make it as far as the grate, nor does he bend down to peer in it.
Instead he comes back. "It went back in there," he says. "It's black. With a white stripe."
Of course it is.
Maybe we can name him Pepé.
But I have a sneaking suspicion he's in there with Fifi. And they're not alone.
The NICE thing about skunks is if you leave them strictly and completely alone, they at least won't climb up into your walls and chew through your wiring. Also, the whole rabies thing has totally, totally declined in skunks over the last couple decades, and now way less of them are going to go crazy and bite your three year old. Also, at some point the babies will grow up and then they'll all leave peacefully. Of their own accord. Without me getting sprayed. Unless they really like it in there.
I know a guy who traps mountain lions. Maybe he can help.