My attic is a squirrel hotel. The residents appear to have used their teeth, which generate the approximate cutting power of a reciprocating saw, to create an entryway under my eaves. I even now can hear them frolicking through our Christmas ornaments and tacky decorative baskets. It’s driving my cats berserk.

This is one of the perks of home ownership.

I just got off the phone with the fellow who will repair that hole next week, hopefully with titanium plates. Then I have to trap my little rodent guests and relocate their probably-rabies-free selves to some safe and convivial locale, like a park. Far from here. Maybe on another continent.

These buck-tooth thugs haven’t been my only homeowner challenge lately. Rabbits excavated so far under our front walk that it looked like a bridge in Venice. A disease slaughtered both of the trees in our backyard with the efficiency of a Hellfire missile, and now nothing remains of them but a little sawdust where the stumps used to be. We enjoyed rain in our living room throughout five re-sealings of our roof, until some bright fellow figured out that our chimney needed to be torn down and rebuilt.

The front doorknob came off in my wife’s hand, a light fixture dropped off the underside of the kitchen cabinet, and sunlight disintegrated the dining room curtains. Most of our double-pane windows have unsealed themselves, and now they function like single-pane windows that block the view because of condensation. My air conditioner is giving me nightmares because it’s old enough to drink.

Even my stupid mailbox is no longer a cheerful red, but instead is the color of mud that’s been baked in a Georgia summer. I know that’s not hard to fix, but I just feel like pouting.

Our house is approaching its 30th birthday. For 20 years other people got to enjoy it before we came along, so I suppose we’re paying the tab for some of their fun. I should expect a little wear. But damn, I didn’t expect a Willie-Nelson’s-face amount of wear.

Then again, we have a house to enjoy, and a lot of people can’t say that, so I should stop pouting. I can hear my wife, who rarely pouts, telling me, “It’s broken? Let me add it to the list.” The list is a kind of magical place where things go to get taken care of, assuming you ever remember to read the list and don’t mind some hard work. So our house may be rather crumbly around the edges, but we can slap some spackle on it and sit in the den with all our cats, speculating on the meaning of the popping and groaning sounds coming from walls.

We already know what the thrashing sounds in the attic are.

That's me--the Maginot Line standing between my home and the squirrel invasion.
That’s me–the Maginot Line standing between my home and the squirrel invasion.