published Friday, December 9th, 2011

Courter: Homeownership is not for the meek

My uncle in Indiana shared this adventure with my father earlier this week.

It seems he noticed what sounded like running water upon entering his bathroom. Unable to find it, he figured he would need to turn off the water at the main by the road, so he put on his rain gear (of course it was pouring out) and headed out. The wet and sloping ground around the meter cover made getting the cover off nearly impossible for him. Mustering his strength, he gave it a mighty tug and given the conditions, he did exactly what you might expect. He fell.

Soaked and flat on his back, he noticed that the neighbor across the street was pulling out of his driveway. His pride wounded, my uncle waved him off. The neighbor, seeing what must have looked like an inebriated man foundering on the ground, did what we all would have done and drove off pretending he never saw anything.

My uncle managed to get up and went back inside to call a plumber. After two calls went unanswered, he called his friend, the town mayor. The mayor made a call and within a short time, a young man showed up, turned off the water main without incident and went in to find the leak.

The sound was still there. One more look and listen in the bathroom revealed the source of the noise. It was a radio stuck between two stations.

A couple of weeks ago at our house, a rodent found its way into the ceiling and walls. Experience has told me this is a very bad thing as these seemingly small critters like to chew through wires and drainpipes.

I set about placing a trap in a fairly large open space between the floor where an old heating and air grate used to be. I messed up and walked away, leaving the cover off the hole. When I came back, one of our cats was about halfway into the hole, and the other cat was missing. Instantly panicked, I told my wife I thought I had just solved one problem and created another. While I was downstairs looking for some kind of tool that might help (?), she yelled down that the cat was curled up under three blankets on the bed about 4 feet from the hole.

The next morning, my daughter called me at work to report a "giant" mouse was running around the living room. When I got home, my daughter was standing on the couch holding a broom. I could hear her screeches from the driveway. The front door was wide open in hopes the critter would simply walk out or that the outside cat would come in and use his God-given talents. She did come in a couple of times but showed only mild interest and left.

After a spirited chase, I managed to pin the intruder against the wall with a broom. The problem was I was fully extended across the couch and could not move without freeing the prey. At that point, the cat came back in and went nose to nose with the rodent. I wasn't sure if this was a good or a bad thing. She then looked at me as if to say, "You've got this," and strolled back outside.

Let's just say that the story ends better for me than the "giant" mouse and leave it at that.

about Barry Courter...

Barry Courter is staff reporter and columnist for the Times Free Press. He started his journalism career at the Chattanooga News-Free Press in 1987. He covers primarily entertainment and events for ChattanoogaNow, as well as feature stories for the Life section. Born in Lafayette, Ind., Barry has lived in Chattanooga since 1968. He graduated from Notre Dame High School and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a degree in broadcast journalism. He previously was ...

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