I awoke to the sound of breaking glass.
My first thought was to leap out of bed and investigate. My second was, "perhaps I should put on some shoes." Fortunately, I didn't step in glass before putting on shoes. The sound seemed to have come from my basement and that led to my third thought: squirrels.
Last year, I had a run-in with a squirrel in my basement. Funny story (here).
In the middle of the basement floor was a shard of glass. I had no idea where it had come from. I looked around for signs of a squirrel, but there was none. Looking around, I found more glass by a wall and some stored furniture. It was an ashtray. No one's smoked in that house since 1995, so I had to wonder why there was an ashtray at all, much less a broken one. Thinking it over, I remembered that I had set an old ashtray on a windowsill, temporarily, about 5 years ago.
It had to have been pushed off that ledge. I checked again: no squirrels. No poltergeists, either. That led to the suspicion that a field mouse had found its way in out of the cold, so I went for my live trap (stepping on broken glass) and started thinking about what I had for bait.
Then the furnace turned on and it all came together for me. A few days ago, I had moved some dampers and restrictors in my ductwork to lessen the heat going to the basement. (why heat it if I'm never down there?) The day after day of temperatures below zero here had an unusual effect in the basement. The glass of the ashtray and the cement it was on expanded and contracted in the temperature fluctuations, but not at the same rate. This caused the ashtray to wobble just enough to fall.
My house is full of precarious balances. I should never attempt to change anything!
Fisher's Big Wheel
1 week ago