sorry to hear of your misfortune (
my name is XXXXX XXXXX i'll help in any way i can.
90 peercent of the time, believe it or not, mice have moved into your blower motor and the next building material in the blower motor is whats making the noise.
if you can figure out how to get the under dash panel on the passenger side off you may be able to remove and clean the blower motor yourself.
otherwise, your mechanic should charge no more than an hours labor.
additional good news.
heres what wikianswers say:
It's the "figure out how to get the under dash panel on the passenger side off" that has me worried. Any tips?