In Writing

I feel like many of my recent posts have been sort of gloomy, which does not at all reflect how my day to day life is going. Life is good! My biggest problem, currently, is a band of masked bandits.

Picture this: a family of three non-morning people scurrying about to get out the door at a reasonable hour. The head non-morning person (that’s me) glances out the window to take a look at the world.

And the world consists of detritus, scattered everywhere.

A narrowed-eye glimpse from my second story window shows me that the debris looks familiar, indisputable evidence of my family’s shameful over-reliance on paper towels.

My garbage can is tipped over, open, my garbage bag torn to bits. Its contents have been dragged across my neighbor’s front lawn, evidence of some overnight bacchanalia.

Goddamn raccoons.

I run out to try and minimize the damage, before my neighbors come out, and before the garbage truck comes, which it usually does right at the time I am leaving to drive my kids to school. I have to choose between rushing my zombie non-morning-people children to get ready and cleaning up the mess before my neighbors see just how many cans I have not recycled, and which are now adorning their grass.  Dammit, dammit, dammit.

I run out with another bag, because the idea of actually touching garbage skeeves me greatly, and dash from paper towel to yogurt container, trying to grab it all up before anyone sees. But my neighbor is a teacher, and we very often are leaving the house at the same time, and I’m crouched weirdly on her lawn, Chinese food container in hand, hair wild, too close to being late, when she emerges with her two-year-old.

“These raccoons!” she says, mercifully side-stepping the issue of just how many paper towels a family should really use.

“I’m so sorry!” I say.

She laughs. “Oh, my daughter looked out the window this morning and said, ‘We’ve got to call Daddy! It’s a mess outside!”

Awesome. Judged by a two-year-old.

I finish up, get the kids to school, wondering if raccoons could really do all that damage. (I’m a ‘believe it when you see it’ kind a girl and it seemed like some grizzly-level destruction). As luck would have it, though, the next night I couldn’t sleep, and I was on the couch at about 4:00 a.m. when I heard the loud thud of my garbage can hitting the street. I ran to the window to see.

First of all, these were some Arnold Schwarzenegger-sized raccoons (and I’m talking original Terminator Schwarzenegger here). One was casually strolling down my walkway, looking like he could easily beat me in an arm-wrestling competition. One was butt-deep in my (mercifully empty) garbage can. The other was just chilling on my curb, taking in the evening, glancing in my direction with disinterest. They appeared unfazed that I was trying to disrupt their fun.

I was in just a T-shirt, and even though it was 4:00 a.m. I did not want to be doing some half-naked crazy dance on my lawn to scare them away, so I waved my arms wildly while keeping my lower half inside. They looked at me quizzically, thoroughly unimpressed. Fine, I thought, who will see me at 4:00 a.m.? I’d left my pants upstairs, and I wanted the raccoons on the run, stat. I stepped out onto the porch, hissing at them. One nonchalantly went in the sewer (how? one wonders. It’s a straight drop). The other two required more effort on my part. I ran down my steps, yelling wildly and waving my arms, hoping against hope no other neighbor was also having trouble sleeping and was up for my little show. If they saw, they were kind enough to keep it to themselves. (Or, who knows? Maybe there’s a YouTube video).

I turned to Father Google, who assures me that ammonia and cayenne pepper sprayed on the perimeter, as well as in the garbage cans, will do the trick. So I’ve got a big batch brewing as we speak.

Oh, suburbia. Raccoons, you’re on notice. I’m coming for you.

UPDATE: inhaling cayenne powder is bad. Really bad. And the garbage can was tipped over again this morning. And so it continues.

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