What follows is a true story told to the best of recollection. No names have been changed, no stances have been softened (which should be clear, because I come off like an asshole).
Me: Babe, what's that sound?
Hubs: What sound?
Me: That sound behind the bookcase.
Hubs: I don't hear it.
Me: The beagles are hunting my books, babe. Something's in the chimney.
Hubs: Probably just a lost squirrel.
It's not a squirrel, it's a goddamn raccoon. We learn this when our crazy-ass neighbor calls us at midnight one night to let us know that the raccoon is sitting on the top of the house near the chimney. After that it's like a game. Walk the dogs at twilight, and there's the raccoon, waiting for us to get the beagles out of the way. During the day, we hear raccoon noises. Hubs decides to put moth balls in the chimney cleanout. (We have a chimney, and a chimney cleanout, but no fireplace. We have bookshelves instead.)
The mothballs have little to no effect. My beagles are pulling the books off the shelves with their teeth and ripping off the paint job with their nails. I begin an almost daily round of questions about new tactics to remove the raccoon. This is because I'm having a set of recurring nightmares where the raccoon eats through the bookshelf and gives the baby rabies.
Hubs: I called the Humane Society. The bid is roughly 300 dollars, but they can't be sure that the traps can be checked or fit down the chimney.
Me: How much to hire a country boy with a shotgun to just shoot down the chimney?
Hubs: I think I have a plan.
Me: Does your plan end up with dead raccoon?
Hubs: So you're not planning to be helpful of humane today?
Me: The raccoon is not going to hurt my dogs or my baby.
Hubs: We can't pull the raccoon out of a cleanout, and what if it has babies.
Me: Chimney fishing. Probably executed by the same guy that does the shooting.
Hubs: (labored sighing)Would you like to hear my plan?
Hubs: I'm going to buy some Critter Ridder --
Me: That's a stupid name.
Hubs: It's supposed to encourage the raccoon to leave. I'll put it down the chimney, and then we'll wait a few days, so the raccoon gets out, and takes any babies with it.
Me: Down the chimney?
Me: What's to stop the raccoon from eating your face?
Hubs: I'll wear protective gear of some sort. After a few days, I'll put some duct tape on the chimney and we can check and see if the raccoon has moved out. Once we're sure it has, we can cap the chimney.
Me: You're going to go back up the chimney and check on tape?
Me: The raccoon is going to eat your face.
Hubs: You're ridiculous.
Me: My plan is better.
Hubs: I'm done talking to you today.
Me: Where is our ladder? Is it even big enough?
Hubs: At S&C's. I'll pick it up.
He didn't pick it up for several days. I picked it up.
Hubs then gets bronchitis, and I have to be the voice of reason that tells him that a half-dying man shouldn't be scaling a 30+ ft. ladder. His bronchitis last several weeks. In the meantime, we have to block the bookshelf with suitcases, vacuum cleaners, and decommissioned trash cans. When I'm not obsessing over how to protect the books, I'm gritting my teeth about hubby's plague and babies with rabies and trying not to stomp-stomp-slam around my house.
After several years (it seems) we finally execute the critter ridder portion of this operation. I will certainly keep you posted on how things proceed. In the interim, one of my ex-military friends has offered to be my backup raccoon-sniper, but he's still pondering whether or not he has the fishing skills to finish my plan.
The baby is currently rabies free, but I'm thinking of sleeping with a cookie sheet strapped to my belly. That's totally reasonable, right?
Portland & St Louis
3 weeks ago