As I laid in bed the other night listening to my snoring husband, I heard a thud. A loud, repeated thud. I tried to ignore it and go to sleep but something sounded like it was trying to get in. When The Big Daddy woke up to go to the bathroom, I asked him if he thought that maybe one of the cats had gotten locked inside the garage.
Knight in shining armor that he is he got up, went outside, lifted the garage door and called the cat. "It wasn't that," he said as he climbed back into bed, and for a few minutes all was calm and quiet.
And then it started back up. Louder and bangier than ever, and as much as The Big Daddy tried to ignore it even he knew something was going on. "It's probably a critter hiding in the garage," he said and took a flashlight as his only weapon.
I thought it was Bigfoot and I was so scared I got on Facebook.
The Big Daddy was gone for what seemed to be a long while.
When he came in he said that the culprit had been flushed out. A big raccoon on the roof that laid flat and still when under the glare of his probing flashlight. Somebody's been taking life-saving seminars from the possums.
Still as could be it flattened itself against the roof, not budging. A black and gray hump against a black and gray roof. Move along, Mr. Homeowner. Go back to your Mrs. Nothing to see here.
Mark threw a dirt clod at the varmint which didn't faze it in the least. He kept at it until he said, "I got one that broke apart like shrapnel when it hit the roof and that did the trick. He got up and climbed up over the chimney to the other side of the roof."
My Rambo. Swoon.
"A raccoon on the roof? What the heck was he doing up there?" I asked when he finished telling the story.
"It looks like he was trying to eat the siding, but it ran off. Don't worry, I doubt we'll be seeing that guy again."
And then my Rambo went right back to sleep but worrying is what I do, especially in the middle of the night. I laid there rolling the facts around in my head. A raccoon on the roof. How did it get up there? I had no idea they could climb that high. Eating the siding? I thought they tipped over garbage cans to get their dinner. What if it busted through the walls and got into bed with us? Would I have a heart attack and die? In his loneliness would Mark turn to his new roommate for companionship?
The following afternoon I noticed the Critter Control truck at my next door neighbor's house and went over to get the deets. "Five nights," my neighbor said. "Five nights we've been up because of something banging around in the garage."
"Us, too," I said. "I was up until three in the morning. It was so loud." While we were talking Mr. Critter Tech came out to his truck and gave her the news.
"You've got a raccoon getting in through your vent trying to make a new home. I've set a trap so your problem should be over soon."
She introduced me to him and I told my raccoon story. "You want me to take a look while I'm here," he asked. Of course I did, but I was already certain my problem was far less severe than my neighbors since I had a raccoon looking for a one-night stand. She had a stalker.
Turns out I had the exact same problem. Mr. Critter Tech showed me where the raccoon had been busy tearing a shingle off the house and bending the grate of the vent to get into our attic space.
"Trap him," I calmly and coldly said without even asking what it cost.
It costs plenty and after I wrote the check I called my mom to tell her the story of the Homesteading Raccoon and how my husband was going to have a fit over trapping an animal even though it had specs and claws to expand our living space.
"Oh, you had to do it," she said. 'You can't have wild animals with rabies trying to get in your attic for crying out loud."
"I know, Mom, but Mark is going to be really mad about it when he gets home and I tell him."
"Tell him I said you should do it for all that's worth. Blame me."
"I'll use that as my last resort, Mom, because I don't think he cares what either of us think about trapping a raccoon."
"You're probably right," she said. "You know what Lou Manfredini says about keeping raccoons out of your house?"
"Lou Manfredini. The fix-it guy on WGN. He says if you want to keep raccoons out of your attic to play Spanish music. He says raccoons hate Spanish music."
"I never heard of such a thing."
"That's what he says and he's got his own show. Had one for years so he would know. He says that when they hear that Spanish music they keep moving along. I don't know what it is that they hate about it. Anyhow, you get in your attic and put a radio up there. Tune it to some Spanish station and your raccoon problem will be over."
"Well, we don't have an attic we can access. It's the space between the garage and the roof that is problem and you can only get in through the outside."
"If the raccoon can get in so can you so find a way and start playing some Spanish music before you've got the whole family moving in."
We hung up. I weighed my options. Maybe Mom and Lou Manfredini were right. I had a Frito Bandito to chase away, but was it mariachi, salsa or merengue that would do the trick?