Thanks to everybody who let me know they are actually reading the blog…
Just to catch everybody up:
- There is a critter of unknown species in the roof
- It has been boarded up once already since I thought it had gone hunting
- It was raining and the mosquitoes were keen on lightening my blood supply by a litre or two
- We had decided to lure the critter out with a can of cat food
- Sharon has a beer in hand
- We had established that Sharon can’t keep still or quiet for more than 5 minutes at a time. Your personal mileage may vary, I personally think 5 minutes is extremely aggressive
- Sharon had a beer in hand. Apparently I didn’t stress this enough in the last saga. It’s not like Sharon spends a great deal of time working around with a beer in her hand so I don’t get what the big deal is about but I said I would emphasize that she had a beer hand. You all got that? Sharon has a beer in hand. Please email her personally for the brand just to show that you are paying attention.
- After 3 aborted attempts at waiting quietly, we had decided to leave for the night with the boards intact and a broom in front of the boards. The thinking was that the critter would push open the boards which would fall onto the broom which would make a banging sound on the roof. Sharon and I could rush up and nail the boards back. Problem solved.
I gingerly went down the ladder convinced it was going to fall over and cause me grievous bodily injury. Sharon scampered down the ladder (please see previous story for notes on simian ancestry although I’m more inclined to go with lizard due to her ability to withstand temperatures that cause mortal men, (me, to melt) and we went inside. We watched TV for a while a while longer but all was quiet on the critter front.
Oh, about the ladder thing. Tony, the contractor neighbour, fell off his ladder and broke his pelvis. Had to spent 6 weeks in bed and couldn’t get up. Brings the movie Misery to mind for some reason, yet another reason why I’m not crazy about going up and down ladders.
We woke up refreshed after a good night’s sleep aided by the fact that we had a sure-fire plan for ridding ourselves of the critter. After the morning rituals, which shall remain undetailed to protect those of delicate sensibilities, we decided a visit to the roof was in order. We climbed the ladder, Sharon without a beer in her hand for a change.
As I peered over the roof I noticed that the can of cat food was upside down, a board was missing from the wall and the broom was 100% upright. So much for my sure-fire plan. At least I knew that the critter was about 10cm across as it could get out through a single board. That made me feel much better as we weren’t dealing with a raccoon of Darth Vadar-esque proportions. Only problem was that we were back to square one. Didn’t know the species or location of said critter and it was highly likely he was back on the roof.
We both climbed onto the roof and looked around.
“You think he’s in the roof?” Sharon asked hopeful that the ordeal might be over.
“I’m pretty sure that he would be in the during the day. Most critters are nocturnal and he has likely made his den in the roof.”
“Well how are we going to get him out then Mr. Smarty Pants?” perhaps in reference to the snooty tone in my voice.
No sure where the smarty pants comment came from but since the raccoon was still in the same location as last night, I decided to be happy rather than right and didn’t rise to the bait.
“We need to get a trap. We can rent or buy one” I replied
For once Sharon didn’t argue and just nodded sagely.
Have you ever noticed that the majority of times, when something bad is in your roof, it’s almost always referred to as a male even though there is a 50/50 chance it’s a female. I wonder why that is?
We climbed off the roof deep in thought as to where we could get a trap. I knew they were expensive to buy and didn’t think we were going to use it again (I am naively optimistic that our house is well sealed against critters) so we had to rent it. Stephenson Rentals apparently rented them.
Sharon and I had dinner plans with our friends, Ian and Jen, so I decided to give them a call to confirm. Ian loves to hear about my suffering about home ownership so I gave him the short version. As it turned out, he owned a trap because he had a very similar problem. In fact, as it turns out, several of our friends have traps. My current hero, Gordy (Sharon’s gay husband for those that don’t keep up), has managed to trap 7 raccoons, 4 possums, 2 squirrels and 1 cat. He was a bit sheepish about the cat as it belonged to somebody in the neighbourhood. He was keeping the trap out because he was convinced that something was eating his water lilies. I personally think he just likes trapping stuff.
Ian said they would bring it with them and we could borrow it for as long as we needed. We met them for dinner at Oyster Boys, as a I recall, ate some fine oysters, took the trap from them and headed home.
When we arrived home it was about 11:00 PM, pitch dark. I was feeling a little wobbly due to the several bottles of fine wine consumed along with the oysters and lobsters and was looking forward to jumping Sharon and falling asleep. Sharon, of course, had other ideas.
She would brook no possibility of jumping until the trap was deployed. To my alcohol soaked brain, this seemed like a fair exchange. I went to the kitchen, picked another can of cat food not feeling the slightest bit guilty of taking food from Keiko our grey and white cat. I figured what she didn’t eat meant one less can of food she could throw up in great places like on my chair, on the bed, in her basket. I am also the designated cleaner of all things unsavoury so I didn’t even give it a moment’s thought.
Armed with a flashlight (it was pitch black and I could shine it up… oops wrong story), can of cat food, raccoon trap with Sharon in tow, I somehow managed to scale the ladder and arrive in one piece. I can safely say I don’t recall how I managed this feat but I’m glad that alcohol was involved otherwise I would have been s***t scared going up the ladder that laddened.
Sharon climbed onto the roof as well, looking very fetching in an evening dress. A guy can hope… I tried fumbling around with setting the trap but it appeared all I was good for was opening the can of cat food. Sharon grabbed the can of cat food and placed it in the correct location in the trap. We placed the trap about 1m outside the boards hoping that the critter was getting a taste for cat food.
Both pleased with our activities, I decided now would be a good time to get my jumping reward for setting the trap. A firm rebuke and some physical pain later, I was carefully working my way down the ladder. I discovered that climbing down a ladder cooled the ardour I was feeling so we had a quiet and uneventful night.
Sharon is not known as a graceful riser, doesn’t like getting out of bed early and has been known to be a tad bitchy in the morning. I, on the other, wake up full of energy and ready to take on the world. I was fast asleep dreaming of something really good when I felt this bouncing up and down on the bed followed by what felt like a piece of string being dragged over my chest followed by an enthusiastic cat chasing said piece of string. I cracked open an eye to find Sharon wide awake and encouraging the cat to walk all over me by throwing a piece of string over me then pulling it back trigger that cat’s play reflex.
As my faculties came back on-line, I came to the conclusion that I didn’t drink nearly enough water last night and was feeling quite hungover and very dehydrated. The blood supply in my eye also seemed to be pulsing so that my vision got brighter and dimmer and it was contributing to my overall feeling of nausea. The cat running across my mid-section wasn’t helping matters either.
Sharon, seeing that her efforts to wake me up were having an effect, redoubled the bouncing on the bed. The next thing I know Sharon had launched herself on top of me, almost squashing the cat and definitely knocking the air out of me.
“Good morning sunshine. About time you woke up your lazy head.” She exclaimed full of energy.
I tried to extricate my face from the barrage of kisses being bestowed on it so that I could glance at the bed side clock. It was barely 6AM.
“Getrrr off me” I managed to get out. “Its 6AM on Sunday for God’s sake. What’s gotten into you? And stop bouncing around, you’re killing me and my hangover.”
“Well look who’s mister poopy pants. What’s the matter drink a little too much last night?” Sharon asked very loudly in my face but the volume could have been subjective due to my very delicate nature.
“We have to go check the trap and see what we caught” Sharon continued in between kisses and hugs.
I reached deep into myself for that last well of strength and with a mighty heave tried to get Sharon off me. Apparently my reserve of strength wasn’t what I thought it to be because Sharon barely noticed.
“Stop squirming. I’ll get off you if you promise to get up and check the trap” Sharon bargained.
“Ok”. At this point, I would have agreed to anything.
Sharon rolled off and onto her side of the bed where the cat had decided to settle down and was none too impressed with all the bedroom antics so early in the morning.
I decided to risk opening both eyes and was rewarded with a flood of blinding light that seemed to compress the time between the throbs of my head. I moaned gently which was rewarded with a tickle spurring me to get out of bed.
I climbed out of bed and tested my legs. After a few moments of balance adjustment, I staggered off to the bathroom. A few minutes later, there was faint glimmer of humanity entering my system. I dressed and headed out the door to check the trap. Sharon bounced after me like the proverbial Tigger.
Rung-over-rung I ascended the ladder. I made a point of looking squarely forward knowing that my delicate constitution would not handle looking. I also knew that retching all over Sharon wouldn’t shorten my life span considerably and despite my current state, I quite enjoyed life.
My head crested the roof so that just my eyes were above the roofline. I could hear something moving around on the roof. In the roof was a smallish raccoon, probably born earlier in the spring from all that death screaming that passes as mating for them.
“We caught a raccoon”, I rasped out, my throat still feeling the aftereffects of the evening.
“Let me see!!!!!”, Sharon said all enthusiastic. Her enthusiasm was starting to get on my nerves.
I climbed up and over the roof and Sharon barreled up onto the roof and approached the cage.
“What are we going to do with him? Isn’t he cute? Can we keep him? Do you think it’s the critter from the roof? He’s so cute. Can I pet him?”
“Don’t pet him unless you want get bitten. I’m sure he’s pissed about being caught in the cage. There is no chance we are adding another pet to the collection of pissers and shitters we currently have since I have to clean up all the mess and feed them. Should you wish to take over, you can have as many pets as you want.”
This was my standard line for dealing with Sharon when she gets small animal ownership lust in her eyes. I waited for the thought of having to wipe up puke and shit to work its magic on Sharon and I could see her enthusiasm wane just slightly.
“Well what are we going to do with him?” Sharon asked, clearly disappointed that I didn’t see the pet value of the raccoon.
“We are going to board up his hole, then release him back into the garden. I don’t care what he does as long as it doesn’t involve garbage and my car or nesting in the roof.”
Sharon, all full of vim and vigour, took the hammer and nails we had left up on the roof from the previous night and set into the nails. With each determined swing of the hammer and subsequent impact, mostly on the nails, my head throbbed sending a combination of vibrating pain and nausea radiating down my still frail body.
“Can you do that any louder?” I asked
“You mean like this?” As Sharon swung, missed and hit the board which caused the entire roof to drum like a demon possessed bell that was tuned to my exact pain frequency.
Blissfully, Sharon finished nailing up the board a few minutes later. Once my head settled down a bit, we were faced with how to get the raccoon and the cage down to the ground. I was thinking of just throwing the cage and contents onto the ground and letting the raccoons fall where they may but Sharon wanted no part of that as apparently she was still holding out on adopting the cute garbage raider.
I was deep in thought trying to figure out a way to get the raccoon down when Sharon swarmed down the ladder shouting something intelligible. I think the gist was that she had an idea of how to get the raccoon down. A couple of minutes later Sharon appeared carrying an extension cord.
“Catch”, she yelled, swinging the extension cord with its large bulbous end in widening orange circles.
When she had determined the right time to let go, the extension cord came flying towards my head. As time fortunately slowed down, I played the scenario of me getting hit in the head. I quickly moved my head out of the way. I’m pretty sure that I did feel the extension cord parting my hair.
“You’re supposed to catch it, not run away from it”, Sharon yelled from downstairs.
I flailed around for a bit but did manage to grab onto the extension cord and hold it wondering what Sharon intended to do with it. Sharon came up the ladder onto the roof and grabbed the end of the extension cord that I was holding.
“What are you going to do with that? There’s no power up here you know”, pointing out what I felt was an obvious fact.
“I’m going to tie the extension cord to the cage and lower the raccoon down to you.”
I was impressed, it was a good idea and lacked any component of me having to touch the raccoon and risk life and limb. I climbed down the ladder, still moving a little slower than normal.
Sharon tied the raccoon trap onto the end of the extension cord and jerked the trap up with the cord testing it to make sure that the knot held. The trap tilted at a crazy angle but the knot held. Unluckily for Sharon, the raccoon did not.
Having his world tilted at a 70 degree angle brought out the raccoons defensive instinct and when they have nothing else to do, they void their bladders. In gentler terms, the raccoon peed itself vigourously. The pee then gushed out the cage in a torrent and cascaded like a sparkling yellow waterfall right onto Sharon’s sandaled foot.
“M********a just peed on my foot”, Sharon yelled out while doing a one footed hop trying to get the pee off her foot while holding the raccoon still at a precarious angle.
“Can I suggest holding the cage straight? Perhaps if it feels that its not about to die, it would be less inclined to pee all over your foot?”
Sharon glowered at me but did straighten the cage and the waterfall of pee slowed down to a fee drops her and there. Sharon carried the cage over to the side, rested it against the ladder then started playing out the extension cord. The cage was sliding down the ladder quite effectively. The raccoon didn’t think so and was running back and forth in the cage then finally stopped and took another mighty pee again thinking it was about to die.
I took a few rapid steps back as really didn’t feel that a raccoon pee shower would improve the quality of my day, dismal as it had been so far. Sharon, her arms clearly fatiguing, suddenly let the extension cord slip a bit and the raccoon feel about 2m and was even less impressed than before. A few seconds later, the raccoon was down on the ground.
I was having no part of touching the cage having been bitten but a variety of mammals (including Sharon) and not enjoying any aspect of the experience. Sharon came over the roof and started down the ladder. About a third of the way down, I heard more unladylike language, something about the raccoon peeing again and the pee was all over the rungs of the ladder.
Sharon made it to the ground, a bit more urine soaked than she was originally. She disappeared towards the garden hose and was vigourously spraying her foot and hand trying to get rid of the majority of raccoon piss. After 5 minutes of spraying, she was satisfied that she was presentable and the garden was much happier for the free watering.
The raccoon had calmed down a bit but was still not real keen on its current situation. It eyed us suspiciously from behind its bandit’s mask, wondering what the next indignity was going to be.
“What are we going to do with it now?” I asked hoping that we could just release the beast and I could return back to bed and try and get a few more minutes of blissful shutdown and hope that the hangover would go away.
“We could keep it. The cats need a new play friend.” Sharon said, still doggedly pushing the raccoon as a pet agenda.
“Excellent idea as long as you clean up the cat parts when it attacks the cats and rips them apart.”
I got another withering stare for being the calm voice of reason.
“Let’s take it to the marsh and release it”, Sharon said.
“I’m not putting that pee machine in my car. Are you going to drive it in your car?”
I could see that Sharon was a bit torn but in the end her aversion to icky stuff won out and that idea was abandoned.
“Let’s just release him here” I said. “He will be happy in the garden and I’m sure that he can find another place to nest along with all his brothers and sisters.”
I gingerly picked up the raccoon and quickly titled the cage so that if he did decide to pee again, the pee would run out the back of the cage and not onto my foot or leg. We walked to the end of the drive way and set the raccoon down.
“Do you know how to open these traps?” I asked
“No idea, what about you?” Sharon replied
“Never done it before, you set it in the first place, just do the reverse and let it go”
While we were arguing the finer points of raccoon release, Tony, our neighbour from across the road came out of his house. Seeing us standing their with a raccoon in a cage must have peaked his interested because he strolled over to us.
“See that you’ve caught yourself a raccoon.” He said, eyeing the raccoon with a slightly evil look in his eye.
“What are you going to do with it?”
“We just finished trapping it from the roof where your contractor left a gap in the boards and were about to release him but we can’t figure out how to open the trap.” I said
“Here?!?” he exclaimed not quite trusting his hearing that we would go to the trouble of catching a raccoon then releasing it in the same place.
“Yes. I just wanted him out of the roof”, I don’t mind having them around.
There was a gargling sound coming from Tony as he tried to vocalize his feelings on the subject but not being able to get the words out and not completely offend Sharon with his colourful language.
“Why don’t you leave the cage with me and I’ll deal with it?” he offered up eyeing the bridge at the end of our property.
“What did you have in mind?” I asked since Sharon was remarkably mute this whole time staring at the raccoon with doe eyes not doubt in some elaborate fantasy of the raccoon and cats frolicking playfully around the house.
“I was thinking I could lower the cage and the raccoon into the river over there for a few minutes, to you know, wash him off.” Tony replied the glow back in his eyes. Clearly Tony had a few issues of his own with raccoons.
I wasn’t about to enable the “washing” of the raccoon and so politely declined his offer.
“How do you get these open?” I asked Tony again
“Like this” as he reached over and flipped something.
The raccoon realizing it was free hissed at Sharon and took off into the garden.
We chatted with Tony for a while longer then went back into the house. I was given the job of rinsing the cage for raccoon piss (of course) while Sharon decided that a shower was in order.
Just then, there was an ear piercing curdle and the sounds of cats mating. Seems like our raccoon had found himself a new friend.