It wasn’t quite light this morning when I woke up to a strange clinking sound coming from the kitchen. In my half-awake state, I assumed Jack was already up and had let the cats in. Our cats are nocturnal animals who often spend their nights outside hunting mice. But what was the clinking sound? I stretched to onto Jack’s side of the now half-empty bed and bumped into Jack–not up.
The fog began to lift. Obviously, he’d been up in the night and let the cats in. And something appealing had been left on the counter. Damned cats.
I stumbled into the kitchen prepared to do battle.
The raccoon daintily licked the last of the butter off its front paw and looked at me over the up-ended butter dish.
“Ah. Good morning. Nice place you’ve got here. I was looking for a bagel to go with this butter. I don’t really care for oatmeal.”
Obviously. A canister was tipped over on the counter and a small mountain of oatmeal had overflowed onto the floor.
“How the hell did you get in here?” I asked.
He didn’t need to answer. Just sauntered across the sink and made an exit through the open window above the counter—where he’d found the screen to be only a minor inconvenience—in the process knocking an oil lamp onto the floor where the chimney shattered into a glittering mass of shards.
I’m really sorry I didn’t have my camera in hand. But I’m sure you get the picture.
By now, Jack had joined me. So had the cats, who appeared to take this invasion of their space in stride. By the time we crawled back into bed after cleaning up the mess, it was 6:00. Too early to be up, too late to go back to sleep. And the cats decided this was a good time to walk around on our heads.
“Guess we’ll have to get out the live trap again,” said Jack over coffee.
A few years ago we had a serious problem with raccoons. They knocked over the bird feeders, pooped on the deck, dug in the garden. We live-trapped them and drove them to an uninhabited spot several miles from home. Then we learned that they will return unless they’re taken fifteen milesaway. Really? In that case, we may have had only one raccoon that we recycled every week or so. Indeed, Jack was sure he heard it say, as he loaded the cage into the car for the umpteenth time, “This is the part I hate.”
We’ll set the trap again, I suppose. Bait it with butter? But we’ll also close the kitchen windows at night for the rest of the summer.