A 10 pound raccoon
Versus a middle-aged man.
Well this should be fun.
Raccoons used to be cute creatures to me. Fuzzy, with that little lone ranger mask that makes them seem even more like a cuddly toy.  I remember my friend Stephanie had a favorite stuffed toy – Randy Raccoon.  They shared a bed. He was cute too.

There are no longer cute raccoons in my life. There is only the asshole raccoon that has been living inside our porch roof rafters. We’ve been hearing him off and on for a while. Thought perhaps he was a rat. We’d get geared up to do something about it and then he’d go all quiet on us… so we talked ourselves into believing it was our imagination or noisy pipes.

Then he came back. And started making a lot more noise. He was building a loft, moving in furniture, making himself a right cozy little nest. Something had to be done.

You might ask how we was getting in. Well, apparently he can either levitate or, like Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible, he has unimaginable talent for hanging upside down by his fingertips and then pulling himself into a small opening in our soffit (the underside of the roof overhang). In any event, there was a clear place he was getting in, we just didn’t really think that was how he was doing it. Oh well, score one for the raccoon.

So, yesterday, my beloved closed up that hole. He hoped like hell that the raccoon was not inside when he did this. Does hope actually work for anyone? Because it sure did not work for us.  My sweet was wrong (normally I would relish seeing that in writing; not so much today). He trapped the critter in.

And so, last night, we heard him scampering all over. The way our house is made, he had a lovely walking path from the porch, directly over my desk in our home office toward another porch. And by the sounds of his walk, he was pissed. Frank went to bed, but I was up working late and I swore, based on the noises he was making, the coon had somehow acquired power tools and a hammer.  When I came to bed, Frank assured me that the varmint wasn’t going anywhere, that it wouldn’t chew through our concrete and lath ceiling and come visit us durng the night. And most importantly, he promised he would get him out of there the next day.

Today is the next day. And Coon-zilla struck overnight. That little nuisance did indeed get out. He chewed his way out. But not down, into the house as I feared, but up, through the freaking roof. Yes, I said he chewed through the roof.  He chewed through plywood and shingles to free himself. We now have a coon sized hole in the roof over the porch.

Apparently I was right about the power tools.

The only good news in all this? The porch had a leak we couldn’t isolate, but the new skylight in the roof clearly points out the soft spot. So we can now add this roof repair to the top of the “many things we have to spend money on because this is an 86 year old home” list. Oh joy.

As I head to bed tonight, I rest happily knowing the hole has a temporary patch on it (only Arnold SchwarzenCoon could get back in), the ceiling has been quiet, and the “have-a-heart” trap by the pond is armed with giant marshmallows. Score one for the humans.

In Defense of Poodles

Rip-snortin’ hound dog
flies ass over tea kettle
after the red ball.


There are standard poodles (click the link to see a magnificent one).  And then there is my standard poodle, Lily.

The linked poodle happens to be the father of my poodle.  He wasn’t near as famous when my poodle was spawned, thankfully, but as beautiful a specimen as he is, I’m afraid he does an injustice to the poodle in general.  Many people judge the breed by his looks and think that’s all they are about. What a shame.

My poodle is a hound dog with curls. She runs in giant arcs, circling the the backyard, crazed, after a bath. She chases Frisbees, tennis balls and deer.  She is home groomed and luckily doesn’t know where the mirror is. She sometimes craps in the house.

In other words, she is a normal dog.  Just last night, she treed a raccoon in our back yard. I am not kidding. Bolted from the backdoor, chased the varmint up a tree and had her paws on the trunk barking before my husband got out there.

Now, she does prance when she walks, I’ll admit it.  People comment on that: “My, that dog sure walks pretty” is what they say. But it’s genetic.  Just like my husband can’t help watching a good-looking woman walk by or an airplane fly over, Lily can’t help how she walks.

Some more myths to bust…

Poodle perception Poodle reality
They are prissy dogs. She would chew off your left hand for a piece of bacon.
They are aloof. She climbs on top of me and kids when we are stacked on the couch watching a movie… just one of the family.
They are dumb from years of breeding. I grew up with German Shepherds, an exceedingly smart breed. She is smarter. Some toy poodles, mind you, who have been bred down from the standard, are as dumb as a box of rocks with the smart rocks taken out. But not the standard.
They are high strung. Imagine this: you are 10 weeks old and you land yourself in a home with a 4-year-old boy. This boy likes you, a lot. He lies on you, he pulls your ears, thinks grabbing large handfuls of your fur and yanking is funny. Plus, the adults in the family fancy themselves more capable than the local groomer, so once a month for about 4 hours, you stand on a slippery table while they practice on you with scissors and clippers. No reaction. This is a chilled dog.

There is only one weird thing I’ve noticed about her… she won’t kiss your face. Since she regularly eats deer poop and her own vomit (she doesn’t do car rides well), I’m seriously ok with this, but I’ve never met a dog like this before. She will gladly lick your feet, even between the toes, for hours on end if given the chance (don’t do it, man, it’s creepy), but not your face. I’m not sure why…

So if you are in the market for a dog, consider the standard poodle.  I know there are a lot of xxx-oodles being bred nowadays. Labra-doodles, Golden-oodles. But to me, that’s like pouring ketchup over a top-notch tenderloin.  Don’t take a substitute – go for the original.

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