My Unexpected Houseguests
Cottage life has never appealed to me, I don’t like insects, animals, exploring nature and having to make an extra effort to stay clean. But many years ago I didn’t even have to leave the city to have my country experience. I’ll never forget the day some small friends decided to make themselves at home in my house.
In the fall of my twentieth year I was still living at home with my father. For several weeks I had been hearing a scratching noise through the walls of our house. Every morning I would wake up and report this information to my Dad. He played down the situation but promised to eventually look into it. Because he did not seem anxious, I decided to put the sounds I was hearing out of my head and my fears to rest. I resolved myself into believing that the noise was coming from outside.
One weekend, my father went out of town. I was so excited to have the whole house to myself and I could not have been happier. Sleeping in, shopping and going out were all on my agenda. My father must have fully expected that there would be some WILD activity going on in his house for the few days he was gone. After all, I was young and loved to have fun with friends. But nothing could have prepared him, or I for the kind of weekend it would turned out to be. Instead of it being the WILD weekend I had anticipated I ended up spending the weekend in the WILD.
It had been a full day of shopping. My friends and I were exhausted. We stumbled through the front door of my house and prepared for some much needed relaxation. Instead what we got was a lot of excitement. As I entered into the house and turned the corner I noticed that our standing end table lamp, which must have weighed about forty pounds, had fallen over. It lay flat on the sofa. I recognized that such a heavy object could not have collapsed on it’s own. Slightly perplexed, I continued to head further into the house towards my kitchen. Only then did I notice the garbage had been scattered all over the floor. Warning lights began to go off in my head and I realized something was terribly wrong. Then I saw it, a carpet of brown fur making elegant brush strokes on our shiny yellow kitchen floor. It took a moment for me to process this. Wow, our cat sure has a lovely tail, was my first thought. Only after a few seconds did it occur to me that I did not and for that matter had never owned a cat. Even worse, this was not a cat at all. No, this was one large rodent. For the first time in my life my front door seemed much further than it really was. “GET OUT!” my lips moved to form words but nothing escaped my mouth. Luckily my legs did remember how to work.
Confused, the girls followed suit. They were wondering whether I had seen a ghost or even more likely a thief. Once we were safely out the door I explained to them that a live raccoon had taken over my previously human habitat. Although we were slightly panicked we couldn’t help but laugh at the absurdity of the situation.
Too nervous to go back into the house, my friend who happened to live across the street from me lent me her phone. ( no cell phones in those days) I called 911 who in turn redirected me to the fire department. They then told me to call animal rescue who promised to send a swat team A.S.A.P. While we impatiently waited I couldn’t help but worry about all the damage this raccoon was doing. If he needed to go to the bathroom, I prayed he would behave like a respectful guest and at least use the toilet.
Two men arrived with a big cage. Unsure if the beast would go quietly, I wished them luck. After about ten minutes they materialized with my fluffy friend. They explained that he would be set free on Mount Royal. Details on how the animal found it’s way into the house were also provided. Overwhelmed by relief I thanked the animal rescue guys. I then watched them place the raccoon in the back of their truck and drive away. We said our goodbyes to the trouble making fur ball.
I phoned my father in New York City and recounted the story. “Dad, we had a “situation” but don’t worry I took care of it.” Either his faith in me was endless or he was just having a grand old time in New York but he did not seem very phased by what was going on at home.
My friend and I made plans for the night. Thrilled to put the events of the day behind me, I got ready in the quiet of my home. Two male friends decided to join us. We had a great time. Our evening involved me regurgitating all the elements of my raccoon story. Still the post trauma from the experience had left me a little insecure when having to reenter the house alone. Since they were both gentlemen they offered their protection services.
I opened the door with my key. The boys went ahead while my girlfriend and I waited in the foyer. “Hey the lamp is lying on the couch.” One of them said, “Oh stop being such a joker.” I responded in total disbelief. The other guy backed him up, “No it’s true, the lamp is lying on the couch.” All that came to mind was that I was living a bad horror movie where things that are dead or gone keep finding their way back to haunt the protagonist. “How can this be?” I said. The guys moved further into the house. When they cautiously made it to the kitchen I heard, “awwww he’s so cute.” There on the counter between the toaster and the blender lay a baby raccoon. One of the guys then plopped down on my living room couch. “Hey Sus you have a really nice house,” was all he said. Evidently he was unalarmed by the severity of the situation. “THERE IS A RACOON in my house!” How can you be so calm? We have serious a problem to deal with.” Still, again, I couldn’t help but laugh a little. I tried animal rescue but it was fruitless. No one was coming to get the raccoon at 2:00A.M. After about twenty minutes, the two guys prodded the little creature out the window with a broom.
Those pesky critters were thieves. Not only had they stolen our garbage but my sense of security at home. In a flash, I grabbed a few items and asked my girlfriend if I could crash at her house. There was no way I was going to risk running into another rodent on my way to the bathroom that night.
It was not easy to return home the next day but I did take some comfort upon my fathers return. If there were any more animals lurking in the shadows, it would be his and his problem alone. But I suppose the raccoons liked me more than him and never showed their faces in our home again.
Raccoons appear to be cute and cuddly yet under their misleading exterior I have heard they can be vicious and rabid. I suppose the whole story could have turned out much worse. Today, I still shudder at the sight of them yet I did notice that a family recently moved into my backyard. My kids seem overjoyed. I am not. Here we go again. For some reason these guys just seem to gravitate towards me. Perhaps I was a raccoon in my past life, I really don’t know.