Looking out onto the patio, I wondered, perplexed, “do cats like rain?” I looked again and realized, “wait… that’s not a cat.” And that was the first time I saw our raccoon, cruising our brick privacy fence in the middle of a downpour. I tried to take her picture, but she looks like a mini-Bigfoot thanks to the poor shutterspeed of my Blackberry camera.
I rationalized her presence in my backyard in the middle of the day thinking, well, it’s raining so she probably just got flushed out of her home. Hopefully she’s not rabid… but then, two evenings later, I was dining al fresco enjoying an ensalate caprese in the lovely spring air. I surveyed the backyard, sighing and chewing contently, and as I glanced upwards, I made eye contact with my new friend, perched atop our chimney, cleaning her paws like she was getting ready for a night on the town. She stopped, turned, and looked right at me. We stared at each other for about a minute or so before I conceded defeat, grabbed my plate and ran inside. I snagged my phone (trusty camera that it is) and came back out to try to get some proof to show my Roomie that we have an issue on our hands. Once again, not the snazziest camera work, but you can get a sense of the 30 pound wild animal scaling our chimney and heading my way.
Oh. My. God. After snapping this photo, I scampered back inside completely stricken with terror. I sent it to Roomie with the message, “We have a BIG problem.” He just laughed at me.
Last year we had a family of chimney thrushes in our, well, chimney. We could hear them fluttering around, squawking, etc. Roomie didn’t cap the chimney because we read some newspaper article about how they’re endangered or some crap like that. Then, this year, they noises emanating from the fireplace were a bit more feral. Now I know why. Rosie (as Roomie’s assistant calls her) has taken up residence in our home. Chimney thrushes may be a little more endangered now. I’m thinking she thought we seemed like nice people, it’s a great neighborhood and a safe place to raise a family so long as you don’t get beaned by an errant golf ball. I start feeling badly for her, and then I remember that she’d claw my eyeballs out given half the chance. I sent Roomie an e-mail the next morning recommending that he call Animal Control about our situation. He replied, “Nah. I’ve got it under control.”
“Oh?” I say. “That sounds ominous. What’s the plan?”
“Well, I’ve decided I’m going to go talk to her (I assume it’s a her) and ask her to leave our chimney.”
“You have got to be kidding me.”
Roomie never struck me as the kind of guy who would try to have a conversation with a wild animal, so I’m assuming he’s joking, but he never does fill me in on the grand plan until the next morning when I came out of the shower and Roomie was standing next to the fireplace with a guy with a flashlight. Apparently the chimney guy has never encountered a raccoon quite like ours, and that she’s a bit bold (she came all the way out of the chimney after he startled her). Is it weird that I’m a little proud of her?
The plan: scare Rosie every day (shaking the flue with great gusto) so she doesn’t think our chimney is a safe place to give birth to her babies and/or reside, and then we’re capping the chimney. Finally. We couldn’t handle a domesticated pet, so I know we’d be hopeless with a raccoon. Rosie will be moving on soon. I’m going to kind of miss her making noises at me when I laugh too loudly in the living room. Thinking about it now, I was probably waking her up!