Raccoons Declared Winners

The big mistake came when Sara asked what I would like to do for my birthday. I said that instead of going out to dinner, I’d rather get a couple of steamed lobsters, have a quiet dinner at home, sitting outside and sharing a bottle of wine. But I’m jumping way ahead.

Our two-car garage is so full, with two cars, a golf cart, two bicycles, a refrigerator, file cabinets, work bench, water heater and shelving units, that we had to move the trash cans and recycle bins outside. This is not a good idea when you live in a wildlife preserve. However, everything was going along well until the local raccoon population realized that there was an amateur in the neighborhood.

One night, after putting a particularly pungent bag of garbage in the trash, I found the remains scattered all over the yard the next morning. So, following my friend’s advice, I sprayed the inside of the trash bin with about half a can of Lysol before depositing the next bag of stuff. Did nothing. It seems that raccoons like their food disinfected and deodorized. Going to Plan B, I took a tuna fish can and filled it with bacon grease infused with a jar of cayenne pepper. They licked it clean and came back for more. Who knew these were Mexican raccoons?

One day last week, I was up early working at my desk at 5:30 AM, when I heard a familiar crash outside. I grabbed a rake that was handy and ran outside and caught them red-handed. (They do have hands.) Papa coon was sitting on the wall thumbing his nose at me with one of his safecracker hands, so I poked him with the end of the rake. Surprisingly, it didn’t knock him off the wall. But when he saw the deranged look in my eye, he realized he was dealing with an unhinged homeowner. So he took off into the preserve, never to be seen again, or so I thought.

Fast forward to last night. Even though I hadn’t seen any signs of the raccoons in a week, when I put out the lobster shells, double wrapped in plastic bags, I took extra precautions. I switched trash bins to one with a locking handle, and wedged the glass/metal recycle bin against it, so it couldn’t be knocked over. And just for extra safety, I placed a 45-pound cement block on top of the lid. That little maneuver caused a self-inflicted groin pull. At about 4 AM during my REM sleep, I heard the crash, and knew it was over. I went out and found the cement block sitting in the recycle bin, and the raccoons off on a picnic with the contents of the trashcan. And just to really piss me off, they took one of the empty wine bottles with them.

And so, after a lifetime of competition, holding my own in just about every sport, I got my butt kicked by a couple of mindless raccoons. The trashcan is now back in the garage. But I just know the little bastards will chew the door off to get at the garbage.