Despite the fact that I have spent the past decade living a champagne and croissant fueled life in the heart of a major city, I seem to have all too regular run-ins with feral vermin, particularly those of the raccoon persuasion.
And this year is no exception.
A few months ago, Country Boy and his hapless but hilarious assistant (me) finally finished revamping our tiny backyard. We managed to squeeze in a deck, an in-ground hot tub, and a covered porch that is the home to a gorgeous white outdoor couch.
But, Shangri-La ain’t cheap, which means I have to drag my ass to work every day to pay for my little slice of paradise.
I came home from work earlier this week and wandered outside to get my zen on. Sliding into that hot tub would make every argumentative telephone call and curt email melt away.
But, I immediately felt that something was amiss.
And then I saw it.
There were muddy prints all around the hot tub. Around MY hot tub.
I knew those paw prints.
I had seen them before.
They come with beady little eyes, a mask, and paws.
How in the hell was there a raccoon in my hot tub?
I live smack in the middle of a city, a tropical city no less. While I do have a one-story house, it’s an urban house. On every side of my house, there is another house within spitting distance. There are high-rise buildings within walking distance. There is no nearby forest filled with wildlife. Hell, this place is barely hospitable to pigeons.
Yet, there were those unmistakable paw prints.
This raccoon had clearly packed a suitcase, took her last $200 and her record collection, and hopped a bus to make her way in the big city.
But, then I turned around.
It was immediately apparent that I was not dealing with some sweet, misguided raccoon who was fresh off the bus from Kansas.
I was dealing with an entirely different sort of beast.
There were also paw prints all over my new white couch, eventually ending in a circle in the corner where the raccoon had decided to stretch out and assume her lounging position.
You know what else was on my pristine, white couch?
A half-eaten avocado.
Not only had this raccoon taken a dip in my hot tub and sprawled out on my couch, she had also managed to procure some local, organic produce for her afternoon snack. Apparently, everyone knows that nothing pairs better with a day of leisure than some guacamole.
And my little ‘buddy” did all of this while I was trapped in an office working hard to finance the entire operation.
I was clearly dealing with a professional.
How did this happen to me?! How did I become both the sugar mama and the maid to a freeloading vermin of leisure?
I sat down on my violated couch to ponder how my life had taken such a turn. After a few moments, a shocked gasp escaped my mouth.
I had a realization.
You know what a hot-tub lounging, guacamole-eating urban raccoon probably has? An iPhone.
And, you know what an iPhone has? The Internet.
And, you know what the Internet has? My blog post from last Christmas about how I risked family scorn and exile, because I wasn’t willing to eat raccoon.
Kato the Raccoon apparently misinterpreted that as an open invitation to take up residence in my pool house.
I always knew the Internet would ruin my life, but I just never expected its weapon of choice to be a feral woodland creature with a penchant for Mexican food.
January 30, 2014 at 4:04 PM
OMG this has to be the funniest thing that I have read in a long time!!!! Thank you so much for the laugh (my girls think I am crazy laughing out loud by myself)
January 30, 2014 at 4:48 PM
Thanks! I’m really starting to wonder just what I did in a past life to warrant a lifelong curse of the raccoon…
January 30, 2014 at 4:14 PM
This is hilarious! Ok, are these photos of the actual raccoon?? Because that’s not just any run-of-the-mill raccoon–that one is doing JAZZ HANDS! Thanks for the belly laughs!
January 30, 2014 at 4:53 PM
Sadly, Kato Raccoon has only appeared while I’m at work. But, due to a lifetime of being tortured by raccoons, I had plenty of stock footage of them at work.
I have no doubt that Kato Raccoon knows her way around both a jazz hand and a chasse. She is obviously a refined and expert freeloader.
January 30, 2014 at 4:29 PM
Wow. I live in the country and have had mice and snakes and birds attack my house, but NEVER a raccoon!! You are just too damn lucky. Although, you were kind of asking for it with a WHITE couch outside. Otherwise, that is a STUNNING oasis that you have there. Marble deck? In ground jacuzzi? You are living the life, mama. Now, you just need to get rid of that pesky vermin.
January 30, 2014 at 5:03 PM
I finally grow up and get something nice and what does the universe do? Send me a raccoon to remind of my place in the world.
Thanks for the compliments on the backyard! It has been a VERY long labor of love that has cost me nearly every weekend of the past two years of my life and has taught me all sorts of new skills such as how to use a jack hammer, how to most effectively move a large pile of rocks from one side of my backyard to the other and then back to the first side because actually on second thought it shouldn’t have been moved, how to build an irrigation system, and how to run electrical wiring. All the credit, though, has to go to Country Boy since this was his vision, he did the bulk of the manual labor, and he figured out how to execute it on our pennies-and-ramen budget.
January 30, 2014 at 4:48 PM
Ha! That’s hilarious PinotNinja! She has your number – laid back and relaxin’ on your couch, having snack while you toil to support her. Raccoons up here in Ontario (Canada) are a part of the urban landscape. You can rent humane traps that catch them live – and then you can relocate them to the neighborhood where your arch enemy resides (or an ex-boyfriend or whatever, be imaginative). Ha! Or even to the in-laws: she could be released for hunting opportunities or even presented as a fresh meal – a generous gesture that I’m sure would endear you to Country Boy’s family “Look dear! Pearls brought our supper – how thoughtful!”
If you ever need to attract a raccoon or keep one busy, I have inadvertently stumbled on a sure fire way to draw and engage a whole raccoon family simultaneously. Our youngsters begged for a trampoline so we installed one in our backyard and it was a huge neighborhood hit. (No, the raccoons are not drawn to trampolines – silly!) One hot evening, when all little ones had retired to their beds, my wife and I were reading in the living room when we heard an odd slurping/burping sound. The living room had a set of sliding doors (covered by verticals at night) that lead onto the patio, beyond which lay the trampoline. The sliders were open for air, the screens closed and the verticals closed. I turned on the yard lights and opened the verticals and there sitting on the patio were two huge adult raccoons and four babies. The kids had forgotten an open tub half full of bulk jujubes on the patio and the whole raccoon family was gathered around the tub in various stages of consuming the jujubes. The really funny part was, once they bit into the candies, their jaws got stuck and they raised their heads in the air while they tried to chomp the treats. I tried to shoo them away but they just turned their beady little eyes on me while they continued to slurp. No matter what I did, I couldn’t get them to leave the jujube tub. Eventually, I gave up and closed the sliders and left them to their find. In the morning, the tub was empty.
January 30, 2014 at 5:06 PM
“Pearls brought our supper!” is perfect! If I can just catch Kato in one of those traps, slap some postage to Indiana on there, and have it sent to Country Boy’s Grandma, then I’ll finally have my in with his family. They’ll have to love me then! Right?
I will obviously fill the trap with irresistible jujubes. It will draw Kato in and keep her quietly occupied throughout her long journey.
January 30, 2014 at 5:11 PM
Not only will the in-laws love you, but every raccoon with an iPad that reads this will run from your neighborhood for fear of ending up on the supper table in Indiana!
January 30, 2014 at 4:57 PM
Hey, that raccoon knows a good thing when he sees it. I can’t say I blame him. If I stumbled into your little paradise, I’d be lounging about in it as well. The next thing you know, you’ll be finding little raccoon hairs in your hot tub filter…
January 30, 2014 at 5:18 PM
I’m afraid to look in the filter, because I am sure she was in there. This is a raccoon who is clearly accustomed to luxury, so she must have gone for a soak to work out all her sore muscles from procuring and eating the avocado.
The chances that I find a half-drank mini-margarita out on my deck when I go home tonight are high.
January 30, 2014 at 5:25 PM
And probably a couple cucumber slices to tame her puffy eyes.
January 30, 2014 at 4:59 PM
Hate to laugh at your predicament, but this is hilarious. We have Katos and opossums and coyotes here at our new house. I dispatched a groundhog once In a most unpleasant way. Gonna have to step my game up for these. If I come across a raccoon recipe I’ll send ur way.
Really jealous of ur backyard (minus Kato). Would live to do the same but can probably only use 3 mos out of the year here.
January 30, 2014 at 5:23 PM
Laugh away, because otherwise I’ll just be crying alone amidst the wreckage of paw prints and guacamole debris.
How does one dispatch of a groundhog? If it involves more than yelling “SHOO! NOW! GO!” at the top of your lungs while waving your arms like a coked-up jazzercise instructor, then it is way beyond my abilities.
I can’t recommend the backyard project enough — even if its just for summer use. And, with a fire pit (you can get a simple one at home depot for under $50), you can extend the use of the outdoor lounge area by several months. Plus, s’mores. We had a fire last weekend when it was in the 50s and it was awesome.
January 30, 2014 at 5:32 PM
Yeah, it’s going to happen but now we are buried in a basement project.
As for the groundhog it was gruesome. Clean (no blood) but gruesome. Don’t think I can post on it because I KNOW I’m going to get backlash.
January 30, 2014 at 5:21 PM
At least this jerk has good taste.
I live right by the city, yet my lawn is a zoo of giant fruit bats, snakes and possums. That’s what you get when you move to Oz. At least they’re not defiling my patio furniture…yet.
January 31, 2014 at 10:38 AM
Well, I suppose she does have one redeeming quality…
Also, giant fruit bats?! That is a whole new level of urban vermin that is definitely going to give me nightmares.
January 31, 2014 at 8:22 PM
February 1, 2014 at 12:06 AM
Awwww! Love the Wki picture of all the rescued little babies peeking out of their blankets. So cute! Completely new concepts for me: “Bat caregivers” (could that be shortened to “Batman or Batwoman”?) and “Bat hospital”.
January 30, 2014 at 5:45 PM
HILARIOUS!!! but they are soooo cute!
January 31, 2014 at 10:41 AM
Much like Gremlins, Kato Raccoon is cute until she gets wet, eats all of your food, and starts trashing the joint.
January 30, 2014 at 5:49 PM
What a great and crazy story. Love it!
January 31, 2014 at 10:41 AM
Thanks so much!
January 30, 2014 at 6:44 PM
Nice oasis! Beautiful terrace & hot tub. I may have to volunteer to be your wildlife pest control hero since I recently dealt with a mole in my bedroom and have received a degree in pest management.
I will personally deliver my homemade coyote urine pellets, guaranteed to repeal Kato. All in exchange for the use of your inviting state of the art hot tub (bathing suit optional) and permission to lounge on your white couch eating guacamole with a lot of cilantro.
Contact me to schedule your appointment. 🙂
February 5, 2014 at 2:40 PM
Thanks! If you leave your homemade dangerous wild dog pee pills at home, then you are totally welcome to come chill at Kato’s pad. She accepts visitors on Mondays and Wednesdays, but only if they bring margaritas.
January 30, 2014 at 7:04 PM
Raccoons will find water. I have many raccoon stories but none that top this. Well a friend of mine found a raccoon in her house (came through the cat door) and was sitting in the kitchen with the cat food bowl on its lap eating it like popcorn.
Aside from that, I want that hot tub and I’m morally opposed to hot tubs.
February 5, 2014 at 2:43 PM
A raccoon INSIDE of the house is an entirely different thing. At that point, I would just tell her where she can refill her snack bowl, through the keys at her, and run. I know when I’ve been bested, and, when it comes to animals, its pretty much immediately.
Public hot tubs should be morally opposed — they are gross disease cesspools — but private hot tubs are simply delightful. I was very skeptical when Country Boy insisted on building one, but dude knew what he was talking about.
January 30, 2014 at 11:10 PM
Your Kato raccoon must be first cousins to my rocky raccoon who thinks I am her own personal chef.
February 5, 2014 at 2:44 PM
Those two are definitely related. And that Rocky is a smart one, because eating at your place is like going to a four-star restaurant with the best view in town!
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January 31, 2014 at 10:04 AM
Um, so you know how my main home is in Toronto, 4th largest city in North America, right? Well, help me reconcile how I find snakes in my pool filter. Racooons? Those bastards walk by my French Doors while I’m working on the laptop and give me the finger as they lounge on my outdoor furniture too. One year, when the kids were young, we decorated the front porch for Halloween, including a large bale of hay. We would drive up at night and see a fox sleeping on the hay. WTF am I supposed to do with that? I had to call the house, from my car, and ask my husband to deal with the situation before I would even open my door.
In other words PNinj, I totally feel for you.
February 5, 2014 at 2:47 PM
Hahaha! If I saw a fox on my front porch, I would turn around and immediately proceed to the nearest luxury hotel. I don’t go visit their home in the forest, how about they don’t visit my home in the city? Or at least, little furry friends, clean up after yourselves.
January 31, 2014 at 10:57 AM
Oh, Masked Bandit. Go back from whenst you came. If necessary, I’m willing to lead some kind of exorcism, which I can only assume would include raccoon heads on sticks and a group rendition of Rocky the Raccoon. In the meantime, I guess you should be happy she’s vegan?
February 5, 2014 at 2:48 PM
I want all of those things to happen RIGHT NOW. Although they would have to be stuffed raccoon heads because, you know, rabies, but I feel like we could find those with a quick trip to Toys ‘R Us. And I know who is going to lead the sing-along…
January 31, 2014 at 3:00 PM
Wild animals when you don’t expect them are the worst! I understand we’re in their space, yada yada yada, but still. Way down the street or in a vague “over there” space is totally fine, in your deck/hottub space (which is gorgeous btw), completely creepy and not okay. On the bright side, if there is a brights side, maybe you have an avocado tree you didn’t know existed!
February 5, 2014 at 2:51 PM
This would be one thing if I lived out in the country — I get that then I would be behind enemy lines — but Kato was out and about in the city! There are no trees, there are no other animals, and this is clearly not her natural or desired habitat.
As for the avocado tree, it is total insult to injury. I know where she got the avocado. My absentee neighbors have a giant avocado tree that they never harvest — they just let the delicious avocados fall to the ground and rot — but I can’t get to the tree because its on the other side of a very big fence. Kato, however, is not bounded by the laws of trespassing, and just hopped right over and scored one for herself.
If she started getting some avocados for me, I might reconsider my stance on her use of my backyard. We might be able to work something out then…
February 5, 2014 at 7:50 PM
I can’t believe your neighbors don’t eat their avocados!! They must be crazy.
Since fence-scaling like Kato is probably out of the question, maybe a very long-handled shovel, or fork would help. Unless you can master the art of avocado-lassoing. If they’re wild avocados, you could make free range guacamole…
February 1, 2014 at 1:35 PM
I have to admit, I’m kind of rooting for the raccoon. It sounds like he’s found an excellent set up. And I have no idea how these woodland creatures make it to the big city– my boyfriend swears he saw a fox run across the street in front of my house. A FOX. I have never seen one in my life, I feel like they’re on a par with unicorns… Though I might feel differently if I found it reclined on my patio eating macadamia nuts or something.
February 5, 2014 at 2:53 PM
If the fox sang and danced, then I could get on board with that. I feel like a fox has more potential for entertainment, whereas, so far, Kato has done nothing but make a giant mess and gave me the side eye when I try to shoo her away. She’s acting like I’m the one inconveniencing her!
February 2, 2014 at 9:53 AM
So your backyard looks gorgeous, but who knew that it was also a real-life mini-Pawnee?
February 5, 2014 at 3:02 PM
Hahaha! That is a perfect reference. I can’t believe I forgot about the Pawnee raccoon infestation — there were so many missed jokes!
But, if this makes me closer to Amy Poehler, then I’ll take it.
February 9, 2014 at 12:37 AM
Oh girl you crack me UP. This raccoon had clearly packed a suitcase, took her last $200 and her record collection, and hopped a bus to make her way in the big city – bahahaha. So did you bring out some tortilla chips and party with her? Please tell me she makes a decent margarita.
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