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I think we all know how I feel about animals. If you don’t, I’ll fill you in. I freakin’ love them. Like more than I love most people. I’ve always been a sucker for an animal. There. Now let’s move on to the point of this post.

We’re going to play a little game. It’s called “Dream or Real Life.” I’m going to tell you something and you tell me if you think it’s a “Dream” or “Real Life.”

Here we go.

Last night while the world around me slept, I stood on my front lawn, barefoot in my PJ’s, yelling obscenities and throwing rocks at a cocky, smug-ass raccoon.

Dream or Real Life?

If you answered, Real Life, you are correct! At approximately 1:34 AM, I was ripping rocks from our retaining wall and throwing them at an asshat raccoon who was too busy feasting on strawberry stems and brie rind to even bother flipping me off.

I used to love raccoons. One of my favorite stuffed animals growing up was a raccoon– it wasn’t even mine. It belonged to the girl down the street. I dressed up as a raccoon for Halloween one year when my department at work was doing a Gamma World theme. (Later than afternoon in kickboxing class, I took a toe to the face so hard it completely wiped off my raccoon nose.) I read Quinn A Bedtime Kiss for Chester Raccoon 11,384 times. But our love affair is dying. I’ve had it with these little bastards. They knock our garbage cans over almost every night and leave a trail of my filth up and down the block. Do you know how it feels to see your eye make up remover pad in the lavender bush three houses down? Does ol’ Dorothy across the street really need to know I binge eat Weight Watchers Caramel Mini Bars while watching back episodes of Scandal on Netflix? Okay, so she probably knows that because our living room windows face each other, but still. These raccoons are like paparazzi! Next thing I know I’ll be accused of joining the Scientologists or dating Taylor Swift.

Apparently these animals are legendary. Before we moved to West Seattle I heard all about the bullish raccoons.

“Oh no,” frightened neighbors would begin. “West Seattle raccoons are not like other neighborhood’s raccoons. Ours are the size of Volkswagens! They can operate heavy machinery! They steal cats from their owner’s bedrooms and leave nothing but the face behind!” (That face-thing is actually kind of true. I’ll try to find the news article. Wait, no I won’t. It’s horrible and disgusting.)

I don’t know why raccoons getting into the trash bothers me so much. I mean, they have to eat too, right? But it drives me absolutely batty. Nothing gets my sleeping body out of bed and on the front lawn in the middle of the night. My newborn baby bellowing in the bassinet next to me didn’t (always) wake me. But a raccoon ripping through Glad ForceFlex unique diamond texture plastic propels me from my Heavenly Bed like one of Quinn’s Matchbox cars from the Launcher Stunt Pack. (Super cool, by the way.)

And these raccoons? They don’t care. They’re not afraid of a human being in PJs chucking ROCKS at them. A human FREAKIN’ being! It’s just a minor inconvenience. When the first rock hit, it startled him. He actually fell off the garbage can, which gave me a momentary pang of guilt thinking, Shit! I didn’t actually want to hurt him!

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Shrapnel on the Driveway. It’s a dangerous world out there, kids.

Oh don’t worry. He sprang back into place before I could gather my second rock and went right back to feasting. He barely looked up even though rocks were hurling by his head in rapid succession and a crazy old lady (not ol’ Dorothy) was yelling obscenities and deliberately setting off her car alarm. (Yeah, THAT brilliant idea fazed him even less than my rocks. My neighbors on the other hand…) This guy was alone, people! Can you imagine how this would have went down if he was with his posse?

I get it. Raccoons are assholes. They’re urbanized so humans are no longer a threat to them. But I can’t be a raccoon vigilante. I am someone’s mother. I need to consider the consequences and how they will affect my son. Quinn can’t be known as the kid who’s mother was carried away by a gang of raccoons with only her face left in the driveway.

My arsenal. And yeah, I realize this is a really weird picture.
My arsenal. Also what I picture the inside of a raccoon’s stomach to look like.

So I ask you, good people of the internet. What can I do to keep these infuriating, but still sort of cute, (dammit masked eyes and tiny hands! I can’t quit you!) creatures out of my trash? Is there a spray? A booby trap? A tricked out garbage can lid lock? I need a good night sleep! Also a referral for someone to fix my retaining wall.

Shelly Mazzanoble

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