Category Archives: House

Wretched Raccoon Report

Wretched Raccoon Report

Once upon a Sunday morning not too long ago, Jared got up to let our dogs out. (This is because our dogs have a habit of getting up RIDICULOUSLY early. Stevie is a hungry monkey. He will jump on any exposed body parts, which wakes Bonnie up. Bonnie will then proceed lick you to death if you don’t get up by 7:00 to give them food. It’s been excellent practice for getting ready for the baby, right?).

Anyways, because I wasn’t feeling great, Jared was the one to let them out. The dogs usually bark and mess around when they are outside, so I didn’t think twice about that as I dozed back off. Surprisingly, just a few minutes after getting up, Jared called me -not called for me up the stairs; he called my CELL PHONE- telling me to get outside, immediately.

Naturally, that’s not the sort of call you ignore, so I got up and ran out to the front like he had asked. Jared was standing in the back of his truck with the hose poised to spray the roof of the garage. When I got closer, this is what I saw:

(Raccoons pictured actually look MORE pathetic in person than they appear as shown here. Really. You can see that sad, sad look in their eyes!)

This little fella had been playing in our backyard when our dastardly dogs located him and chased him UP ON TO OUR ROOF of our garage. (I really would have liked to see how he managed that.) Then our raccoon friend started to try and get more safe and secure by apparently pulling at the siding of the house. Entre: Jared. Spotting this ridiculously scared raccoon on our roof, he decided the best way to get it to move was by spraying water at it to chase it off (which, by the way, is a top recommended method for discouraging raccoons to hang out by your house).

Unfortunately, this just motivated the raccoon to move from the back of the house to the front, which is when I came into the picture (and took that pathetic picture).

After convincing Jared to do some research on the best way to handle raccoons, we went back inside (and did research- imagine that!). We quickly learned that if you have a raccoon issue, animal control and wildlife services don’t really care. The best way to get rid of them is if you pay a pest control service or try to remove them yourself with various methods (like spraying water at them).

Naturally, this called for some creative thinking. We devised a master plan. I would stand in the back of the truck in front of the house with the hose poised to spray. Jared would get on the back of the house with a very long piece of house trimming and try and guide it into the tree, where then the raccoon could make a quick escape onto a fence or the ground. The end.

It all went as planned. Except for the part where the raccoon was supposed to go DOWN the tree. Instead, the ridiculous raccoon went UP the tree. Extremely up the tree. Wrong, wrong direction.

(It’s kind of like “Where’s Waldo?” except this time, it was “Where’s the Raccoon?”)

And there Mr. Raccoon stayed there for over TWO DAYS.

Monday morning before work, I went out and tried to check with a flashlight (because of the “Spring Forward” time change, it’s still pretty dark when I leave for work), but couldn’t see him. I was hopeful that he got smart during the night and left, but NO. Jared texted me at work to let me know that Raccoon was on the same section of tree as he had been all Sunday.

By Tuesday evening, I was concerned. We were supposed to have a monster storm, and the raccoon had stayed in the same vincinity for over 48 hours.Was this thing sick? WHY would you sit in a tree for that long without food if you were feeling okay? I called a pest control place who said there wasn’t much they could do except set some traps out at the base of the tree and hope the raccoon would get to the food first (because we have LOTS of awesome critters… squirrels, frogs/toads, big birds, cats, OPOSSUMS -which had been the previously coolest critter we had seen in the yard up to this point, if you wanted to know- that could get stuck instead). He also said that it was unusual for healthy raccoons to behave this way, but not unheard of, and call him in a day or so if we still had The Issue.

Thanks for NOTHING, Mr. Pest Control.

So here we were, with a pathetic raccoon stuck in the tree and a monster storm on the way, and no new ideas. All we had left to do is wait out the storm and hope the raccoon was smart (and healthy) enough to move on. And boy, did we have a storm. Midnight to 6:00AM was all about the thunder, lightening, heavy rain, and hail.

I fully expected to see a dead raccoon in our backyard Wednesday morning. (I’m Captain Positive-O, right?)

Wait for it…

The raccoon was gone. Without a trace. Not in any of our trees, or on the roof, not dead on the ground, not anywhere on our premises. The raccoon finally made his great escape!

Over a week later, I am happy to say we have had no further raccoon incidences. As cute as he was, I think it’s probably best that he stay away. I like to pretend that he found a nice, dry tree to hide in away from any humanoids, and now is happily scavenging around without running into further trouble. (See, I CAN be positive sometimes, JARED!)

But perhaps I speak out of turn. It may be too soon to tell…

Stay tuned for any return reports on Wretched Raccoon sitings!

Why I live in Texas…

Why I live in Texas…

…and avoid Utah winters like the plague.

It is February, but behold:

My snapdragons are in FULL BLOOM. It’s February. And there are flowers blossoming. And they happen to be snapdragons, which are some of my most favorite flowers (but we can get into that some other time).

So back to the point of flowers blossoming in February. We have been experiencing weather in the 60s and 70s, which is a little warm for the area during February. (Sorry, I keep on having to emphasize the word February because how fantastic it is that things are so springlike in February.) I think all the plants are confused about this whole concept of spring and winter, and honestly, that’s okay with me.

It’s been a rough one…

It’s been a rough one…

It’s been a pretty rough week. Most of the reasons are probably not completely appropriate to discuss on a blog, so I’ll keep it pretty simple with the public appropriate downers:

1) Teaching twice as many kids in half the time is not conducive to a happy, positive learning environment. Especially when kids aren’t turning things in. Thanks for those budget cuts, Rick Perry. The future of America looks forward to how you can destroy more than just Texas school children’s education.

2) Work drama. I can’t say much more than I got pushed to the wayside for something that I was very qualified for and that could have potentially been a great add to my resume to be more desirable for being a high school teacher. Awesome.

3) The new online gradebook thing that we have to use for grades stinks, and causes lots of issues with parents either completely not being able to figure out what their kids grades are, or freaking out because what they can see isn’t always happy, which increases my email/contact role. And when is it NOT fun to speak with an angry or confused parent?

4) We cut down our VERY dead maple tree. It took a few nights (as I refused to operate a chainsaw without husband supervision, and also, he wanted to play with his new toy) and was rather dirty. As the maple tree was my favorite tree until this summer, that was very sad. Expect an “Ode to the Maple” sometime soon.

5) I found out that my husband’s family’s beagle, Brodey, needed to be put down today. And even though I don’t think he really liked me ever that much (or anyone other than David and Sarah), it makes me really sad because I remember how much it hurt a few years ago when I found out that our family dog, Dixie, had to be put down. And that’s always a heartbreaking feeling. I kind of told Jared to not tell me too much about it because it would reflect badly on me to cry in front of the kids at work.


However, there were a few things that did go well this week, so I will end with those:

1) Jared sent me cookies from Tiff’s Treats on Tuesday because I had a really rough morning. And they delivered it to me in front of my best kiddos, who thought it was the sweetest thing ever. And wherein several kids also offered me $5 a piece if I gave them a cookie, which I sadly turned down because I probably would be in trouble if somebody found out about it. But if I wasn’t morally bound, I could’ve been rich!

2) I got another book donation from a secret sponsor for my class. The Candy Shop War was written by Brandon Mull, same author of the amazing Fablehaven series. And since I haven’t read it yet, I feel somewhat obligated to read it before putting on the bookshelves for the kids at school. Once again, moral obligation, but this time totally in my favor! 😉 So to my secret donator: Again, both I and my students thank you!

3) The dogs are enjoying the large amount of sticks that have come from the death of the maple tree. Each day they try to bring several into the house, but I usually catch it before they start reducing them to slivers on the couch.

They are so cute, no?

3) Jared is going to surprise me with something awesome this weekend. Which I am totally looking forward to. And need, desperately, after this rather painful week.


Happy to have a home

Happy to have a home

When so many in Central Texas are now going without theirs. Reminds me to be grateful for so many small things.

Today’s highlights:

1) I got a four day weekend instead of a three day. I would rather it NOT have been because my school’s community had fires and turned the neighboring high school into a evacuation shelter, but trying to be positive, right?

2) Despite having a fire in nearly every direction of my house for the past two days, our home and immediate community has remained safe. It all got a little close to home about 7:30 tonight.

The view from our cul-de-sac at 7:30

Apparently an apartment complex just a mile away from caught fire. Last check was 3 of the buildings were on fire…. I can still hear the sirens 2 hours later and smell that horrible, burned smell in the air….

The happiest thought of all would be to have rain here ASAP!

22 bags of leaves in the yard…

22 bags of leaves in the yard…

So, I felt the urge to clean up the backyard today. Maybe because we’ve had a three day weekend (that might end up turning into a four day weekend due to the fires). Or because today is the first day in a long time that’s been less than 100 degrees (92 is the new 72, y’all!). Or even because I’ve been pretty lazy this weekend and wanted to do SOMETHING.

Whatever the reason, the backyard really needed some cleaning.

Looking at the following picture, you might think that it’s fall time in a normal place.

Mid/Before Shot

But no. It’s all thanks to this miserable summer we’ve had. The trees all over the place are dying.

Our maple is completely gone- it was never meant to withstand such harsh conditions.

The maple is so dead that it’s starting to split. We need to chop it down soon before it gets dangerous.

And now our Arizona Ash tree is tempted to give up, too. That combined with the leaves from the live oaks in March that we never got around to cleaning up made our yard one messy place.

Some people claim that it might rain again soon. At this point, I hold the belief that rain is a mythical creature, like dragons, unicorns, phoenixes, and the magical wizarding world of Harry Potter. But just in case it actually does rain again, it probably would be good to clean up this potential fire hazard before it gets all moldy and heavy and wet.

So we got to work.

Have I ever said how much I love this guy?

So, after 4 hours of raking, leaf blowing, and bagging, we ended up with the grand total TWENTY TWO bags. 22. Very full, big, black bags of leaves.

This, by the way, isn’t including the area directly next to the huge live oaks, which we have lovingly dibbed “The Forest”.


After all this work was done, everything was put away, and we had showered to rinse out all the nasty dirt and grime, Jared asked me, “So, how do you think the backyard looks?”

My honest response? “Uhm… Not really great. But I feel better about it.”

The “After” shot

He just had to laugh. I’m sorry, but can you blame me for that response? Between the lack of rain, the extreme heat, and being buried underneath the leaves, we really don’t have much back there anymore except dirt.

But as I said, I still feel pretty good about it. I came, I almost conquered.

Until I wake up tomorrow morning lacking the ability to move my arms because they hurt so badly from all that raking.