A Zany Life · Home Improvement · Housekeeping · Writers Write

Taylor Swift: Raccoon Repellant, Part 2

fireplace1 According to experts, though I’m not sure what makes anyone an expert on this subject, raccoons are repelled by bright light. Check. I can rig a light in the fireplace.

They also hate strong odors. The first site suggested rags soaked in dog urine. I looked at Jasmine curled into a ball of fluff on our sofa. She is completely housebroken. Asking her to urinate on demand would be an insult to her dignity. I asked Cherry what she thought.

“Gross, Mom. That’s disgusting.” She retreated to her bedroom.

The next site suggested a bowl of ammonia in the base of the fireplace. Bacon and I made a trip to the supermarket. We bought the last bottle of lemon scented store brand ammonia.

Which brought me to Taylor Swift. All of the websites said to put a radio in the fireplace and turn it up loud. One suggested tuning the station to talk radio. I’m a Democrat living in Texas with my multiracial family. Talk radio sends me into a homicidal rage. If I had to listen to talk radio for any length of time, next season’s Criminal Minds would feature this ripped from the headlines story:

Middle Class Swim Mom Morphs Into Serial Killer. The Trigger: Rush Limbaugh.

I don’t want to get rid of the raccoon THAT badly. Besides, the only radio we own is in the minivan. Parking the Grand Caravan in the family room isn’t an option.

I improvised with Coco’s iPod.

“But mom, what if the raccoon comes down the chimney and takes my iPod?”

“That’s not going to happen. He’s scared of loud noises.”

“What’s wrong with him? Raccoons don’t like pop music?”

Three hours later, we’d listened to Taylor Swift’s entire repertoire. “Why you gotta be so mean on your white horse on the best day ever!” Olympic speed skating played in the background.

Cherry peeked out of her room. “Mom, what is that?”


“In that blue bowl. The yellow stuff?” Her lips curled and nose scrunched into a horizontal line. “Oh no, you didn’t?”

“Didn’t what?”

“Make Jasmine pee in a cup?” She ran back into her room before I could explain lemon scented ammonia.

Bacon was still stung over the price tag of this home repair.

“You know, that lamp looks good set up in the fireplace. Maybe we could skip the gas log and—”

I fetched my trusty smartphone and printed the photo of a gas log fired up in the showroom hearth. I taped the print on the glass door in front of the lamp.

Cherry walked through the room on her sixteenth trip to the refrigerator.

“OMG. A photo of fire? That’s geekier than those people who livestream a fireplace on their televisions.” She doubles over in laughter at her ridiculous parents.

The iPod’s battery died five hours later. We kept the light and the dog pee ammonia going all night. I don’t know whether or not the raccoon hearts Taylor Swift. It’s icy again and too dangerous to get up on the roof, but I’m in this to the end. This morning I hooked up my iPod. Vintage Paul Simon and Creedence Clearwater Revival.fireplace2

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