The Joys of Owning a Home (An Open Letter to an Uninvited Guest)

Dear Raccoon,

You are a far cry from the cute, funny creatures that provided much of the comedy in the John Candy/Dan Aykroyd hit The Great Outdoors. I have never known your kind to be such a menace until you invaded my home. One summer night two years ago, one of you (it may have even been YOU) crashed through a drop ceiling tile in the backroom of my house, only to be chased out by one of my hapless roommates who thought someone was breaking into the house. All was quiet after that night for quite a long time, so I believed your trespass to be an isolated incident, and went on with my life. Upon your recent return, if it is indeed you, I have been forced to learn much about you. I learned about how equally intelligent and destructive you are. I learned how your incredibly dexterous paws enable you to climb up just about anything — a fact to which I was not privy until after I spent $600 removing two trees that I was certain were giving you direct access to my roof. I learned about how chock full of infectious diseases your excrement is. I read that your photographic memory enables you to recall the location of a source of food or shelter for up to three years. It is for that reason that when you are captured, you need to be released 10 to 15 miles from where you were picked up. I also read you have been known to tear shingles off of rooftops, rip holes in siding, and destroy anything you have to get what you want, be it food, or a place to nest.

I want you to know that it cost me $1400 to get rid of you, and to plug up every entry point in my house to ensure that you and your friends can never possibly get back in. I want you to know that it will cost me upwards of $5,000 to remove and replace the insulation you soiled and tore to shreds in my attic, and that my homeowners insurance will cover none of it. Unfortunately, when I was in the midst of the madness of buying my first home, I did not have the foresight to find a plan that covers the damage that can be wrought by you and your ilk.

I will never forgive you for the damage you’ve done to my house, and to my bank account. I will never forgive you for the loud thuds and scurrying noises that jarred me, my fiance, and our new puppy awake early in the mornings as you return from your night of foraging. I will never forgive you for the urine stain you left on my bedroom ceiling, right above where I lay my head at night (even though I can easily paint over it). And to think, for a moment, I almost felt bad that you were stuck in that trap on top of my roof all night, left alone to thrash and panic, and to be soaked by the cold morning rain the next day. But you know what? You deserved it.

Perhaps I’m being a bit dramatic. You’re just an animal, after all. You don’t know any better, right? You and I both know, however, that you’re smarter than you let on. Apparently, just not smart enough to not walk directly into a cage set near your preferred doorway into my home. I know you’ll never read this, because you can’t. You’re a raccoon. Good riddance. Find a tree to live in, like you’re supposed to. Don’t ever come back.




Your unwilling former landlord


June, 2013…



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