June 5, 2020

my new happy place and my no-hospitality policy & A NEW UNREAL ENDING

I am a pool person.  In the summer, if I get tied up and I cannot log some time at our local pool on a hot, sunny day then I get REALLY grumpy.  We do not know if and when our local pool will open.  Commence the grumpiness.
This served as my 'pool'
for Memorial Day.

Memorial weekend was the warmest, hottest ever- no pool to escape to.  On Memorial Day, I did a search for little pools to buy at Target or Walmart. 

Coach:  "That is dumb.  I won't help you blow it up.  It can't go on the grass, because it'll kill my grass."  

I wanted to say, "Oh go sit in the shade and soak your pasty face in a vat 'o sunscreen."

But instead . . . I shrugged:  "I can put in on the deck."

I ordered a 10 by 4 foot pool at Walmart.  I got an email instructing me not to come yet.  I would get an email when my order was ready. 

The next email:  Sorry folks, moose shoulda told ya out front, the parks closed . . .

in reality:  'certain items in your cart are no longer available.'  Well, I only had the one item, so I deduced that someone walked in off the street and messed up their inventory by buying MY POOL.  

I trolled Amazon, but all the pools were crazy expensive, or would not arrive until the end of June. 

Midweek I happened to do another Walmart search.  Boom - a different Walmart, not too far from my allergy shots, where I was headed, had my pool.  I gathered my minions.  Mini drove to shots, I hopped out, realized Mini left the credit card I gave her to buy the pool on the kitchen counter, gave her a different card, and Tank drove them to Walmart.  I told them 'text me the minute you have the pool  and I will cancel my online order.' 

I am no fool.

Mini texted me 'The eagle flies at midnight' - kidding, 'We have the pool.  Tank lost the car keys, so I am standing at the car.  He went back inside to look for them.'  


Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum(ber). 

He found the keys a few minutes later and they managed to pick me up and I cancelled my online order. 
Alas, where there is a sun-worshipper,
there is a way.

The pool sat in the box till Tuesday when it hotter than hell.  I told Reg his job was too open the pool up while I was walking to see if the pump for the air mattresses would work.  Nope.   Alas, where there is a sun-worshiper, there is a way.  I rolled up a part of a cereal box and made a cone shaped thing with the wide end at the air mattress pump and the narrow end shoved into my future sanctuary (insert:  that's what he said - I couldn't resist). 

It blew up with no trouble.  Um, it's huge.  Curly got the hose.  She was worried that the water would be so hot because hose water is hot.  Yeah, unless you turn on the hose for more than 30 seconds - then bring on the iceberg
Took up a big chunk of the family room
where I blew it up while Curly was
in the shower - oh, the joy
when she saw it.

We quit using the hose after awhile 2 hours because I was trying to avoid giving my children hypothermia.  About 6 buckets of hot water from inside the house and it was still gonna numb anyone who was brave enough to stick their extremities in there.  An hour or so later it started to heat up, thank you sun. 

Reg and Curly's friends came over and they 'swam'.  Two of Mini's BFFs got their licenses and they came over driving separately to scoop her up.  She scoffed at my spa to her friends as if it was disgusting to submerge oneself with bugs and leaves and friends.  The nerve.  Remembering that my goal should  not ALWAYS be to embarrass her in front of her friends, I managed to not point out that her bedroom is not much cleaner than my pool. 
Mini admitted to me tonight that she snapped
 a photo of me reading my book in my spa and
 she snapchatted it to her friends, and one of
them now has my pool-submerged
self as her screen saver.

Then it was my turn to lower myself in.  The corner is perfect for a headrest, armrest.  The temperature was super refreshing.  Great angle towards the sun.  Curly pulled up a bench for my water and my book.  Bliss.  It was in the 90s and I even snoozed a tiny bit.  Glorious.

The next morning Lad showed me photos on his phone from a deck visitor that appeared while I was sleeping.  No it was not Mary Ann trying to take a quick dip on our deck before she got busy on her broomstick.  Drum roll . . .  it was 


So, recap:  two years ago a raccoon lived under our deck.  We decided she was ill because hello, how do you forget to be nocturnal?!  (note in this link, I still referred to her as a him!)  A police officer drove by and SAW the coon from the street (she was a big 'un) one evening and suggested relocation.  He even brought me a cage from the station. We caught her, dropped her off on the other side of the expressway, and 
Lad's photo.

REMEMBER . . . later that day I heard what I thought sounded like birds?  Four baby raccoons under the deck crying for their mama.  Well, I felt awful.  The boys scooped the babies out (deck torn up during addition) from under the deck and our friend Betty drove them to a rescue. 

I was at Irish dancing - remember when that was a thing?  When Irish dancing dictated my every move?  Guess who is cringing to think of the return of those days? The boys took video and photos of the babies.  

In case looking back at the links I shared
would cut into your time at
YOUR pool, this is a photo of
 two of the babies huddled
together and off to the rescue.
Anyway, now we know that mama raccoons come out during the day after giving birth to look for food.  So now I have to be all kindly to this mama.  I wonder if she is the same mama - do raccoons do that?  Return to the place they got kicked out of even if crossing an expressway is a suicide mission?

We spotted her several times yesterday in the early evening.  Coach and I tried to get more pics.  He took a video.  I was out in the yard watching her scamper  away towards neighbors decks and I wanted to be all realtor-ish on her ass, like:

"Can I interest you in this deck over here?  This looks spacious?  Ow, less weeds than they have at that nasty Shenanigan house.  Looks like they have an en-suite.  Or better yet, check out Mary Ann's roof over there - I bet her attic is the BOMB.  Come, I'll get you a ladder, sure bring the babies."

Just to give you reference, and
because I think my pool is a
thing of beauty, so why not share more pics?  The
 photo Lad took of the raccoon was up on the
gazebo near where Coach's covered grill is
right in front of where that
 net float thing is that Curly, my pool hand,
has beenusing to try to clean the pool. 
Big Mama froze at one point and stared as I stood in the lawn and I swear she mouthed the words:  'Baby kidnapper!'  Yeah, so I am sleeping with one eye open now.

Of course my biggest concern is my fancy spa.  I raced downstairs this morning half expecting her to be giving her babies swimming lessons in my oasis.  If that creature puts a claw or a fang in the side of my glorious lil-bit-o-heaven, we are having raccoon meat for dinner.  I am struggling to get my preferred frozen Perdue individually wrapped chicken breasts at the grocery right now, so we just might end up with mystery meat.  Don't judge (or call animal cruelty because what is meaner than popping someone's happy-place?).  Wink, wink. 
Reg circa 2010, sporting a souvenir
coon skin cap in Yellowstone.

Besides, I'd love a new winter hat.  I hear the Davy Crockett look is coming back.  Oh and who cares if it isn't?  If Mini can drive around in a turban, I can sport a winter coon-skin cap.

And as a warning to all those varmints out there.  Keep your fur-ball-selves away from my happy place, damn it. 

Do you like hanging in the pool?  Did you even know what sunscreen was as a kid?  (we did not)  Are your pools open?  Don't tease me, Suz, and anyone else with their own private pool - and be all sassy with your 'Yep, my pool is good to go.'

I wrote this post Thursday night just before I went to bed.  I woke up at 6:15 am.  Coach had sent me 2 text messages early this morning.  One was a photo:

The other was this video:


Oh, and this is a photo of the paw prints
all over the edge of my sanctuary.  (sobbing softly)
It looks like her drinking and her babies running around behind her (I just updated it because the first video was blurry.  I got Coach to email it to me instead of text it).
People, stop laughing.  This means war.  I am thinking chicken wire around the walls of the deck?  I will happily leave her a big bowl/bucket of water on the grass off of the deck 


Please include your suggestions in my comments.


the queen said...

Raccoons are very particular about their paws. (Here is why: I understand that they are so protective of their paws they won’t walk in the snow, and they won’t walk across a mild acid — specifically vinegar. If you could stand the smell of hot vinegar in your pool you could coat it with that.
The mothers protect the babies from the fathers, who are aggressive. In the fall all the babies will abandon the mom, but the mom will stay.
Like you, we always see the raccoon moms/babies during the day for the first week of June. Then I suppose nursing is over and everyone can get enough food at night. So, you’ll see your mother every year as long as water and food are convenient.

Suzanne said...

I know they are pests, but raccoons are SO CUTE!

I am very deeply envious of your pool. We don't have a big enough deck for one, though, and I know it would ruin the lawn... but maybe I can talk myself into one anyway.

Busy Bee Suz said...

Oh my goodness!! I’m so torn; I love that you have a sanctuary, but I also love raccoon families!
What if you get one of those plastic kiddie pools and put it down near where they are living?

You crack me up with your creativity in getting it blown up and not hurting the grass too. I couldn’t see the video, but I’m out of town and using my phone.

I feel bad about you breaking up a family last time. Reminds me of when I found a gopher tortoise in our yard. I thought it was just a regular turtle and I moved it to a canal THEN I researched and realized I probably moved this thing away from its family and home. I felt like an ass.

Beth Cotell said...

If only you lived here - about half of the pools here are opened. I haven't been yet because I loathe laying around the pool. The ocean, however, is a different story! Have a great weekend!

ccr in MA said...

Raccoons like to wet their food before they eat it, so maybe that was what she was doing. I wish you luck keeping them out of your pool, but I don't have any suggestions!

Kari said...

I am so jealous of your deck pool. It is a perfect getaway, that's why the raccoons love it too.;)

Side note- I think it's funny that you are Irish and don't sunburn! You should get an award or something.

Kara said...

I live in Phoenix, AZ, so a pool is a necessity. Ours never really closes? The kids are in from April to October or November (and occasionally get brave and jump in on New Years Day, just because). I won't use it until the water is warm. Right now, it's a perfect 90-92 in the pool- considering it's been 112 outside, 90-92 water is delightful. Lately, the husband and I have been walking a couple of miles between 7 PM and 8 PM, and then heading home to jump into the pool.

Ally Bean said...

Your pool is a delight to see. I want one, too. I don't want any raccoons, regardless of their gender and confused lifestyle. I am into sunscreen now but it wasn't around in my childhood. We swam and biked without a SPF care in the world.

Bibliomama said...

The pool does look wonderful, and I love how you MacGyvered the blow-up device. Maybe you'll get in a pitched battle for the backyard with the raccoon family and then you can write a screenplay or something. And that's hilarious about the Snapchat - my kid and her friends would totally do the same.

Charlie said...

I’m so envious of you all and your local (or home) pools! In the U.K. we don’t really have the weather for lots of local pools. Although we do have one outside pool in my city, which gets so crowded on hot days the queues are insane. It’s closed for us this summer anyway. I love to lounge in a pool or by a pool, or even in sight of a pool. We have got an inflatable hot tub (spa?) this year though, so that will have to do! Unfortunately though I’ve had surgery recently and can’t go in a pool for another 5 weeks :(

Ernie said...


Queen - your raccoon knowledge seems very vast and is most appreciated. Well, there is a sentence I never thought I would write. I might try the vinegar. Every spa should have scented candles, so I can just set some of those around when I am submerged in order to avoid fumes. Thing is - how will I know if the plan works and I can use the water unless I set up a camera to see whether or not they get back on the deck? Sigh.

Suzanne- I highly recommend the pool. Maybe get one that isn't so big and you can move it around on the lawn. Yes, cute - but dang I want them to go elsewhere. the babies - so cute!

Suz - Yes, I admit that I have been a family wrecker in the past. That was not a great feeling, but clearly they are far from being extinct, right? I would love to know if 'she' is the same one. I know our air mattresses came with a cone shaped plastic thing at one point but I think that was awhile ago. I was not gonna let anything stop that blow up process, well short of using all of my hot air. The video is fixed. Only 6 seconds but you will die!

Beth - In that case I wish I lived there too. For me there is nothing like a good book and time lounging at the pool. I have gotten better about finding time to read during the school year but otherwise the pool was about the only time I would read. Fingers crossed that my pool opens.

Nicole MacPherson said...

Oooh that looks so lovely and refreshing! If we actually had that kind of warmth here I would love one myself. But that's pretty rare. We also don't have raccoons here, so I don't have any advice at all.

Busy Bee Suz said...

LOVE the video clip. Get that family their own little pool. ;)

Ernie said...

Suz - he texted me the video and it was so fuzzy it looked like a cat, even though I knew it was not a cat. The emailed version was so much better. Short, but too hilarious. What are the chances? After I just get my spot all set up for glorious sun time.