Happiness is a Fat-Assed Raccoon

Fat-Ass has won. He (she?)showed up again last night–Emily hasn’t for three days, I’m worried–and somehow managed to climb over piles of books and papers to reach the bag of cat food, toppling it and him onto the floor, after which he shrieked with rage and left, never to return. So far. It was the first time I’d laughed in weeks or at least it felt like it. And now I’m kind of hoping he comes back tonight. He went to all that trouble to spill a pound of cat food on my workroom floor, he should at least reap some kind of reward. Also, since Emily has evidently been adopted by someone else–I refuse to believe anything horrible–Fat-Ass may be my new pet. I have to admit an affection for his little bandit face as it peers up at the red lights of the camera, probably wondering “What is that thing?” and “Can I eat it?”

Happiness is screwball wildlife.

Note: He came back and brought a friend, so our relationship is over. If he’s going to see other people . . .

What made you happy this week?

ETA: And Emily came back. SO happy that she’s all right. Must trap her inside the house this week because it’s going to get cold here. Also because there are too damn many predators out there after a disabled stray cat.

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61 thoughts on “Happiness is a Fat-Assed Raccoon

  1. “Free Birds” for family movie night made me happy. It is a very, very dumb movie and very quotable. Oldest child got obsessed with it maybe 5 years ago and it slowly grew into a family favorite. Italian class going well made me happy. I actually read a really, really good book that I’ll save for good book Thursday. That made me happy.
    Don’t tell the kids, but them having three days off school makes me happy. (Online school isn’t really working out for oldest, but I’ll save that for Annoyance Day ;-))
    Still some really sunny, pretty days and leaves on the trees.
    Simple things, but happy things.

    13+
  2. “Why that little sneak, after everything you did for him!”

    Above is probably a mish-mash paraphrase of many movie quotes.

    Happiness is being as up to date with my work as I can. It feels good to be on top of things. I’d like to be ahead but I also don’t want to burn myself out. I’m finally learning how to achieve balance in slow increments.

    This 6-month long March 2020 we had turned out to be oddly good for me, even with the anxiety spike and depression spiral. I learned a lot.

    Now lying on the porch on a warm but slightly breezy afternoon feels like bliss. I have buttermilk roast chicken pieces on the oven. I have a job that’s hostile. I have unfinished work but it’s doable before tonight. I have a hoard but it’s clean. I have a dog and his ribs aren’t visible anymore! I’m ok.

    Sending some of this calm and contentment out to you all. 🌸

    24+
    1. That’s hilarious! I beats me being stuck in my hammock swing one evening while a family of skunks emerged from under my deck and meandered around the yard between me and the only entrance to the house, the door that opens onto the deck. Fortunately mama and babies (6 all told) exited the yard after about 15 minutes and I exited the hammock and ran for the house before they could return.

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  3. Outpatient surgery isn’t happy, nor is the doctor’s ideas about what’s next, which I’m not taking him up on. Happy IS the response of friends, who are so very dear and kind. And I’m getting better, sleeping better, a blessing.

    Another happiness was attending a webinar on writing, by a writer I respect.

    And of course the daily combing sessions with the five kittens. And books to get lost in while we wait.

    18+
    1. Oh. Five kittens?! I adore the one I have but it is taking two adults and one adult cat to keep him amused. And nothing keeps him out of trouble (oh look, Mom. I found this neat opening in the stair railing 6 steps off the ground. I wonder if I can jump it. Here. Hold my beer).

      17+
      1. Anything containing “Hold my beer” is hair-raising, examined sober.

        I have no pets, possibly excepting a visiting rodent who has been observed to vault over sticky traps. And crickets who don’t avoid the sticky trap.

        Never mind that. This is about the beer I’ve been holding since last March, the sole survivor of two six-packs of Coronita Light Corona beer bought back when it seemed an amusing thing, before the pandemic reached Biblical proportions. That means, also, that I have consumed 11 beers this year (so far) which also means 11 beers this century, so far. I can’t bring myself to drink #12, nor to dispose of it in other ways.

        I should get a kitten.

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        1. Gary, my husband was a dog person – he thought. Then this brown and grey tabby kitten shows up at our door, starving, covered with fleas, ears full of mites and a weepy eye where he had been scratched. Moshe was our first cat. He was possible the smartest cat I have ever known. My husband still likes dogs but only wants to have cats. He has become a proponent of the you must have at least two cats school of thought, although he really prefers having three.

          So be careful. They are like potato chips – it is hard to stop at one.

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          1. When the circumstances have been right, I have always been a cat person. I like “other people’s dogs” just fine, but cats have owned me more often.

            I don’t know. Jenny is attracting Emily into a garage – but that’s the entirety of my habitat. I don’t want to get a kitten and then leave it in the Man Cave when I go to work each day. But I am ever nearer to retirement, and then they won’t be alone.

            I can’t fool myself into believing that the grandchildren won’t play with the kitty when I’m not around, but dotter has two very jealous dogs. Nothing will happen this year.

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  4. DH and I went for a walk this morning with light snow and slush. I felt like a kid getting my feet wet and stomping through the slush. After we got home it started snowing a lot, though it is supposed to turn to rain and all melt this afternoon. So I get the pretty without the shoveling.

    BIL has suggested a new author he enjoyed, so I may have something to say on Thursday about an actual new book.

    And my carpet is getting cleaned on Tuesday (not before time) which is bad news Monday night when we move furniture out of the living room, but good news when it is actually clean.

    13+
  5. We are all healthy. Staying safe. Food and warm house. Really thankful and happy. Woke up feeling good, optimistic even. Stuff is getting done. One more month of work. Making a list of things which must be done before selling. The harder part will be what furniture, etc. goes and what will be in whatever new home we land in.

    Last year we had a raccoon incident. DIL and we’re in the office working when I heard a terrible screaming / growling high pitched sound. Looked out to see a huge raccoon and a smaller adult raccoon fighting. They fought on the shed roof, on the grass, on the fence, in the garden. Fell of the roof at one point, still in a ball of raccoon fury. Decided to stop the fighting. Banged on the window. Opened the door, screamed at them, throw rocks at them, smallish, smooth black decorative rocks which I had to pick up later. The big one as it turned out was a mama protecting her wee ones. The younger male was bold and aggressive finally ran away. Later we saw the mama taking her babies out of the shed. There was a shingle hole on the other side of the roof. About 9 pm driving home, saw the mama carrying a little one across the road to another safe place. Thankfully no more raccoons or holes in roof. Wish you luck. They can find the smallest entrance and set up shop.

    16+
  6. This week I had fun painting slate shingles for our upcoming church Christmas Fair. (https://www.instagram.com/stories/highlights/17892179155738248/) I think that will work, I’ve never posted an Instagram link before. This year the Fair has been very careful planned to be outside, limited numbers, walking one way, masks, online sales, etc. I hope we can do it, but I’m worried that we’ll be right in time for the post-Thanksgiving surge. We are prepared to cancel, and go totally online. We’ll see. But I had a great time playing with paint and sparkles, very satisfying, and I’d been trying to start up the painting again.

    And, I got “Amazing” on Saturday’s NY Times Spelling Bee! I’m a genius!

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        1. All I do when I want to share an Instagram link is go to the actual post (on my profile page) and copy its URL. I’ve never posted a ‘story’, though, which it sounds like yours is?

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  7. We do not have a Pet, per se. I have a weedy yard full of city birds, meadow mice, the occasional lizard, and a scruffian alley cat who likes to hang out at our place because there are no a) kids b) dogs c) fireworks in the immediate area.

    Would love to have a pet cat again but being truly responsible for another living thing right now is too much. I don’t even feed the scruffian. It is catching mice and (occasionally) birds, and I suspect at least one of the neighbors feeds it. Fairly prosperous for a feral cat, anyway. And it does make me happy to think this little predator is making a go of it thanks in part to me.

    Otherwise happy because of imminent four-day weekend break from work. Making plans to request strategic days off so I have a 4-day weekend once a month in 2021. The prospect of that will spark joy.

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  8. Happy for the little things, like a beautiful day with which to clear the passion flower vine remnants out of the front garden. It looks so much better now. I try not to disturb it unduly during the summer because the bees love it (and I wouldn’t want to be accused of having a passion-less house!)

    I’m also happy for kitty snuggles at night. I’ve got two who effectively pin me down and keep my feet warm. Here’s hoping that Emily turns up again.

    15+
      1. YAY for Emily coming home! She knows the best behind the ears massage with food when she finds it. I think you were chosen. Raccoons are so cute and dexterous with their little paws.

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        1. She stayed inside for about an hour and a half, and then did the same today, so she’s comfortable inside now. Not sure she’s comfortable enough to make it permanent, but I won’t be shutting her in a strange space. I’ve got the door rigged up so I’ll test it out tonight and then maybe trap her inside on Wednesday.

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  9. I turned down more depressing Literature, and have got four more short Green Ideas instead. Zoomed with my best friends from university on Friday, who egged me on to apply for freelance work on gardening books. So yesterday I wrote a letter, CV and blurb about my gardening experience. I’ve got a couple of tweaks to do on my website tomorrow, before tracking down an address for the woman I’ve written to: the company’s moved to one of two locations during lockdown; although the staff will be working from home, I expect.

    Anyway, I can be hopeful for a while, which makes me happy. It turned out I’d done all the spadework and first drafts in July, so it was a doddle. And today I made a picnic and went on a five-hour slow photography walk, looking at trees in the winter light.

    16+
  10. My happiness continues to be the Romancing the Runoff Auction. Last night, someone tagged Neil Gaiman, hinting he might participate, and he responded! He’s donated a leather-bound, limited edition (only 100 copies ever made) of Neverwhere. Bidding is currently at $4,500. https://www.32auctions.com/organizations/74830/auctions/92335?t=search&v=neil+gaiman

    It’s just fun to watch/participate. There’s just so much gleeful enthusiasm, which has been sadly missing in the world for the last year (four years?).

    Today I’m branching out into a different happiness, making cranberry orange marmalade. It’s a new recipe to me, but even if it ends up as syrup/glaze/ice-cream-topping, it should be good.

    15+
    1. OMG, Gin, I went to look over the items again, and gasped! The auction has already exceeded its goal of $250K, and it looks like it is still going strong. Looks like others also liked your lavender quilt, since it is aver $500 already. (Too rich for this senior, darnit.) But I’m so happy to see this fund-raising effort going so well!

      11+
      1. They’re over $300K now! People are being so generous. I’m looking at my listings as people thinking “I’m going to donate $500 to a good cause and get a quilt as a bonus,” because the prices are crazy! So much fun to see the listings though, and such great variety. There were even some signed copies of All Systems Red for a reasonable price, but they disappeared within ten minutes!

        11+
  11. So years ago, the last remnant of the previous homeowner’s yard plantings bit the dust (a single member of a five-trunk clump birch) and because we hung a birdfeeder there, we wanted a replacement, but not a sapling we’d have to wait years for. So we upended some cinderblocks and used branches from here and there to erect a kind of branch forest, which allowed several feeders.

    When they tore down our neighbor’s house, the dumpster produced many a useful thing, including a dented six-foot 1×6 board (i.e. a board about 2×15 cm thick/wide and 2 meters long). We hung it at about head height in the forest and the birds loved to find seed all along it, at a level that allowed a lot of birdwatching.

    The branches decay over time, and things grow inside some of them, and in the last few months the bird high line has been drooping, along with some of the slightly decayed support branches. This afternoon we found a way to prop it up nicely and undroop the droopers, so before putting seed on it, I got some peanut kernels and tucked them into every nook and cranny of the branches I could find.

    Within the next half hour we had to replace the seed several times, and were visited by three different species of woodpecker, all of whom really liked the peanut treasure hunt! It made for a really fun Sunday afternoon.

    16+
  12. Happiness is the coming election certification in PA and a lull in the Board of Electin activity for Thanksgiving.

    Happiness is also the end of the leaf raking for the season. Just in time, too, because the weather is going to turn cold/damp/drizzily this week.

    And happiness is everyone I know being healthy and my having a great excuse to stay home by myself on Thanksgiving.

    12+
  13. Does your local shelter or a rescue rent out traps (and will they let you pick it up under social distancing guidelines)? A friendly cat won’t like being trapped, but will get over it pretty quickly. (Of course, you may need two traps, one for the raccoon that can be released after, and one for Emily!) Then you can release her in a safe, small indoor place to acclimate for a while.

    I’ve trapped a number of cats I couldn’t simply entice indoors, who were immediately, “oh, thank god I can be indoors with people” as soon as they were caught (test with a toothbrush through the trap to see if she’ll attack). Like they were just trying to preserve their dignity but really wanted to be friendly.

    12+
    1. I have a small messy workroom off the garage, so I leave the door open there, and Emily comes in and eats the food I put out and chills for awhile. Today she spent an hour and a half inside, so we’re working on it. The raccoons would move in with all their friends, so I just have to turf them out. I think at this point, I’ll just rig up a way to pull the door closed when Emily is inside and the we negotiate our relationship slowly. I have tuna and Emily can be bought, so it’s just getting her aclimated to the inside while repelling trash pandas. Or in Danish (so Krissie tells me), washing bears.

      13+
      1. That should work. Maybe a long string/cord tied to the door knob? That’s sort of what the professional trappers do with traps — they don’t use the trip plate to trigger the trap to shut, but prop a water bottle under the cage door, with a string tied around the top of the bottle, and yank it when the cat’s inside so the cage door closes. I’ve never tried it myself, but I’ve seen videos of TNR volunteers doing it. Especially good for trap-wise cats who avoid the trip plate. So perhaps something like that with the doorknob?

        Good luck!

        6+
  14. I told my clients I’m taking this week off, which means doing just a couple projects today and Monday and then…vacation! Big plans for my work space and art room.

    Happiness also is having my family respond enthusiastically to the idea of each doing an art piece for the other three for Christmas. We each chose a theme that we’d like the others to follow (DH, Rube Goldberg machines; DD, colorful interpretations of her chihuahua; DS, portraits of ourselves as video game characters; and me, doors). So we’ll each end up with three related 9×12 art pieces. Much snickering has already ensued.

    12+
  15. I was part of a song-and-dance troupe – think teenage summerstock – fifty (!!!) years ago, and that troupe is now an ongoing musical theater program for teens and twenties. They had an online auction fundraiser, so I bid, and won several items, to my surprise – made me happy. More importantly, the items are being delivered to me tomorrow by a dear friend that I’ve known for fifty years, but lost touch with! She and I plan to sit and catch up, suitably masked and distanced. Very happy for this opportunity!

    12+
  16. This being the week after Snippets ended, it began in forlornity. Forlornitudinousness? Before the week was done, Eric Flint posted the next snippet of The Macedonian Hazard (#11, yay!). The other book, Two Cases for the Czar… its snippet would have started, “The book is available now so this is the last snippet.” That being true, I happily logged into Eric Flint’s Ring of Fire website and bought it (and four other books) and read it.

    The week thus ended in happiness.

    Sunday shopping and dining included my diet root beer and decaf diet cola, plus three kinds of turkey entrees, plus Christmas Craft raw and processed materials. (Ribbons, bows, wrapping paper, stencils, sidewalk chalk, ornaments, pieces and parts to make other ornaments….) Takeout was from the Longhorn Steak House. The dotter mis-dialed Texas Roadhouse 🙂

    7+
  17. Well, let’s see. Holiday shopping well along; the week’s business taken care of; most of Thursday’s grocery shopping completed (turkey thighs, veggies, cranberry pie, ice cream, three kinds of Martinelli’s sparkling cider, misc tidbits — small potatoes to roast in the turkey pan still to go). Kittens doing well. Cats keeping me warm at night.

    6+
    1. And a good snippet from an Australian newspaper of the 1920’s:

      The writer was desperate. At any rate, it sounded like it when he said: “I’m going to walk round the cemetery to look for a plot.”

      9+
    2. My brother decided to use the Fancy Gourmet Brine mix I bought and is cooking it up before brining turkey — house smells wonderful! The NEW computer, which I thought had died and was about to take to the shop, turned out to have been unplugged. Simple fix . . . . [My late mother, first woman to be graduated from her college with a 4-year degree in electrical engineering, always said that the first thing to check with any gadget is whether it’s plugged in or unplugged, whichever you need it to be. Happy to hear her voice saying it in my head!]

      Kittens are helping me type, so excuse any typos.

      5+
      1. DH works in IT. If he has to cover user support for his company he says there is a short list to go through that fixes most problems:

        1. Is it plugged in *and* switched on at the wall?
        2. Have you pressed the ‘on’ button?
        3. Have you tried turning it off and on again?
        (4th is “Have you cleared your cache and then turned it off and on again?” which I feel is starting to dip into actually knowing how a computer works, so a step up)

        Sometimes this even works to fix problems his IT colleagues are having…

        5+
        1. Tell your DH that I couldn’t agree more! When I was doing that in the olden days, checking the connection, a warm reboot, a cold reboot, and then clearing the cache. Oh, and then modifying File Explorer to Show everything, which Microsoft tends to prefer to conceal, so one could figure out where stuff is.

          0
  18. Husband had surgery today, not for anything awful, and he’s come through very well. That’s made me very happy.

    And those raccoons are incredibly cute. We don’t have anything like them and I love reading people’s stories.

    10+
  19. Worked the weekend. Covid sucks. No break. Open the fridge and containers tumble out. Cry. But…Now I have images of raccoons partying. And not at my house. Life is better.

    11+
    1. I bought a surprise lily to plant.
      I’m slowly digging out of my terrible work backload.
      I might actually not work over thanksgiving.

      I keep looking at election results and realizing that 1) we had no violence at the polls 2) we have had the election workers steadily and faithfully doing their jobs despite all the Trump efforts to stop them 3) Biden won enough states that Trump’s efforts to over turn the election politically won’t work because no one wants to put their political
      Life on a limb for him and have it be a meaningless effort when other states don’t.

      Three vaccines with high effective rates.

      8+
  20. The pair of cardinals that have visited my feeders every day for a week now!!

    My youngest daughter is home from college.. and I actually like having her here.

    Negative Covid so we can have Thanksgiving with oldest daughter, ex-husband and his girlfriend as well as my household (other three kids and me.). This is not what the CDC is recommending – I know. But we did all test negative and then quarantined so hopefully we won’t regret it.

    Online Job interview this afternoon. I’m one of six candidates and I know one of the interviewers so wish me luck. I feel fortunate just to get an interview.

    14+
  21. Two weeks ago my husband brought home a bouquet of grocery store flowers, multiple colors. Purples, yellow, white and even green, since then I play a little game with my self to see how long I can keep them going. So far I’ve trimmed the stems, deadheaded the gone by flowers, and cut the browning leaves. Sure it is getting smaller and smaller but the remaining flowers are still colorful. The last batch I had and kept going was three weeks. We’ll see how far these will go.

    12+
  22. My kids went on scout camp at the weekend. The same camp = no kids for me and omg I’m a terrible mother but a weekend without them definitely helped my happiness just now! We went to dinner and the movies and, I kid you not, did almost all of our Christmas shopping. It’s even wrapped. That’s never happened before Christmas Eve before.

    Also, despite getting rained on they had a great time.

    11+
  23. Stolen from Baen’s Bar Humor Conference:

    Saw a suggestion on the net to wrap empty boxes and place them under the Christmas Tree. When any of your children starts acting up, throw one into the fireplace.

    My only question is what do I do with the presents when I run out of children?

    6+
  24. Happiness was when I heard a crash from downstairs and a shout, I was not called to help with the current disaster. Dmitri got on the dining room table (where he is not supposed to be) while my husband was reading his paper. And before Dmitri could be removed, he knocked the candlestick into the glass of wine, got wine all over the table and himself and made his escape. My husband cleaned it up. The table and the glass are just fine. Dmitri is clean and received a cuddle so he wouldn’t be traumatized by the shout.

    5+
    1. Just so I can picture it, is Dmitri a child? A dog? Cat? Raccoon?

      Still, I would likewise be happy if disasters were cleaned up and participants soothed without my lifting a finger. 🙂

      4+

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