We interrupt your regularly scheduled Costa Rica programming to bring you a brand new episode of Great Canadian Wildlife Encounters.
I woke up at 2 am last night. This in itself is nothing unusual as I am a very light sleeper. What was unusual was the thumping noise I could hear from outside. After listening for a moment I identified it as my garbage can rolling around on the frozen snow. Which could mean only one thing. Raccoon! Which would also mean only one thing. God awful mess of garbage strewn all round my back steps when I got up. Yay. Lucky me.
Normally my garbage can is lidded and chained to the porch so intrepid urban creatures cannot knock it over and make messes, however the chain is currently frozen beneath a few inches of solid ice, so we’ve been taking our chances with the coons. We’ve been lucky. Till last night.
I had a choice to make: put on my robe and slippers and go out to chase away the raccoon and upright the garbage can or stay in bed. Given that it was -8 outside, and I’d have to clean the mess up in the morning anyway, I opted to stay right where I was. I pulled the covers over my ears and lulled myself to sleep pretending I had Stephen’s shoulder to snuggle on.
Fast forward to 3:15 when I once again woke up. Oddly, I could still hear the raccoon in the garbage. As I drifted back to sleep, a corner of my mind wondered if the coon hadn’t actually knocked the can over, but had jumped into it from the porch and was now stuck. If so, he could wait till morning; I had more important things to do at the moment. I turned over, snuggled into my pillow and drifted off again.
I woke up yet again just before 5am. My alarm is set for 5:45, but I was determined to grab as much sleep as I could so I chose to once more ignore the noises from my garbage can. I will confess that that same small corner of my mind felt a bit sorry for the poor critter stuck in out there, but I beat that into submission and fell asleep.
When the alarm went off, I really had no choice. I got up, drank a glass of water, donned my penguin robe and reindeer slippers, and set out to free Coony. The plan was simple. Grab the broom, use the handle to push the garbage can over, and Mr Raccoon would scamper off into the darkness, delighted to be free and vowing never to visit my garbage can again!
I stepped out onto the back porch and could see my garbage can shuddering. I could also see a bushy tail going round and round frantically inside the can. Uh oh. This was not the brown stripy tail of a raccoon, but rather – oh dear. Yes, this tail looks more grey – or maybe – gulp – black and white.
I leapt back into the house to regroup, faced with the realization that I had, not a raccoon in my garbage can, but a SKUNK! Visions of myself drenched in skunk spray sent shivers down my spine, but I forced myself to be rational. The same plan would still work; I would just have to be sure to push the can over facing well away from the back porch. So I did. I went to the side of the porch, reached out and set my broom handle against the far side of the garbage can, just inside the lid, and I pushed. The garbage can toppled over and was still. I leapt back inside the house, but curiosity got the better of me and I peeked out through the glass. A thoroughly pissed off skunk exited the garbage can, tail straight up in the air, but when no immediate threat was visible, he scurried off in a huff across my neighbour’s yard. I breathed a sigh of relief. All was well.