Midnight Intruder


IT’S EXCITING living in the country! Last night at 12:45AM, I was awakened by the sound of a window screen crashing to the floor. I ran to my bedroom door, clutching my cell phone to call 911, looked toward the kitchen, and saw a shadowy shape moving across my kitchen floor. At first I thought it was a cat, but no, it was a raccoon, a 25-pounder if he (or she) was a pound. He must have been on the roof and fallen through the open living room skylight.

I’ve dealt with squirrels in the house before, in Brooklyn — never easy, because they panic and bounce off the walls. This raccoon was fairly calm, although when he saw me, he jumped onto the kitchen counter and started trying to climb the open shelves, laden with glassware. Remarkably, he didn’t break a thing. Using the screen as a shield and a prod, I managed to steer him toward the front door, talking to him sweetly the whole time. I opened it, and out he ran.

Needless to say, I didn’t sleep much after that adrenaline rush. I’m just glad he dropped in when I was at home. Imagine the destruction he could have caused inside the house for a day or two. I have five skylights and had been leaving them open for ventilation. No more.

That was the start of a no good very bad day. I hit a dozen yard sales in the morning. None lived up to their descriptions in the East Hampton Star (“amazing,” etc.) I was focused on finding two things: a rectangular table and chairs for the porch (thinking 1940s wooden kitchen set with an enamel tabletop) and some kind of pantry cabinet. Found neither; bought nothing.

Later, I got pulled over for not coming to a full stop at a stop sign in East Hampton village. Did I get off with a warning? No — I got a $185 ticket and two points on my license. “Here’s what you do,” the cop said. “Go down to the courthouse and plead not guilty. They’ll plea bargain, and since you have a clean record, they won’t give you the points, just the fine.” Thank you very much, officer. Actually, I have another outstanding summons, a parking violation (for facing the wrong way in a parking lot; someone has to explain that to me). At last I can take care of both at once, and make that trip to the courthouse worth my while.

Ah well, chalk it up to a newbie’s wake-up calls to the ways of “the prettiest village in America,” a title also claimed by Woodstock, VT; Wicasset, ME; and Sausalito, CA, among others.

About cara

I blog (for fun) here at casaCARA, and write (for money) about architecture, interiors, gardens and travel for many national magazines and websites.
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7 Responses to Midnight Intruder

  1. Mary-Liz says:

    Pesky things – those raccoons & the cops. Were you wearing clothes when you welcomed your visitor? Things sound really wild there!!

  2. Terry Kearns says:

    Raccoons raid my trashcans. Occasionally they get on my screened porch. Thank goodness they haven’t figured out the cat door. That can make a big mess in your pantry and they’ll remember and find it again. I keep a broom and a 5-iron ready to fend them off. The adults are solid as little cannonballs.

  3. Debre says:

    Could you explain parking the wrong way to the rest of us? I’ve just spent 5 minutes on that one and can’t decide what it might mean.

  4. cara says:

    OK – waste no more of your time trying to figure it out. There are two spots directly opposite the Chase ATM in “The Circle” off E Hampton’s Main Street.
    They’re on the right side as you pull in, but I, having circled round the rest of the lot and found nothing, was on my way OUT of the lot via that same exit (perfectly legal), when one of those two spots became available. So I slid in to the space, now on my left, facing forward, and nose to nose with the car in the other of the two spaces. Got a summons for “parking facing traffic.” I will try to plea bargain/whine/sweet-talk, but failing that, I owe the Town another $65.

  5. Nancy says:

    So glad I wasn’t there for the raccoon! When a squirrel came into my Brooklyn house, I called the neighbors in a panic and they saved the day!

    Sorry about the tickets. It’s so funny since I have complained in the past that you stop even when there is no stop sign!

  6. Debre says:

    Jeebus! I’ll take the raccoon over traffic/parking rules any day. They (raccoons) are generally pretty well behaved, though motivated.

  7. tina says:

    i know about raccoons and thats not a raccoon thats a Raccoondog. if you search it its a real mammal.

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