Don't give me a home where the animals roam

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Lions and tigers and bears may have made life miserable along the old yellow-brick road, but keeping critters at bay isn't just a woods or farmland issue.

Believe me. I've had a stray cow in my side yard, a deer or two using my lawn as a shortcut, a snake in the basement ceiling and a raccoon in my hot tub over the years.

Even killed a black snake on my driveway one time -- like that guy who shot a man in Reno -- just to watch him die. I've always considered my transgression justifiable homicide. After all, I had to quiet the screaming females in my home who had happened upon the poor snake sunning himself on the concrete pad in front of the house. And get this: I tossed the snake carcass under the evergreen trees out front until I could better dispose of it. The next day, it was gone. Something or someone carried it off. (Cue the spooky music ... ).

But those occurrences are nothing compared to what I have going on now, even though we live in a subdivision a stone's throw from city limits.

Now I have another raccoon that has adopted our deck as his personal ... um, bathroom. And a swarm of bees that has managed to buzz their way into the basement through a pipe connecting the furnace and the air-conditioning unit outside.

Deciding to take care of the bees myself, I bought a giant-size can of Raid spray. It was cool the other evening, offering the perfect opportunity to spray the bees and run like hell down the hill at the side of the house and back into the garage.

Of course, whenever I envision plans like that, they tend to end up more like Apollo 13 than the lunar landing.

Which is how I ended up replaying the opening scene of the original Indiana Jones film, "Raiders of the Lost Ark," over and over in my mind.

You remember that iconic movie moment. Indy dodges all the jungle cave booby traps and swaps a bag of sand for some priceless idol, only to be pursued by a mob of dart-blowing, spear-tossing natives as he hotfoots it down a hill to a waiting seaplane. With Indy frantically screaming, "Start the plane! Start the plane!," the camera pans over to catch his pilot pal, fishing pole in hand, fighting a fish in the river.

Granted, there was no seaplane for me to run to, but I was at least hoping to get an assist with the garage door from the home team. Nope, not happening, despite my screaming. Heck, my dog didn't even move off his spot inside the front door as I beat it down the hill like some cartoon bear who'd swatted a beehive in his quest for honey.

Turns out I'm pretty sure I took care of more bees than were able to extract their stinging revenge upon me. Got a little further revenge the other night, unloading another can of spray on their favorite lair. Just to be fair, we'll call it a tie.

Haven't been that lucky with our raccoon so far. I have shoveled away his nightly deposit from under the living room window and another from the landing between floors of our deck.

But now the crafty critter has moved down a level and seems to be piling it on (if you get my drift), taking out his frustrations on one particular set of wooden stairs.

My neighbor once warned me that if I heard a gunshot next door, not to worry. It was just him getting rid of an identical problem on his deck.

I sure hope he and Smith and Wesson hurry up and get back home from Florida.

So just as I am happily envisioning that fateful and fatal ending herein, comes a text from the homefront.

"Bees are back," wife Ruth texts without use of shorthand or requisite lack of punctuation. "Time to hire a professional."

Or Indiana Jones ...

Now wouldn't that just be the bees' knees!