The economy might be improving, as reported on the news, but it has yet to get better for most of my friends and me. So, summer months are filled with inexpensive “stay-cations.” We avoid the theme parks, the costly water parks, and even long, gas-guzzling drives. Instead, we do splash pads, camping at free sites, fishing at the local pond, and plenty of hikes in the mountains. We skip the high priced tickets of the zoo and museums and opt for a day at a friend’s farm or science projects around the house.
So, when an elderly neighbor couple told us we could use their mountain cabin for several weeks, we were elated! In return, we were going to do some repairs around the place and spruce it up for their trip up there later that summer. It was a win-win deal for all of us. We packed up the truck, threw in the kids’ toys and sleeping bags, and off we went! The four of us chatted and sang and watched the beautiful mountain scenery go by as we drove deeper and deeper up the canyon and into a side canyon where the cabin sat. This was better than a theme park, because we’d be able to enjoy it for weeks, spend lots of time with each other and fish and hike and swim to our heart’s content. This was going to be the best family vacation ever.
Following the directions, we finally headed down the dirt and gravel road that led to the cabin. It wasn’t a mountain resort, by any means, but it was going to be all ours for the next several weeks. We stopped in front, the kids spilled out of the truck’s cab, and my husband couldn’t stop grinning. I was ready already planning where we were going to set up the hammock as soon as lunch was ready.
My husband unlocked the front door and we all brought our heavy loads in, arms full of bags of food, coolers, camp chairs and other mountain living necessities. The cabin had obviously not been occupied in a while, at least not by humans. The bright windows illuminated the clouds of dust we stirred up, and the place smelled dank and foul. “Ewwww!” my six year old said, plugging her nose. I exchanged an uh-oh look with my husband.
My son, oblivious to the possible gross-ness of his surroundings, kicked open a bedroom door and stomped on in, plopping his load down on the nearest cot. I carefully placed my load on the small table in the tiny kitchen and followed my son, a vague warning dying on my lips. He was silent and still, staring at a large raccoon baring its teeth at him and standing in between my son and three raccoon babies. I could tell by the look on my son’s face he thought this was the coolest moment of his nine years on earth.
The frozen moment passed and I blew into action, grabbing my son and backing quickly out of the room, slamming the door as I passed the threshold. I then picked up my bewildered daughter and charged out the front door of the cabin back into the relative safety of the outdoors. At least there, we were not confronted with raccoons who might feel cornered or bite or scratch us, necessitating a trip back down the mountain to the nearest hospital.
My husband figured it out quickly enough when he bravely opened up the bedroom door to see what had caused all the fuss. We shared the cabin with a family of raccoons. We had to re-think this whole mountain resort situation if we were to deal with raccoons in the cabin.
We discussed all the possible ways of dealing with the situation while our children threw rocks into the nearby creek. It was imperative to get the family of raccoons out of the cabin before we could even begin to clean up the mess and start on repairs. We certainly weren’t going to enjoy our mountain retreat until we got those raccoons out of the cabin.
Finally, we realized we should just handle the situation the same way we would handle it at home. We wouldn’t try to remove the family of raccoons by ourselves like some bad 80’s cartoon. I would drive back down the mountain to the nearest town with cell reception and contact our neighbors, the cabin’s owners. I would suggest to them that they call Allstate Animal Control. Allstate Animal Control could easily remove the family of raccoons out of the cabin, and I knew they’d also take care of some of the cleanup and repair. Then, my family would finally be able to move into the cabin from the tent we staked, and we could get back to the business of fixing up the cabin and enjoying the heck out of our mountain vacation. Lucky for us, our neighbors agreed and we were quickly back on track with one of the best family vacations we have ever enjoyed!