Water Bottle Bomb …don’t leave home without one!

Some families worry about being stalked by weird relatives, odd friends, strange neighbors or sales people (evangelical or otherwise) who regularly drop in and create havoc. This despite numerous attempts to discourage such interruptions, the stalkers persist visiting regardless. We have one such regular visitor, less normal than the rest and still not identified as belonging to any particular denomination…a porcupine.

We have one such regular visitor, less normal than the rest and still not identified as belonging to any particular denomination…a porcupine.

Yah, okay, laugh as you imagine I am making a mountain out of this molehill but believe me this is no ordinary porcupine. This is porcupine “a la Schwarzenegger”…this thing has got to be the size of a small couch…I kid you not!!! It is literally three feet high and almost as wide. This creature is built like a MAC truck. Tanks in the army are not as resilient as this fellow.

Furthermore, I know this critter suffers from a personality disorder as there is no way a normal animal would keep returning to our home, night after night, after the many efforts made by this family to discourage this mooch. There is no way our garbage tastes that good. With nine kids there is very little ever left for the garbage. Not to mention the two babies at our house both still sporting disposable diapers (“yummy” pickings in our garbage). There is only one word for this intruder….DIABOLICAL.

Porcupine quills

This creature is built like a MAC truck.
Tanks in the army are not as resilient as this fellow.

It is one thing to attract hangers-on but to consistently show up garbage or no garbage is an obsession. While starving on the very slim pickings in our garbage to then want to continuously sort through the same trash over and over again (despite the pungent odour of bad diapers left for days in weather where it has been 90 degrees or higher) means this animal is not normal.

I am convinced this porcupine is a spy. I wonder sometimes if it actually works for some nosy neighbor who wants to know more about the weird people with the nine kids.

The notice given to the porcupine of “YOU ARE NOT WELCOME HERE” includes spraying it with a power washer, hitting it with a hockey stick, fighting with our golden retriever (yep 120 some quills later), the 16-year-old launching a bicycle pump rocket-style at its head and numerous occasions of “frightening” it with sound (beyond just the frightening noise of nine children). This thing is not only impervious and tenacious but waddles around the property (day and night) as though it owns the place. I think it is biding its time until a real meal is served… like someone forgets that the 6-year-old is still outside.

Golden Retriever Porcupine Quills

Fighting with our golden retriever (yep 120 some quills later).

Recently I was out-of-town with all the younger kids (7 of them) and came home at 1:00 am from a four-hour drive. Made plans to exit the vehicle and start carrying the little sleeping bodies in, one by one. I head to the front door with the two-year-old passed out in my arms and suddenly I am aware of an ominous shadow on my front doorstep (I am now less than two feet away). Uh-huh, it is the demon himself. I run back to the van not before the 12-year-old (who was with me) SCREAMS at the top of her lungs waking up the entire van (who now in unison are all howling). So I turn the van around, drive up onto my lawn and shine my headlights on “bright” only to discover the animal is ensconced on my doormat totally obliterating my doorway.

Porcupine retreating

Is it possible that the creature finally got the message?

A moment of brilliance struck as I rummaged through my vehicle’s contents (swimsuits, towels, garbage, balloons, books, Legos, Barbie’s, crackers…etc.) and found a nice, icy cold, FULL (unopened) 500 ml water bottle.  I hurled the water bomb at the door. The critter moved the fastest I have ever witnessed before and beat a quick retreat into the bushes.

I am happy to report that in the five days since the water assault on this animal there has been no more porcupine sightings. Is it possible that the creature finally got the message? Or perhaps the beast is scared of cold water, or it is in neighboring brush nursing a concussion with the water bottle Either way it is not here and I am delighted.

porcupine and water bottle

Or perhaps the beast is scared of cold water, or it is in neighboring brush nursing a concussion with the water bottle.

Memo to self…always travel with a full water bottle. It is true water is good for both your health, your state of mind, your body and apparently the safety of your entire family and how. Who knew?

A well-watered Garden-Goat

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Time Flies

I stood in the Airport thinking that perhaps I had landed in space galaxy a hundred miles away and light years beyond my lifetime. It was 5:00 am and I was taking a flight for the first time in twenty years (yes, twenty years…staying close to home “kid keeping”…). I felt more like Rip Van Winkle awake for the first time after a hundred year nap (without the rest that might imply)! Where I once remember a modest airport I was basically standing in a complete civilization totally foreign to me.

After announcing to the flight desk clerk that I had no clue where to go in this galaxy she directed me upstairs (2 story escalators) and to “security”-that is where all the fun began. I was adamant I would take “carry-on” luggage only as I was going to a two-day conference and did not want the hassle of checking a bag and then having to try line up and claim it (if it was not lost) and thus be further delayed in the rush hour traffic.

Then the super friendly security agent decided to rifle my carry on bag discovering Nivea Facial Cleansing Cream. Well that apparently is a huge security risk in Canada (I guess the threat of scrubbing the faces of my fellow passengers is something that must be defended against) necessitating an x-ray (I kid you not) of the facial cleanser squeeze tube to determine the remaining volume of the product. After consulting with a supervisory security expert I was told that I would need to check my bag if I wanted to keep the toiletry item as indeed (after the x-ray) its contents were discovered to be in excess of a personal amount (what if I wash my face more than once a day?)- Nah forget that I was in a hurry…my face could stand to be less than spotless for a day or two.

Not before the same security dream team informed me that the bottle of perfume was the largest (100 ml) that could be allowed as a carry on. On top of x-rays of my purse (that has just got to be a fun job finding out what actually is in those travelling black holes of Calcutta) and then I was asked for my shoes. All of this was new to me. Any James Bond movie I ever watched never said anything about facial cleaner or shoes it was usually all about chewing gum and pens that were explosive. Those items no one seemed to care about at the Ottawa Airport as I smacked my gum in frightful anticipation of the onslaught of cabin pressure distorting my hearing and nervously played baton swirling and then juggling with the extra pens I had brought along.

The return trip was equally as amusing. I now had the security thing down pat. I wanted to change my flight for an earlier flight but was told with only 25 minutes to play with it would be close if at possible to do. The lineup to have my ticket switched was huge. A nice, seasoned, older traveler told me that since I had a boarding pass I just need to keep to the left, go through security and voila I would be at the desk and able to switch flights.

I approached this security specialist with my newly acquired confidence, spread the contents of my purse out in the bin on the conveyor belt, dumped my brief case and with great speed whipped off my patent leather pumps and placed them on the conveyor to be x-rayed. All the while very happy to know that I was in time for the earlier flight and no one observing could possibly tell that my first flight in twenty years was the morning before.

I was one with airport security. As I boldly walked through the x-ray charged doorway anticipating nods from the security specialists (usually reserved for those experienced career travelers) suddenly I was pulled aside and the bins I so hurriedly (and professionally) sent through the conveyor belt were now being retrieved and I (and my stuff) quickly relocated to another counter. Great. Now what? I had received a screw driver give-away at the conference but I had the prior presence of mind to ship that separately. What in the world was security about to tell me I had missed? While I am mentally preparing my mind for a possible strip search (the posted sign said I had the option of doing so in private) replaying in my head more James Bond and wondering what else I might be treated to in defence of our country, another security supervisor approached me. Apparently there was a big problem I had just completed the security inspection for the wrong country…I was in the USA customs and my boarding pass was for a Canadian domestic flight. (!!)

Fellow passengers are not created equal…even if they appear to know more than the chic that hadn’t flown in 20 years!

Minutes later I was on the right plane totally enthralled with the speeding down the runway and then takeoff …How I would love to be able drive the car like that! Memo to self…fly again…very soon!!

The Garden Goat