A couple weeks ago, I was outside, enjoying my deck, with a book and some dinner. In years past I spent many warmer mornings and evenings on it, but somehow I had fallen out of this habit. Barring the appalling state of my backyard, it was relaxing and lovely, with birdcalls and kidcalls from around the block. I had already laid out on park grass earlier in the day, propped over the same book, so I was nicely blissed out and lazy. A loud thump sounded from the underside of my deck, announcing the backyard raccoon, which I had allowed myself to forget about. He popped his head up around one side and we both startled. He shot back underneath and I hastily gathered my things up, reasoning to myself that really, I had been out there long enough. I thumped the table a few times to indicate that just like a few seconds before, I was still there.
The experience was oddly akin to staying over someone's house and walking down the hall just as someone emerges from their shower, dripping and bundled in a towel,
"Oh! I'm so sorry, I didn't mean!"
"Oh no, I, really!"
And the bathroom door swiftly shuts again, as you duck into whatever room happens to be nearby.
Enter this morning. I went for an early (sad little belabored) run and decided to drink my first bowl of coffee in the morning gloom. There was, as you're expecting, a thump. And here was the backyard raccoon again. This time I was determined to hold my ground. My deck. My backyard.
He climbed out and we looked at each other.
"Oh," he said.
"Oh," I said. Truth be told, it was a little awkward. I waited.
After a pause, he noted: "Your beneath-deck reception sucks."
I narrowed my eyes at him. "What exactly do you have down there?"
"Why don't you climb under and see?"
"Haha. I bet you'd really like it if I tore up the deck to find out."
We tried to stare each other down, him from the grass, me from a rickety chair. He gave up, feigned indifference; raised himself on his hind legs and scented the air. Dropped down again.
"Um. So I'm digging a catacombs underneath your basement~~"
"and it's going pretty well. If that's okay with you."
"that will *totally* damage the structural integrity of the foundation!"
"If you haven't noticed anything by now, I'm sure it's fine~"
"That doesn't even make any sense!"
He gazed at me. His expression could only be described as solemn. He slipped back underneath.
"By now??" I stared morosely at my cooling coffee. Home ownership is problematic: don't let anyone tell you otherwise.