Friday, December 31, 2010


Afraid to use the trademarked name of my wife's favorite candy in the title of this post, I consult my Merriam-Webster dictionary. The word closest to my search is twitter. There are two definitions. The second calls it "a light chattering". I'll forgo any nasty remarks about Twitter or Facebook save that the short version of twitter is twit. Change the spelling and voila! An obscenity.

My trusty Oxford English Etymology not only lists twizzle, but also twink ( remember Calvin and Hobbs?) , twitter and, Lord have mercy, twiddle. Blogger spell checker underlines the word twizzle. Oxford Etymology calls it a dialectical or colloquial form of twirl, twiddle or twistle( also cited by spell check). Twistle. It's it's what happens when I try to whistle for the dog at 6 am.

Twizzle is what Jorge and I tried to do with a raccoon sleeping in Mandy's doghouse.

Jorge leaves after morning coffee. He's researching TV antennas and brings me a newspaper article about home owners installing their own TV antennas. The cable connection for his telephone service is out of whack. Since he's tied to cable television through the local phone company, his TV is down. His ridge top location would be perfect for a multi-directional antenna mounted on the roof of the house. There are twenty stations the antenna could pull in from as far as 70 miles away. Perhaps even more.

Mandy's is upset. As I stand on our road watching Jorge drive off, she's barking at something in her pen. I removed one panel of hog fencing so I could drive the truck up to the house and unload wood. The slight wooden awning you see in the photo I snapped off because there was so little clearance between the truck and doghouse. The piece of plywood I stuck in the snow in front of the opening to prevent snow from blowing in on the carpeted floor. There was a gap of 12 inches at the top.

Walking around back, I check on Mandy who's racing back and forth in front of the dog house barking wildly. I peer in. Rocky Raccoon sits on his haunches at the back wall. "Hey, you gotta come back and help me. There's a raccoon in Mandy's doghouse," I yell into my cell phone.

Previous encounters with raccoons make for storytelling around a morning cup of coffee in the dead of winter. One time we transported a raccoon in a live trap in Jorge's enclosed pickup truck to a park out of town. When we opened the trap door, the raccoon bolted to a safe haven in the rear of the enclosed pick up truck. Plenty of oh no's and WTF's ensued.

I hand Jorge a clothesline pole approximately seven feet long. I stand nearby with my .22 in case the thing is rabid. Upon closer examination of the interior of the dog house, I notice the critter had a bad case of diarrhea in one corner. So much for the expensive remnant of Berber carpet from an upstairs renovation. Poke and yell, "Come on out", with no results. Poke and yell some more. Nothing. Kick the side of the doghouse. Nothing. Sticking one's nose in the opening is not advised, so Jorge aggressively pokes some more.

Finally, it runs out of the doghouse in an opposite direction from Jorge. I cleverly had placed myself off to one side and made a note to self to not shoot Jorge in the foot when things got chaotic. Rocky runs along the west side of the garage, crossing into the front yard with Mandy in hot pursuit. Snowdrifts in the front yard hinder both the raccoon and dog. The coon is used to the snow and reaches the 40 foot Norway pine on the east fence line. Scrambling up the truck of the tree like a bear cub, it's soon half way up out of reach of a viscous ( intentionally misspelled) dog.

The rest of the story I'll leave to a future post when things have quieted down.

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