To the point week of 4/12/07

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IT WAS A RATHER STRANGE phone call, and it ended up with a more than strange ending.

Just before 8 a.m. Monday morning I was moving around the house when Carmon Smith, advertising director at the newspaper, called my home.

“Are you close to coming to the office?” she asked.

“Just about,” I responded.

“Well, things don’t look right in the office,” she continued. “There’s a table overturned and some things knocked over in the kitchen. I think someone’s been in there. I’m sitting in my car.”

Not knowing what was going on, I rushed to the office to find things just as Carmon had described them. A small rolling table near the desk of office manager Ginny Leap had been overturned; and the kitchen was covered with knocked over boxes and some snack crackers that had fallen out.

All of the computers were in their places, so nothing had been taken; but obviously someone – or something – had been in the office during the weekend.

Then we noticed that the door to the upstairs storage area was open.

Carefully going up the stairway, I wondered what I might find there. At this point I knew that if it were a mole, I could fight him – thanks to suggestions from readers – but I wasn’t sure what was going on.

At the top of the stairs I saw that the partition that covers the furnace had been knocked over; and things were in a general state of messiness. We don’t use the upstairs very often, so things stay relatively the same, so my curiosity kept rising.

Walking into the main room of the upstairs, I noticed two large piles of what appeared to be saw dust on the carpeting. Looking up, I found two holes, one in the southeast corner and one in the southwest corner, that had been gnawed through the ceiling tiles.

“Looks like we’ve got a rodent,” I gathered.

“But where is it now?” was Ginny Leap’s question.

And that was a good one.

After calling someone in pest control, I remembered that Ginny’s husband, Donnie, had a live trap that I had used once before in an effort to catch my daughter, Hilary’s, pet rabbit.

After a quick trip home, Ginny came in with two live traps, and we set about the task of putting food in them with hopes of catching our prey.

Nothing happened through the rest of the day, although all three of us carefully inspected our desks just in case something was still downstairs. Leaving for the night, we blocked the door that leads from the main office upstairs, and waited for Tuesday morning to see what we might catch.

It only took one night.

Cautiously proceeding up the stairway, Ginny Leap announced that we had caught something in our trap, and indeed we had – a very surprised raccoon.

He was just sitting in there, having eaten all of the peanut butter and “cheese-its” that we had used, and was rather docile considering he was trapped in the upstairs of a newspaper office.

A call for help to Joe Brady of near Patriot had him at our office a short time later, and Joe carefully lifted the cage to take him out of the office and out of town.

The raccoon didn’t seem to mind, with the exception of our pest control guy asking if it was a male or female, which caused Joe to tilt the cage for a determination.

So Vevay Newspapers is now free of raccoons in the upstairs (as far as we know). After having found a chicken roosting in our tree a couple of year back, we’re beginning to wonder if there’s an ark in our future.

It just goes to show: there’s nothing funnier than everyday life.