The Ranting Wife, when she was The Ranting Fiancée, went to graduate school at Miami University, in Oxford, Ohio. (No, not that Miami. In fact the local bookstore sells shirts that state “Miami was a University before Florida was a state!”). As part of her graduate program she served as an Assistant Hall Director for Stanton Hall (a residence hall on campus) and later worked several years as a full-time Hall Director. As a result, we lived in a very small suite that consisted of a tiny bathroom and two rooms that were 8×10 in size. That’s it.
During the school year we lived with hundreds of students and one semester suffered through almost nightly fire alarms. As a vast majority of the students disappear during the summer, the residence halls get very quiet at that time. Wonderfully quiet.
One summer night I stepped into our bathroom and heard a sound that I thought was coming from the laundry room located below our suite. It sounded like a pair of jeans in a dryer going around and around, with the zipper hitting the inside over and over. As there shouldn’t be anyone else in the building and I knew we were not doing laundry, I went down with a little apprehension. The laundry room was silent. After going back up, I returned to the bathroom and heard the sound again. Tracking the sound, I looked out the window to the dumpster just feet away. (Yes. In addition to being in a small set of rooms, we had the laundry room below and the dumpster right outside our window).
Wearing only a t-shirt and shorts (no shoes), I went out to the dumpster. The dumpster had been emptied at the end of the semester and the lid had been left open to air it out several weeks before. The sound was coming from inside the dumpster. I walked up to it and peered in. The sound stopped and at the bottom of the dumpster, there was a pair of eyes looking back up at me. A raccoon. A big raccoon and nothing else in the dumpster. It obviously had gotten in and was struggling to get out.
I stepped back and thought through the problem. As I saw it there were three options:
- I could call the campus police – The little town of Oxford had a small police department, but on campus the Miami police ruled. Fearing that the solution would involve a bullet (and as the dumpster would not be emptied again for months it would also mean a rotting raccoon right outside my window), I decided this would not be my solution.
- I could ignore it – Eventually the raccoon would die off. Again, both cruel and a rotting raccoon outside my window. Again, not my solution.
- I could try to free it
I went back inside and looked for something that the raccoon could use to help it climb out. We had some large, long cardboard boxes that were flattened out. I went back outside and slid the cardboard into the dumpster at an angle so the raccoon could use it as a ramp. As the end of the cardboard went into the dumpster, the raccoon went crazy. It ran around banging into the sides of the dumpster trying to get away from this intruder.
Once the cardboard was in, I ran back inside and looked out the window. The raccoon calmed down and there was silence. Eventually I watched the top of the cardboard wiggle as the raccoon started moving up it. Then there was a wooosh….BANG! The raccoon had made it part up the ramp and it must have turned into a slide. There was a pause and then the vibrations started again. Once again wooosh….BANG! Then a third wooosh….BANG! That is when the cardboard bent and fell into the dumpster.
Recognizing that the raccoon now knew what to do, I went out with two more boxes (so it would be stronger). I slid it into the dumpster and once it hit the bottom, I could feel the raccoon climbing immediately up. Here I was, holding the top end of the boxes, in nothing but a t-shirt and shorts and fully expecting a raccoon to run up this new ramp and right into my face. I quickly let go of the boxes and once again retreated inside.
After another two wooosh….BANG! episodes, the raccoon climbed to the top. It walked along the top edge of the dumpster and looked down inside. That is when the cardboard started vibrating again. There was more than one in there! The second raccoon slid quite a few times but also made it out alive.
I bet the raccoons didn’t find anything this delicious in that dumpster!
A pretty basic recipe.
Fry the tomatoes and spices.
Add the shrimp.
Mix with the feta.
Broiled Greek Shrimp
prep 15 mins ∙ source Camillesweeney.blogspot.com
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 5 garlic cloves, pressed
- 1 14 1/2oz can diced tomatoes, drained
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley, divided
- 1 lbs large raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1 cup crumbled Feta cheese
- 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
In a skillet over medium heat, heat olive oil. Add garlic and saute for 30 seconds. Add tomatoes and half the parsley. Reduce heat; simmer 10 minutes. Add shrimp and cook for 5 minutes. Pour mixture into a broiler-proof baking dish and sprinkle with Feta cheese. Broil till nicely melted and slightly brown on top. Watch as it broils. It takes only a second!
Before serving, sprinkle with parsley, lemon juice, and pepper.