For weeks my neighbors had been telling me that they've been watching a large raccoon climb in and out of our chimney. I only heard scratching once. I just hoped that the coon had abandoned our premises. But the reports kept coming in.
And many nights about ten PM I'd hear a scampering across our roof which I came to assume was the nocturnal bandit going off to a night's work.
I finally got around to calling the professionals last Wednesday to cap our chimney - warning them to check carefully for Ms. Raccoon before closing off the pipe with a cage on top.
Three guys showed up to do the deed. One climbed the roof and peered in the chimney with a flashlight. Yup. There's a big critter in there, he reported from the roof. The boss went inside and together we made a lot of banging noise inside the fireplace - based on my extensive research on the Internet that informed me that raccoons do not like to nest in noisy places.
That stirred the critter enough to drive her up to the top of the chimney but not out of it. Our chief chimney professional then went into smoke-out mode and started burning newspaper inside the flue, while his deputy stood armed with a hoe on the roof ready to shoo away the offending animal.
Some tense minutes later the being had enough of the smoke and jumped from our chimney onto the roof, then down to the ground and finally down the block and away.
The soldiers quickly affixed a cage to our chimney, collected their reward and drove off into the sunset.
As George W would say, "Mission Accomplished."