Raccoon update: it turns out that Julie, our upstairs neighbour, has already hired a trapper to come out next week and deal with "unusually heavy squirrels" stomping around in her ceiling. Raccoon's days may be numbered.
I feel like we're not living perfectly in harmony with nature here. Since we moved in here three years ago, we've had:
* the aforementioned goddamn raccoon
* squirrels. They haven't come into our apartment, but they prance around the garden, kill our plants and terrorise Julie on the top floor. Trappers/roof repair is a regular line item in our co-op's budget. This year we think we've found the hole they use and have been engaging in complex and boring negotiations with our neighbours to fix it or let us on to their roof to do it ourselves. They've finally agreed.
* pigeons. These don't bother us at all, but the upstairs apartments have a running battle with pigeon poop on their windowsills and we have half-assed conversations at yearly intervals about whether we should, like, maybe do something about it? Mostly we don't.
* mice. Some of the other apartments mentioned them, but we didn't see any until we got Alex. He brings us one from time to time, usually dead, but sometimes still wriggling. I tell him he's a good cat when they're already dead, but honestly it would be ok if he left them outside.
* moths. Hey, the previous owner left these nice lacy curtains. We should keep them and use the fabric for something. [time passes]. Ok, bad idea! BAD IDEA!
* termites, maybe. The last time an apartment in here was sold, the surveyor told us there were termites in the boiler room and would we like to hire him (at an unusually good rate!) to remove them. The co-op voted that we would. I still think we got scammed.
* mosquitos. God, they're vicious. The garden was a wilderness when we moved in, and it took months before we'd found all of the pots of manky standing water that the previous owner had apparently set up for mosquito sexy times. It's been better since that first year, but they still get pretty thick in late summer, especially when the figs are falling on the ground and making a little pats of sugar on the ground.
* ants. One invasion in 2010, but we put down some kind of deterrent and they've stayed out since then. There's still a colony in the garden, which is great because ants are great (so long as they stay outside).
* fleas. Oy, that was a rough first summer. We quickly learned about monthly applications of Frontline for outdoor cats in hot weather and it's been fine since then.
* one tick, found dead. I guess the Frontline works.
We've so far been spared rats, roaches, and (fingers crossed, knock on wood, light a candle) bedbugs.
To balance that out, we get tons of little garden birds (mostly sparrows and cardinals), butterflies and bees, and one morning I met an opossum walking down the street, which was pretty cool. And we get fireflies, some years. Fireflies make up for an awful lot.
Joel's folks get skunks, black widow spiders, scorpions, gophers, ground squirrels and rattlesnakes, so I do realise that we get off lightly up here in the soft Northeast :-)