This project on my Honey Do List should have been short and sweet.


It was horrifying and EXHAUSTING. (Read on.)


I gathered my things as soon as we pulled into the garage because we’d been out all morning, and while Muffin finished snoozing in her car seat.


(Don’t rush to call 9-1-1…today was sunny and beautiful, slight breeze and 74, all doors open, Mommy right there.)


My husband took down an extra piece of lattice over the weekend (that somebody had used to keep a dog under the porch). The project was to scrape off the peeling paint and touch up the paint on the original lattice underneath.


Repainting Lattice
The job at hand.





I quickly browsed my dwindling stock of Home Depot mistints and leftovers for a can of off-white paint with the Scarlet “OIL” marked on it. Something I’d bought years back and couldn’t quite throw away.


Then I arrogantly shook, pre-opened, and stirred it, changed into paint scrubs from the laundry, selected a scraper and a rake, threw an almost empty trash can over my shoulder and deposited all of it (and a miniature green plastic Adirondack chair for my soon to awaken spectator) in front of the lattice.


Fun, right?


Muffin woke with all my rattling (gathering two additional scrapers and a wire brush – it never ceases to amaze me how many tools I can involve in a simple task) and had zero intention of lounging in her lawn chair when she could “help” me scrape.


Baby Helper
On the Right: Helping. On the Left: Not so Much.


Soon after is when she noticed the open gallon of paint and I, quickly putting it in the open trash can out of her reach, noticed the possum…just in time.


Possum in Trash Can

And the screams commenced.


We share our home with wildlife. Deer trot through the yard to nibble on compost (which I don’t mind). Birds poop on the deck furniture (which I do mind). Hard shelled turtles must be redirected before meeting the mower’s blade. Chipmunks root tunnels in the soft mossy ground on the side of the house. Spiders weave their eternal webs on light fixtures and in porch eaves. Red ants busy themselves with mounds along the driveway and by the mailbox. Carpenter bees leave saw dust under the deck railings and eat their through shovel handles. Squirrels have lover’s quarrels ’round and ’round the tree trunks and hawks perch silently in the limbs.


But I didn’t know about the possums!


I was ready to start beating on doors for help.  The neighbor who had spent six hours a day the last couple of weeks cutting down trees and bundling firewood? Vanished.  The next door skater dude who whizzes by every fifteen minutes and pulls out his ear buds to talk?  Nowhere.  The men replacing a roof across the street?  Still pounding away.

My little daughter?  Terrified by a Mommy who needed to rein it in!

The little guy looked dead, but wasn’t.  I nervously pushed at the garbage can with the handle of my rake to allow its freedom.  And me and the baby ran inside.

My husband said tonight on our walk, “I just want to know if you talked to the possum?”  And I said, “Of course not!”

But then I remembered, “What are you doing here?  How did you get here?  What do I do with you?  You’re horrible!  Horrible!  Nasty!  Get out!  Get out! Get out!  My trash can!  Mine!”

After this, I told my husband that realizing the trash can had just moment before been slung over shoulder “sent” me.  So he asked, “Where’d it send you? And any possibility you can stay?”  And I couldn’t get him to understand how, when disturbed, the possum could have reared up with its horrible teeth and claws to chomp down on my neck, and how I’d be on a terror run through the neighborhood as it hung on ’til the bitter end, having to be axed from my body by the roofers, and then the ambulance ride, and rabies shots, and who would keep the baby from running in the road?


He didn’t see (or appreciate) how close he came to almost losing us!


I came inside wanting to shut all the doors in the house and wash my whole body.  Jumpy.  I saw the scattered remains of a dead flower on the kitchen counter (my daughter picks them) and recoiled.  I mushed down on a sock in the laundry room and jumped back three feet.


I played Glenn Miller’s “In the Mood” several times (thanks Grandma!), took a call from a girlfriend, fed the baby, texted my husband, put the baby down and was calm enough to carry on.


So to prove it, I left the paint drying in the can while I wrote a blog post.


We ventured back out a couple of hours later when Muffin was awake again.  No possum in sight but still with my toddler who is capable of turning even the simplest of projects into a disaster…starting with dumping the scrapers in the paint.


Paint Disaster

Then falling face first into the grass where the scrapers had just been wiped clean.


Baby with Paint
I can’t make this stuff up. If we celebrated Halloween she’d be ready early.

Once I cleaned her up inside, we went back out for another round and she kept running away.  So I scooped her up and retrieved my go-to solution: The Pak-n-Play.


Baby in Playpen
No Peace in the ‘hood right now.

That’s when Muffin’s inner Gorilla emerged, and she let the neighborhood know that she has: The.  Worst.  Mommy.  Ever!  And I was quickly moving the playpen to a more level spot in the grass before it tipped over completely.


…and painting as fast as I could.


How to Paint Lattice
The Hurried Process.

It’s not my proudest work: partially dried paint, runs, streaks, missed spots, dirt, clumped brush…if the AC unit wasn’t behind the lattice I might have just thrown the gallon of paint at it and called it a day.


Baby Drinking From Hose
Cute, eh?

In retrospect (and for the future) there are only two things that would have made this job enjoyable:


1. If my husband did the project.
2. If my husband watched the baby!  While I did it.


Note to self: Do all home improvement projects while baby is napping.  Save more peaceful (and safe) activities such as blogging for when the baby is awake.


What kind of wildlife do you share your home with?




This is project 2 of 5 of “A Fall Weather Project a Day (and a blog post) for a Week.” Read about Project 1 here, Project 3a here, and Project 3b here.