Situation normal

1950/18th July 2022

“The raccoons haven’t been around lately”, I commented two nights ago.

And promptly, as if summoned, they arrived.

Mother does a good job keeping the kits together while they move about.

Then it all falls to bits as the squabbling starts.

Late arrival means slim pickings.

Junior shot off around to the porch and laid claim.


For all of 30 seconds!…

“Get your butt out of my face!”

Then there was general pushing and shoving

From which mother was not exempt.

“All right, you little shits. These are for me!”

Before long the kits will be as big as mom, and she gets no sort of priority.

It’s a frenzy, not only in the raccoon world…

We’ve received the pigeon seal of approval.

What with wildlife and the eleven cats, our days are more usually chaotic than not.

Yesterday morning, when I was going through my routine, something seemed not quite right:

“Whose fat butt is that?”

It surely wasn’t Red!

“What a cheek!”

Clearly the little acrobat has worked it out.

He was looking very smug about it.

There was morning mist about and one thought led to another, as they invariably do; “smug” became “smog” which I have quite a few memories of.

In the 1950’s London had smog that was so bad on occasion, birds went to roost.

But it didn’t become significant to me personally until the early days of my employ at JFK.

Flights into and out of London in the 70’s were often disrupted, for all sorts of reasons.

If it wasn’t American Air Traffic Control , an aircraft defect, or some new strike in England, it was weather.

SMOG arrived inevitably for Christmas, which was very tiresome. Delayed passengers would retort angrily: “You’ve ruined our Christmas!”

It became their favourite whinge.

“Ruining Christmas” was taboo.

It was particular fun when unaccompanied minors were stranded, because that meant someone had to be delegated to stay with them overnight in a local hotel.

It was an assignment not many of us wanted, even though it represented good overtime pay.

(You couldn’t bribe me enough)

Thoughts of the “old days” were still rolling around in my head when Grant summoned me downstairs, seeking an opinion…

He had just obtained a new work table and was trying to decide on a revised floor plan.

Instantly, I began to view the area as a loading diagram.

These days, the loading of aircraft is calculated by computer. So very boring.

We got to do it manually.

For many of us, this was a coveted function because it gave us a break from the travelling public.

Our job was to figure out what should be loaded where in the aircraft “holds”, in order to “maximize load”, while adhering to safety conditions and good passenger service (such as not burying baggage beneath heavy cargo).

Before containerized aeroplanes came along and took so much fun out of life, this could be quite a challenge as it often seemed like trying to fit 10 pounds into a 5-pound bag.

If “stuff” got left behind, you had to explain why.

Packing and re-packing suitcases was early practice for me. One learned to prioritize.

In the case of Grant’s floor plan it was probably more a matter of my being able to view it with detachment.

“That there, this here and that over there,” I suggested and as I am happily not required to assist with moving furniture, I retreated.

This morning, Grant showed me the end result which was basically what I had pictured. It’s always nice to know you haven’t totally lost your touch!

Not that I plan to be loading aeroplanes or packing suitcases anytime soon.

My furry friend here said he could use help figuring out how to maximize his peanut intake.

From the size of him, I think he’s got that in hand. Or in his belly, more like.

The other day when it was raining, this poor little scrap came staggering out and for a few minutes I watched.

It took a drink and seemed normal enough.

But then it seemed to be overcome with the dozies.

A seriously jet-lagged travel companion once fell asleep over her bowl of soup and this was a version of that.

Coming to, it seized mouthfuls of grass, then repeated the behaviour several times.

“Hypoglycemic, missus. That’s all!”

Today, Grant rummaged around to find the where-withal to create not just a water bowl but an actual swimming bath for our visitors.

So I had better go and put on my lifeguard hat.

(No. It’s not deep!)

3 thoughts on “Situation normal

  1. Oh, to keep those lot (the raccoons) together when it comes to eating, must be a tough task! There’s a very good reason why I didn’t become a teacher … to take care of other people’s kids … I think not! Oh yeah, let the swimming begin ☀️.

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