Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Some Lessons just STINK!

Our son turns 12 next week, and what I've learned about boys who are on the cusp of the teenage years is that they are hopelessly, unabashedly impulsive.

They are 100% committed to adventure- 0% committed to the consequences.

They are prone to shenanigans.

They shoot from the hip and don't think stuff through.

They learn from trial and error....mostly error.

Phrases like, "Well THAT didn't work." only spur them on to further exploration.

Failure does not detour them from trying something even more stupid.

They will add an element of danger to even the most mundane tasks.


Last week, we discovered a family of skunks living under our equipment shed.  They come out after dark and wander the property, never raising their little striped tails in anger.  Our son, being a young Davy Crockett from the wrong era, simply cannot abide by the code of  "live and let live."  From the moment he discovered their presence, he has been plotting a plan to eradicate them from the face of this earth.

After a bit of research, he spent no less than 45 minutes creating a primitive snare to trap and kill the skunks upon exiting their hole.

Day after day, he modified and tested his snare so it would be bigger and better, and more efficient.

Sometimes we would catch a hint of skunk in the air, and he would sprint out to see if he was successful. Often times, the trap had been set off, but he always came up empty handed.

Not once did he ever wonder what he would do if he actually caught the skunk.

After a week of failure, he was more determined than ever to eradicate those stinky, striped beasts lurking under the equipment shed... even though they hadn't harmed a soul.

He called in the BIG dogs for help.  Enter the wisdom and experience of the older generations of men in the family who gave him a large trap, and  a handful of horrible advice.

"If you trap a skunk, throw a tarp over it and it won't spray you."...they said.

"If the skunk can't raise its tail up completely in the trap, then you won't get sprayed."....they said.

"If you shoot it, it will spray you when it dies."...they said.

Armed with a large trap, a new sense of expertise, and sheer will power, our boy baited the trap with dog food, and set it outside the hole under the shed.

Then he went to bed while he waited... never doubting that he would be 100% successful.

Morning arrived, and this is what my husband found:


So at 6:00 am, the entire house was awakened with the hollering of our boy, and the sheer excitement of his first legitimate trapping... followed by a dramatic pause and the sudden realization that he had NO IDEA what he was going to do next.

Remember: boys don't think things through.

My husband was concerned because the skunk was small and could literally pace back and forth in the trap which meant that he could spray if he wanted.

My son looked at his dad like, "What, now?"

So my husband decided to put a blanket over the trap. Sneakily, sneakily, he crept over to the trap with the blanket.  As soon as he approached the cage, the skunk unleashed.  Within 3 seconds, we were all sprinting to the house from the putrid smell.

I made a mad dash to close the doors and windows before the smell permeated the house, and my husband made a mad dash for the keys because he was going to be late for work if he stayed another minute.

This left me and the kids to suffer with the dreaded stench of skunk that could be sniffed a mile away. I put a tarp over the cage, tied a rope to edge of the metal, and left the whole thing there for my husband to deal with after work.

At this point, my son realized he was in over his head, and decided that this was a job for someone older and wiser than he was, so he agreed to comply.

The "Skunk Bandits" went about their morning barn chores and feeding dressed with bandannas and something up their noses to ward off the offending smell that was only steps away from where they walked.

The truck smelled like skunk, the yard smelled like skunk, and my husband's clothes smelled like skunk.

After a very long day, my husband came home with rubber gloves, and "took care" of the problem.  All the while, my son's grandpa and great-grandpa were having a good laugh over the whole thing with frequent phone calls and updates on how the trapping was going. My dad was even in town to witness the thing first-hand...while laughing, of course, and dolling out "expert advice".  Now his trap reeks like skunk, and I'm my son is going to have to wash it in tomato juice to rid it of the offending odor.

Today is a new day, and our boy will go forth with the new knowledge that trapping skunks is not the best idea in the world.

Of course, he had to learn that the hard way.

His latest hair-brained scheme: put the trap up high with sardines inside to catch raccoons.

Oh, brother.

Like I always say: Boys will be boys...and apparently from the volume of laughter and sheer enjoyment it brought to the older generations, I'd say that old men are nothing but over-grown boys, as well.

Hopefully we can get through today with a little less "adventure".



  1. Great story! LOL! That pic with the bandana's on the kid's face - too funny! Hopefully you can get rid of all those "stinky kitties"! :)
    I just noticed the "bubble gum boots", I have a pair just like that.

  2. Awesome! I am going to read this story to my hubby. I am sure it will unleash a few stories about him when he was a boy that I have yet to discover. ;)

  3. Your post just made my day! I laughed until tears are running down my face. You never have a dull day. Thanks for you blog!

  4. oh my!!!!! I laughed so hard I cried..thanks for the warning on what I have to look forward too...my son is 7....