I wasn’t going to admit this to anyone, because the last time I did, it was met with uproarious laughter. But this morning, eleven years later, I’ve been vindicated by The New York Times.
In the fall of 2011 my husband and I moved from Manhattan, with our two children, to the New Jersey suburbs. It was a time of great change for me. The greatest of which was trading my job of twelve years as a cosmetics industry communications executive, for a stay-at-home-momship−which is similar to an internship in that you receive on-the-job training for no pay, but unlike an internship, because it’s a permanent position for which you’ll never be paid.
The first few days in this new life met me with some curveballs. A lightning storm on the first night, which caused a blackout, had me reaching for my cell phone to call the super. But sharp as I am, I quickly realized we left him on the upper-west-side. The next morning I woke at sunrise because I’d forgotten to close the blinds the night before. I sat in bed looking around my new bedroom, and out of the corner of my eye, I noticed someone was looking at me through the window. Well, not someone, something. A deer.
This caused an unprecedented freak-out. The beast was huge! And it was in my new backyard standing about ten feet from my bedroom window. Which meant it was unacceptably close to my kids’ windows too. I leapt out of bed, with guileless determination. I was not prepared for this kind of thing.
What did this deer want from me? From us? I sprinted to the kitchen door to check the locks. Same for the front door. My heart raced as I ran back to look in on my kids, safe in their beds. I grabbed the phone to call my husband, but quickly put it back. No, this was my first day in the suburbs. I needed to handle this on my own. Should I call the police? Do they handle break-ins of this nature?
I took a deep breath. And called my mother-in-law, a voice of reason. She raised five children in the New Jersey suburbs. She’d know what to do.
“Peggy,” I panted with fear, “there’s a deer in my backyard staring at me through the bedroom window. What do I do? I checked the doors, everything is locked.”
Silence on the other end.
“Do you think he’s hungry? He looks hungry.” I ran to my refrigerator. “Oh my God, Peggy, he’s enormous. What do these beasts eat? Do you think the kids are in danger?” A package of Hebrew Nationals was in the deli drawer. “I’ve got hot dogs. I’m just gonna throw them out the kitchen window.” I raced to the window, unlocked it and opened the package of hot dogs. God, did they stink. I’ve always hated the smell of raw hot dogs. “They smell like hell but there’s no way I’m cooking this hotdog for a deer! No flipping way! Take it or leave it,” I reported this to my mother-in-law.
Finally I heard something on the other end of the phone. It started as polite laughter. Then she said, “I don’t think he’ll care whether the hot dogs are cooked or not.”
“Right. Beggars can’t be choosers. ‘You get what you get, and you don’t get upset’,” I recited the jingle that my daughter’s pre-school teacher tells the kids when they don’t get their favorite book, snack, seat etc.
“Well, yeah. That’s true,” Peggy agreed. “And because deer are herbivores.”
This stopped me dead in my tracks. Yes. Of course. Deer are herbivores. And hence, they will not be gastronomically satiated by a hot dog or a small child.
“But it’s a good thing you locked the doors,” she said, “because it won’t be long until he sees that palm tree you have in the living room.” Boy did that give Peggy a good laugh.
Okay, yes, it’s riotously funny that I thought a deer would turn the knob on my front door with its hoof. But the truth is I was just ahead of my time. This morning The New York Times reported that because of this summer’s drought, more deer, bear and elk are coming out of the wilderness and busting into the candy stores and kitchens of the unsuspecting. In fact, a resident of Choteau, Montana came home to find a bear in his kitchen eating bread and peanut butter. Unfortunately, the bear met with a premature demise. If only that bear would have seen the Uncrustables in the pantry, he could have saved himself the time of making a sandwich and been assured of a clean getaway.
Something only a mom would’ve known. You just can’t buy that kind of know-how.
Have you ever been hustled by an animal for food? Ever find a deer in your kitchen? A bear in your basement? Let us hear about it.