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Raccoons Reloaded: The Battle Continues

October 12, 2011 18:06

It's been awhile since I've written about any raccoons. And that's because I haven't been bitten by one in a whole year. 

So, let me remind you about where we live, and why being attacked by a raccoon in my backyard in broad daylight came as a real surprise. We live in the middle of a very urban neighborhood. Two blocks from a Starbucks. Three blocks from a movie theater. 4 blocks from a hospital. It's not the country. Look, I made a little map to show you:

Last Tuesday, in preparing *our* nest for our pending arrival, we finally decided to call Critter Control about the squirrel nest we believed was in our attic. Only when critter control came out, they said it wasn't a squirrel nest but a raccoon nest.

Critter Control charges $90 per live animal removed, and they said that raccoons are notoriously hard to catch. Somehow, Bill took this as a challenge. 4 large, live animal traps from Home Depot and some cat food later, we were in business.

Wednesday morning Bill ventured into the backyard to discover all 4 traps sprung - by 3 possums and a squirrel. I commented that we would probably not catch any raccoons if smaller, dumber animals kept occupying our traps before raccoons had the opportunity. This resulted in Bill driving to Home Depot to buy 4 more traps. He also drove to East St. Louis, Illinois to release the possums and squirrel, operating on the assumption that it would be really hard for them to cross the Mississippi River.

Thursday morning, with all 8 traps online, Bill caught 3 squirrels and 2 possums, and conned one of his employees into driving the animals to Illinois. I could tell he was disappointed in the day's haul.

And then, JACKPOT. I couldn't sleep well on Thursday night and ended up moving to the guest room, which is right off of the backyard. Between 3 and 4 AM I heard three traps go off. Trapper Bill would be pleased. The next morning when I peered out the guest room window I discerned one very big, very ticked off raccoon in the only trap I could see clearly. 

I tiptoed into our room and, like a mother waking the little ones on Christmas morning, said "Billllyyyyy... there's something outside for you!" Bill hopped down the stairs half-dressed to discover: 3 raccoons, 1 possum, and the meanest tom cat in the neighborhood, who's been beating up our kitty for more than 2 years! All in one night!

We entered into a lengthy negotiation on the difference between transporting possums and squirrels across state lines versus raccoons, all while Bill is attempting to cover the meanest raccoon's cage with a towel, using a rake for distance, only to have the coon grab the towel and hurl it back at Bill with gutteral exclamations and complete bolidy abandonment that we really should have recorded to scare the bejesus out of our kids some day. I reminded him that we would look especially stupid having to go back to the ER for a second raccoon wound within 12 months - come on, this is not Animal Hoarders!

Thank GOD, just as the argument reached a breaking point, a guy from Critter Control showed up to check the one cage that they had installed themselves, on the roof - and found a 4th raccoon!! Bill acquiesed to the $90 per animal fee and the guy threw in the live possum for free. Lucky us! He said they take the raccoons to a "farm" one of the employees owns. I bet my pet fish Celery is there too. And Bill dropped the cat off at the humane society, which for this cat was an especially kind thing to do.

We were both so wired by the whole experience that we didn't get any good photos. There's one below of two of the raccoons in the critter control van, and another of our kitty Me sniffing at the cage that held his sworn enemy.

So the grand tally for Bill's 72-hour trapping extravaganza came to: 5 possums, 4 squirrels, 4 raccoons and a mean old tom cat. It's like Appalachia over here. We had to take a break so that Bill could go back to his day job.

That being said, we're considering picking back up tonight. If you are interested in a live rally squirrel we might be willing to make a deal.


The Reluctant Momtrepreneur

September 21, 2011 13:39

It's remarkable how many people ask me how many kids I have (instead of whether I do). Sure, I'm 34, and I run a kids' related business, so it's only natural that it will come up in conversation. What surprises me is the surprise many seem to register when they learn that I don't have children. I often end up telling the story of the founders: they picked diapers not because of any passion for the subject (duh!), but because they did exhaustive research on Google to determine what markets were being underserved, and diapers came up at the top of the list. Parents were searching for diapers online, and no fantastic sites were responding to their needs.

To me, Makaboo is of the same vein, only the original idea came from personal experience instead of Google research: I was buying a lot of baby gifts, and as someone who worked 50-60 hours a week and lived in a different city than many friends, I was buying all of my gifts online. Whenever I searched for a fantastic, unique baby gift online, I came up short. I saw an opportunity and had the background, skills, resources and network to take advantage of that opportunity.

Stated another way: my decision to launch Makaboo had nothing to do with my gender or my (nonexistent) experience as a parent. It had to do with my experience as a consumer.

In the last two years, as I've been asked over and over how old my kids are, I've also become aware of how many media and business opportunities are open only to "momtrepreneurs". Whether it be high-profile media contests or business plan competitions/funding opportunities, there's a huge demand for stories of women who own businesses and have children. Which to me begs the question: why aren't there competitions for men who run businesses and have children? And what about my *not* having children makes the Makaboo story - or my own - any less compelling?

So, it's with some professional ambivalence that I share the very exciting news that my husband and I are expecting. We're due on St. Patrick's Day, which is very exciting to my uber-Irish hubby. I have to admit, I'm a bit of a rebel and I've enjoyed bucking the expectations of so many by being just a plain-old childless, female entrepreneur. I don't have a great deal of anxiety about making it all work: Bill and I will find a way to serve our businesses and our new family well. And hey, I guess now I can apply for all of those momtrepreneur programs I keep seeing! Even though the word makes me more squeamish than my morning sickness does.

Introducing Stephen Joseph Personalized Backpacks and Lunchboxes!

September 19, 2011 13:26

We are so excited to be featuring Stephen Joseph personalized backpacks, lunchboxes and binders on Makaboo!

We scoured the market in search of monogrammed backpacks that are high-quality, durable and adorable, and we finally found the perfect match with Stephen Joseph.

Just in time for Back-to-School, we've launched with three styles of backpacks, one set of lunchboxes, and even binders for the older kids! They're already doing well, and we look forward to adding more Stephen Joseph products in the coming months. If you have a favorite Stephen Joseph product or design, let us know.

Stephen Joseph Personalized Backpacks - Large

Personalized Stephen Joseph Backpack - large


Stephen Joseph Personalized Backpacks - Small

Personalized Stephen Joseph Backpack - small


Stephen Joseph Personalized Quilted Backpacks

Personalized Stephen Joseph Quilted Backpack


Stephen Joseph Personalized Binders

Stephen Joseph Personalized Binders


Stephen Joseph Personalized Lunch Box

Stephen Joseph Personalized Lunch Box



I Haven't Written Since When??

September 18, 2011 13:09

Holy cow it is ridiculous how long it's been since I've blogged!

Let's see: what's happened at the Boo since July?

- I went to Northern Michigan with 12 other Teasdales ages three to seventy-six. I heard recently that sojourns with family are called "trips" and sojourns with just spouses or spouses and friends are called "vacations". I think this is fair.

- I went to New York twice; once for ENK's Kids Show, and once for the International Gift Fair. It's pretty incredible what qualifies as a gift these days. No one's ever given me a $50,000 chandelier.

- We had a fantastic August - our 2nd-best month ever, which is pretty remarkable for a non-holiday month!

There's never a good excuse for being quiet, but I can promise that I've been busy! We have a number of exciting projects and efforts underway - that I'm not allowed to talk about! It's sort of like asking a four-year-old not to eat the marshmallow in front of her. It's going to be hard, but I can do it!

Stay posted.


We Made the A-List

July 11, 2011 15:36

We're very excited to be on this year's A-List! A big thanks Saint Louis Magazine and its editors for naming Makaboo Personalized Gifts best local online retailer! We will be partying down at the big event this Thursday! Visit and make some A-List personalized baby gifts for all the special little ones in your life.

Makaboo is St. Louis Magazine's Pick for Top Online Retailer

8 Hilarious Mini Makabooers Stop By Show Me St. Louis

July 11, 2011 15:20

Makaboo stopped by Show Me St. Louis on Friday for a personalized toddler fashion show and I think it was our most hilarious live TV outing yet. Note 2.5-yr-old Max B. smacking his belly with panache, 3-yr-old Maren bunny-hopping her way into the spotlight, and 5-yr-old Max P. making faces at himself in the monitor. They'll have us back in no time, right?!?

Our Elephant Gets a Name - Pickles!

July 11, 2011 14:29

Last summer we asked our Facebook fans to name our Monkey, and we picked our favorite of the many entries we received. Ever since then, Milton the Monkey's been a little big in his britches for being our only icon with a proper name. So this summer we turned to our Facebook fans again and asked them to name our Elephant!

We got more than 60 entries in just 3 days, and posted our 10 favorites for Facebook fans to vote:












Fans quickly gravitated to two names - Peanut and Pickles - and it was a nailbiter to the very end! When the polls closed at 4pm CST on Friday, Pickles was the winner by fewer than 5 votes. I have to admit that I had been rooting for Pickles since the beginning because of its origins - Jennifer Banks Harris submitted it "because that's what all the pregnant women perusing your site are craving!"

So, meet Pickles!!


Makaboo Elephant Icon: Pickles


You Know Your Nephews Really Love You...

July 6, 2011 15:48

You know your 7-year-old nephews must really love you when they're willing to wear shirts with their names on them even when they don't think monogrammed things are cool anymore. Now that's taking one for the team! Which is an especially appropriate analogy in this case since they'd be wearing Yankees jerseys if they had their way.

I don't get to see my adorable Rye, NY-based twin nephews Nate and Elliot very often. We try to find some time when I'm in NYC for trade shows, but the place where we always have QT together is over the summer in Charlevoix, Michigan, where my parents have a cottage. I've been going to Charlevoix since I was two, and it's so much fun to see my 5 Teasdale nieces and nephews cavorting on the same beach where my friends and I did 30 years ago.

This photo was from a big July 4th picnic, and Elliot was kind enough to say, when I told him I appreciated him providing some free Makaboo advertising, that his hoodie was very comfortable. What manners!

Nate and Elliot's mom Caroline reported that she was especially pleased with the hoodies, as no one had to ask which twin was which!




Nate and Elliot Celebrating July 4th

Our Favorite Grandparent Nicknames!

June 13, 2011 16:30

We loved all of the great entries in our Funny Grandparent Nicknames Contest on Facebook last week! We got close to 60 entries in 3 days. Here were our 10 favorites, and congratulations to the winner Amy Cvetkovich!

Top 10 Funny Grandparent Nicknames


Amy Cvetkovich: To distinguish our grandparents from each other, as kids, we started calling them after the names of their pets. We had Grandma Stinky and Grandpa Brandy and another with a Siamese who we called Grandma Mai Ling...

Diane Certa Villhard: Papa Dogs (simply because he likes dogs) and Grandma Tootsie (because she hands out tootsie rolls)

Laura Murray: Gummo & frecks. Nini (pronounced knee knee) {which I might also add is the state bird of Hawaii and is a goose!} & who dat. And my husbands grandma was nanny boat.

Michael Small: ‎"Gingham" for Grandma. Our 18 month old Sadie randomly began referring to Grandma as "Gingham." Not sure why that's easier to say than "Grandma," but it stuck. Now our 4 year old Sabrina refers to Grandma as "Gingham" also.

Wendy-Lynn Perrone Christiansen:  Our grandson's faternal grandmother is she is call Yia Yia...while visiting Nicholas for the 1st time our niece asked...since you (Maria) are a Yia Yia...does that make Micheal a Yo Yo...well it's stuck...Yia Yia and Yo Yo!

Katie Lazarus Bettini: We call my grandmother "Darling." When her oldest grandson was just a baby she would say, "well, hello darling" and he started calling her "Darling" in return. It stuck and many MANY grandchildren and great grandchildren later she is still our "Darling." ♥

Elise Hart Lapke: Muffer and Dude!

Elizabeth Bolen Stookey: My grandmother went by Gogi, the oldest grandson wanted a drink of her Coke and it came out "Gogi", so it stuck. Now my parents are called Gogi B and Tappy by the grandkids. Tappy comes from him constantly tapping on everything as he is a percussionist!

Laura Walsh Smith: My kids call my mom Sassy and my dad Grumps.

Emily Stein MacDonald: We aren't too exciting as far as names for my grandparents (Granny, Gramps, etc.), but my mom and dad coined their own names for Ella (and now for Lizzie's Henry) ... Big Mama and Itchie.


Adorable Triplets Gifts

May 17, 2011 10:16

We've had some super cute triplet gifts lately!

Our first was a set of Angel Dear Heirloom Blankets for two boys and a girl. Get it? Their parents must be pop culture fans... you other brothers can't deny!


Angel Dear Heirloom Satin Trim Baby Blankets


The next was inspired by the first, but they didn't know genders yet so they decided to stay neutral - then they threw in a hilarious gift for the pending arrivals' older brother - he's going to have a lot of arghing to do.


Bella Bliss Sun Hat & Kissy Kissy Baby Hats

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