It was a cold night, and I felt I had just fallen asleep when I heard a loud noise coming through the wall. I rolled over and looked at the clock next to our bed – 2 a.m. “Bam, bam,” there it was again.

I jumped out of bed, threw my pants on, grabbed a flashlight and ran downstairs to the door to the garage. Fearing intruders, I moved gently, anticipating facing my invader. The adrenalin was pumping and I was going to war.

It had been a long time since I had prepared for battle, but now was the time. If need be, I would lay down my life for my family.

I gently turned the knob of the door leading to the garage and realized it was still locked. Good sign. I gently turned the knob and aimed the light into the garage. Both cars were still there. Also good. As I aimed the light around the garage, I saw that I had not put the garage doors up yet. So no garage doors. That’s bad.

I had designed the two-story, two-car garage to accommodate the cars and a second-floor studio. The noise was coming from up there.

I aimed my light toward the stairs and began to carefully walk up the stairs. I would stop at each level and listen. When I got to the top I stopped, and then in my most commanding voice I said, “Who’s there?” No response.

I aimed the light around the dark empty cavern and saw no one. As I moved the light around the room for a second time, I noticed two large piles of animal scat and a patch of blood.

It was a relief to find my intruder had been animal and not man. My next big question was: What kind of animal? I kept looking around the room, and when my light aimed under the overhang connecting the dormers, I could see eyes.

The next day I went online and queried animals that might be moving about and found that male raccoons would come to life in February and March in search of a mate.

So that was the explanation I needed. I decided to bait my Havahart trap and relocate my raccoon if he was not going to leave on his own. Several days passed and he would move around at night, yet for some reason he decided he was not going to willingly leave my garage.

After five days, I was getting very discouraged with my uninvited houseguest.

My son climbed the stairs and peeked into the studio to find a dead raccoon, feet in the air, frozen stiff. I could only assume he was ill because of his appearance. And he was frozen like a large icicle.

The next day I chipped away at the frozen earth, and blessed and buried my unwanted winter guest.

— Special to the Telegram