Offering fine advice since 2007

What to do with a yard full of varmints.
Offering fine advice since 2007
Illustration by Jack Unruh

Q. Something has been wrecking my yard during the night and I suspect varmints. I consider myself an animal lover but have reached my wits’ end. What can I do to keep them from further destroying my beautiful landscaping?
Carla, Bastrop

A: It may surprise you to learn that the Texanist’s coexistence with God’s creatures has not been entirely free of occasional violent run-ins with sundry vermin. His fuzzy foes have ranged from beady-eyed squirrels, half-witted whitetails, and yowling feral cats to trash-scrounging raccoons, pale possums, and a bloodthirsty chupa-cabra. These encounters have tended to be relatively quick and one-sided, though at least one has graduated into a decades-long feud that as of this writing shows no sign of an easy resolution (one day the Texanist will find you, you goat-sucking abomination). But as is often the case, the Texanist would discourage his readers from doing as he does and instead attempt to promote the wisdom of what he says. The plain fact is that in the vast majority of instances, your four-legged nocturnal caller is more vagabond than vandal and will, with time, move on to greener pastures (once he’s left yours in tatters). If, however, you are as out of patience as you suggest and cannot wait for this to transpire, you may simply peruse the telephone directory and summon your local critter ridder, wildlife relocator, or exterminator. But be warned that we are speaking now of some very cold fellows, men with hollow eyes, hard hearts, and dark, drafty voids where once danced the bright souls of innocent, fauna-friendly children.

Q. Is it really okay to park a big honkin’ truck across three parking places?
Regina Kuehler, Wichita Falls

A: Once upon a time the Texanist was enjoying himself a bit too thoroughly at a local chili emporium when he referred loudly to the house’s much-touted XXX bowl of red as “sissified.” The next night he returned to said emporium, little recalling the stir he had caused the night before. The chef de cuisine, however, had apparently been stewing over the matter ever since and delivered to the Texanist a blistering concoction which, the next morning, while the Texanist was on his way to work, threw him into a sudden and terrifying crisis of the bowels. Time was of the essence. Gripping the steering wheel with white knuckles and gnashing his teeth to the point of dental destruction, he topped the curb, plowed through a stand of ornamental shrubbery, and stashed his truck lengthwise across three spaces in front of a shoe store, where they were kind enough to let him foul their facilities (they had no real choice). His actions that day were acceptable, if unfortunate. In all other situations, you should do your best to stay within the lines.

Q. Why is it so hard to find queso dip at restaurants on the East Coast? In the simplest form, it’s just Velveeta and Ro-Tel, and those ingredients are available at any grocery store. But I don’t know of any Mexican or Tex-Mex-style restaurant around here that serves it. What gives?
Katy Marquardt, Arlington, Virginia

A: What gives? The Texanist will tell you what gives. Katy Marquardt is not getting the professional-grade spicy Tex-Mex cheese dip that she so craves because at some point in her life she made the unthinkable decision to leave her home in queso country for a life of gluey clam chowders, sickeningly sweet baked beans, sinewy New York strips, salmonella-harboring egg creams, snooty Waldorf salads, unmanageable cheesesteaks, unsavory scrapples, and all the other disgusting “specialties” that pass for food east of the Sabine. Need the Texanist go on? Before uprooting herself Katy Marquardt forgot that what courses through her veins is the peppery melted cheese dish of her Texas home (the same is true of the Texanist, his doctors always tell him with alarm). Katy Marquardt now finds herself jonesing so hard that she doesn’t understand the real fact of the matter: There is no queso where she is because she is no longer where there is queso.

Q. After many years of seeing the same hairstylist and living with the same hairstyle, I have decided that I need a change. I’m scared to death that the gal who does it will have her feelings hurt if I suddenly begin seeing someone else, though. Is this case of the guiltys unfounded? Is there a good way to break up with your hairdresser?
Name Withheld

A: Ah, the awkward act of barbicide. We have all struggled through it. The Texanist’s boyhood trims came at the Ponderosa Motor Inn, in Temple, where he leafed through Playboy while getting a buzz. He does not recall how his coiffeur, a large man known only as the Chief, took it when he transitioned to Don Bodenheimer at Don’s of Temple, but he is sure that it was not easy. Neither does the Texanist remember the fallout surrounding his move years later from Mr. Bodenheimer, a decent man with a sharp blade, to Stacie the Stripper. What?! The Texanist’s scalp is currently under the care of an erotic dancer? In fact, the Texanist would like to assure his family that Stacie has long since retired from the main stage and that while she is still happy to accept tips, they are now simply left on the counter without much physical contact at all. The truth is that the Texanist is not quite sure why she continues to operate under this outdated tag, since Stacie the Stylist provides the same alliterative thrill, but no matter. The point is that she is fully clothed at all times. Now then, where was the Texanist? Oh, yes, the ending of a relationship with one’s barber. Here is how to do it without hurting anyone’s feelings: Explain honestly and straightforwardly that you are desperate, lonely, unemployed, too often hungover, wanted for questioning in several states, and all too familiar with the feeling that life is slipping away down a dark and depressing drain—and that you believe your haircut to

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