Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Snakes on a Plain (a.k.a. Snakes. Why’d it Have to Be Snakes?) (a.k.a. Just When You Thought it Was Safe to Go Back in Your House)

I should never, ever be left home alone. I’ve talked at length here about all the bad things that seem to happen when GAR goes out of town – from being attacked by flying bugs in my bathroom to tarantula sized spiders crawling through my living room to certain death by a serial killer (incidentally I can momentarily rest easy knowing that Drew Peterson, my would-be assassin, was recently found guilty of murdering his third wife and is now in jail. I say “momentarily” because his conviction was based purely on circumstantial evidence and the ruling will no doubt be overthrown at the Supreme Court level and then I’ll be ill at ease again. Incidentally to my initial incidental comment, on our trip to Peru we met a man who was also named Drew Peterson and, while he seemed like a perfectly nice chap, I kept one eye on him the whole trip lest he get any funny ideas. I still can’t conclusively link him to my food poisoning but he was there – just like he was there when every other mysterious thing happened on that vacation. Coincidence? Probably. But you can never be too sure … never be too sure). So, when GAR recently left for his annual “All Guy’s Weekend” I held my breath and waited for something terrible to happen. But, to my shock, nothing did (unless you count cleaning all weekend as tragic, which I do, but many adult responsibilities seem downright cruel to me). I even successfully used the hot tub without accidentally turning it into an Old Faithful style eruption like I did last time I attempted it without GAR around (this time he made me a helpful pictorial, step-by-step instruction guide on how to use it. Even I couldn’t screw that up). At last victory was mine!

Or so I thought.

After GAR returned my elder pup, Munchkin, started limping and whining. I had seen similar behavior in him before, when he had seriously injured his back, and so I was concerned. Since GAR was busy with work I decided to come home early one day to check on him and work from home. After checking him out (and loading him up with pain pills) I went to the kitchen to make myself some lunch, and that’s when I saw it – a snake … in my dining room … (in case you’re still unsure where my dining room is located) IN MY HOUSE!!

Okay, seriously, when is enough enough already? Honestly. Flying termites, mold infestations, giant wolf spiders, smaller but even more deadly black widow spiders, wasps, a fire, flooding, possum attacks (oh yeah, did I not tell you that story? Well apparently I can’t possibly fit in all my angry creature stories before the next one pops up so I’ll cut to the chase on this one – a few months ago our yard was infested with an angry possum who dueled Munchkin in a battle to the death … or else the nasty vermin was just playing possum which, really, was likely the more probable outcome), dangerous electrical wiring, and that cockroach that attached itself to the side of my shampoo bottle and then crawled all over me in the shower while I wailed and beat it senseless wasn’t enough? Now I need snakes too?

Well alright universe, if that’s the game we’re playing this week – bring it on! Because, let’s face it, this house has made me a master of dealing with unwanted intruders. So I did what any gal in my position would do – I grabbed a pot from the kitchen, snuck up on the bastard, and trapped him under it … and then I stacked a shitload of books on top of it (the complete works of Shakespeare and Jane Austen, as well as a copy of former American Idol hopeful Sanjaya’s memoir “Dancing to the Music in My Head.” You know, just for variety). Which isn’t to say this was an easy task – snakes are quite stealthy and fast you know … and, naturally, on top of that, I am scared shitless of them. Also, since the dogs follow me everywhere, “sneaking up” on this snake was not really a quiet affair. My bigger pooch, Mustache, just kept laying down right next to him while I whispered/screamed “Watch out!! That’s a snake!” And yet the pups did nothing to help me out here … absolutely worthless. But I managed the capture anyhow … and then I left the snake trapped there for GAR to deal with when he got home many hours later. Ha – take that! Think you can leave me home alone to face another critter in our home? Nope. This one is all yours …

Not that I wasn’t convinced throughout those next few hours that somehow the snake would miraculously find a way out from his makeshift enclosure (spoiler alert – it didn’t). And I spent hours Googling what type of snake this might be to see if I should be concerned. But online snake identification is rather useless. Case in point, here is a sample question: What color is the snake’s belly? Oh yeah, let me just pick it up and find out … Or, how about this one: Is the snake blind? Oh, hmmm … hang on, let me ask him how many fingers I’m holding up and see what he says … before he bites them off. So, yeah, I never did find out the answer.

Eventually GAR came home and devised a plan for getting the creature out of our home. It wasn’t graceful but we slid his enclosure towards the door and then, as quickly as humanly possible, flung him out the door in one giant toss. But oh my was he pissed off! So very, very angry. Apparently I had accidentally clipped the end of his tale when I trapped him and he was in serious angry pain. He lunged at GAR, striking but never making contact, throughout the whole removal process. And, of course, like the total sap I am I’ve felt terrible about injuring the poor snake ever since. Like totally guilty. And I wouldn’t let GAR kill him either

So off he slithered … into our front bushes. Awesome.

But it’s okay. Last weekend I turned the tables on GAR and, for once, I went out of town, leaving him home alone to deal with matters of the homestead … and #1 on his honey do list was finding out whatever keeps snakes away and applying it liberally around the house. Done and done.

So now we are once again protected from every manner of creepy and crawly that we can currently think of (though I’m sure there’s some I’ve forgotten … there always are). But I’m hoping that we’re able to keep the house free of varmints for awhile anyway … if not for my sake, at least for theirs. You see, this weekend we’re heading out of town for our anniversary trip and we’re leaving our house under watch by a renowned toad slayer. That’s right, our friend Sapphire has her own problem with critter infestations and she has quite the method for dealing with them … and her way ain’t pretty. I can assure you, woodland pests, that you don’t want to mess with our abode while Sapphire is in charge because, if there’s one thing I can promise you, there will be no tears shed over your demise … no “catch and release” policy on her watch. You wanna try something lizards? How about you palmetto bugs? Go ahead, make her day …

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