Friday, June 6, 2014

Two Snakes, A Bottle of Wine, and A Tiara

The other day, I had two snakes in my house. Big, black, awful snakes.

I have PTSD from it, of course, so I'm not quite sure how to relay the whole experience other than to shout, "TWO SNAKES IN MY HOUSE!"

I coped with it the only way a rational adult can cope with two snakes in her house: by wearing  my tiara and drinking a bottle of wine while having a nervous breakdown.

The husband asked me why I was wearing my tiara, to which I responded, "TWO SNAKES IN MY HOUSE!"

Honestly, I shouldn't have to explain these things.

I had him take a picture of me in my tiara holding a wine glass and the bottle. The wine was a $10 Moscato, and while it definitely isn't the cheapest wine I've ever imbibed, when it comes to posting pictures on social media, I like to feign an air of alcohol sophistication.

"Don't get the price in the picture," I told the husband.

"Of course not," he responded. "Because that would be embarrassing."

Funny guy that man o' mine.

Here's the thing about having two snakes in your house. Everything you see from now until the end of forever, is a snake.

Shoelace? Nope. Snake!

Piece of yellow lint? Nope. Snake!

The hair on your head? Nope. All snakes!

The sticks in your yard? SO MANY SNAKES!

I witnessed the snake enter our abode.  I was working from home, sitting at the coffee table when I heard a noise to my right. And there he was, Mr. Big Ass Imma-Ruin-Your-Life Snake slithering right on in. Naturally, I freaked out (though, shockingly, I did not scream - that would come later). I did say, "Oh God, oh God, oh God," not in vain, but in a "Oh Dear God, please deliver me from this hell" kinda plea.

My first action was to lock the dogs in our bedroom because I positively could not handle a dog/snake showdown; and, as evidence will soon show, I positively could not handle any of it.

Cody immediately followed me into the bedroom, but Riley stood outside the door and looked at me as if to say, "What is wrong with you, Mother? I do not wish to go into the bedroom right now."

There was much pleading and urging and Texas two-stepping, in which I would walk out of the bedroom and back in, in the hopes that Riley would "follow the leader," but my antics only resulted in Cody being the one to follow me, in and and out, while Riley stood there and said, with his bored expression, "I do not understand your games, Mother. Frisbee is much more fun than this."

Finally, I secured them in the bedroom and called the husband. "This is a real emergency."

Note the use of the word, "real" when describing the emergency. I call the husband at least once a day with some sort of "emergency."

"The smoke detector won't stop beeping."

"There's a lizard in the closet." (If you know me and my abject horror of lizards, then you know that reports of a lizard home invader is just as emergent as a phone call about a snake invader).

"There is a big black snake in our house," I told my fearless defender.

"I'm on my way," the husband said and hung up. He called me from the car a few minutes later. "I need you to keep an eye on the snake. Just make sure you know where he is."

Sure, I can do that, I thought. Keep an eye on the snake. There is nothing inherently dangerous about looking at a snake. I CAN DO THIS.

When the snake had breached our home, he'd slithered along our curtains, which were pulled to the side of our sliding glass door. I assumed he found those curtains decidedly cozy and coiled up to take a nap.

Oh, assumptions. How many men have fallen victim to your folly?

I was still on the phone with the husband as I walked toward the guest bedroom and office to close both doors. It was a rather silly errand as the snake would have had no problem sliding through the one inch gap between the door and the floor. But sometimes, in moments of terror, we find comfort in silliness.

I turned the corner to step into the guest bedroom, and there he was. Mr. Snake.

I screamed.

I screamed so loud and for so long, so very, very long.

The part of my brain that wasn't screaming (I, too, was surprised to realize that that part existed) told the rest of my brain that I could stop now.

But I couldn't.

I. Could not. Stop. Screaming. Telling myself to stop is like telling my heart to stop pumping blood. I never had any control over it starting, so I certainly have no influence over it ending.

Eventually, though, the screaming ceased.

"What happened?!" the husband asked. "Are you okay? Did it attack you?"

"I saw it. I saw the snake."

"I thought it had wrapped itself around your throat. Your scream scared me so much I ran a stop sign and pulled out in front of someone."

I wanted to point out that, had the snake formed a noose around my neck, I probably wouldn't have been able to produce the most impressive Scream That Would Not End, but I couldn't tell him this because I was laughing. Laughing in that way of a person who has most assuredly gone mad.

But I was also laughing because of Startled Snake.

Ladies and gentlemen, please rewind with me to the  moment of the scream and allow me to introduce you to Startled Snake.

You have probably met Scared Snake: a snake that slithers away really quickly when you accidentally stumble upon it.

You may have even met Pissed Off Snake: A snake that coils and strikes at you.

But if you did not know that snakes have shoulders and hands, then you have not met Startled Snake.

In order to fully picture Startled Snake, I ask you to imagine that you are visiting a new city. You are walking down the street at a leisurely pace, head turned up, looking left to right, taking it all in: the colors of the buildings, the soft light in the sky, the unfamiliar scents in the air. "What a lovely place," you start to think. But before you can complete the thought, someone jumps out from behind a building and screams, "AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!" in your face.

Your body reacts. You jump a little, your shoulders hunching up toward your ears, your hands lifting in subconscious surrender.

That is Startled Snake. That is what the snake looked like, hands, shoulders and all, when I screamed.

Even in my terrified state, I was able to appreciate Startled Snake and could laugh about him later when the terror had subsided. Even as I write this, I'm laughing at Startled Snake.

In fact, I think the answer to any bad day is picturing Startled Snake.

The husband arrived home, entering through the garage wielding a fishing pole and sand flea rake. I imagine my face matched his dubious expression as we assessed our instruments of capture; nonetheless, we proceeded onward to catch the snake, feeling most confident with the plan we had concocted over the phone of How the Hell Do You Catch a Snake?

Mr. Snake was nowhere to be found when we peered into the guest bedroom. From the safety of the hallway, the husband shone a a flashlight under the bed. No snake.

He used the fishing pole to open the coat closet. (Yes we live in Florida, and yes we have a coat closet. With coats in it. I have eight coats, the husband has one). No snake.

The husband surmised he was in the guest closet.

I began looking at the couch and throw blankets, that were I snake, would find oh so cozy.

"What if he's in the blankets? Or under the couch?"

The husband gave me the most exasperated look. "He could be under the couch?!"

"He could be anywhere!" I cried. "I saw him, screamed and ran the other way. He could be under the couch or in the shower. He could be in the kitchen or on our bed. He could be in a plane or on a train. He could be in a box or with a fox. I AM NOT THE SNAKE'S KEEPER!"

"Okay, okay" the husband soothed. "Stay here, and whatever you do, don't scream."


Here's the other thing about having snakes in your house. They arrive at the most inconvenient time. Contrary to popular belief, you do not receive a notice in the mail proclaiming that, on the third day of the month of June in the two thousand and fourteenth year of our Lord, two snakes will deposit themselves in your residence, and to please block off four hours of your day to locate and capture them.

Neither of us was especially eager to root around in the closet, and the husband declared that he could not stay home and just wait for Mr. Snake to mosey on out. His reasons had something to do with work and responsibilities and duties relating to running a business and other such nonsense that did not involve The Great Snake Invasion of 2014.

"And just what are the dogs and I supposed to do?" I wanted to know.

"Uh, come with me to work?"

While I did agree that the husband's clients would most appreciate his entourage of one hysterical wife and two insane dogs, I vetoed that solution.

And so began the process of trying to identify a company that specialized in snake removal and would post-haste remove them from my closet. That was a fiasco in and of itself. I was given the Animal Control Snake Around, which is similar to the good ol' fashioned run around, but with more snakes.

Not only was it frustrating, but it brought to light the lack of infrastructure this nation has in place for rescuing damsels in distress from house guests of the serpent variety.

I am in the process of petitioning our Commander In Chief to establish a national call number, similar to 911, whose sole purpose is to remove snakes. I was thinking the number should be 611, but, in this case, I do believe that 666 would be most appropriate.

While I was making a million and one phone calls to people who declined to help me because either they did not remove reptilian creatures, or I did not live in their snake removal jurisdiction, the husband said, "Hey is this the snake?" and pointed to one who was brazenly lounging on our patio.

"That is the smartest snake in the world if, after hearing me scream, he said to himself, "Self, I do not believe we belong here" (you just know snakes refer to themselves in the royal we) "and turned around and went right back out the way he came. No, I do believe we are now in the possession of two snakes."

Now, before you say that having a snake in your patio is not the same thing as having one in your house, allow me to say:


We live on our patio. I spent most of last Sunday on our sectional reading The Fault in Our Stars. I drink my coffee on the patio, we have dinner on the patio, the husband and I answer emails and deal with work minutia on the patio, we blow up our air mattress, watch movies on our laptop, and sleep on our patio. Having a snake on our patio is the exact same thing as having a snake in our house. The exception to this, of course, is if the snake in my house is on my pillow, in which case you can rest assured that you will never hear about it form me because I will immediately be dead. There will be no Texas two stepping, or calling of the husband, or parading around with a fishing pole. I will bypass all of those things and proceed straight to death.

Finally, after much ado, I was given the correct number for Animal Control and Officer Dangerfield  was  pulling into our drive within minutes. It was almost alarming how quickly he descended upon our doorstep, but I did not question him. I was just so very grateful he was there.

He carried a complex and sophisticated snake-catching contraption called a pillow case.

The husband ordered me to the bedroom with the dogs because apparently he does not think screaming your head off is a valuable contribution to the snake capturing process. He followed me to the bedroom to ensure I was securely tucked away.

It seems like such a simple thing to open your bedroom door, cross the threshold, and lock yourself inside. However, as soon as I opened the door, Cody darted out, and in a most dramatic and hysterical fashion, I threw myself on top of him to thwart his efforts of assisting Officer Dangerfield. Riley decided that this was a rather delightful looking game, and in equally dramatic fashion, I wailed, "Nooooooo!" as I tired to prevent him from sprinting away. The dogs and I then proceeded to engage in a lesser-known Texas dance called Utter Chaos.

"Go!" the husband ordered. "Just get in there."

"I'm trying!"

It took a loving shove to get us all inside the bedroom, where I would have been happy to spend eternity were I not absolutely certain the entire room was filled with snakes.

I was told Snake One and Snake Two put on an impressive show, but in the end they were carted away in Officer Dangerfield's pillow case.

The good news is that those two snakes will never enter our home again. Even better news? I learned that where there is one snake, there are usually four to six more.

I foresee much wine drinking and tiara wearing in my future.

No snakes were harmed in the making of my hysteria.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Snow White Didn't Have to Deal With This

I often compare my life to a Disney movie.

When I was little and my mom would make me do chores, I would call myself Cinderella.

When I was nine, I went through this whole ILOVETINKERBELL phase that lasted until I was twelve nineteen twenty-seven...okay, so the phase never ended. But can you blame me? She's an adorable fairy. She was wings! And a cute outfit! And can fly!

I was mildly (okay, a lot) disappointed when the husband picked me up in Jeep instead of a magic carpet for our first date. He had all the doors and windows off and it was thirty degrees and the wind was biting at my face, so it was kinda like experiencing A Whole New World, in that I finally knew what it felt like to be Frosty's mistress.

When I had my first Big Girl job, where I was paid to make important decisions like should we copy this flyer on tangerine or sanguine colored paper? my coworkers called me Snow White.

You guys remember Snow White. How all the little woodland critters flocked to her, and she to them, and they'd sing and play and dance and have a grand ol' time and NEVER ONCE DID ONE OF THE WOODLAND CRITTERS KILL ONE OF THE OTHER CRITTERS.

That's me. That's my life. Me and the animals? BFFs forever ever.

To say that I LOVE ANIMALS, is an understatement. Even animals I hate, I love. You guys know I'm terrified of lizards, but I don't want them to die. Snakes are evil, but I don't want them to die. Alligators will drown you and eat you, but they have their place in this world, and I don't want them to die. Roaches are...okay roaches are gross and I kill those. But any other bug that enters the house, I make the husband catch and release back into the wild.

Well, except for spiders. I kill those too because they can bite you and kill you. But sometimes I let them live...and become BFFs with them.

After Christmas, the husband and I spent the week in a cabin in North Carolina. There was a spider living in our bathroom. I saw it and thought I should kill you. But I had nothing with which to kill it, so it lived another day.

The next day, I saw it and thought Oh, right. I'm supposed to kill you. But then I didn't.

On day three, I was all, oh hey there little spider. don't you look cute today!

By day four I had named it.

Day five, CharChar was missing.

I asked the husband if he had killed her and told myself not to get angry at him for murdering my pet.

The husband said that he hadn't.

"She left without saying goodbye?!" True story, I said that.

I was rather devastated that CharChar had just packed up her web and left, but then I remembered the old adage, if you love something, let it go, if it comes back and lays a million spider eggs in your ear while you sleep, it's yours.

We all know that every Disney movie has a villain. Snow White had the witch, Ariel had an octopus with heaving bosoms, Simba had a jealous uncle of questionable sexual orientation.

My Disney-movie-life is no different. Except the villain in my movie isn't some distant hideous beast that lurks about in the shadows. My villain is perhaps the most complex evil character of all time, for the simple fact that it is not my hated enemy, but something that I love. My villain is my child. My son.

My villain dog.

Remember when I said I was like Snow While because me and the critters were BFFs and sang and played and everyone got along and NEVER ONCE DID ONE OF THE WOODLAND CRITTERS KILL ONE OF THE OTHER CRITTERS?

Well, those shouty caps? That's where me and Snow White differ (well that and the whole being-followed-around-by-seven-creepy-singing-old-men thing).

You see, Snow White never had to begin her day by screaming at her dog, "Oh no, Cody! What are doing?! What do you have?!! Drop it! DROP IT! WHAT DID YOU KILL?!!!"

Snow White never had to stand over one of her small furry critters and wonder if it was a bunny, or a squirrel, or maybe a bunny, or maybe a... OH MY GOSH WHERE IS ITS HEAD?!!!

Snow White never had to do or say or wonder any of those things, but I did. Thanks to my blood-thirsty Evil Cody, I had the pleasure of shouting, "DID YOU EAT ITS HEAD?!" at 9:00 this morning, which I'm sure all of my neighbors thoroughly enjoyed.

The husband, who left work to come home and dispose of the corpse, confirmed that it was a bunny. And its head was still there, it was just, uh, hard to recognize.

Every Disney movie ends with the words "And they all lived happily ever after." (okay, so that's  not true, but it's totally implied.) But in my Disney movie, no words are farther from the truth. It wasn't happily ever after for the husband who had to deal with a hysterical wife, or for me who is traumatized beyond repair, nor for my therapist whose number has been moved to the top of my speed dial list, and it certainly wasn't happily ever after for that bunny. That poor, poor bunny.

No one is this fairytale is living happily ever after. Well, except for Evil Cody. He seems pretty happy. In fact, I'd say it's the best damn day of his whole life.