Friday, September 1

Here She Comes to Save the Day

I don’t have much to talk about, so I thought I’d share a recent showdown I had with a snake in my
I live more or less in the country. Granted, I’m only a few quick minutes from town and a grocery store, but there’s a corn/soybean field in my back yard. So we get to see a lot of wild life. Unfortunately, not so much the deer and bunnies and hawks and barn cats like we enjoyed at our old house. Our wildlife neighbors now consist mostly of frogs and toads and mice and big bugs banging against the front porch light.

And snakes.

There have been several occasions when the family members have startled one of the non-poisonous brown or black snakes that like to hang out in our yard. I’m sure the temptation of the frogs and toads and mice keep them nearby. Every so often, hubby will find one while mowing and put it in a five-gallon bucket for safekeeping until he’s finished. We use it as a learning opportunity. Let the kiddos touch it while he holds it securely behind the head. Their skin is oddly smooth even though they have scales, their bodies ropelike as they wind around hubby’s wrists. It’s actually kind of cool.

But the it’s-more-afraid-of-you mentality and sense of living in harmony with the surrounding wildlife vanishes in a pounding heartbeat when you find such a creature inside your house.

Let me back-up. We got two cats a couple years ago. Our dog had passed away and we decided cats would be good to help keep the field mice out of our basement during the cold winter months. They’ve been excellent deterrents so far.

But one day, I went downstairs to get into the large metals shelves stationed against the unfinished basement walls. It holds our luggage, cleaning supplies, boxes filled with I-have-no-idea-what, and my author stuff. Jake the cat loves high places and exploring, and the shelves are perfect for him. Since he’s staring longingly at one of the upper shelves, I cleared a little landing area and set him up. He proceeded to stare at the concrete wall against the open back of the shelves, hissing (I assumed at me for continuing to skootch things around), and pawing at the underside of the shelf above him. So I shined the flashlight on whatever little centipede or basement creepy-crawly has Jake’s rapt attention.

Remember in the Alien movies when the xenomorph uncurls from its resting place and—from your safe viewing spot on the couch or in the theatre—you know the shit just got real and there will only be gruesome bloodshed and exploding body parts from now until the end when only one or two people are left alive?

Yeah, it was like that.

A two-foot long brown snake, maybe about as big around as my thumb, unfurled from its cozy little nook, its head dipping toward my cat! I grabbed Jake (who looks just like Jonesy from the first Alien movie) and ran up the stairs screaming “Mother! Start the self-destruct sequence!” a la Ellen Ripley. My heart pounding, my body shaking, I held Jake and comforted him as I tried to dial my phone to call my husband.

The cat wasn’t the least bit phased, and jumped off my lap to trot back to the basement as if to say “don’t worry, ma, I got this.”

Hubby answered his phone and I very calmly explained the situation. “OMIGAWDTHERE’SASNAKEINTHEASEMENTWHATDOIDO!”

After laughing at me, and turning his head away from the phone to yell to his co-workers “Hey! You guys won’t believe this!” he sent me to the garage for his bucket, work gloves. I’m to grab the snake behind the head and put it in the bucket or it will pee all over me and the floor. He also cautions me not to tear the snake in half because it will bleed all over the basement. Oddly enough, pee and blood do not top my list of Things I Need to Worry About Right Now. But, I sallied forth, armed and intent on putting the snake into the bucket.

Then hubby says, “And put your phone on speaker because the office wants to hear your screams.”

I would have snapped a witty reply, but the screaming mantra in my head of SNAKE!SNAKE!mycatisdownthere!SNAKE! left no room for thought. Bucket in one oversized-gloved hand, flat cardboard box… no, make that a steel pipe…no, better yet a broom in the other hand, I set the flashlight on its side and looked straight into that snake’s eyes. And that snake, he looks right back at me. Right into my eyes. Y'know the thing about a snake, he's got... lifeless eyes, black eyes, like a doll's eyes. When he comes at ya, doesn't seem to be livin'...

Yes, that brown poo-looking pile is the snake in my house!
All I really remember was trying to pin him down so I could pick him up from behind his head, but he slithered out from under and around everything I used to hold him. He curled and coiled, always moving, doubling back on himself, changing directions. For each left, a right. For each thrust, a parry. And I’m screaming the whole time.

I somehow managed to get him to the basement floor and swept into the bucket. Up the stairs and out the backdoor, I eased him into a sunny patch of mulch at the edge of the yard. I then wished him well and hurried back inside to announce my victory to my hubby.

At some point, hopefully in the near future, my heartrate is going to calm. And the cat? I think he’s a little miffed at me for throwing out his perfectly good new toy.

Soooo, anyone else enjoy a little cardio recently?


  1. Oh, dear God.... Yeah. Just that. Got acres of wrinkly gooseflesh going on here. Great post, but...oh, dear God...

    1. Yep, I still get the heebue-jeebies thinking about it! :-)

  2. ...I'd've just called a real estate agent and moved...

    But your story is hilarious!

    1. I had friends tell me I should have burned the house down! Lol!

  3. Eeeeww! You get major points for not just grabbing the cats, locking the house, and heading to a bar or a hotel! Ugh!! I found a snake on my stairs during our house reno--the painters brought it in on a drop cloth, apparently. Fortunately, the crew was still in the driveway loading up their stuff and one of the guys came back in and removed the offending critter. Ugh...double ugh!

  4. Eeeew!! The painters had a snake in their stuff?! Yuck! I keep a wide eye on that shelf now... and every other dark nook & cranny!

  5. Oh, God. Not a snake! I don't care if it's as harmless as kitten, I'm not touching that thing. I'm with Kristina. I would have just moved. You're a brave girl, Ava!