Published in The Messenger on 8.03.07
I love the great outdoors — to a point.
There’s nothing more relaxing than sitting on the porch to witness a glorious sunset painted to perfection by the Creator or lounging in the backyard listening to the birds’ tranquil tunes.
But nothing — I repeat nothing — shatters my serene world more quickly than some creepy critter that slithers into my space.
Just such an encounter a few weeks back has left me somewhat rattled.
Deciding to enjoy the great outdoors late one sunny afternoon, I innocently rounded the corner of the house heading into the backyard. As my foot came down, I caught a glimpse of motion and all too late had the thought, “Gee, that looks like a snake.”
It was at that moment that I felt the squishiness beneath my sandaled foot and did a hasty backwards retreat that must have looked something like a cross between moonwalking and the funky chicken.
The snake did the same, taking refuge in an unintentionally-unscreened metal grate in the foundation of the house.
I didn’t scream. I figured the effort would have been totally wasted since the snake was long gone and my husband was far away on the lawn tractor in the front yard.
Still, I figured my traumatic ordeal was at least worth a mention to hubby, so I flagged him down and shared the gory details — including how the snake had slithered into an opening that just happens to be directly beneath my bathroom.
You can imagine my dismay when he didn’t leap off the mower and go running to my rescue to apprehend the snake in his best Crocodile Hunter-like fashion. In fact, I was somewhat offended that he wasn’t all that concerned.
“That snake is far more scared of you than you are of him,” he said before continuing on his merry way.
Don’t bet on it, baby.
I’d have to take matters into my own hands. Drastic times called for drastic measures.
I went straight to the workshop to arm myself with a hoe — only to be startled by a lizard that darted across my path, this time evoking the scream that previously eluded me — and put myself on “snake watch.” I was convinced the perpetrator would return to the scene of the crime once the smoke cleared.
Ten minutes turned into 20 and 20 into 40, with still no snake in sight. My vigil was halted when I had to make supper and I assumed the snake probably seized the moment to sneak from beneath the house and back into our backyard-turned-wild kingdom.
Nonetheless, after supper, I convinced my doubting-Thomas husband that we should check on the situation. I eased open a back door and looked in the direction of the opening — only to see the snake’s head poking from the hole in what I perceived to be a complete mockery of me. In fact, I think it was taunting me.
Before we could act, the snake retreated into the confines of the foundation.
“Oh, that’s just a garter snake,” my husband said nonchalantly, turning to walk away.
Wrong answer. It may as well have been a giant anaconda. As far as I was concerned, it could just go find someone else’s bathroom to live under.
With hoe in hand, I continued my watch in Elmer Fudd-like “wabbit”-hunting fashion until nearly dusk from the safety of the backyard deck. Nothing happened.
The next day, I had the brilliant idea to put a pest-catching sticky pad in front of the opening — which would trap the snake if it exited or entered. I thought it was genius. I was so proud of myself.
Instead, we caught one mole and a couple little spiders. I thought perhaps we should leave the mole and the spiders on the pad as bait for the snake, but scrapped that plan when I began to worry that our resident chipmunk might scurry across it instead. That wasn’t a happy thought.
In the end, I did the only thing left to do — I gave up.
I offered moral support as my husband dutifully appeased me and worked in the sweltering heat to screen the aforementioned inadvertently-unscreened grate in the foundation.
I convinced myself the snake fled the area when we weren’t looking. After all, it would much prefer the sunny, hot outdoors over the cool, shady foundation of our home.
I told myself the snake was a loner, perhaps an orphan, with no family anywhere in the immediate area. Come to think of it, the creature did look a little lonely.
I asked my husband to just humor me and nod in agreement, no matter what, when I asked if he really thought the snake was long gone. I told him it was OK to fib to me in this particular case, just like those times when a woman asks her husband if an outfit makes her look fat. It’s his duty.
As far as I’m concerned, ignorance is bliss.