Mike’s gone to the store to buy stuff to cure my EEK!. He says his nerves are shot. Just when he starts to relax, I scream. Mike says Don Martin (early Mad Magazine cartoonist famous for penning sounds) would have gotten a lifetime’s worth of sound effects just living around me for one day. But I can explain. And his nerves are nothing to mine. I’m the one seeing things. And I don’t mean hallucinating.
WE LIVE IN THE COUNTRY!!! I’ve heard that twice in the same number of days. It’s okay, people said. YOU LIVE IN THE COUNTRY!!! Okay, folks, it’s NOT okay. I’m turning into a basket case here. I feel like an Egyptian when Moses and his brother returned for the Homecoming that was minus the welcome mat. Remember the plagues? You wouldn’t believe the stuff that’s happened to me this week.
It began with that spider web I wrote about last week. The one I walked into while going out to feed the cats. What I didn’t know was the size of the web resident. Mike kept that piece of information from me until after he’d evicted him permanently. And yesterday he had to evict another huge arachnoid from the front porch. Today, his eight-legged bruiser of a brother was out front and center. He left, but that just means he’ll be back.
Since I told that first spider story, I”ve heard tales from neighbors and friends that would make one think we lived in Texas instead of Alabama. One lady told me she doesn’t walk in her yard without waving her arms in front of her. (Wonder what passing motorists think of that?) They’re saying this is the worst summer for mammoth spiders and webs and other unsavory crawling things in recent memory. Great. That makes me feel lots better.
The worst of this week happened Thursday when we discovered the need for a repair job around the washing machine drain outlet. How did we discover it? In the worst way possible for a female. And Mike was nowhere within screaming distance.
Okay. Last week this is what I wrote about laundry day. I complained that I always have a fight with uncooperative clothes hangers. Here is the way I described them — “They entwine in a chaos of complicated hooked madness like a snarl of snakes”. Let me explain. I hang empty clothes hangers on the brace under the laundry shelf. It’s very convenient. On the laundry shelf I keep dust cloths. I was reaching for one when a movement under my outstretched arm caught my eye and I jumped back. It took a few beats to realize there was a snake coiled around the brace among my clothes hangers. (You probably heard my screech, and just didn’t know what it was). I had been feeling a bit lethargic before that. No energy whatsoever. I found out the cure is a healthy dose of adrenaline. Moving was noooo problemo. Me and Lazarus. Back from the dead.
I ran for my cell phone because when Mike disappears outdoors he goes invisible. I hit his number. When he answered I screamed — SNAKE!! HOUSE!! But then I had scared the snake so bad he had dropped off the brace and was nowhere to be found. And that, of course, is infinitely worse. That’s when Mike asked if maybe I had just seen a lizard. Since I can’t see my own face, I don’t know what kind of look he got, but it couldn’t have been sweet and pretty. He didn’t ask that question again.
So, he had to pull out the washer and dryer — no easy job. And all this happened just minutes before our company from out of state was to arrive. The un-welcome visitor was a skinny rat snake (or equivalent), and he was hiding under the washing machine. Mike said he was going to address the situation Biblically. I was in no shape for cryptic riddles. “You know,” he said, “I’m going to crush his head.” Genesis. Right. And that’s exactly what he did, all the while telling me the little fellow was harmless.
I was in no mood to hear it. “He’s not harmless if he gives someone a heart attack,” I said. “And no way no how does he belong in my house”. The whole 18 years we’ve lived here, I have seen a snake only once, and that was in all the great outdoors. Now, I’ll have the willy-jibbies for life. Maybe even longer. (Heaven. Linda to God. “Sir, are you sure you got rid of that snake?’)
Now I’m hearing snake stories from everyone. Sister Katie remembers pulling up in her yard one day when she saw one of their several cats batting at something on a hillside ledge behind their house. Walking over for a closer look she heard the sound before she even saw the rattler. She’d never heard such a skin-crawling, evil sound in all her life. Like wind in dry leaves, but with an ominous overtone. And the stupid cat was playing with it. When Katie flew into the house screeching for Randy, he grabbed his pistol and went running. (But not before he asked Katie if she was sure it was a snake — what is it with these men).
Katie and the cats got on the back porch, where the cat food dishes are, to watch. I mean, you can’t buy entertainment like this. Underestimating how loud the crack of a pistol can be, when Randy pulled the trigger and decapitated the snake, Katie, cats, and cat food dishes leaped into the air. When the smoke cleared there was not a cat to be seen. Katie swore that each strand of her long hair was standing individually on end while she stood in the midst of a cat food disaster, each bowl and pellet shaken from its moorings by the multiple flying paws of multiple panicked cats. (Bye the way. Great shot, Bro).
But, like I said. My knight has charged off on his white steed to get the required materials to repair the breach in his castle walls. And to keep his lady safe from any dastardly Hun in creepy crawly clothing. Not to mention quiet. By the time he’s through, even air won’t be able to breach these stone walls. Okay. Maybe not air . . . Okay. Maybe not stone so much as . . . okay, vinyl siding. OKAAAY. Don’t get so picky. Haven’t you ever heard of poetic license? Sheesh.
Anyway. If this summer of Swamp Witch Hattie doesn’t get over soon, we’re moving to Ireland. I’ll send you a postcard with Saint Patrick’s beatific face and not a snake in sight.
I’ll sign off with this silly old video with Dolly Parton and Jim Stafford doing “I Don’t Like Spiders and Snakes”.