I Don’t Like Spiders & Snakes; But That IS What it Takes to Move Me

Dear Folks,

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 explainI 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”.



11 thoughts on “I Don’t Like Spiders & Snakes; But That IS What it Takes to Move Me

  1. I know this is a serious issue for you, but I must say, this post cracked me up. It was like reading Ema Bombeck. And that is high praise indeed because I think whe was one of the funniest writers EVER.

    I live in the country, too, but fortunately, all the snakes stay outdoors and the only spiders I’ve seen in the house have been tiny little critters….so small even the cats don’t bother to chase them. Although I did see a humongous Daddy Long Legs in the sink a couple of weeks ago. I dispatched him down the drain with a hot water chaser. Once when Frank and I were hiking in upstate NY, we encountered a timber rattler, but we gave him a wide…VERY wide…berth and went on our way.

    That story about Randy shooting the rattler and the reaction of Katie and the cats was priceless.

    Good to know your adrenal glands are working properly. *snork*

    • I got a hoot out of your response. I tried to call Katie back, but she’s probably getting ready for bed. She hasn’t read it yet.

      Daddy Longlegs, indeed. Girl, you don’t have enough excitement in New Hampshire. I’ll have to do a video next time there’s a snake in my house. But it will probably look like the Blair Witch Project because the camera will be bouncing up and down because I’ll be hauling it down the road.:)

      • You have reminded me of Erma Bombeck before (and Jean Kerr of “Please Don’t Eat the Daisies” fame.) Your wonderfully visual descriptions are a treat to my mind’s eye.

        We do have wildlife excitement around here sometimes, but it involves moose, black bears, wild turkeys, et al. My philosophy is “Don’t fight them….tame them” — as I did with a mother skunk and her brood a couple of years ago. Mom was very placid and not about to “spray” the hand that fed her. And the babies screeching at each other over their food was great fun to watch.

        Oh shoot! I have pics of the skunk family and was going to post them, but they are not where they’re supposed to be in Photobucket. Photobucket redesigned their site about a year ago and while they said everyone’s existing photos would be transferred, not all of them made it. My LJ friends have been complaining bitterly about this. I’ve found some of my photos is the wrong albums and moved them, but my skunk pics seem to have disappeared. At least they’re not in the “Wildlife” album where they’re supposed to be. I have 187 albums and sub-albums at Photobucket so I guess the only way I can find them is to look through all 187 albums. They probably got moved by Photobucket to another album, but heaven only knows which one. I guess that will be my next rainy day project. Sigh….

      • I LOVE that story. That beats my snake any day. I can just picture the little darlings. When you mentioned moose and bears, etc.,, Mike bellowed, OHHHH! from the kitchen. How he’s reading from that far away . . . My Daniel Boone at heart.

        Thank you again for your wonderfully encouraging words. I loved Please Don’t Eat The Daisies also. I would love to write at that standard. I will just have to keep plugging. Rather than giving me a swollen head, your words have made me feel humbled in a good way, and thankful for friends like you. Hope you find the pictures. I would love to see them.

      • You deserve all the compliments I can give you. I think you’re remarkable in oh so many ways.

        I didn’t find the skunk photos; looking for them was too daunting a task. But I re-uploaded them and here they are. The first is mom skunk and the next two are the babies….all chowing down cat food. I figure skunks are omnivores so it was take it or leave it. I’m sure you can guess which way that went. LOL




      • Thank you so much. And Mike and I LOVE the skunk pictures. They are such beautiful creatures. I just don’t want to get behind them when they are mad or upset. Mike and I were backpacking in the Smokies years ago. We were asleep in our tent when a noise woke us up. When we looked out, there was a skunk investigating the ashes of our campfire, rooting around for any leftover food. Mike wasn’t about to accost it, so I suggested he throw a rock at it. He turned to me and quietly, but succinctly said, “Are you crazy?”

    • I just need a few more “episodes” and maybe I’ll compile them. Mike says he can navigate Amazon’s publishing criteria, but we don’t have the appropriate software (if that’s what it’s still called). We don’t have a Word compatible . . . whatever. Mike HATES Word, and is disgusted that it’s the standard. He calls it unnecessarily cumbersome for what a computer can do. It’s supposed to save steps, not create them. But his biggest problem with Word is that it is overpriced. But he knows in order to get what we want, he’ll have to capitulate. That’s why there was so much trouble with getting the church history printed. My software did not translate well to our treasurer’s software.

      Thanks, you guys. I wish you all were agents.

      BTW, Julie B, I cooked the best pot of navy beans ever and Mike made cornbread muffins. Ain’t we a team.

      Also, my big “test” for thyroid was today, along with a diabetes clinic. They praised my diabetes control, and the thyroid showed only antibodies, which she said would need periodic checking, but nothing to get excited about. I was so nervous about today, but had such a wonderful experience at Birmingham’s Kirkland Clinic I’ll be doing a post on it.

      Always great to hear from you. Where’s my cuppa coffee?

      • Glad your thyroid and diabetes tests went well.

        I’m suprised that Mike has such a dislike for Word. Frank and I love it. He’s much more adventurous with it than I am and creates gorgeous, professional looking things. I think Word is pretty much the standard in the US so I’m suprised it isn’t compatible with the places you need to send what you’ve written. Are there even any other word processing softwares on the market?

      • Mike says there are others that will do anything Word can do, but Word makes darned sure they aren’t compatible with theirs. So they can essentially charge anything they want to. Mike hates being forced to buy a product because they shut out decent competitors. We use Corel Word Perfect Nine, which is probably 10 years old. Sun is doing Open Office, which will create word files and is free. It’s compatible with Word and other major software. But Mike says he hates the thought of training me on a new word processor. 🙂


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