Friday, June 8, 2012

One more Animal Story....

This is a story that is best told in person, but I am going to attempt to convey the humor of this potentially fatal encounter….let’s start at the beginning…

Tuesday evening, at approximately 11:30, I finally emerged from my craft room to see Rosie (black and white short haired domestic cat) attacking the rug in the kitchen.  Being the conscientious cat mom that I am, I immediately went to investigate.  I shooed her away, and flipped the rug up…and what do you think I found?  Yep, a wild critter, a two and a half foot long coral snake was stretched out on my kitchen floor…and he was NOT a happy camper.  My very first thought was, crap, did he bite the cats (two years ago on Christmas day my 18 year old Lover Boy died from a coral snake bite)?  My second thought was, crap, I have to do something! 
I am not afraid of snakes, have even kept them as pets in the past, and Trav and I have been known to relocate snakes for others as well.  Sometimes they are venomous, and sometimes we are just trying to save their lives.  But I have always had the time to think thru a plan of action and have always had Trav there to help me. 
This time, however, Trav was asleep, with his CPAP on and couldn’t hear me calling him out to help me.  And this time I had to keep both of our cats (Rosie and her sister, a fluffy grey tabby named Sage) away from the snake while trying to do something…have you ever heard the phrase “Herding cats”?  It’ NOT easy, let me assure you!!  After about 10 minutes of pushing cats away while simultaneously keeping a keen eye on the snake, they finally took the hint and plopped down on the kitchen floor to observe the rest of the circus, but ever ready to pounce should I give them the tiniest opportunity.
You know those kitchen tongs that look kinda like scissors?  You use them to bar b q…well, I grabbed a pair of those (the shorter one no less) and a small box that had a lid.  Then I stood there a second and just stared at that snake, wishing it would just disappear so I could relax.  Nope, it was not gonna co-operate on that wish.  So, what’s my plan?  I don’t want to try to pin his head the way I would with a larger snake, too much of a chance to get bit, that leaves the tail…take a deep breath and remember, once you start you CANNOT hesitate!!! You must follow thru or you Will get snake bit. 
And then I spring into action…swooping down and, in one smooth motion, snap that snake up off the floor by the tail with my tongs!!!!  I AM AWESOME!!! 
I take another deep breath to calm back down, occasionally I gently shake [shake] the snake hanging from the tongs to make him straighten back out (he is trying to curl up [shake] and get that THING off it’s tail so it can escape) as I figure out how to maneuver him [shake] into the box.  I give one final little shake [shake] and then quickly lower him into the box head first and slap the lid down on the tongs.  Taking my time now, I carefully remove the tongs and secure the box.
WOW, I DID IT!!!  Now I start to shake.  I go get my snake book to make absolutely sure that this is a coral snake and not a milk or a king snake.  No doubt, it’s a very dangerous reptile, and I have him in a little box in my kitchen sink….The freaking out is about to start!!  I go in and wake Trav (with difficulty as he is Sound asleep) so he can help me decide what to do next AND give me a hug and let me melt down in safety. 

He comes out and opens the box just a little and with a flashlight he peeks inside to make sure of my identification.  I was right (of course), so he asks if I am ok, I say I am, “are the cats ok?” as far as I can tell they are grand, full of rebellious energy and mischief (keeping in mind that it can take UP TO 18 hours for the effects of a coral snake bite to present, but pretty sure that the cats would show signs sooner due to their size). 
Now, what to do with the uninvited guest.  It’s close to midnight and we usually get up around 4:30 and get ready for work, so the thought of getting dressed and taking a long ride to a safe location to release him is just not going to make it…we agree that he is secure in the box and we can take him when we leave for work in the morning.  It takes a while to calm down (after crying on Travs shoulder and bemoaning the fact that we might lose our cats and him soothing me) so it’s close to one when I finally crawl into bed.  Yes, I checked on him before I went and the box was tightly closed and all was well.  Good night.

Oh hey. 
Man I don’t do mornings well.  Gotta make my coffee and get my lunch made first thing….into the kitchen, get the stuff out for lunch…turn to the sink to rinse the coffee cup.  Pick up the box and think, “That’s pretty light”  give it a bit of a shake from side to side – nothing happens…WHAT????  Shake it again – same result!!!!!! Crap Crap Crap!!!!  The snake has escaped!!!!  In my house!!! With my fids!!!! (fur kids).  “TRAV”!!!!
First PUT ON SHOES!  Second start searching.  Third realize that this is an almost overwhelming task.  Then call in….clear the back room…exile the animals (not an easy task, that back room accumulates stuff faster than any place else). 
We are what some people call pack rats…we have a very hard time throwing away ANYTHING that may Someday be of use.  Not hoarders, mind, we do throw out trash.  But what this means to this story is that it could take literally weeks to get through all the ‘stuff’ in our house.  And when you contemplate that task using kitchen tongs to avoid getting bitten…it’s mind boggeling!
But we are determined and so we get started. 
Ten hours later, after a few breaks, we give up.  There is only so much a person can do without emptying out the entire house.  .  We pray.  We have to go to church tonight, I am singing a solo type thing for the Music Fest with the kids and Trav is doing the sound….we Have to go.  So we do.  We ask our fellow church members to pray too, we need those prayers right now.  They do, as they are reacting in various ways to the story we tell them.  No we are not moving out of our house.  No we are not burning it down.  Yes we are going to go home tonight and sleep there.  Yes we are going to go to work tomorrow.  Yes we are worried, mostly for the fids, but what else can we do?  Exactly.
We go home, love on the fids, watch a little TV, go to bed.  All the while keeping our eyes open and being ready for anything.   Nothing – sigh
Is it morning again?  Sigh, Ok, get up, get ready, go to work.  Worry all day about the fids….dread going home for fear of what we will find. 
What do we find when we get home?  Tug (jack Russell/spitz mix) is running around the yard and Rosie comes out to greet us.  Where is Sage?!?  Nowhere to be seen.  Ok, Put the stuff down and find her.  First walk thru the house…Wait, there she is…sitting on the kitchen floor staring at the crack under the bedroom door.  Is it the snake?  Does she see/smell/hear it? 
Quick!!!! Grab the tongs, shoo the cats away and search the bedroom again….45 minutes later – no snake.   Sigh
Change out of our work clothes, Trav into ratty jeans and a t shirt and me into my funky jammies (with shoes), go make dinner.  Sit on the couch and watch TV while we eat.  After a bit Trav pauses the show and wanders into the kitchen – for what I don’t know – but that’s ok, he’s allowed.  After a minute he calls my name.  “What”? says I.  “Lori, come here” says Trav.  “Why”? says me.  “COME HERE”!  says Trav.  Ok, ok…I’m coming.  “What’s up”? I ask.  He points to the corner of the kitchen as he continues to attempt to herd cats.  (why does this sound so familiar?) 
And there, in the corner of the cabinets, by the sink, is our little friend, the coral snake.  Doing his very best to dig an escape hole into the baseboard. 
Ok, whats the plan?  Um…. oh, don’t have any.  MAKE ONE _ QUICK!!!
Grab the tongs and with no hesitation or time to think about how dumb this might be, grab that sucker by the tail…AGAIN!!!!
YIPPEE!!! Caught him!!!  [shake] Um, Trav? [shake] What are we going to put him in?  [shake]When we were searching, we pretty much threw away all containers that we could so there were fewer places for him to hide.  [shake]  Is there a tote in the house? [shake] How bout emptying a food container? [shake]Duh!  I know!  Get a trash bag!  [shake] One of the smaller kitchen ones, open it and set it in the sink.  [shake] I put him in the bag and we hold it closed with the tongs and secure it with a twist tie.

Sigh of relief from both of us….we got him.  Now, what are we going to do with him?  Well, we are not going to kill him, that’s not our style.  So – lets hop in the car and take him out into the wilderness and let him go.  Oh man, I need to be careful holding him in that bag, he could conceivably bite me right thru it.  Riding in a car with that in front of me is not a pleasant thought.  Trav carries him out and plops the bag down in the bed of the truck.  [forehead slap] we own a TRUCK!!!  Ok, off we go…we go many miles into the wilds and find a nice looking spot and release our new friend into a life of nature. 
Now we are waiting to make sure the cats are ok…we are not sure yet, but think they are. 
{now, just image me telling story with me pantomiming that [shake] every other word….easy there, don’t die laughing!!!}
(after word…just so you don’ t worry, all the fids are fine and dandy….and the night after we released that snake back into the wild I watched a MOUSE being deviled by Rosie….when she saw me, she sat down and started bathing so the mouse ran away, straight into MY CRAFT ROOM!!!!  Sigh, life in the woods with fids is never dull)