This revelation hasn't come upon me suddenly, but only after an accumulation of various incidents that began with a casual Facebook post and ended up... well, I'll get to that in a minute.
About four weeks ago I was sitting in my office and during my post-lunch what-should-I-do-next motivational regrouping I checked my Facebook account and noticed that one of the people at my son's daycare posted the following on her status: OH MY GOSH!!!!!! I almost just got bit by a snake! Everybody be careful.
So I sit there for a moment and contemplate the urge I'm feeling to call the daycare and start screaming questions like WHERE IS MY SON and WHY ARE THERE SNAKES AT DAYCARE and THIS IS MORE PROOF THAT GLOBAL WARMING IS REAL AND THAT WE'RE LIVING IN A TROPICAL NIGHTMARE FILLED WITH DANGER AND DEATH AT EVERY TURN! But then I managed to not do any of that and went on to do some really important stuff like
Another couple of weeks go by and I have to show some houses to a new client. I live in the country, so I'm accustomed to going out and tromping in the woods and being careful where I step and all that. Occasionally I do what I call "city real estate" and show houses in a subdivision. It's a nice change because I don't have to worry about ticks and snakes and people playing banjos.
I showed three or four houses, the last of which was the best and I thought this could possibly be the one they would decide was right for them. We finished touring the house and went out the garage and their very tall son reached up to pull the garage door down and, unbelievably, winding its way toward him was a ginormous black snake on the garage door.
Calmly he said, "Uh, there's a snake on the garage door."
I said, "Whoa. Yeah. Hrm. Well, you know it's spring. They're starting to warm up and come back to life. Welcome to country life." I looked around at house after house that all looked the same in this cookie cutter subdivision and rolled my eyes at myself.
There's really no good way to put a marketing spin on a snake crawling across the garage door that you're holding onto.
So, we did all we could do which was basically slam the garage door onto the snake which then proceeded to wiggle its way out, but into the garage. I called the agent who listed the house and told her what had happened. She asked me if the snake was in the house. I said, "Well, I don't know... I didn't go back in and look." Probably she will never let me show one of her houses again because the time before locking a snake in her house I accidentally locked some of her renters out of a house. (How was I supposed to know they didn't have a key to their own house?)
I finally recovered from that episode and it was nearly forgotten for a while. Last weekend the weather was wonderful and I spent a lot of time out on the screened porch and daydreamed and watched neighbors walk by and birds swoop in and out of view. Rob and Julius spent time on the street practicing on the bike with no training wheels. They'd go down the street for a while and eventually appear back with Julius pedaling furiously and Rob huffing and puffing behind him.
Once they returned with them both walking and I was certain they'd probably been in an accident. They looked rushed and walked with purpose. As they got closer I noticed Rob had something in his hands and finally could make out that it was a very long snake. Nothing I wanted to see, that's for sure, but the boys insisted. This is the thing about living with a man and two boys... they like all this stuff. Nobody wants to talk to me about crafts, but they are all over it if it has scales or monster truck wheels.
Wound around Rob's arm was an electric green grass snake. And even I had to admit it was a wonder among snakes. It was sleek and elegant looking and the most brilliant color I've ever seen in nature. They found it when it had lunged out of the trees by the road and snapped up a spider to eat. We looked at it a while, got pictures of it, got pooped on by it and then the boys took it back out to the trees and let it go.
All day long, no matter what topic I brought up, all the boys would talk about was the snake and how they wished they could keep it and why can't they have a pet snake and why aren't there more cool snakes in the yard and why can't I take it to school and let's show grandma and let's go back and look for it again and on and on.
But even then it really wasn't until tonight that I decided we're really in for some kind of reptilian adventures this summer. I called my mom on the phone to tell her that Tristan was ready for their fun day tomorrow. The sitter is out and Tristan and Mom will be hitting all the carport sales. He came up to me while I was doing the dishes tonight and wanted to know if Grandma had a car seat. He's quite concerned that she come prepared for tomorrow.
She answered the phone a little breathless. I knew she would be outside doing yard work because that's what she always does when spring comes around.
"What are you doing," I asked.
"I just killed a copperhead," she panted.
"That's so gross."
"Well, it almost got me." I could hear her walking as we talked on the phone. "I saved it for Julius so he could see it."
"Oh, great because that's what I like him to see is a snake with a big bloody neck gash." I assumed she had wacked off his head with a hoe or shovel because that's how most people do it around here.
Then she said, "Oh no."
"I left it here on the rock so Julius could see it and it's moved..."
Oh why can't she just do things normally like most moms -- like throw her tools to the ground and run screaming into the house or maybe just dance around in a panic until the snake slithers off terrified into the underbrush.
"Seriously? Are you sure you killed it? Did you cut its head off?"
"No, I smashed it with a rock. Well, I had to do it twice. The first time I threw a big rock on it and it didn't kill it so I had to get another rock and hit it in the head again."
"How do you know you didn't just knock it unconscious?"
"Because I smashed it's head."
"Listen... I read about a guy today who got shot through the eye into his brain and also shot in his jaw and he wasn't supposed to live, but he did. That's way worse than some lady throwing a rock on your head."
She thought about it for a minute. "No, he's dead. He's here just next to the rock. I'll put him back on the rock and leave him and if he's still there in the morning, then he was dead, see?"
"Yeah, and if he's not there he's probably lying in wait for you, hoping he will have better luck next time."
And so, at another mother-daughter impasse, we said our goodbyes. There was nothing left to say about it until tomorrow morning when she walks across the dew-covered yard to see if there is still a dead snake lying on a rock.
I never thought I'd find myself saying I hope a snake is there when she comes back.