31 July 2008

Sssssssssneaky Sssssssssnake

It was decided by official decree that the Groovy fam was going to go camping. We loaded up most of our gear on Sunday afternoon. Monday morning found us pulling together all the last minute goodies and then we'd be out the door.

We had just pulled the car out of the garage when suddenly Mulletman had an inspiration. He shut the car off and trotted over to our wood pile. We don't have a wood stove, but we do have a large fire ring in our yard and we keep a stack of wood near it - a very old and well seasoned stack of wood. Why in the world should we pay for firewood at a campground when we could bring our own, eh?

Mulletman had the girls lift their feet up and started stacking wood on the floorboard. He got several logs in the car and then got distracted for a few moments. The girls also got distracted and ran upstairs to give goodbye kisses to Grammy and Grampy. I just hung out in the driveway wishing we could go already.

Mulletman returned. The girls returned. Everyone piled into the car. The Groovy fam was just ready to go! Finally!

No, wait...Mulletman had noticed something about the wood. Apparently it was crawling with BUGS!!!! Little bugs, but still....Eeeewww! And they were now in our car! The Groovy fam quickly exited the car!

Mulletman started pulling the wood out of the driver's side and I pulled wood out of the other side. Suddenly he yelled, "SNAKES! Watch out for the SNAKES!"

I thought he was just fooling with the girlies. You know, Haha, I scared you, that sort of thing. Then I looked up and saw his face. My normally rather swarthy husband was white as a Maine winter and he had jumped about six feet back from the car.

"Are you serious? There was a snake in the wood?" I querried.

"Two," he gasped. Now normally, Mulletman is our protector and our hero, but the poor guy comes rather unglued when he sees a snake. I knew what those pleading eyes were saying to me.

"COOOOL! I'll catch 'em!" I quipped as I rounded the car.

My readers who've known me long and well know that I am something of a science geek. I LOVE fungus and insects and chemical reactions and symbiotic realtionships and weird latin terminology. I also love snakes. Happily, living in Maine, we have no rattlers or mambas or cobras. We don't even have water moccasins or coral snakes. We pretty much have 2 species of snake: Green grass snakes and garter snakes (which some folk call "garden" snakes), neither of which are dangerous in any way.

In fact, one day several years ago I got a call from my dear friend Tamara's husband, Rick. He had never called me before, so I knew something odd was up. Sure enough, I was right.

"Groovy. I understand you like critters and outdoorsy things."


"Well, I need to move our woodpile."


"I need to move it because it's too close to our kitchen door and..."

"And what, Rick?"

"It's infested with SNAKES..." His voice was as pale as Mulletman's face.

"I'll be right over."

I rounded up a couple of containers and headed over to their house. We burned the entire woodpile, I caught and contained 3 sizeable garter snakes (2-3 feet long) which I then released in my own backyard, and everyone was happy (including the girlies who got play with Rick and Tam's kids the whole time I was there.)

So anyway...I rounded our car and saw the cutest little garter snake all coiled up on the floorboard. He terrified and was playing dead, so he was easy to catch. I grabbed him and tossed him back out into our yard. Unfortunately, his compatriot was nowhere to be seen.

"Honey, I don't see another snake. Are you sure there were two?"

Mulletman was still several feet away, "Yes. The other one slithered under the front seat."

So we looked and we looked. We pulled stuff out of the car and searched thoroughly (translation: Groovy searched thoroughly while Mulletman and the girls skittered around.) No snake. Time was wasting away and we really needed to get going, so Groovy put on her best science teacher voice, "Alrighty, Mr. Snake is probably scared to death and is hiding. He's a little guy and he only eats bugs. He wouldn't even nip at your toe..." At the mention of "toe" the girls immediately started changing from flip-flops to sneakers. Sheesh!

After much assurance and persuasion, I finally managed to get everyone in the car and we drove off, though Mulletman still looked a bit edgy and grim. Our first stop was the town playground for some fun before lunch. Mulletman, who ALWAYS locks our car - especially when his very expensive Taylor guitar is inside - insisted that we actually leave the doors open while we played "in case the snake wanted to leave". Groovy tried hard to be supportive and not laugh at him, but it...was...very...hard! (snort!)

After much running, climbing, swinging, and sliding we headed into town to Subway for some nourishment. Still no snake. Perhaps he HAD slid out when the doors were opened.

We ate our leisurely lunch and piled back in the car to start for the campground. We were chatting, we were driving, we were listening to groovy music. We were NOT thinking about Mr. Snake.

And that's when I felt something tickle my right elbow.

"I think I found...Mr. SNAKE!!!" I triumphed as I grabbed him. The girlies cheered and, to his credit, Mulletman, who was looking rather ill, did not wreck the car. However, the vehicle quickly filled with a rather noisome stench; Mr. Snake had pooped on me! And it stankith! Eeeeewwww!

Even Groovy was relieved when Mulletman pulled over beside a grassy lot and she could toss Mr. Stinky Snake back to the outside world. She was even more thankful for those baby wiped she keeps in the door pouch of the car "just in case".

As they pulled out of the lot, I said, "Oh, I hope he went toward the field and NOT under the car after all that. I'd hate to run him over."

Mulletman looked at me with disgust and said, "Running him over would be a GOOD thing!"


Marianne Arkins said...

LOL.... sounds like I could have written that entire story. My DH hates snakes. I, OTOH, think they are fascinating. The only difference is my DD also loves snakes.

Poor MM.

Karen said...

I don't mind snakes, but I really don't like to be surprised by them.

One year I had a mouse make a nest in the heating vent of my car. One cold morning, it got a little warm and ran from the nice nest onto my leg and up toward my knee. I was driving. It was... a good thing there were no other cars on the road at that time.

Tammy said...

Groovy, this is one the best stories I've heard in ages, and to think it's all true!!! I was hanging on every word....
Although, I'd be right there with your husband and girls...you are ONE BRAVE WOMAN!!!!

notcon4med said...

Have you seen Kerry's latest facebook pics of our snake? They're not for the faint of heart or snake-phobes. You'll love them!

notcon4med said...

or is that feint...?

Keetha Broyles said...

So, was it a green snakek or a garter?

My hubby turns into a whiney little girl in the presence of snakes too.

Damselfly said...

Oh my goodness! Pooped on by a snake! You deserve a reward!

I used to be terrified of snakes. Now they're not as bad -- I can get pretty close to them -- but would never consider grabbing one.

You definitely win an award.

notcon4med said...

Yeah, snake poop is pretty stomach turning. I used to be known as one who would handle snakes...must have been something in the water in our parts, huh Groovy...however, that all ended the first time one of those cute li'l garter snakes pooped down my arm. Disgusting is not a strong enough word!

Dawn said...

I never once thought about a snake pooping! He must have been very nervous!

I think I would have been with your family - watching you work your magic. What a riot.

Superwoman said...

lol, I needed a good laugh! thanks for the great story!

groovyoldlady said...

Oh Ms. Karen...I LOVE rodents and insects and snakes, but I do NOT like them to startle me - I scream just like a girl!

silfert said...

I think we're related. Just read your profile and post. Yeah. We must be related. :)

Anonymous said...

Excellent post. I wish I could be as relaxed about snakes as you are but in my neck of the woods most of the snakes are deadly, so I'm totally with Mulletman.