When I found myself on my back deck, perched hands and knees with bits of plaster through my hair, pleading and making bargains with a cat who I swear hates me, I knew that I had hit a new type of bottom. It was one of those situations that felt surreal, but I knew that it was anything but a dream. It was simply the culmination of what turned out to be an extraordinarily bad morning.
Yesterday began with my rising early, not because I needed to work but rather because for some reason I can no longer sleep past 4 AM. Scott came into the living room at 6:15, frazzled and shaking. He grabbed my hand and insisted that I follow him into our bedroom where I saw the beginning of my nightmare. A snake tail, approximately 18 inches long, was wiggling and dangling from the hole in our ceiling. His head was precariously stuck on the glue trap next to the rafter, but during the fight he managed to break through the plastic sheeting which was sealing the hole in our ceiling. To make matters worse, the snake was suspended a few feet away from Robby, who ended up sleeping in our room because of a nightmare. I can only imagine that waking up to a snake falling on his head would have been more terrifying than anything he could have imagined in his dreams!
Dealing with a crisis situation is not one of my husband's attributes. He froze, became panicked, and did not stop spinning. After pacing, wringing his hands, and cussing the snake for 25 minutes, he announced that he had to go to work. He wished me luck, grabbed his lunch, and ran out the door.
Needless to say I was not happy with being abandoned to deal with the serpent intruder. I can't help but feel that if he had been able to garner his courage instead of spending the 25 minutes frozen with fear, the snake could have been removed. Instead, I was wished good luck and left to deal with the situation by myself.
I hate snakes, but I hate the prospect of Robby being hurt more. Still fuming, and terrified, I woke him up and lured him to the couch to watch SpongeBob. Knowing that my moment of bravery was fleeting, and that I was on the verge of running into the street screaming with Robby in hand, I went to work securing the snake in place. Standing on a chair, I swiftly stuck another glue trap underneath the wiggly and long enemy, trapping him against the ceiling. With his head on one trap and about 1/3 of his body on another, I knew that I had bought some time to take Robby to school and to device a removal plan.
After dropping Robby off at school, I drove straight home to tackle the snake issue. I fought every urge and instinct to just keep on driving and instead decided to woman-up and take care of the issue. I closed the bedroom door, locking out the cats, and opened the sliding door leading to the deck. (Hoping that I wouldn't have to kill him, I wanted a clear path so that I could throw the snake outside.) I then positioned the ladder under the hole and climbed to the top.
I have always hated snakes. Since becoming an amputee, I have learned to hate climbing ladders. Having to deal with both foes at the same time was enough to bring me to tears. I climbed down the ladder and called my Mom. After calming down, I put her on speakerphone so that she could provide me with some encouragement when I made another trapping attempt.
Knowing that I had no choice, I made the move. I grabbed the glue trap, exposing the snake sandwiched between. I pulled hard, removing not only the snake but also a large chunk of the ceiling. Apparently the glue on those traps is extremely strong! Plaster bits, paint and dust showered down as I pulled the 3 foot snake from his perch. At this point he was barely alive, with his head stuck on the glue and his body exhausted from fighting the confinement.
I briefly toyed with the notion of spraying down the traps with oil to release him into the wild, but his distinct coloring and head shape convinced me that we were better off with a quick death. I wasn't dealing with a regular snake. I feared I was dealing with a copperhead and I wasn't going to mess around. One swift hit with my homemade machete crutch and his misery was over. I folded the glue traps onto his remains and carried him to the trash.
I was shaking, terrified, and mentally drained when I started to put the ladder away. It was then that I realized that I had opened the bedroom door without shutting the door to the deck. Charlie, Robby's beloved feline friend, was strolling on the back deck. This indoor cat cannot be trusted outside, and I knew that Robby would be devastated if he became lost.
I crept over to the door, got down on my hands and knees and calmly began to talk with Charlie. I reminded him that Robby loves him very much, and that he has a nice life. I pleaded with him, and even promised him a can of tuna- packed in oil- if he quietly came back into the house. Slowly, Charlie stretched and meandered back into the house. I quickly closed the door, realizing how lucky I was to have even spotted him on the deck.
With new a new glue trap in place and the hole re-secured with new plastic sheeting, I spent the afternoon investigating handymen and exterminators although I took a quick break to run to the store to buy the tuna I had promised Charlie. I'm not sure if he understood our bargain, but I wanted him to know that I am a woman of my word.