Slithering visitor makes an unwelcomed appearance

Everyone knows about uninvited guests. They show up and you make nice, all the while thinking of things you could be getting done right now. Granted, all of my uninvited guests on two or four legs have been really rather nice (and welcome…unless you?re thinking of dumping a pet out here), but uninvited guests with NO legs are quite another story.

This last Wednesday was quite the interesting day. I?ve been volunteering at Vacation Bible School, in the nursery. To begin my day, I had a lovely little girl with some separation anxiety attach herself to me. I could deal with it, but it really eroded my nerves when it was time to powder my nose.

After lunch, it was time to herd my own kids, do more chores, and still find some quiet decompression time. Of all the days I should have gone fishing, that was it, but I wasn?t going to take two screaming kids to my favorite fishing hole and have them scare all the fish.

As it got closer to Farmers? Market time, I thought I?d go out to the coop and see if there were any extra eggs to sell. After all, I don?t have much produce ready yet.

I opened the door to find a chicken body. Oh my. It was one of my favorites. She?s a Barnevelder, a $20 chick, and here she lay on the floor. I suppressed the urge to cry. As I reached down to retrieve her body, I noticed that her body was still breathing! I gathered her up gently as my mind raced?what to do now? Heat exhaustion was the most likely explanation.

I feverishly searched through my poultry references with her limp body clutched in my arms. The consensus seemed to be to cool her down (but not too quickly) and make sure she had electrolytes and extra water. Yikes.

Thinking on my feet, I put her in the unused half of a wire bottomed rabbit hutch and ran an extension cord and fan out to her. I found a small waterer and made sure the water wasn?t too cold. I had to hold her head up so she could drink, since she was laying on her side and her legs seemed to be made of spaghetti. I put an ice pack close to her inert form.

Then the real fun began. I herded the kids up and headed into town to get Gatorade. I made sure they knew we weren?t going to play at the park, and that we needed to HURRY home.

I intended to stop at the park to thank whoever had come to farmers? market, but (for the only time in my life) I?m grateful that nobody was there. The kids seemed to have a grasp of just how serious the situation was?we were in and out of that store like greased lightning.

As I mixed the Gatorade with water, helped her to drink, and pleaded with her to live, my daughter ran up to me. ?MOM! MOOOM! There?s a snake in the BATHROOM!? Knowing what my kids get up to sometimes, my first reaction was ?yeah, right.? Always the scientist, she said condescendingly ?Mom, it?s real. We saw its tongue come out.?

Holy Mother of Pearl. Dangerously at risk of losing my cool, I calmly helped Barnie take another drink and asked my daughter where in the bathroom she saw the snake. ?Behind the door, Mom,? she glibly replied as we headed inside. ?Exactly WHERE behind the door, sweetie?? I said in tones that, for adults who know me, know that I?m just a second away from screaming. ?Oh, it?s on the shelf.?

There should have been horror movie music playing as I eased open the door. I don?t have a problem with big slow snakes, but I?m pretty sure that well-fed boas and pythons wouldn?t be curled up in my bathroom.

Sure enough, there it was. A ball of black snake curled up on the shelf. NOW WHAT? For those of you that have kids, you know that they think it really helps when they ask you repeatedly what you?re going to do. They are wrong.

So, after a bit of thinking, I had a plan. This should be easy, right? Put on my work gloves, get a stout stick and a large feed bag. Use the stick to push the snake into the bag, close the top, take the bag outside, and we?re all happy again, right? Nope.

The snake missed the bag. I managed not to shriek, but I can?t say that a strangled EEK didn?t emanate from my general vicinity. So here I am in shorts and flipflops, trying to pin a two foot snake down with a stick.

Of course I can?t grab it (with my luck, it?d just whip back and bite me). Then its head finds the furnace vent. Down the head goes, and the body follows. OK, I think. It?s summer. We?re not using the furnace. The ducts all have big vertical shafts. I was pretty relieved until hubby went down to look for it in the furnace and couldn?t find it.

Needless to say, I don?t plan on opening the furnace until it?s cold enough to freeze the nose off my face. The dang thing should be dead by then.

So, if you have legs, feel free to drop by. If you don?t have legs, I?ll leave you in the furnace until December. (And Barnie pulled through, in case you?re interested!)

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