Just to give you background on how bad it is……..
When we moved in here we planted a hedge down an entire very long side of our yard. A friend gave us these black soaker hoses that lay flat on the ground and are punctured along their whole length to drip irrigate them. They were highly effective……. except for the yellow stripe.
I could have mentally blocked out a black S-N-A-K-E mimicking hose easily . Because it was such a dark color ,unless I was right next to it I would not have seen it. But for whatever reason , the hose manufacturer addded a sporty yellow stripe down the middle of it, and now it was ,to me, a S-N-A-K-E.
Around here if you look like a S-N-A-K-E, even if you are just a dried daylily leave or a hose, you are a S-N-A -K-E until a poke with a very long stick proves otherwise. Every frickin day I would get startled by that darn hose, and just to be sure, I would have to get a shovel and smack in it’s general direction in case it had somehow morphed into S-N-A-K-E since the last time I smacked it. See, irrational.
The hose eventually went in the trash so I could garden over there in peace.
I also used to trail run ( like in the woods), and my favorite route took me around a 5 mile loop that ended in a little bridge over a fast river . On lovely spring day, as I approached the bridge which is at that end of the loop and about 1/4 mile from the car, I found a large black snake stretched completely across the trail, head on one edge, tail on the other.
I froze, he froze, and realizing it was get him off the trail or run back the 4 and 3/4 miles I just finished, I proceed to throw sticks and rocks ( from a considerable distance mind you) , but to no avail. He refused to move. So I turned around and re-ran my run helped by lots of adrenalin, and now I run on a a treadmill.
About 2 weeks ago, the S-N-A-K-E that was living under my potting bench was on the walkway when I came outside and in an effort to escape me , slithered into the bulkhead. YEEE-IKES! I quickly retrieved Bill ,the great white hunter, who opened the bulkhead and shot it. So there.
It should have been clear to me then that the bulkhead was an issue, but I was just happy it was dead.
This morning I was just puttering around, and decided to use my time wisely and start to bring in some outdoor decorations and furniture that could get damaged in Hurricane Irene, which is headed toward us. Needing a box for some of the birdhouses etc, I headed down cellar to fetch one and stopped cold on the last stair.
My daughter’s flip flops were right at the bottom of the stairs, and to the right of them was a very odd long rope-y thing, and I am grateful that in my head the old “If it looks like a S-N-A-K-E then it is a S-N-A-K-E” alarm went off. A rapid jaunt to the top of the stairs to get a stick and a quick poke later, and I am a hysterical mess as…. it IS a SNAKE!!!!!!!!!!!!
Screaming like a banshee I fly up the stairs again to find the most completely useless tools I can to get said thing out of my cellar: a bamboo stick used for garden staking, an orange plastic beach pail, a piece of cardboard, and Erin.
Erin claims she is not afraid of these nightmarish creatures, and to my horror has even held a few, but today seems oddly useless. Maybe it is because I woke her out of a dead sleep and would not let her even pause at the bathroom as I frantically dragged her down the stairs babbling.
Anyway , the plan is to get it in the bucket. We bring the dogs down with us in case it has fled and we need to find it, and she with her bucket goes to the right, and I with my stick go left. The useless dogs can not figure out what the heck we want them to do, and are whining because they know they are not allowed in the basement, so we let them go back upstairs. I decide I am going to block the stairs while she looks under the nearest chair , and as I go to move Faith’s flip flops out of the way, discover in a very screaming sort of way that under the flip flops is where it was hiding.
Erin comes over with the bucket and puts it over the now coiled bastard. But the basement is plush carpeted, so of course the monster is able to start poking it’s head out. More screaming ensues. I yell at her to push the bucket down harder and head up to get a shovel, which is what I use to kill them outside and should have grabbed in the first place.
Now the S-N-A-K-E is half under the orange bucket, and half under the baseboard , so I wedge the shovel between the two and try to hold it there while she tries to get it in the bucket.
We are at a standstill here, so it occurs to me that what we really could use is some tongs. So I hold the shovel which is holding the almost bisected you know what, and Erin heads up to the kitchen to get the salad tongs. The bugger is now all writhy and squirmy, so it takes her a lot of effort but finally she has a firm enough grip that I can be be convinced to let go of the shovel.
Erin puts it in the bucket and with me following after her, heads outside. From my yelling point on the deck I keep making her walk further and further away before I finally stop and let her dump it.
Afterword, when I finally calm down, I know who is responsible for this trauma……CJ had opened the bulkhead door to sneak out a forbidden guest…and let in the you know what. I am dreaming of ways to make him pay , but since his bedroom is down there, I think having to sleep down there knowing he may not be alone will be enough punishment.
Meanwhile, I have been unable to do a thing since then, suffering as I am from post traumatic stress disorder. I am walking around in a daze, staring at the ground, and thus bumping into furniture and such. I googled repellents and traps and exterminators, but get no sense that any of the aforementioned will help at all. I may have to move, although Siberia can get a little chilly I hear.