You might think I’m talking about a PC.
Forget it, I’m a Mac woman. Indiana Jones is on my mind and not because Harrison Ford is handsome. It’s because of something the dashing star as his iconic character and I share.
We upgraded from the original 1980s house windows a few years ago. This was a good idea since you couldn’t sit anywhere near the windows in the summer without the heat melting you or beside them in the winter without your warm breathing misting them up. The new windows are energy efficient and apparently provide good soundproofing going both directions. When I’m in my office tapping away on the keyboard, not a lot from outside distracts me unless I’ve happened to raise the sash.
Once upon a time on a quiet evening I was home alone. I remember it was Tuesday because I was watching NCIS, which hasn’t changed its airing night in decades. Our downstairs family room is cozy—when only the TV and a small wrought iron lamp beside it are in use.
Alas, this evening found the room ablaze with illumination. Both overheads, the ones beside the TV, my overstuffed chair, and in the corner—all lamps are aglow. Shadows are negated by the arcs of light thrown everywhere around the long room.
Beside me on the end table are:
- two cans of hairspray (where did I even find it?)
- a croquet mallet (love the game, can’t play it in our sloped yard)
- several folded up paper towels (okay, the entire roll)
- and even a 5 lb disc for a barbell (not sure what I plan on doing with it)
In my own little way, I’m loaded for bear.
I’m wishing Rooster Cogburn was here giving me the lasso he surrounded Katharine Hepburn with to keep slithering critters away. Ah to have John Wayne’s gentle chivalry with me at this moment!
I’m at the end of a forty-five minute trek on the elliptical, feeling pretty good about going beyond my normal half-hour. I’m enjoying the show, laundry is churning away in the room next to me. Life, as I’ve known it up until that moment, is good.
Then I notice a long, thick, dark thread on the carpeted floor and think: hmmm, where did that come from?
Then the thread moved.
I started screaming at the top of my lungs.
With the speed of Indy’s first attack boulder, multiple thoughts rolled through my head:
First: turn a bucket upside down on it.
Second: buckets have spouts, that won’t work.
Third: Shout should be toxic enough to stop it in its slither.
Fourth: Shout will stain the carpet. Will Shout stain the carpet?
Fifth: OH DEAR HEAVENS, I HAVE TO TOUCH IT!
Like the eternally brave and daring Indiana Jones, I hate snakes.
I don’t dislike them. I don’t think they’re simply squirmy reptiles to be avoided at the zoo. I hate them. I mean, I hate them. I have hated them all my life even when Dad would say, “Don’t worry, Rosemary, it’s just a black snake.” When we were kids, I’d catch lightening bugs, crawfish, crickets, and grasshoppers. When it came to any creature of any magnitude without legs, the brother and two boy cousins left me out of the game.
Oh yeah, Indy and I have it going on. We feel exactly the same way about the wretched wrigglers.
Even in the yard…
Mowing one summer, I was happily enjoying the Zen of my chore when from under the mower a snake at least sixteen inches long shot out and zoomed across the grass. I, who prefer to shoo flies outside than to kill them, was ticked that I couldn’t run over him again, but he disappeared under the neighbor’s bushes.
Back in the house…
This serpent who nervily invaded the family room was at least eight inches in length, big around as my little finger. Skinny as can be, sure, but that didn’t make me feel any less threatened.
Screaming the entire time, I wadded together paper towels, scooped him up and ran into the powder room to flush him. He was pretty fierce about trying to crawl up the sides of the bowl. It took three flushes to get him down. Then I ran up and down the stairs repeatedly, dousing three toilets with Lysol Cleaner and flushing them about nine times each.
My screaming lasted at least five full minutes.
Jamie Lee Curtis would have hired me to substitute for her back in her Halloween days.
When the screaming stopped, the crying started.
Can I tell you…
I hate when I go girly. As my encouraging brother kindly said, “You’re one of the most self-sufficient people I know.”
Do you think I’ve gone soft since I got married? Do you think being able to dramatically state: “Eek, a spider/centipede/squiggly bug,” and have husband instantly save me has made me a wimp?
Oh no. That can’t have happened. I love my independence. And Alex travels. A lot. Like right now when he’s in a safe hotel room on an upper floor that can’t possibly get invaded by a snake.
I, on the other shaking hand, am here, at ground level. I have to be able to take care of myself. I can handle the spiders/millipedes/squiggly bugs. I don’t like them, but give them a quick squirt of that hairspray (why else would I have it on hand?) and they’re fairly easy to get rid of.
Outside I can cope. Had the yard snake pursued me, I would have quit mowing and come inside.
Blast it, our home is no longer safe.
Which leads me right back to the title of this blog. My five full minutes of Jamie-Lee screaming brought nary a neighbor to the door. At the very least, I expected the four legged critters that occupy their homes would hear my dog-ear-piercing screams and leapt into a tizzy of dancing circles and frantic jumps, wanting to come to my rescue!
Drat, those new windows are utterly too good.