In an attempt to get the boys to relax, and give me a minute to just enjoy watching them being themselves while taking a big breath, I wandered out to Grandma's house (that would be my mom's) with boys. Actually, it was a bit of a hectic morning, unexpectedly; my classes were all up in the air again, and I had to go straighten it out. I also had Andy's stuff to straighten out. Things are clicking along on all fronts again. (Yay!) So, breathing. It's a Good Thing.
Mom took Andy with her, and I went to get Joey off the bus. Another surprise- one of Joey's beloved (and practically new) crocs got broken at school. Joey doesn't do broken. He perseverates on it to anxiety meltdown. Just what I really didn't want. So we popped into a shop that fortunately had a pair in his size on sale. Disaster averted.
We then scooped up some Happy Meals (the boys love teenie beanies, and its the last day), and off to Grandma's we toodled, to slide on her big blow-up water slide and Sit. Down.
Blowing up the big slide is always an adventure. It is too heavy for us to move around, so once it is set up, there it stays. I pull the motor through a window (it can't stay out because- get this- it can't get wet.) Then I hook everything up, and turn on the switch. As it inflates, I chase the spiders off, and rescue several with my famous Spider Rescue Stick. (the only spiders I believe in killing around here are black widows. I don't like them in my house, but spiders eat other bugs like biting flies and roaches). Anyway, as I am rescuing a particularly large spider, Joey is saying, "snake! I see a snake!"
(How many of you just found yourself clinging to the ceiling?)
Grandma and I took a few minutes to see it ourselves, but there it was- I had practically stepped on it putting up the pool. Now with all the noise and bother of the search, it was poised for self-defense. A small, brown, diamond-mottled snake, with a swollen head... hearts stopped. Praise of Joey commenced. But I was now trapped in the pool with a long stick and a measure of distance as my only defense. Yes, folks, Joey had just saved us pain, agony, and possibly his and his brother's lives.
It was a copperhead.
We got the boys back to the porch, and I managed to get the pool turned off. But now we had a copperhead to deal with. When I was young, we didn't see many copperheads around my house, because there was plenty of space for them elsewhere and we nurtured the company of large black ratsnakes, who eat copperhead hatchlings, and black kingsnakes, who eat copperheads. With all the clearing around here (why do people buy wooded lots, then cut down all the trees???), the copperheads are being driven this way, and the old kingsnake that used to hang out around the garden hasn't been seen in a while. I hadn't seen a live copperhead in quite some time. I wasn't enjoying it now. Especially one eyeing me and my stick that look of "jab me with that thing again, you idiot, and I'm going to show you exactly how long I am!"
Sorry, herpatologists out there, but to me, copperheads are the same category as black widow spiders. They are beautiful. And the must DIE.
But as mom as I stared at this little snake, an he glared back at us, we were at a loss. I've never killed a snake. Its not like a little spider that you toss a shoe at. If I get it wrong, I could be in big trouble. We found a little grasscutter blade tool thingy, but the handle was only four feet long. And it was looking right at me. With that look. You could almost hear it say, "Go ahead, idiot. Make. My. Day."
And mom was reinforcing the fact that it really, really needed to join the Choir Invisible. Maybe even pine for fjords. She was right. As I said before. DIE. DIE. DIE.
And there it was. To get a good swing in, I'd probably have to chop off part of the pool, and it's position under a bench attached to the garden wall meant I would be at a very odd angle.
"Mom," I said, "we can't do this."
In other words... bokbokbokbokbok! I'm a chicken. No, wait, we're both chickens.
Yes, the snake was allowed to live. And the boys were not allowed to play in the pool. And we have our handy blade tool thingy close to hand, waiting for Round Two: Death of the Snake.