Friday, April 28, 2017

Didn't see that coming!

Well, I’ve had a week of surprises—mostly pleasant ones, thank goodness! It all began on Tuesday, when I was working in my office with the door half-closed, and heard a gentle, attention-getting tap (and the addition of a quietly spoken “Knock knock!” in case I was in doubt as to what was happening….which is not that unlikely, come to think of it…). I pushed the door open to see my co-workers massed (all 5 of them, so not quite a teeming crowd, but you get the picture) in the hallway, with big smiles…and a giftbag. “Happy Administrative Professionals Day” they cheerfully offered, as I sat staring at them, startled and perplexed. After a second or two I managed to reply, “Um…thanks! I didn’t even know that was a thing!”

Apparently, it is—and my lovely work mates even made it into a present-giving occasion, which is obviously awesome and unexpected. I unwrapped the tissue-papered goodies to discover a set of reusable snack bags…and a salad-dressing-mixer jar (with recipes printed on the side—super cute and clever!). They explained that they’d gone to a local store that specializes in crafty, unique, eco-friendly items (right down the street, next to Whole Foods, which I suspect will make it a dangerous temptation in the future). Or, as one of them summed it up, “We thought it was such a you-kind-of-shop!” (Oh. My. Goodness. Do they GET me, or what?)

They told me they’d wanted something with crabs on it—for Maryland—but had to settle for the whales (adorable, nonetheless). And they’d even read the ingredients on the side of the bottle, and determined that they were things I could make, even with my vegetarian/anti-inflammatory/gluten-free lifestyle. So. Cool.

Unfortunately, the second event fell more into the category of…a mild shock. I arrived home from work Wednesday afternoon, came around the car to walk down to the mailbox, and screeched to an abrupt, cartoonish halt when I saw this, neatly tucked into the groove where the driveway meets the garage floor: 

So, obviously it’s a very small snake, and therefore not that intimidating. Honestly, the only reason I even spotted it—given that it’s the same color as all the mud on the ground from our recent 3-day rain—is because its head was up….and its tongue was rapidly sliding in and out in way that I found rather disconcerting. I stood there for several long moments, frozen, before gathering my wits with an effort and carefully approaching it. Now, before you scream that this proved I was NOT, perhaps, fully in control of my faculties, let me explain: I needed to check its coloring, to determine if it was a harmless specimen…or a creature from which I should run shrieking in the opposite direction.

After a cursory inspection, the only really important thing to note was: it doesn’t appear to be a copperhead. Okay, then, what’s next? Why…take a photo, of course (DUH)! Then figure out how to…relocate it somewhere further away from the house. First, I encouraged it verbally to move along, “Hey! Go on, get out of here!” You can guess how effective this was…but it bought me a little time to mull over my options. (I realized later that snakes don’t even have ears, do they? So upon further reflection, I probably just looked like a crazy lady standing in my driveway, yelling at a nearly-invisible critter…fabulous. Well, on the plus side, none of my neighbors seem to have called the mental health practitioners…yet…)

Next, I gathered my courage to enter the Spider Realm of Doom…um…the garage storage closet…to seek an appropriate tool. (To sum up: I had to brave the possibility of becoming entangled in webs…in order to deal with a reptile. This day just kept getting better and better, yeah?) So, a metal yardstick? Too flexible, couldn’t get any leverage to push him/her/it. Hoe? Not enough surface area. Ah, a there we have it: a big-ass shovel to scoop his slithery butt and put it down elsewhere. Even with such a brilliant, foolproof plan, however, (ha!) this endeavor turned out to be more complicated than I had foreseen.

For example, simply getting the edge of the shovel under the little guy was ridiculously difficult. And that was before we even reached the next step: the graceful flinging of the unwelcome visitor into the grassy area beside the house….or at least, that’s how I envisioned it, anyway. What actually happened was that I awkwardly pushed/tossed it a couple of times, moving toward the yard; meanwhile after each assault by the large metal object it seemed like the snake lifted its head a little further, flicked its tongue a little more irritably, and glared at me.

Clearly, it was becoming increasingly irate and possibly plotting vengeance on my exposed, sandal-ed toes (which I tried valiantly to keep well out of reach). Eventually I managed to get the--completely uncooperative, by the way--reptile off the pavement and back into…nature…where I assumed it would crawl off to a more hospitable environment. (So long! Thanks for stopping by! Don’t let the door hit you in the…tail…end…of your…oh, whatever…)

Incidentally, when Derek got home from school and I relayed the story to him, his very first comment was, “Did you scream?” What? “NO!” I exclaimed with a certain amount of righteous indignation. I was a calm, decisive, action-oriented problem solver! “Oh,” he shrugged, “I guess it’s just bugs, then.” Hey—I’ll have you know that I also took care of a spider last night, ALL BY MYSELF, without any drama, and also without calling for male backup, thankyouverymuch. So there!

But if it’s all the same to the universe, that’s quite enough excitement for me, this week. I’ll happily take a nice, quiet weekend, filled with the usual activities. And if by some chance things start to lean toward the boring end of the spectrum, and I find myself wishing for a thrill…perhaps I’ll pay an exploratory visit to the Twig boutique mentioned by my work buddies, and see what other "my-type-of-stuff" I can uncover!

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