I never thought I was afraid of snakes. Since I live on Long Island, a non-mecca for snakes, there was really no way of testing out that theory. Not that I ever thought about it.
It was one morning in the summer, after several days of rain, that my feelings on snakes (in general and in my home) became apparent. After getting the kids up and plopping one of them on the sofa and the other in the pac-n-play (Madeleine was only 1 year old at the time), I came back into the dining area and jumped so high I may have nearly hit the ceiling if I were taller. A brownish, linear creature was suddenly there in the middle of our house and it was sort of flip-flopping around. I didn’t stop to examine it or even give it more than a glance. I was too busy jumping on the sofa, screaming and creating a new phobia for my kids to carry through their lives as I babbled OhGodOhGodOhGod.
“What’s going on?! What’s going on, Momma?!” Luke cried.
“It’s ok, it’s ok…it’s ok, Buddy. There’s a snake in the house and I have to call Daddy.”
“Yes, I’ll call Daddy but first let’s go outside for a little while. Ok, Buddy?”
Madeleine was peering over the top of the pac-n-play wearing an expression I can only describe as Seriously? This fruitloop is my mother?
In retrospect, I’m grateful that it was a sunny morning and not a rainy one. I’m grateful that I was dressed – well, sort of. I was wearing pajamas from Target that consisted of a tank top and short-shorts. Not something I’d wear to bring Luke to school, but not terrible to wear if I’m waiting on the patio for my husband to come and rescue me.
Because the key pad for the security alarm is near the front door and the creature sighting occurred near the front door, I would not – could not – cross the threshold of snakeville to disable the alarm. Even though the “snake” had disappeared by this point. What if it was plotting to leap out and sink its fangs into my big toe? Therefore we had to go out the back door, tripping the siren. It’s crazy-loud and my kids hate it. They cry whenever it goes off.
I scooped them up and went outside. Now that I think about it, I’m surprised that my neighbors didn’t hear the alarm going off for what seemed like forever. If they did, I suppose they didn’t care enough to look into the matter.
My husband was not working in the area that day but rushed home, presumably having to literally climb out of a tree since he’s an arborist. He searched everywhere in the house but our friend the reptile-in-question was nowhere to be found.
“What do you mean, you can’t find it? What am I supposed to do now? You can’t leave!”
He was calm, “Lindsay, I have to go back to work.”
His lack of hysteria only pushed me further toward the edge, “And what?! I’m supposed to go about my day in this house with a snake on the loose and hope it doesn’t show up again? I’m freaking out, Michael! I’m freaking out!”
We decided that my mother-in-law, Debbie (who is part friend, part devoted grandmother and part saint) would come and help me get the kids packed up for the day and then we’d retreat to her house. Michael left, Debbie arrived.
I should mention that when a situation arises where I get spooked, whether rational or irrational, I am inconsolable and quite difficult to manage. I’m not proud of this, but it’s true.
Debbie watched the kids (on the sofa, where I insisted they sit with their feet up just in case Sam the Snake were to poke out from beneath it) as I threw necessities in a backpack. In my mind, the kids and I could be gone for a week at the least. There was NO way I’d let myself or my babies put our heads down to sleep if a creature of the night could be lurking. As for my husband, he’s super-brave and he could sleep wherever he wanted. He could sleep with the snake if he liked.
It was on my way back into the living room that I tripped over the corner of the rug in front of the sink. Once again, I yelped and jumped around as if the floor was covered with hot coals. The intruder was holed up under my rug!
“OhmyGod! Oh crap! It’s under there! It’s under there!”
“Where?! Where?! Do you see it?! How big is it?!” Debbie started to freak out, too.
“I can’t look, I can’t look! Ohhhh, I’m so grossed out. This is disgusting. I can’t believe this!”
Somehow, Debbie was courageous enough to look. Spatula in hand, she peeled back the edge of the rug and shrieked, “I see it!” She looked closer and paused, “Oh, wait a minute. Lindsay, it’s not a snake. I think it’s a worm.” She said it in a tone that suggested relief but also one that said you’re an idiot in her very kind and tactful way.
Since we’d had all that rain for the week or so before this incident, the theory we came up with was that our rotting front door frame had a space large enough to allow the biggest earthworm I’ve ever seen to slink his way inside. I have since coerced my husband into foam-sealing the entire door frame. And yes, I can’t wait for the renovation to begin so that everything is new and un-rotten and earthworm/snake-proof. By the way, even though it turned out to be an insect, I still get the creeps whenever I see something snake-related on TV. If you are a lover of all things reptilian, I don’t think I will ever be able to understand how your mind works. Go away, snakes.