It’s the end of May.
We’re into the best part of Spring, past the incessant rain and fears of frost.
Winter can no longer reach out and wrap its icy fist around a day.
We had the April showers, we had the May flowers.
It’s not yet relentlessly hot and humid.
It’s the absolute best time of the year.
Except that it’s Snake Season.
And yes, I know. Snakes are great to have around. They’re very clean, and the vast majority of the ones in Pennsylvania aren’t poisonous, and they eat disease-filled vermin.
But…can I be frank? They’re damn creepy.
Snakes and I never had much of a problem until I started finding their skins hanging from the ceiling of my laundry room. In my basement, the ceiling lines up with the ground line in my back yard.
After a long investigation, we discovered that the snake was getting in by crawling up under the siding and entering the house through the hole where my air conditioner connects to the house.
I shiver just remembering those days.
We looked everywhere for that snake. We moved everything out of the basement, tore the insulation from the panels.
Then a few weeks later I walked in, and there he was, stretched across my washing machine like four feet of terror.
I froze. For an instant, I thought it was a rubber toy snake. Who and why someone would put a rubber snake in my laundry room was unclear, even in my delusion.
I’m embarrassed to say I closed the door to the laundry room. As if I was Houdini, and I could close the door and make the snake disappear.
That shook me out of my paralysis. I’d been looking for the snake for weeks! I couldn’t walk away now.
As bad as it was seeing the snake, seeing his skins and not knowing where he was hiding was worse.
Every time I did the laundry I felt like I was Indiana Jones and a snake was going to fall on my head.
So I steeled my courage and opened the door. The snake, apparently sensing my presence, had started his escape, and was crawling up my wall.
Reader, I could not pick that snake up off the wall.
I just couldn’t.
I ran down the street to my neighbor who loves snakes, and he came running back with me, imploring me not to hurt the snake. (As if I would get near enough to touch it, much less hurt hit.)
My hero lovingly plucked up the snake, cooing like it was a kitten, and took it away to release it into the woods.
I spent the rest of the summer sealing up the house like Fort Knox. (Well, my wonderful Dad did. I was afraid to go down there. I was only forced to enter the laundry room again after dirtying every piece of clothing I owned. I wore some colorful outfits to work that summer.) He sealed every crack and crevice. He put up snake fencing along the outside of the house.
Anything we could do to make sure Howard—I named him to make him less scary—knew his eviction was final.
Thankfully, neither Howard nor his friends have taken up residence in my basement again.
In the winter, I don’t worry.
But in the summer, I go on high alert. I never start a load of laundry without a full inspection of every crevice of the room with a floodlight I bought especially for this purpose.
People say snakes are more afraid of me than I am of them.
That, my friends, is highly debatable.
Honestly, I don’t mind much if they’re around, as long as they stay out of my house.
And preferably, completely out of sight.