Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Snakes on My Plane

I am one of the few moms on the block who is not completely freaked out by mice.  Or snakes.  Or flatulence.  I can't get a kid to school on time and the house is always a mess, but snakes?  Meh.

Middle Son has a friend with a corn snake, and so, ergo, the son wanted a corn snake.  I talked to my dad about how the son wanted a snake, and he was intrigued until I told him what the corn snake eats:  Mice.  Little frozen baby mice.  And more than monogamy, sobriety, or people of other races and cultures, my dad hates mice.

When I was in fifth grade, everyone took turns taking Chester the Hamster home from school for the weekend.  Chester was a cute little fluffy white hamster, but my dad really hated Chester, whom he referred to as "the Rat".  Since I was in fifth grade and my sister was in second grade, I pulled rank and wouldn't let her hold Chester.  She decided to do what any younger sister would do - she sneaked out of bed and held Chester while everyone was sleeping.  And then she accidentally left the cage door open.  Chester got out and the next time I saw Chester, my dad was trying to kill him with a ski pole in the closet of our storage room.  Luckily, crisis was averted and I recovered Chester for the school.

Another time, Dad drove about 24 hours to our house to visit, and I complained about a peculiar smell in the kitchen.  The house was built in 1900, so peculiar smells will happen, but when it got worse I started tearing the kitchen apart.  When I found a dead mouse under my stove, Dad packed up and left two days early.  He literally stayed in the house about two more hours after I found the mouse, and couldn't do it.  Bye, grandkids!  See you when you're in college! 

Another time, when CH and I were visiting Mom and Dad in Texas, Dad told us about finding dog food nuggets in the back hallway near his shoes.  He wondered aloud if perhaps mice were moving it.  Always looking for ways to screw with Dad, CH and I left a few dog food nuggets in the hallway, causing Dad to look for an entry point for mice.  He narrowed the culprit down to a small gap in the garage door.  Before we left to drive home, I filled one of Dad's shoes with dog food.  CH and I laughed and laughed all the way home about our prank, and when we got home we called and said, "So, what did you do today?" and Dad said, "I went out and bought a new garage door.  Those mice were getting bad."  We looked at each other, got off the phone quickly, and never confessed.

Dad couldn't understand the need for a corn snake.  "Don't most people try to avoid snakes in their homes?"  They live in southern Texas, and the game warden has been to their house more than once to remove five foot snakes from various places in their house.  "And those mice?  Nothing good comes from bringing mice in your house, even if they are dead."

Having Cy the Snake eat mice has never really bothered me.  They come in cute little plastic pouches, so I never see them.  Once, when I was paying for something in a store, I reached in my purse and accidentally pulled out a packet of "pinkies", which are the baby frozen mice.  I had purchased them the night before, and forgot to put them in the freezer, so I was walking around with thawed baby mice in my purse.  Ish.  The clerk wasn't too thrilled either.

Last week, Cy the Snake DID do something that bothered me - he made the Son cry.  The Son had moved Cy up from eating "pinkies" to eating "hoppers", which are more like teenage frozen mice.  Cy had a bulge in his tummy, and the Son decided to take Cy outside for some fresh air.  A short time later, CH and I are talking and we hear the horrible sound of the Son crying in panic, "MOM!  Mom!  Come quick!  Oh Cy!  Cy!"  We ran to the back door, and here he comes, Cy writhing around in his hands, and he yells, "Cy threw up on the porch!  I think he's going to die!"

Let me make one thing clear.  I got the snake because he was supposed to be low maintenance.  It's hard enough watching George the Superpet walk around all sad because we are terrible people and don't walk him.  But the snake?  Get in yer glass tank and shut up.  Now that we have the snake, I have to make weekly mouse runs, make sure he has water, find a summer location for him so he can burrow, and now apparently I have to clean up his puke.  Who friggin' knew snakes puke?

CH looked at me like "I call dibs!", took the Son by the arm and said, "Let's get Cy upstairs and into some water."  As they're walking away, he looks back over his shoulder at me, like "Sucka!", and this is how I know I'm getting stuck cleaning the puke.

I walk onto the porch.  George looks up from where he is smelling the puke and gives me a "wasn't me" look.  There, at his feet, is a puke worthy of a cat or a very small dog, which came out of a snake the thickness of my pinky finger.  Even worse, I can see that it is basically a fully hydrated mouse covered in slime.  I look at the mouse and I sigh, and then I clean it up with great reluctance.  

As I used forty paper towels to pick up my half digested friend, my dad's voice echoed in my head, "Nothing good comes from bringing mice in your house, even if they are dead."  Perhaps, just this once, Father knows best.  Cy the Snake lived, but the next time we get a pet in this house, we are going retro, and buying a Pet Rock.


Wendy Ramer said...

I am definitely the puke picker-upper in my house. It's a sucky job, but watching the cats re-eat their food grosses me out even more, so I'm all over it when it comes to volunteering to clean up animal puke when no one else will.

Megan (Best of Fates) said...

Such a funny post! My favorite line is "And more than monogamy, sobriety, or people of other races and cultures, my dad hates mice."

Miss Yvonne said...

I can't decide which is worse...thawed baby mice in your purse all day or snake puke mouse clean up. I just...gah.

Mary said...

I love your Dad.

GrandeMocha said...

Everytime my son asks for a dog, I remind him that the cat peed in the house and I had to clean it up and now the cat is buried in the back yard. Shuts the request down fast. Of course I wouldn't have put the 17.5 year old cat to sleep if he didn't have horrible medical issues too, but I don't remind my son about that part.

GrandeMocha said...

I agree with Megan (Best of Fates) about the best line.

Jennifer Murray said...

Last September, My hubby was called to Rescue a snake crossing the street in a very busy part of town. The police wouldn't touch it, and since our business is wildlife control, we got the call. The police thought at first it was a rattle snake, and they were just going to stop traffic long enough for the snake to cross the street. On further inspection, they discovered the snake was a Boa. A 5 foot, 4 inch Boa. Hubby just had to bring it home. But because this boa wasn't sporting a little fanny pack with his registration papers and health records in it, we couldn't find an animal shop or zoo that would take it. So the boa lives here. and he's over 7 feet long now. And he's still up for adoption, if you want him for your son. :)

Suzy said...

I always love the stories of the homeowners who find the 22 foot long snake under their house and finally figure out where all the neighborhood pets have gone.

Julie, The Wife said...

The guy at PetCo told me that his girlfriend had a parrot and he had a python, and one night they found the python in the bird cage with a huge lump, and he was too fat to get back out of the cage. Corn snake won't get big enough to eat George or Youngest Daughter, so we're good.

@Mary - lots of people have loved my Dad. *wink* Including me, but not in a MacKenzie Phillips kind of way.

SueWags said...

I am so glad I have four girls.

Midwestern Mama Holly said...

You're a better woman than me. There is not a snow balls chance in hell we would have a snake here. Not only am I not a lover of the snake,my husband, who isn't afraid of anything screams like a little girl when he sees a snake.

ForeverRhonda said...

One of our dogs ate the entire rest of my bridal shower cake, including one of the plastic doves that was on it. Today the plastic dove was recovered...from amid a pile of puke.

Anya said...

My mom always told me I wasn't allowed to have a snake in her house, so when I moved away to college not only did I get a pet snake [Dumeril's Boa], I also worked at a snake farm for 2 years. I dealt with dead mice and rats, had to sometimes kill live mice and rats, and very very often had to clean up after puked up mice, or worse, rats. Consider yourself lucky it was only one! ;]

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