Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Snakes in the House!

This is my new headboard, which is
much less disturbing than the snake(s).
Also I forgot to take a photo of the snakes

By Jeannie Watt

My house is so clean and clear of clutter that it echoes. I’m not certain I’ve ever experienced this before, but this is what comes of two teachers having time on their hands and a house that needs a lot of work. So far this summer we’ve pulled up the old carpet—or what was left of it—and replaced it with hardwood. Thanks to my bestest friends, we were able to get the job done in two days.  We replaced the semi-operational vent fans (meaning they sounded like vent fans but didn’t actually do the job of vent fans) in both bathrooms, repainted most of the rooms and ceilings. We installed new blinds, washed windows, cleaned out junk drawers.  We’ve never had a headboard, so we made one out of old French doors. I’m soooo happy with my house…or I was until we found the first baby snake in the basement.

I’m sorry to say that the baby snake—a harmless bull snake—had an unfortunate encounter with our cat prior to my discovering it. The snake, to quote Monty Python, is no more. However the discovery was disturbing because if a baby bull snake can get into the basement, so can a baby rattlesnake. After pointing this out to each other several times—just in case one of us didn’t understand the potential gravity of the situation--my husband and I decided to write the snake off as a fluke.  I really preferred the fluke theory over my husband’s gloomy a-pregnant-snake-got-into-our-basement-and-laid-eggs theory, so I ran with it—right up until the second hatchling showed up today.

This snake was alive, but my cat was getting ready to change that. I put a teacup over the little guy, then transferred it into a jar.  (We released it several miles away from the house when we went to get the mail.) My husband and I then had a serious discussion. We started by pointing out to each other that if a hatchling bull snake can get into the house, then so could a hatchling rattlesnake. After making certain that we were both clear on that point, we discussed the pros and cons of the situation.

Pro—it’s a bull snake and not a rattlesnake.
Con—it could easily have been a rattlesnake.

Pro—if a snake laid eggs in the basement, there are a finite number of snakes in the basement
Con—there are snakes in the basement.

We didn’t get much farther than that. Later in the afternoon, my husband found a hatchling in the garage, so now we are fairly certain that the snakes hatched in the garage and are finding their way down the steep basement steps and into the house through an incredibly small crack under the door. That crack will soon (again in the words of Monty Python) be no more and once again I will love my house—although it’ll be a while before I walk through the basement without keeping a very close eye on where I put my feet.


Kristina Mathews said...

More snakes? Wasn't this the topic on another Superromance site? I was recently reminded of my first sub job that entailed handling snakes. Typical lesson plans, right? Actually, after that experience, I should have been up for anything, right?

I've never had a snake in the house. Bats, yes, snakes no. I had a hard enough time with the pet lizard that required live crickets for food. I respect and admire snakes the same way I respect and admire Grizzlies and Gray Wolves and Great White Sharks. They are magnificent creatures on the Discovery Channel but not on my property.

Snookie said...

Snakes in the house, yuk!!!! When I first saw the title I thought you were going to carry on the dicussion of snakes in books! Hope you don't get any baby rattlers finding their way through the door crack before you patch it up!

The worse thing that's ever come into my house were centipedes. They bite and it hurts!

Jo's Daughter said...

Oh gosh, what a nightmare. I don't like snakes at all & probably would have screamed so loud the neighbours would have come to see what's going on. Such a brave cat you have. I wouldn't want my cat to go anywhere near a slippery snake. Let's hope you've seen the last of them and there are no more.

Anonymous said...



Pamela Hearon said...

More snakes??? We seem to have hit on a subject we're all hung up on. Can't stand the thought of one in the house--even the basement. BUT, I love, love, love the French door headboard! How clever and how beautiful! (Notice how I eased the attention away from the s-word? :-)

Eli Yanti said...

snakes? i'm afraid of snakes

Jeannie Watt said...

Hey everyone--I share your shivers. We've never had a critter in the house before this. Twenty years in the desert and we've never had a single mouse get into the house. I never thought about snakes getting in, but upon doing some internet research, I've found lots of people asking what to do about the baby snakes in the basement. Apparently it's not all that uncommon--but it will be in my house from now on.

Pamela--thanks for directing away from the S-word. We had so much fun making the headboard.

Anonymous said...

I too thank you Pamela!!


Ellen Hartman said...


I had a snake in my basement one time. This is the part in the story where many wives would say, "And then my husband removed it for me." Alas, mine is not the snake-removing type of husband.

I have an additional calculus for you.

Pro: The house is redone and gorgeous. Perfect to put on the market yesterday.

Con: There are snakes in the basement.

Our collective love for Brett's snake scene in The Brother Returns inspired the snake chat on the Super board. So funny that you weren't in on that and yet, here you are again bringing snakes into our imaginations.



P.S. Love the new headboard. It will probably help you get more money from the sale. Snakes in the basement!!!

BW said...

In May I found a garter snake in the corner right by the sliding glass door. I got the dog (who was more interested in watching the back of her eyes) and ran to get my neighbor who more use to snakes then I am. We went back into the house with a bucket to remove the snake and could not find him. We looked around, still could not find him. Must of went out the same way he came in (sliding glass door). I had the sliding glass door (I determined it was rotting) replaced and the guys found two snake skins in there. Still looking for the snake and hope it never returns.

Kate said...

I think I had snakes in the basement once upon a time. It was due to a little boy's birthday party gone wild. I'd forgotten all about that. Must call my son.

Rogenna Brewer said...

We had a could have been a rattle sname, but it was a bull snake moment outside of work last year.

It took 2 IT guys, a broom and a waste bucket, and the building manager to move it into the field across the way.

Much fun was had by all those watching the relocation.

Now there is a rubber snake at work that moves from chair to chiar to commemorate the occasion.

Beth Andrews said...

Jeannie, love the new headboard! Hate that you had snakes in the house :-(

We had a snake in the basement when my kids were little. Luckily, my nephew (who was probably all of ten at the time) was there and "got rid of it" for me. My son and younger daughter will "handle" snakes but my older daughter and I keep our distance.

We've had recent (and growing increasingly frequent) sightings of rattlesnakes in our area so I'm on the lookout!

Emmie said...

I don't even want to think about the snakes, so instead I'm going to say that I think your new headboard looks fantastic! Well done on all the hard work you've put into the house!

linda s said...

If there were a snake in my house, I would be somewhere else. Moving is probable. However, I do like your headboard and the paint color of your bedroom and understand how, after so much work, you might not want to be moving.

mary sullivan said...

Jennie, kudos on getting so much work done on your house! The headboard is gorgeous. Too bad about the snakes ;-(

Cecilia83 said...

A few years ago, in my mother house after the flood, there is a little snake that come into my mom house...upss a little bit scared.. my husband pick that snake ( he's got an orange-black, the color) out. (we not kill the snake, just throw out)!

Jeannie Watt said...

I apologize for being MIA yesterday while my blog was up--I was busy chasing snakes out of the basement. Just kidding! I was out of the house for a good part of the day.

Confession: I love the snake stories--is that bad?

Ellen--thanks for the additional calculus and bringing up Brett's scene. That was one of my all time favorite scenes to write.

BW--Okay, that's just creepy to have the snake disappear like that. I'd be freaked for weeks, if not years.

Kate--Too funny about the boy's birthday party gone wild! Love it.

Rogenna--Snake removal is entertaining. I once moved a snake by scooping him up on a pitchfork and twirling him like pasta as I walked so that he wouldn't drop off. I put him down a gopher hole and I bet he was plenty dizzy by the time he hit the ground. How funny about the rubber snake. That might be a fun thing to do at school.

Beth--Sorry to hear about the rattler sightings. I still can't get used to those guys. I'm not much of a snake handler either-I prefer the pasta method mentioned above.

Emmy, Linda and Mary--thanks for the kudos on the headboard. I love it and can't believe we had those door in the basement (with the snakes) for almost a decade, waiting to find a use. Duh.

Cecilia--I'm glad you just threw the snake out. Snakes do so much good that if they get where they shouldn't be, they should be moved. My only exception is rattlers near the house. Those guys must go.

Thanks everyone for posting! Again, I've loved the snake stories.

Rula Sinara said...

Chiming in late, but I had to say that I love the snake stories and the headboard. I'm weird in that I like reptiles, but I'm in total agreement with you Jeannie...there's such a thing as too close to home lol. Oh, and, I'm waaaay calmer around snakes (and even lizards) than my DH is ;)

The headboard is gorgeous. I love the color of the wall and the way in comes through the glass panes. WTG on that project!

Karina Bliss said...

I might brave a snake to take a closer look at your brilliant headboard. The room looks straight out of House and Garden.

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