Monday, June 27, 2011

Snake Infestation

Recently my well-meaning sister Krisanda sent me a link to an article that I never should have read. The article was about a snake infestation in a house in southern Idaho. There are about 300 reasons I never should have read this article. Topping the list are: it involves snakes, Idaho is too close for me to feel apathy, I have enough other terrible stuff to lose sleep over, and I'm so behind on my bar study right now that I should be strapped to an uncomfortable chair and have my eyelids removed with nothing but the giant stack of bar prep books strewn about in front of for the next month if I expect to ever catch up (also meth would help).

But I read it. Not initially, but I read it after about a week of letting it take up space in my inbox. The pressure mounted and finally I popped the sucker open and read all of the horrific details until I lay curled up in the fetal position on top of the highest, flattest, clearest surface I could find while humming songs from my childhood that I thought might bring me back to my "happy place" (which is a tropical beach with no animals). And I know what you're saying to your computer right now as though I can hear you: "Oh jeez. I've read that article and they are just garter snakes. Calm the heck down." To you, antagonizer and unsympathetic close-minded electronic heckler, I respond: "I wouldn't care if it was even just one garter snake that was four inches long and died while saving a family of puppies from a fire. Once even that snake is discovered within reach of a person's property, that person should have a Constitutional right (and I don't hand those out often) to prompt the president to declare a national state of emergency and have the whole town evacuated. Also, I hope you're doing well. I'm sure we haven't seen each other for a while (and maybe we've never met). I love what you've done with your hair."

But once the shock of the possibility of the thought of a snake infestation subsided and I began to see color again in the world (several days later), I was left with one lingering concern. During this snake infestation, the man of the house took the initiative to sweep the property and collect the snakes in buckets in order to protect his family, one time going so far as climbing through the crawl space under the house through a man-covered snake den to survey the extent of the problem. While conceding immediately that if ever I'm on any kind of committee that has a say in this, I will absolutely and without reservation support this man going straight to heaven no matter what he does for the rest of his life, I was left wondering if this kind of gall is a prerequisite for manhood. I've always seen men do things of this nature without flinching simply because (and say this next part in a gruff man voice) "it needed doin'!" Case in point, the dead bird massacre of three years ago where Bob scooped a rotting, once-flying beaked animal off the ground while I lay inside with a warm washcloth over my forehead. And I don't mean to assign this special bravery to men alone. In fact one of the biggest "it needed doin'!" people I know happens to be my younger sister Micalyne who I once saw eat a sandwich made out of cookies, bbq sauce, ranch dressing, lemons, lunch meat, mayo, brownies, and a number of other unidentified substances, just to win a game (she also spent about four years changing adult diapers and showering biting geriatrics in the Alzheimer's wing (another straight-to-heaven candidate)).

So the real concern is whether I can never be a man unless I'm at least theoretically willing to do the snake sweep in order to protect my family and property. If this is a requirement for manhood, I, without a doubt, am at least one requirement short of achievement. If I hypothetically had a home, wife, and children (hypothetically, because hypotheticals are all I have) and I became aware that a snake could possibly be somewhere on the property, I would immediately call the house from a long-distance number (because I would have caught the first flight out of town before doing anything else), tell my wife to leave everything but the children and get as far away from the town as possible, and then pay someone to set the entire property on fire. Twice. Then I would send a tractor to dig up the whole property and this would be followed by a duster plane that would cover the land 12 times with anthrax. The property would be re-burned every six-months for the next decade. Once the ten years were up, I would sell the property (from a remote location) to bad people. Note that never during that explanation did I ever say I would have anything to do with weaseling my way around in a crawl space under the house to survey the problem.

My friend told me over the phone the other day (I've been talking about this with a lot of people) that I just need to wait to buy a home until I can afford to pay people to take care of all of the snake-type situations and then I will never have to worry about having to do it myself or feeling like less of a man for letting the problem fester. In this way, he claimed, I could effectively buy my manhood. If this is true, it may be my only way. Any thoughts on the matter would be greatly appreciated.

And I'm really not kidding about the cookie sandwich. I even have pictures.
~It Just Gets Stranger


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  2. Me and my brothers were just talking about this a week ago while i was in rexburg. I still cant believe that someone would buy a house knowing it was infested with snakes. It also made my pre-property purchase research list: 1. have a geologist check and make sure it is not on a fault line or sand 2. check the sex offender registry for any neighbors 3. make sure there are no infestations

  3. It keeps creeping me out too - I can't stop thinking about it. I think I'm annoying Jeff really bad because I tell everyone I see about the snake house. It brought back the memory of when I was little and used to play with the garter snakes we'd find from the field and I had one wrapped around my arm and it ....hissed at me. I can't believe I ever touched one! What was I thinking!! There was one day that Jace collected about six really unnaturally long worms and cane to the door and knocked. I opened the door and he held up his hand that had the worms clutched in them and said "look Mon, snakes!" I thought they really were snakes, and screamed bloody murder and slammed the door on my very own 3 year old. I think I have "snake related post traumatic disorder. Hehehe

  4. I was doing yard work yesterday and I went in the shed to get the hedge clippers and there was a spider in there that tried to drop down onto my head.

    That is the last time I'll ever be doing any sort of yard work at my house. I will never go in that shed again.

    I completely understand your feelings.

    Also, the people who purchased the house are morons. I don't care what your agent tells you, if someone is asking you to sign a disclaimer about a snake infestation, get the hell out of there and pick a different house!

  5. As far as manhood goes. You really only have two options.

    1. Be so filthy rich that you can afford to have "the help" take care of any creepy crawly problems that come along.

    2. Marry an Amazon women who doesn't mind being the "man" in the relationship and who is willing to tend to problems while you have hysterics in the house.

  6. First of all, I'm so glad you love what I've done with my hair! I haven't seen you in forever and worried that you might not like it. Second, I can't really relate to the fear of snakes since I've wanted a pet one for years now, but I agree with Andrea... had that been a spider infestation, I would have done the same exact thing you would have... burned the property multiple times and covered it with anthrax and then sold it to bad people. I would never go back within 100 yards of the place.

  7. Aw, snakes are nice! (Did I just end our friendship?)

    Put it this way. I shared a hot springs for an hour with a whole family of snakes. Humans at one end, crevice in the rocks at the other end, big tangly ball o' snakeage basking in the warmth in the crevice.

    It was unnerving that we couldn't tell from what we could see whether they were blow snakes or rattlers. But blow snakes are harmless if you don't stick your finger down their throat (rear-fanged), and rattlers are harmless if you don't pester them, so we didn't do either of those things, and both species had a great time getting warm.

    All that being said, the snake house in Rexburg is gross. You could not pay me enough to live there. And that crawl space thing would be right out.

  8. In the words of our wise friend Mable..."I HATE Shnakes!"

  9. This is, without a doubt, the best thing I've read all day. No. Really. I was laughing so hard that I garnered a few stares from people in my office. You're now my hero. Feel special.

  10. I just have to say that this has also freaked me out way too much. In fact two nights ago I dreamed all night about snakes, from being in my bed to everywhere else I go in a day. It was not a very good night.

    Unfortunately I have had more than enough encounters with snakes lately. When we went golfing up at Palisades a week ago I happened to see a blow snake that was about 4 feet long, no joke, and refused to get out of the cart or go anywhere near where I saw the snake. Then some neighbors recently found a snake out by our condos and were walking around with it on a stick. Not to mention our ward now wants us to weed the whole area around our condos where I am sure there are a million snakes lying around, yep pretty sure I will be skipping out on the service project.

    As for the cookie BBQ sandwich, lets just say I may have learned winning is not everything, well maybe not....

  11. For some reason, while reading this I remembered that first day/week--sometime early on in L'viv, and how they made you weed the whole church yard. You were pretty miserable that day!! I think Nathan's comment was more disturbing than anything else--except crawling in a snake (and who knows what else) infested crawl space (like that scene from Indiana Jones)--gives me the shivers!! yuck!
    Good luck with the bar studying!!

  12. Also btw...Micalyne is a mutant. I also witnessed the cookie BBQ sandwich and it was like nothing I've ever seen before!

  13. Did you read the part of the article where the reporter became overcome with the smell of all the snakes and passed out on the lawn? The home owner stood over her and killed hundreds of snakes with a shovel until she came to. I have an email forward for you Eli...give me your address. :)

  14. Remember that one amazing night we spent together, filled with bad softball, FNL talk, and Double Caramel Magnum bars? What a pair we made

  15. Ugh. Jenalee. Not that I want it but

    Kristen--good to hear from you! Haven't had a Magnum bar since but if I ever do I think it will remind me of bad softball, FNL, and you.

    Lisa--so funny that you mentioned that. I was just thinking about that the other day. That was the day I met Roman and he asked me if I was a farmer and then mocked me because I was apparently doing a terrible job cleaning.

    And to those of you with the spider comments: I agree that spiders are terrible. But they are nowhere near snakes in terror. If I was ever in that situation Nathan described, I'm positive I would immediately die.