Monday, November 23, 2009

NOT FUNNY MURPHY!!!!! At least this time it didn’t cost any money.

Another critter story.

November, 23, 2009

I’ve not posted to the blog in over a week because I’ve been hitting it so hard on doing mystery shops I’ve had several very late nights that have had me collapsing into bed as late as 4:45 am then back up before 9 am. Last weekend I was so worn down I went to bed at 8:30 pm one night and slept until nearly 10 the next day. A cat playing hop on Mom finally woke me up. Something about a 20 pound cat sitting on my full bladder.

Gary has been staying home most days working hard on finishing up the utility room. It is looking so good. He has a few minor details to finish and was waiting on me to return unused materials to get enough cash back to purchase the right sized materials to finish up the trim, which I did late last week.

It was so nice to be able to just sweep and mop instead trying maneuver the vacuum around the appliances.

Over the weekend dh and ds tore out more of the dining room flooring as well as damaged sheet rock and mildewed insulation behind it.

The plan this week has been for more of the same. Gary working during the day on the dining room while I mystery shopped and Sean went to work. Which is exactly how things went today.

The plan for tomorrow is to start putting the new replacement materials in so that we can at least move the dining room table in on the subflooring for Thanksgiving then move it back out to paint and put the new flooring and hearth down if they don’t have enough time to get it all done before Thanksgiving. I’ve got to say it will not be a moment too soon to have that floor sealed up tightly. We’ve got a wee bit of a draft since all the wall and floor insulation has been removed. Plus the guys spend a lot of time covering and uncovering the floor holes to keep five cats from going exploring to find Alice in Wonderland down the opossum hole.

As I filed today’s reports we had the tv on and all five cats were remarkable still. Especially Gypsy Skeeter. I found this unusual as she is normally very hyperactive. That is when she’s not playing vampire and suckling on someone’s neck because she’s: a) scared b)hungry or c) wanting to snuggle hard—she has desertion issues I guess.

Tonight, despite her determined tormentor, Lizzie Borden, being in the room she was still and staring so hard at seemingly nothing toward the stairwell Sean more than once told me to look between her ears to see if I saw any spirits. I didn’t. Then he noticed the other four cats were also alert and looking that way as well. As we tried to figure out what was going on a coyote yodeled very near the house. So we decided that was what was disturbing the animals.

When it became Sean’s bedtime he gathered up Gypsy to take her to his room for the night—we alternate nights during the week because she plays all night and we all need some sleep. She can’t be left loose like the other cats because Lizzie is still determined to get her. As he approached the stairwell Gypsy became agitated and went right for Sean’s neck in full vampire mode, getting as high up as she could. She hadn’t done this in several days so he was surprised. “What’s the matter Gypster” he said, she glanced toward the stairs that they were about to mount and went even higher on his neck.

“Ow!, Sean said, “Easy girl!”

Sean came back down a little while later to get a glass of milk when he noticed Lizzie staring very intently at a bag of stuff he’d purchased today and set on the stairwell to take up stairs.

“What cha doing Liz?” he said.

The cat did not meow a reply like normal but stared wide eyed at the sack. Thinking that another wasp had gotten in the house he asked her “Did you find an owie bug?” Again no response, but her glorious huge amber eyes grew to an impossible size.

Sean reached down and moved the sack intending to kill the wasp so it wouldn't sting the cat, then screamed “Oh CHEEZ!!!” I swear my 5’11” son hit the 16 foot ceiling in the stairwell and at the same time leaped backwards into the sunken living room, dragging Lizzie with him.

His faded freckles of his youth now stood out from his face like a neon sign. He was ashen in color.

“What!?!” I asked.

“There’s a SNAKE on the stairwell!!!!” he blurted out and then “No Lizzie, get back here” as the cat headed toward her intended prey.

At the word snake Gary said “What type?”

“King, like the one that bit me when I was a kid.” Sean said. He was referring to a non-poisonous speckled king snake. --That's another long story for a blast from the past post at another time.

I knew Gary was asking because if it had been a poisonous one, and trust me my guys know the difference, the situation would have to be handled quite differently than what he did.

As Sean tried to get his heart back in his chest and the four adult cats from pissing the snake off Gary, who was already wearing heavy bib overalls, donned his Carhardt jacket, pulled the hood snug around his face to where it was nearly completely covered and then added leather gloves to his ensemble.

“Now what am I going to get it with” he said to no one in particular.

I replied “ NOT the shotgun, you don't need any more wall to patch! Use the cat poop scooper and a box or something.”

He left the room and came back with our aluminum can recycling trash can, which does not have a lid and the bright purple scooper pan and claw. At first his efforts were hampered by the “gonna get that invader” cats so I told Sean, from where I sat with my feet up on the coffee table—just in case—to give the cats their cookies for the night.

“Cookie, cookie, cookie he called “

The cats were thinking snake, snake, snake, COOKIES! And ran to him for their nightly treat. Gary quickly scooped the snake up, but before he could get it into the trash can it turned and struck at him. He uttered a not nice word and let the snake move away slightly so that it was facing a corner then scooped it into the trash can and snapped a piece of cardboard he’d brought for that purpose on top of the can before the confused snake could pop back out or strike again.

As he stood hand holding the cardboard firm over the thrashing snake he said “Now  that I have it, what am I going to do with it?  It’s a king snake I hate to throw it out in the cold. Sean and I both gave him the stink eye! I did my duty of having pet snakes with a variety of king snakes and one 16 foot python named Monty, when the kids were growing up. I had absolutely no plans to repeat that part of our family history.

He then said “someone get me a flashlight and my truck keys”. Since Sean was in his bathrobe I got both. Then said “I think you are going to need someone to go with you because I do NOT want that thing lose in my truck OR coming back in my house.”

When I crawled into the front seat of the truck Gary told me to push my seat way back so he could put the trash can holding the snake on the truck floor between my legs. NOT happening!!! I’m pretty easy going about critters but a gal has to draw the line somewhere!

He started arguing with me that the can was too tall for it to go into my lap and me keep the cardboard in position. I pointed out that I would have to ride bent over to keep the cardboard on and my back would not agree to that. Plus how was he going to get that sucker out of the truck without letting that snake loose between my knees! He saw my point real quick when I snapped my legs together tighter than a bear trap. That snake was NOT going there.

As he set it in my lap the snake was pounding at the can wanting out NOW!

We drove a few miles off into a wooded area away from all the neighbors’ houses and at a deep bar ditch Gary carefully dumped him out where he went down the slope away from his legs and the light of the open truck door.

As he got back in the truck the very first words out of his mouth were “ I promise the subflooring will be down tomorrow!” I just looked at him and said “it better be, I have enough critters in my house as it is. This one went too far.”

We figure when Gary lit the fireplace today it came in while he was hauling sheet rock in and out drawn by the heat of the fireplace. It was about 4 foot long, probably the one we’d been seeing near the side water faucet all summer.

You have to admit it is never a dull moment around the Rock ‘n Tree Ranch.

Jan who wants that floor in NOW! In OK


  1. Jan, how does your subflooring look now LOL, I think I would've made that be a PRIORITY.. I don't do snakes period. Hubby knows if I find a snake in the house HE COMES HOME FROM WORK NOW!!!! We did find one in the house at our old place.. called the neighbor up and he brought his big pistol, but never did find it. I've had a possum trot through up here, but we haven't had a snake in the house up here (yet!) Oh mercy, me.. and it's November for crying out loud! Thank you for sharing.. and I pray you're loving that subfloor!

  2. Well as of today-11/25 it's still not done. Has been having to work by himself and because of the old no-no kitty spot, plus the new one has actually tore up more floor, then enzyme treated what wood (the joists) was left numereous times and put two coats of kilz on it. I will NOT live in a cat toilet.

    Right now we are waiting for the Kilz to dry, which is going slowly due to the cool weather.

    He HAS, however, put a good layer of sulphur (good for keeping snakes away) down under the house and then added several sticks of Just One Bite down for rodents and possums before he put TWO layers of plywood down--but not nailed where there are absolutely no way a snake can get in. Something about I was moving to the already winterized camper if he didn't do something NOW!

    I've been watching the cats closely and none have indicated there are any other critters in the house except us and them. Since all five are hunters I figure they'd let us know.

    Jan who is not fearful of snakes, but gives them a whole lot of respect in OK