Some of you may remember when Tessa and I lived in the fake boonies and had to battle Lord Voldemort on a regular basis. You may remember how I prevailed one particular evening by using a shoe and my wizard powers to destroy Lord Voldemort, and how nothing made me happier than using that against Tessa any time I possibly could:
“Ashten, can you please take out the trash?”
“Nope, I killed Lord Voldemort.”
“Ashten? Can you clean the downstairs bathroom?”
“I would love to, but I’m simply exhausted from killing Lord Voldemort.”
“Ashten, can you pick up the dog poop in the back yard?”
“Ummm I kill the Lord Voldemorts, you pick up the poops.”
I have proven myself to be a Gryffindor: a model of true bravery and courage. And then Tessa and I moved out of the fake boonies and back into the city. Our new place is a little smaller than the one we had out in the fake boonies, we lost our Harry Potter closet but we love how cozy our new place is. Not to mention, we feel safe in our gated neighborhood, we don’t have a bitchy landlord and Lord Voldemort seemed to be gone for good. We feel so safe, in fact, that Tessa will sometimes leave our backdoor open to “let some fresh air in” while she’s home during the day.
Now I spend my days waiting for my Hogwarts letter to arrive, practicing spells to make traffic in Atlanta disappear and trying to train Warner to be a house-elf. We live a quiet life and no evil finds us these days.
And my scar didn’t hurt for a very long time.
That is, until Friday when I came downstairs to find a snake in my house.
The snake decided to coil up on the floor, IN THE MIDDLE OF MY LIVING ROOM, like he belonged there. When I came upon him, I instantly stopped in my tracks, the cups and phone I was holding in my hands went crashing to the floor and Warner started barking, like we were being robbed.
The snake coiled up and started hissing. LIKE IT WAS GOING TO ATTACK US.
The first thing that went through my mind, was “WHO IN THE GINNY WEASLEY LET A SNAKE INTO OUR EFFING HOUSE?!” In all my years of Southern living I have battled many things: traffic, humidity, even snow but snakes? This is the kind of shit that makes me wish I had a working wand in the house.
I am not cut out for this.
With Warner’s collar in one hand and my phone in the other I dashed upstairs and started Googling. And this is what I was sharing a living space with:
That, my friendsssssss is a garter snake. Apparently it’s not poisonous, which gave me the courage to venture back downstairs and try to battle the serpent. Because I’m a Gryffindor, and I’m brave, damn it.
My bravery was short lived, when I realized the snake, unlike a Lord Voldemort, wasn’t going to go quietly. Cockroaches don’t fight back and can be killed instantly with the smack of a shoe. Snakes are faster. Snakes will flight. Snakes want to live.
What did this wannabe wizard arm herself with to fight off the serpentine evil?
A broom and a dust pan. Yup. I’m not only brave but resourceful. Look out, Harry Potter, there’s a new wizard in town.
The snake had slithered into a corner of my living room. I stood about 2 feet away, unable to make contact with it or use the dust pan to scoot it out. I didn’t realize I was scared of snakes, but I was completely paralyzed with fear.
The scene from “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” when the serpent slithers through the pipes of Hogwarts saying “kill…..kill” kept running through my mind, and I realized I was not going to battle this snake and win. Even if I was brave enough to pick it up with my mighty dust pan and broom, I was not quick enough to get it out of the house before it realized what was happening and tried to escape. I couldn’t use a pot or a pan, because I wouldn’t be able to see what the snake was doing, and even if it wasn’t poisonous, it could still bite me.
Maybe I would try a motivational approach….on the snake this time.
“Hey, snake….you don’t want to live here. It’s not even that great. We don’t have mice or whatever it is that you eat, so you should leave. Ok, thanks.”
And then I realized I was talking to a snake and it was time to get medicated and get a new plan.
I remembered seeing a maintenance truck across the street at our neighborhood clubhouse, so, in my bare feet, men’s basketball shorts, tank top and no bra, I darted across the street like this was college and I was doing the most embarrassing walk of shame.
I threw open the door and starting yelling “HELP! PLEASE HELP!”
A little man came around the corner, startled, with a look of concern on his face. He actually reminded me of Mr. Filch a little. But with glasses. And overalls. And no cat.
Ok I’m reaching for Harry Potter references now.
“Ma’am? Are you ok? How can I help?”
“There’s a snake in my house, please hurry!”
“A snake? Is that why you’re hollerin’ and makin a fuss?” (I can’t make this up, this is how the guy actually talked.)
“Umm I actually think my hollering is warranted because there’s a SNAKE IN MY HOUSE! CAN YOU PLEASE GET IT OUT!?”
Mr. Filch followed me to my house, where our serpent friend was still chillin in my living room. Armed with some clamps and more bravery than I could muster, Mr. Filch expertly wrangled the snake and removed it. I screamed the entire time. Warner was upstairs barking the entire time. Our house was in chaos from a 2 foot snake.
Mr. Filch shouted over the fence, “ma’am? Got rid of that snake. Bye!” and he ran away from crazy town as fast as he could.
I realized the snake had gotten in to our house because TESSA had left the door open most of the day on Tuesday, which means we had been living with a snake for THREE WHOLE DAYS.
I called her.
Me: Hi, I want you to know that from this moment forward you are a Slytherin. Why? Because YOU LET A SNAKE INTO OUR FREAKING HOUSE AND I JUST HAD TO GET IT TAKEN OUT.
Tessa: WHAT?! How did you get it out?!
Me: The maintenance man across the street. I tried to use motivation but that didn’t work.
Tessa: So you spoke to it?
Me: I tried.
Tessa: So you’re a parcel mouth. WHO IS THE SLYTHERIN NOW?!
Me: Actually, that makes me the Chosen One. I’ll take a burrito bowl from Chipotle for my troubles. Thank you!
In case you were all wondering, our house is still incredibly nerdy.
One good thing that came from this situation: I now have a new excuse to never do chores again. It’s so nice to have the power back.
And before I go, please join me in wishing Kyle a very happy birthday! He seems to like the card I sent, so SUCK ON THAT HALLMARK. He’s sharing a really delicious birthday treat on his blog today. Check it out.
(He gets here on Thursday. I guess I should shave my legs.)