Thursday, October 18, 2007

Operation Lysol

When I went home to the coast a few weekends ago, I was counting on quality time with family and a little R&R, but I had no idea I was in for such an adventure....especially at my grandparents' house.

I'm not sure how to frame this bizarre story other than to start from the beginning: My mom and I had gone to visit Nan and Pop Ball, and everyone else was in the study while I was in the kitchen. On my way across the threshold into the sunroom, I saw this strange black worm thingy about the size of my pinky finger poke up from the floor, then poke back down. Thinking I was losing my mind and feeling terrified at the same time, I stood there for a few minutes and stared at the Amazing Disappearing Thing spot before calling for someone to come in there with me. When I told my mother about it while gesturing animatedly at a perfectly clean threshold and floor, I realized how on crack I sounded, but what's a girl to do? I knew I saw something. I figured it was just an earthworm, but wanted to let them know in case it was a baby snake.

Pop Ball sprayed insect repellant on the area, we all stood and stared at it for a few more minutes, then nervously shrugged and went back into the other room. I was admittedly pretty rattled -- not only was I concerned about what the Thing potentially was, but I also felt a little whacked out and kept replaying in my mind what I saw, reminding myself that I really did see something at all.

About 30 minutes later, my mom was going into another room when she cried for us to come there -- the Thing was, in fact, a snake, and was stretched out across that threshold. (Just thinking about this again makes me shudder!)

My grandmother (Nan) rushed into the room with my mother while Pop Ball and I looked for something to kill the snake with. I asked him where a hoe or shovel was (we were near the utility room, which leads outside), and he said, "You're more likely to find a machete in there." I laughed, but when I turned on the light, there was....a machete. Ok.

So we went to find the Thing, but don't worry -- it had slithered into the dining room. My mom and Nan were running to close the doors and Pop Ball and I, machete in hand, furtively looked around when it hit us all simultaneously: the Thing had gotten away. I won't even try to describe the collective shudder that went through the room. Nan and Mother described The Thing as only about a foot long, and smaller in diameter than my pinky finger, but we were still all pretty shaken least I was.

The more I looked around at all the Things' potential hiding places, the more I began to internally freak out. The grout on the tile floor was black (the color of the Thing) and....yep, about the diameter of my pinky. Great. The dining room table had tons of wooden beams underneath it, and to top it all off, the house is generally an open layout. Nan grabbed a can of Lysol and began spraying all the possible areas the Thing could be hiding in: under cabinets, along baseboards, etc.

After looking around for a while, we all decided to take a post and sit and stare at the general dining room/kitchen area. It was at this point that I finally realized a sheer yet shocking (to me) truth: I am a total wimp.

My 81 year-old grandmother was armed with a can of Lysol, my 86 year-old grandfather had a machete, for crying out loud, and my 56 year-old mother had another bottle of cleaner. They were occasionally venturing into the danger zone rooms, while I sat with my feet in my chair, literally quaking in my flip flops, sporadically offering a weak, "PLEASE be careful." I, the epitome of brute force, courage and strength that I am, was holding onto a flashlight for dear life. Whenever anyone needed it, of course, I did my duty and handed it over. In addition, I sent texts to C, my sister and my cousin, who all responded appropriately to their personalities:

Kim: I'm praying!

C: What?! Are you ok?!

Russ: A phone call asking if we were pinned up against a wall by something. When I told him I had been sitting there trying to imagine his reaction to The Thing, he quipped, "Well, I can tell you what I wouldn't be doing, and that's sitting in that house holding nothing but a can of Lysol."

After my job as communicator was complete, I was also gracious enough to offer to go get us something to eat, since I shrieked at the idea of my Nan cooking anything in the kitchen where The Thing was. Pitiful. Thankfully, Nan -- calm and collected as she had been throughout the ordeal -- jumped at the idea to ride with me to Sonic, and as soon as she closed my passenger door, spouted, "Honey, I sure do hope they find that thing and KILL it before we get back. I'm scared to death!"

The big debate throughout the night had been how the Thing had gotten into the house. Pop Ball was convinced it "came in on a plant," while Nan patted my leg with her infamous pointer finger, muttering, "Hon-ey, if anything happens around here, my plants are the first to get the blame."

After we brought back hamburgers for The Rescue Crew and we had eaten, I tried to convince Pop Ball and Nan to come home and spend the night with us (so it wouldn't sneak up on them in their sleep), but Pop Ball only retorted, "Sure, and what are we supposed to do tomorrow? Put a For Sale sign in the yard because of a little snake? That thing is more afraid of us than we are of it."

Sadly enough, we -- or they -- never found The Thing.

A couple of weeks ago, though, when the Terminex man was at their house doing a routine spray, he came in from the yard and asked Nan:

"Mrs. Ball, did you know there's a little snake in your flower bed?"

She said, "Is it about a foot long and yay-wide with a thin little stripe down its back?"

Startled, he replied, "Yes ma'am, that was it..."

She said, "Well, either he or his brother got in here a while back, so I'm glad he's outside now!"

All we can surmise is that the Lysol fumigated him out. Talk about quality time.

2 Comments - 2 Kudos

I love real life stories! You did an excellent job, I feel like I was actually there. :) Hilarious...
Posted by Just Music on October 18, 2007 - Thursday 5:19 PM

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