After I got ready this morning, I came out into the living room and opened the windows and front door to let in the breeze - just like I do every morning when it's nice out. And then we went on with the usual morning hubbub.
I was in the bathroom fixing Amelia's hair when I heard Clara say, "A snake! Scawy!" as she ran into the bathroom to find me. Sometimes she just says stuff that I think sounds cute, but I gave it little thought and said something like, "Sure, sure, a snake."
Lindsey yelled, "A snake! It's skin is by the door! I see it under the heater!" So I came running full of dread and fear, in time to see the little snake slither under the heater and disappear behind the couch. We all did some freaking out and running around (at least I think everyone did and it wasn't just me). Rand perched himself on top of a chair and Lindsey followed suit, saying she was too shaky to be able to concentrate on her homework (we skipped it last night in favor of going to the park). Clara ran around saying, "Scawy!" And Amelia said that she wasn't afraid of snakes. I said, "You have to get that homework done!" And then called our neighbor, hoping her husband was home and would be willing to come catch our intruder. He wasn't there! Ack!
We watched as the snake reappeared from the other end of the couch, slithered past the built-in bookshelves, across the front of the fireplace, and then under the lip of the pellet stove, where it came to rest. It was showing just enough of it's tail for me to be assured that it was still there while I thought of what to do.
I ran out front and grabbed a long stick. I have seen Randy pick up little snakes with sticks while working in the yard and thought maybe I could do that. I couldn't. The stick just scared the snake and made it hide further back under the pellet stove.
Then, in a stroke of brilliance that should earn me a medal, I grabbed a cereal box, emptied it of it's contents, and placed it on the floor a few inches from where the snake was hiding. He slithered right in! I grabbed the box, hoping he wouldn't try to flee while I was holding it, and ran down our hill and tossed it down to the bottom of our yard. The snake slithered free, the box got put in the recycle bin, and I became hero for the day!
The pandemonium threw off our whole morning. We were alternately totally pumped and terrified! We barely made it to the bus and I had to make lunches and deliver them to the school later this morning. Lindsey and Rand took the discarded snake skin in a Ziploc bag to show their classes. I told them they could only take it if they promised they would tell their classes how brave their hero mom is, and leave out the parts about me screaming and flailing about.
My theory is that the snake slithered from the yard onto our front step (shown above) into the space between the screen door and the front door and spent the night there and shed it's skin in the process (I have no idea). Then when I opened the door to let in cool air, it dragged the discarded skin onto our doormat, and at some point a few minutes later, the snake decided to investigate his new surroundings.
I'm glad I didn't step on it when I opened the door this morning. I'm so glad it was small. I'm very glad we discovered him right away and not in the dark or after it had grown fat on the multitude of crumbs to be found on our floors. I'm really, really glad we caught it and got that thing out of here!
I didn't think to get a picture of the snake, but here is a shot of it's skin that I put outside before the kids took it to school. My foot is there for scale. And my sandals are cute and went from all the running through the grass.