Recently I was with my family house hunting in another state, a state where there are supposedly many snakes. When my friend Bea Long lived in this state she had lime spread around the foundation of her house to prevent them from entering. She pointed out to me that she did live next to a wooded area with a creek.
So you can bet I was on the lookout for snakes while touring properties. It was one of my top questions, “Have you ever seen a snake near your house?” Not, “Are there any old oil tanks on the property?” or “What’s the square footage?”.
People in this state are, with two notable exceptions, congenitally honest. One woman told me yes, she’d seen one upstairs in her house after her two year old pointed it out to her. Another woman told me she sees them all the time in her garden. She’s hacked two in half.
Not knowing this, however, my real estate agent took me to a house where she prefaced the tour with, “The owners used to keep reptiles upstairs. It used to stink but now the smell is gone.” Hmmm. I had to process that for a moment …
The first floor of the house was not impressive. It looked the like owners had left in a lurch – random bits of furniture scattered the family room, a stained coat hung in a closet, and the stove top had not been throughly cleaned. Old spaghetti sauce clung to the gas burners.
Popping my head into a powder room, I noted dust bunnies and a fine layer of dust. I also noted under the sink cabinet, which stood on little legs, a kind of squiggly thing. My vision is not what it once was but I was not going in for closer inspection. Was it what I thought it was? Or an exploded hair tie? Something else? Whatever the case, it was blessedly not moving.
I called out to Thing 3, “Hey, go check under the sink and tell me if that is a dead baby snake.”
Thing 3 came back and said, “I think so.”
So I called on Thing 1, who, although visually challenged, is not squeamish.
“Yep, I’m pretty sure that’s what you think it is,” she reported.
Then I called out to the real estate agent, a darling girl in her mid thirties, and asked her to go check it out. Mr. Understanding followed behind, poking her in the back as she bent down for inspection. I heard a shriek and a raucous laughter.
Now, it must be said that this real estate agent could be vying for my top spot of New Best Friend; I was a little irritated that Mr. Understanding was interfering with my quest. He was going to run her off, scaring her like that! But she took it with grace, shaking her head sadly and saying, “Yep, dead baby snake. I took a photo and sent it to the listing agent.”
And with that, I turned on my heel and said, “We’re done here. No need to even go upstairs.”
‘Cause no amount of sage burning or dousing with holy water by a parade of priests could clean that place well enough for me. Maybe I’ll just stay in Ohio.
Herewith concludes Day 14. Seriously.