The time: Mid-afternoon on Memorial Day 2013
The place: Our living room

Memorial Day started out like any other day off. After a busy morning working in the yard, doing laundry and playing with Johnnie around the house, Ez and I decided we wanted to take J to a local park to feed the ducks and run around the playground after she woke up from her afternoon nap. After checking all the essential tasks off the naptime to-do list, we took a few minutes to collapse on the couch while we waited for her to wake up.

About 10 minutes into an episode of "Earth from Above," we heard the plastic dust barrier between the living room and dining room begin to rustle. I thought nothing of it, as our house has no shortage of random noises. But Ez, being ever and endearingly paranoid, couldn't relax until he got up and checked out what it was.

I can't believe I'm saying it like this, but -- unfortunately -- a pregnant spider it was not.

"Holy ****, Em! It's a big *** SNAKE!" he shouted.

Just then, I heard a thump and the shiny black beast peeked its sinister head through the doorway and began slithering down the steps. It had gotten into the house through a gap between the original log section of the house and the newer addition, a pretty raw-looking area that we haven't closed off yet because we were still planning to run some wiring through the gap. (Guess what project just moved up to the priority slot on the ol' to-do list?) Earlier in the day, our carpenter had been digging around in the rear corner of the basement looking for something, and he must've piqued the snake's curiosity about its surroundings. I couldn't tell how big it was (honestly I didn't really want to be seeing it at all), but Ez estimated it at 5 terrifying feet or longer.

I froze in terror, but thankfully Ez sprung into action.

"Don't let it get away!" he yelled, running toward the basement in his underwear. I still could not believe this was happening, even as the snake attempted to climb the wall. Sure, we've had birds in the house before in the midst of all the construction, but a huge snake?

Things that went through my head as I stood on the coffee table, quaking all over:
  • If it tries to get away, how will I stop it? 
  • OMG it's looking right at me.
  • Thank God Johnnie is napping upstairs.
  • PleasepleasePLEASE don't slither back into the wall/under the sofa/into a dark corner.
  • When I pack my suitcase to move out, I must remember to bring my Clarisonic.
Ez came back with a shovel. The snake was still there, looking around warily, poking at the air with its tongue. It had stopped (thankfully) on the second step, and Ez stood above it for a moment, glaring at it and shaking his head.

"What are you going to do?" I asked him, afraid to know.

"I'm going to kill it," he said. I closed my eyes as the shovel came down...

I will condense what happened in the subsequent 5-10 minutes simply by saying IT WAS ALL SO HORRIBLE. Someone suggested we should've caught it and given it to a local farmer, who could've used it to catch mice, but wrangling a 5-foot snake out of our living room and into a car, then driving it around to find a farmer to give it to, just didn't seem feasible at the time. All options = horrible.

When Ez gathered it up in a bucket and took it outside, I burst into tears and kept on crying while he scrubbed the steps with a bleach solution so strong it burned in my nose. I'm so thankful he handled the whole thing with minimal effort from me. He told me he hadn't known I was so terrified of snakes -- something I hadn't realized either. Having grown up in the country, I've seen plenty of snakes in the wild without any major meltdowns, but apparently seeing one inside my house has a different effect on me. Go figure.

During the whole ordeal I did close my eyes and take a picture as evidence of what a stud my husband is, but I can't bring myself to post it here... If you're really curious, I'll email it to you. We determined it was an adult Eastern Ratsnake (not poisonous). According to the Maryland Dept. of Resources website, "An arboreal species they are notorious for getting into human residences, where they may live in attics undetected." (Or basements, as it were.)

I remain thankful that Johnnie was napping during this nightmare. She woke up in a good mood a short time later, and after I washed my face and Ez put on pants we headed out to the park and ran around until we felt better.

I have to admit my attitude for the past week has not been stellar; the little, everyday inconveniences of living in this construction zone with a toddler have been getting to me more than they used to. I'm trying to be thankful in all situations and to not complain, but it's been a challenge. Progress has been slow the past couple months, but we are getting ready for a big surge of effort soon. I'm looking forward to it, even if it means late nights, going broke, creating more dirt, whatever. As long as it means the goal is inching closer.


  1. "When I pack my suitcase to move out, I must remember to bring my Clarisonic." <----- why we are friends. : )

  2. Dang-it I hate snakes. I tend to go out of my way to kill snakes.
    So I had to Google "Clarisonic" sorry, it didn't mean anything to me.

  3. Oh my goodness! See, I'm DEATHLY afraid of snakes, like I'm probably the person who's most fearful. I can't look at them on tv let alone in person. When I watch Survivor with Jas and they all of a sudden cut to a close up shot with one I usually end up spilling whatever's in my hands and just about have a mild heartattack so I can't even imagine that experience. You standing on the coffee table quivering? I would have been passed out. So glad your hubby got rid of it. The only useful snake is a very VERY dead one!

  4. Oh my. I'm pretty sure that my husband and I would both be in tears if this ever happened to us! Yikes!

  5. I can so relate to this story. We had a black snake slither up through our air vent and up into our highchair! Just the other day, we had about a 5 footer on the front porch. We kind of live in the jungle so I'm starting to get used to all of the wildlife... not that I'm liking it! Chris won't kill anything for some reason! He gets his gloves on and takes it back into the woods.

  6. Ahhhhhhh... that's really all I can say for this story> So. Stinking. Scary.

  7. OMG! I am a life long aminal lover and I am not affraid of snakes (but I don't love them) and I would probably choose to kill it as well. If you don't know if it's poisonous or not and you have a kid in the house, your otions are a lot more limited.
    I can't imagine living in the construction zone with a toddler. I wen't in labor with our kitchen being unfinished and that sucked. Now my kid is almost a year and I called off the bathroom reno becouse I can't handle it. I think you've done great, and your house is turning out amazing. Be strong - all things come to an end.


Thanks for reading! I love your thoughts, feedback and suggestions. Keep 'em coming!