Thursday, June 10, 2010

Two Snakes, A Cherokee, and Four Mexicans

Hang on, this is a long one.
The week before Memorial day the car suddenly overheats... at my shrinks office- exactly where you want to be when you're freaking out about what is wrong with your car. He dared to ask me if my neuroses was under control. HA! Well, Doc, my car just overheated on the way here and may have ceased to be in your parking lot. So, if you're hiring, that would at least give me a way to make money for the rest of the day cause getting back to work is looking impracticable. He knows a mechanic across the street (I guess I wasn't hired). Buckets of water later I'm back on the road.

Silly me, I think it's fixed. HA HA! So days later I go to my favorite garage. They are not my favorite just because the owner buys me a beer when we run into him at our favorite sports bar- side note- said sports bar will NOT for any money or cajoling, consider putting the Lifetime channel on any of the big screens, or even the little ones; I've asked.

The whole car-fixy place family (not the Mob, but the actual family), goes to this sports bar and they are honest, if not cheap. $440 later I get my car fixed. HA HA HA!

We're planning a road trip to Ohio to see my father. We'll call him "Dad". So I take the day off to get ready for the trip and to take the dog and the cat to the vet. Very big hint: Don't take a Labrador and a panicked mixed-race (grey) cat to the vet at the same time. There were body fluids, hysteria and sniffing beyond any control I had over these matters. Nonetheless, I survive, cat and dog survive, the cat carrier is probably trash on account of the multi-orifice body fluids that wound up in there, but everyone is alive- sometimes you have to count your blessings. HA HA HA HA!

I deserve a nap. Middle kid is home from school at this point and volunteers to mow the lawn as middle kids are wont to do (I'm serious, look it up- middle kids are the pleasers and that makes them auto-faves). A few minutes into a nice Golden Girls rerun (God rest 3/4 of them), I'm getting ready to doze and I hear the unmistakable sound of large teenage feet and long hair swishing down the steps. I'm sure there will be blood. He comes around the corner; no visible blood; good.  But instead, he's telling me there is a snake outside, and it's big. Any snake is big as far as I'm concerned. He says we can see it out the window in my bedroom. We look out and indeed there is a ZOO-SIZED snake climbing (climbing?) up the bush by my bedroom window while a bird goes crazy pecking at it. Apparently it was after the eggs or the baby birds. Well, that's it. I am decidedly not all about the circle of life and I certainly don't want to see it in action. If Neanderthals can run British Petroleum, then there isn't much chance that we, as humans, have really climbed that high up the food chain. Look around, I'll bet you can find an example of this without having to move. Especially if you're on the highway, at the DMV, or in anything ending in "mart" or "co".

We go out to manage the snake problem or at least make sure it's not trying to get in the house. "We" do this because I am the grown up (?) We find snakey snake snake, which is hard to miss. I decide to call Animal Control, who advise me that they "only do dogs". I advise them that on a 6-acre farm, what would I care if I had a yard full of dogs? We already have a yard full of everything else, what's a few dogs? Unless they are all Pit Bulls frolicking with Michael Vick, I'm okay with a yard full of dogs. A few treats, some butt sniffing and life goes on.

Middle child says "Should I get a shovel?" Sure, why not? So he gets a shovel while I'm talking to Pest Control (they "do" snakes for $150/snake), I might be petrified, but I'm still certainly not going to pay retail. While talking them down, middle child is beating the poop out of the snake with various farm implements which I cannot name. First he cuts off the tail (back to anatomy Dude- wrong end!) The snake people (they stay on the phone with you like 911), assure me that if the snake is not alive they will take it away for free! Yay! Free snake removal! So I'm standing on the porch negotiating prices and middle child says, "Don't freak out, but there's another one by your foot". I thought this HAD to be a bad joke. Nope. Snake coming out of bottom of house next to porch- 6" from my foot (maybe 12"). Now I'm screaming at the pest control people and offering them my retirement savings to come get all snakes to a new zip code.

Middle child beheads Zoo-Sized snake. This is ironic, because I was reading a book about Henry VIII. I can now see some of his reasoning. Other snake is still at large. So snake-man comes and takes definitively dead snake (both pieces-4.5 feet!) Here's an interesting tidbit for the snake novice- the body will continue to move until about midnight regardless of the estimated time of death (ETD), then its muscles relax- some sort of neurological thing. So, a beheaded snake is writhing around my driveway. It's scary, but I can't help thinking, "Well this one is free cause it was DOA and they only charge for AOA snakes". Cool, so now I'm looking at $150 if he catches the other snake. Well, with no snake treats and no Snake-Be-Gone (real product name), on hand we still have a snake at-large in the vicinity. Since we also have stink bugs of Biblical proportions, earwigs, in New Testament proportions, and wildlife of Encyclopedic proportions in the yard and house , I'm only concerned about the snake. I could be worried about toads, rabbits, deer, bear, gophers, hedgehogs, chipmunks, and spiders (the size of kittens) or other wildlife, but I'm pretty focused on the remaining snake, and wondering if it has kin in the area.

Friday of Memorial weekend, we're off to the mid-west with new radiator, new thermostat $440 less in my checking account, and a snake somewhere; but at least I didn't have to pay the snake guy, you know? HA HA HA HA HA! Six hour trip due west and all's well- even the bathrooms are clean as we stop through various other agrestic towns. Life can't be better.

Saturday trip and within about 20-30 minutes, the Cherokee overheats BADLY. So, to gas station, fill with water (bone dry despite new radiator). A hole in a hose that is apparently important, so boyfriend fixes hose. We're off again. No we're not.

Car overheats again before we get out of the parking lot. Now off to (recommended by girl at Starbucks), mechanic. The car overheating all the way, boyfriend is driving over potholes on the shoulder of the road, hazard lights on and running red lights to get car to mechanic. We get there; barely.

They tell us the thermostat must have been faulty and the radiator wasn't flushed right. That'll be $168- not priceless, remember last week's $440). We're not out of parking lot and lots of fluid is under the car and of course, it's overheating. They look at it again and say it's either a cracked head gasket (are these important?) or water pump (sounds cheap), both of which they could fix in about 7 hours (at $64/hr) on TUESDAY (remember this is Saturday and we're 6 hours away minimum from where we both work, not to mention the wildlife that needs to be fed). Uncool.

We get the car to an auto parts store for no other reason than it had a parking lot and the car was going to die any second. A for sale sign is purchased (no point in getting new air freshener at this point), and $1K OBO sign w/phone number. An hour later it was also on Craigslist. "As is" I don't want to hear about it.

Four days later and begging the auto shop people everyday not to tow it, a guy comes to buy it at full asking price. Dad brings title, proof of my insurance, registration, all his girlfriend's Notary accessories and probably some bottled water and a large container of hand lotion (they do not travel lightly). Everything is in their possession when they arrive... except the key. So, we lose that sale and Dad goes home with guilty divorced dad syndrome, which I thought was dormant.

I had told interested people to be there at 7, so he rolls back down to meet the one person who showed up. Well, 4 people showed up, but they were related to one another. Possibly they crossed the border at the same time... from Mexico... recently. They even had Mexican drivers licenses to prove it! How delightfully diverse!

They tell me they only have $600. I said then go to an ATM because I won't take less than $700 (ballsy for a girl with one prospective buyer). HA HA HA HA HA HA!We spent more than this on repairs in the last week and a rental car to get from Agrestic to Agriterra. Whatever, we're home, life is good and we seem to have picked up an extra cat in Agriterra.

Home sweet home where out front there is a beehive under one chair, a spider (large) living under another chair, one cushion that is usually damp from the rain and one without a cushion that dries faster but is in such a position that you can't throw the ball to the dog without her running through a rose bush, which she will because it's a ball and she's a Lab. We're down to one acceptable chair out front and this is not acceptable in WV it's important to have many chairs out front as possible for waving at people who go by, watching the grass grow, monitoring child labor or looking for snakes.

I almost forgot about the mutant moth! I've never seen one so big (approximately the size of a chipmunk)- or one that came in black and white speckles like an albino cheetah. I assume it drinks our well water, which would cause the phenomena.

I now pay a nice man to deliver large bottles of water that fit on a nice cooler that gives you hot or cold water depending on your preference. Even the pets are no longer allowed (by me) to drink the well water. It stinks and it's harder than a bunch of gay guys at an Adam Lambert concert. Considering our proximity to power lines, I'm not wasting my luck on well water that smells.

To sum up ha ha! I have a Camry now that I bought hastily from boyfriend's dad. So far, so good. I like it and it's much faster and better on gas that the Cherokee. Of course the Cherokee was very good on gas as we coasted into the auto parts store on it's last leg anywhere.

Next time you ask me how things are, consider the possibilities of what you may get back.

Copyright Suki Eastman 2010

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