HELP WANTED – (CLUB PROMPT – MARRIAGE)

It occurs to me that by marrying when I was 18 I really took a shot in the dark. My requirements for a husband at that point were pretty basic: he should be handsome and fun, he should love me, and he should have musical ability so that I could have beautiful musical children. Since my husband is DEFINITELY NOT musical (one of his big threats to our son is that he will show up at his school and sing to his friends), you can see I compromised right out of the gate. However, having been married almost 30 years to this man, I can’t help but think how my luck certainly did hold in that initial gamble I took. Knowing what I know now after all these years together, I’d have to say it’s a very good thing we married at 18 because my “requirements” now would be quite a bit different. If there had been dating classifieds back then, I can just see how my ad should’ve looked…..

HANDSOME INDIVIDUAL WANTED FOR MATRIMONY
ONCE FOR A LIFETIME OFFER
NOW ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS

Benefits include:

  • Personal growth (especially in middle age)
  • Oodles of overtime (you’ll never have a moment to yourself for the next 50 years)
  • Probable expansion (in body, mind, and number of mouths to feed)
  • Possible relocation (to wherever anyone else needs you to be at any given time)

The qualified candidate will demonstrate:

  • Agreeable personality (meaning agrees with wife), great sense of humour (you’re going to need it), and tons of patience (with wife)

  • Ability to work full-time and go to school part-time for years while still maintaining worthwhile relationships with wife and children when you get home after 16-hour days

  • Ability to keep spouse under control but still find way for her to feel “in charge” to placate her need for control

  • Ability to perform wife’s desired home improvement tasks with enthusiasm

  • Willingness to patrol areas and kill all insect/reptile species invading family space while all other members of household scream loudly and speedily evacuate said area

  • Ability to be preoccupied with landscaping needs of family residence

  • Willingness to put up with, trip over, pay for, and clean up after variety of small household animals for sake of children’s emotional growth

  • Ability to remain rational and handle emotionally-charged issues with offspring while wife just rants about their ungratefulness

  • Ability to selflessly allow wife to take credit for most of your good ideas

  • Understanding when wife is frequently overwhelmed by obvious and utter hopelessness of offspring and threatens to just give up

  • Interest in being weekend cook for a variety of palates since wife is sick of cooking (grill provided)

  • Ability to shop for hours on end with no complaint (bonus points for finding anything that looks decent on wife’s current body shape)

  • Ability to overlook wife’s disinterest in housekeeping after being worn down by constant demands of small animals and children

  • Ability to lift heavy objects (without hurling them at wife, children, or small animals – even when they deserve it)

  • Ability to provide and maintain financial support and handle all retirement planning (so if we make it that far, we don’t starve)

♦♦♦Additional consideration given for willingness to provide back scratches on demand and adeptness in the art of foot massage

What you will get in return is a wife who:

  • Is your partner for life, grows up with you, and is your best support network (unless I disagree with your decision)

  • Does her very best to see that you have what you need, when you need it, with the least possible amount of hassle to you (as long as I have time)

  • Begins marriage as a strong independent person but gets more and more dependent on you as the years take their toll

  • Is a superior schedule maker that assures everything moves along as it should (until life gets in the way of said plan and I end up in tears)

  • Is a meticulous trip planner that ensures you have very best trips ever at best price possible (unless I’m feeling extravagant)

  • Is a holiday merry maker creating exciting holiday seasons (which also means you will be driven insane with my discussions of minute details)

  • Is on your side every step of the way in the creation of a bigger and better enterprise (unless I need a nap)

  • Is not very good at pregnancy (am convinced first child now scarred into never having children by witnessing my second child’s horrific gestation period), but does manage to produce two healthy offspring in the end

  • Is an independent mother of your children who will take care of most issues concerning them (until they fry my brain and I throw my hands up in defeat)

  • Tries very hard to hold it all together most days with only occasional lapses into unexplained sobbing frenzies

  • Loves you AND put up with your strange little idiosyncrasies (except the ones I just can’t handle)

  • Is hot, young thing when you marry her but after two kids and 28 ½ years isn’t going to look or function half the same

Yep, looking back on things, I am thinking I really got the best of this deal. My husband on the other hand…..we probably need to make sure he never sees this ad that should have been……

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CAPTAIN SALTY – (CLUB PROMPT – A SPIDER’S WEB)

Sitting here amoung us is a person with a secret identity. He appears to be just a dapper, mild-mannered fellow who speaks quietly, but under that calm exterior is CAPTAIN SALTY!

Like Superman, Captain Salty is faster than a speeding bullet (unless he stops to tell you a story),

More powerful than a locomotive…able to maneuver a boat down the powerful waters of the Intercoastal Highway,

Able to leap tall ropes in a single bound….bravely propelling himself off the dock and onto his craft. (A trick I certainly can’t do gracefully!)

Yes. It’s Captain Salty, our guide to the nautical world with powers and abilities far beyond those of non-nautical men. Captain Salty, who can change course on mighty rivers, tie and untie a surplus of different knots with his bare hands, and who, disguised as Wally Jansen, Thursday writer and husband of Jane, holds a never-ending passion for boats, seafaring, and the right-of-way.

When Captain Salty casually took on the task of my son’s maritime education, I had NO IDEA how many different things this encompassed. Coming from western Pennsylvania where there isn’t a lot of sailing activity, boats and the like were an undiscovered world and one we didn’t really think of very much. As I’m finding out, the nautical world is a conglomeration of many very different webs. It’s not, as I first thought, just getting into a boat and going.

Who would’ve ever guessed that standing on a boat meant 1,000 new terms to learn? The terminology is just the beginning and it’s overwhelming. Captain Salty, of course, foresaw this and supplied my son with books with simple, colourful pictures and easy definitions. We’re finding out that the language of the seafaring world is a web of its own. But after just a weekend with Captain Salty on the boats, already it’s seguing into our conversations.

Speaking of conversations, who knew that being down at the marina would be such a social event – a veritable web of interaction? Just standing there on Sunday watching my son row in his boat, Captain Salty introduced me to the boat owners on either side of his slip. On one side was a waterman preparing his nets with little clams as bait for the crabs he hoped to catch the next day….definitely not a web I’ve ever thought of before. On the other side of our slip was a boat owner patiently scraping the discoloured wood on his boat so he could re-varnish it later. (Maintenance, I’m seeing, is another huge web all its own when it comes to boats). Captain Salty also told me the stories of each boat owner nearby and even the occupants of the houses near the docks. He informed me that anyone down at the marina is always happy to talk about their boat. Obviously, he’s spent much time in this social whirl.

That waterman preparing his bait for the next day also led us into the web of underwater wildlife. Who ever knew that just sailing boats would give so much insight into the environment beneath the water? But indeed, Captain Salty and the waterman swapped many stories about the right baits for precise prey, various seasons of stock, what water temperatures in which areas sustain which creatures, and even some more colourful stories about the sometimes very odd characteristics of underwater critters.

I also had no idea that when you’re out on a boat you had to be aware of weather, winds, and water conditions. But indeed, down at the docks, these are big topics of conversation. Boaters want to talk about what’s going on, what just happened, and what’s coming up with the weather. They talk about how rough or calm the water is, and even what they can see in the water (oil, small fish, algae, etc). They all seem to have a different way to predict the weather and also different ideas on what they’re going to do to the boats because of the weather. For example, in the winter, some people leave their boats in the water and others take them out and store them. I haven’t figured out the rhyme or reason to this yet. It’s just another of the many webs I am being introduced to right now.

And oh the knots! Everything has to be tied down just so to protect from the perils of the weather and water. The first day my son spent on the boat, Captain Salty taught him two different knots with the practiced moves of a spider spinning a web. Spencer thoroughly enjoyed himself when his father tried to tie something down and Spencer got the chance to look at him disdainfully, give a little chuckle, undo his father’s handiwork, and demonstrate the proper way to tie something down and clip it off. In reality, those first two knots Captain Salty showed him seemed to be one of the most exciting things to Spencer and we later found out in our books that there are as many knots in the world of sailing as there are things to tie down! The world of knots seems a web of its own – how they look, the action of tying, and in knowing which knot goes where.

My husband and I are only bystanders while Captain Salty teaches our son and already this much is in our heads. After Spencer’s first day on the water, he fell asleep fast and we sat down to watch some TV. When one of the characters on our show jumped into a rowboat we both perked up and said, “Hey! Those are oar locks!” and on seeing the oar catch on the water instead of making a clean sweep shouted “Oh, I think he ‘caught a crab’ there!”

Don’t let the lack of a cape or the mild-mannered exterior fool you…..we’ve got an unsung superhero right here on the Eastern Shore. It isn’t everyone who will take the time to share almost 80 years of boating knowledge and experience with a boy (and his parents) and make it seem such an easy and enjoyable thing. It’s quite an assemblage of webs, this whole nautical world, but luckily for us we’ve got Captain Salty at the helm navigating us through all the webs and skillfully handing a whole new world to the next generation.1 - Copy

 

THE DAYS OF OUR LIVES (CLUB PROMPT – TELEVISION)

I consider the time when I was young THE WONDER YEARS. My parents were my GUIDING LIGHT and our MODERN FAMILY was a PARTY OF FIVE. We lived in a rural area with MAYBERRY values and strong FAMILY TIES. I remember late-night viewings of CHILLER THEATRE with my dad and THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JOHNNY CARSON. Definitely THE GOOD WIFE while Dad went to work at THE OFFICE, Mom was THE LONE RANGER employing DIFF’RENT STROKES for different folks keeping everyone moving where they needed to be. She ferried three kids to basketball practices, band concerts, football games, Cub Scouts, Brownies, piano lessons, gymnastics, Bluebirds, and summer camp drop-offs and pickups. She also handled FAMILY MATTERS for our little DYNASTY as she kept a watchful eye on us – the YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS. She dealt with our GROWING PAINS and came to our rescue when we were in JEOPARDY. But sometimes, following the leads of BARNABY JONES and REMINGTON STEELE by asking 20 QUESTIONS, Mom would tell us, “DON’T PRESS YOUR LUCK” or “WAIT TILL YOUR FATHER GETS HOME.” Mostly though, we had lots of HAPPY DAYS surrounded with many GREEN ACRES living between a golf course and a state park as we did. We walked to the pool, rode our bikes around the neighborhood, climbed trees, and made friends with our NEIGHBOURS’ kids in the summers, and rode our sleds and built snowmen in the winters.

My middle and high school years were filled with many GREAT PERFORMANCES as I played in 3 school bands and an orchestra on the weekends. I also had much fun taking music lessons and playing in the handbell choir at church. There were lots of GOOD TIMES in these years.

Somewhere in here, THE FACTS OF LIFE finally started to make sense to me and I entered THE DATING GAME. After spinning the WHEEL OF FORTUNE, I ended up with a boy that was my polar opposite and THE ODD COUPLE we became. HART TO HART we were and pretty soon he said, “I’m MAD ABOUT YOU.” We then became THE HONEYMOONERS playing THE NEWLYWED GAME. Once we figured out that IT TAKES TWO, it was time to CALL THE MIDWIFE (or in our case a TAXI) and welcome our first son. CHEERS!

A few years later, we outgrew our little apartment and it was time to buy a house. After looking around for quite a while, we finally found a wonderful old house with plenty of room for our family to grow. That’s when we began to play LET’S MAKE A DEAL. At last we felt THE PRICE IS RIGHT and asked DEAL OR NO DEAL? So THIS OLD HOUSE became our new house and we moved right in. HOME IMPROVEMENT was the theme of our next few years, my husband morphing between BOB THE BUILDER and MR. BEAN.

A few years later, we headed for the GENERAL HOSPITAL at the EDGE OF NIGHT for the birth of our second son and officially became MARRIED…WITH CHILDREN. So began my WONDER WOMAN years with my very own LASSIE, two cats, two sons, and a husband. I began to feel I was living with ALL CREATURES GREAT AND SMALL in a WILD KINGDOM. It truly seemed like MISSION IMPOSSIBLE dealing with the needs of three males who all sometimes had the manners of ALF while doing the soccer mum runs, lunch packing, meal planning, doctor visits, and housekeeping of a very large place. I had to take things ONE DAY AT A TIME. Some days I wanted to just hop on the LOVE BOAT, head for FANTASY ISLAND, or even just go to DALLAS. Other days I simply wished for a LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE. Imagine if you will one son like DOOGIE HOWSER, M.D. who always made you ask yourself, “ARE YOU SMARTER THAN A 5TH GRADER?” and the other son more like MORK FROM ORK, who in the midst of the Terrible Twos and his INCREDIBLE HULK moments made us sure he would end up on AMERICA’S MOST WANTED. It made 60 MINUTES seem like 48 HOURS, but it was ALL IN THE FAMILY and we were BEWITCHED by THE GOOD LIFE on this 3RD ROCK FROM THE SUN.

We’ve ended up here now for the time being. Who knows what will come next in our FAMILY AFFAIR? We’re only given ONE LIFE TO LIVE and perhaps that’s a very good thing. My most fervent hope for the future is that when God looks back on my HIGHWAY TO HEAVEN he doesn’t just think it was just a performance on THE GONG SHOW!

These are the DAYS OF OUR LIVES.

INVASION ! (CLUB PROMPT – THE HOUSE NEXT DOOR)

This week’s club prompt led to a different kind of place.   My neighbour here is the one who led me to this writing group, so when this prompt came up we decided to have a go at writing our stories “in tandem” if you will.   So am posting my “side” first and then her perspective on the same events.      

It started off with just one thing – a very small thing. I just wanted to trim the hedges. They looked totally wild as if they had never been trimmed. I was probably here over a month before I even realized the house was there. It was right next door but shrouded in very tall trees and hedges on 3 sides. No wonder I never noticed it….the 6-foot tall holly bushes are between our houses. On the day I met the occupant of the house next door, she came shouting over the fence on the front of our house. She’s a slight woman, with a head of grey hair, and a very mannerly way of speaking. She invites me over for a cup of tea when I’ve got some time.

One day, curious to realize that there is actually a house within feet of mine that I never even noticed and an occupant there I might like to know, I take her up on it. She puts on a kettle. Waiting for the water to boil, but I occupy myself looking around at all her paintings on the walls. It’s actually quite magnificent, this house. It’s entirely decorated with her own art – very impressive. Finally, the tea is done and we sit and chat for a while getting to know each other. I mention I want to trim down the prickly hedges in between her house and mine to a manageable level. She agrees but goes on about liking the trees in front to absorb some of the emissions from traffic and because they keep the light from the street lamps out of her windows at night.

Next day, I’m out there with the hedge trimmers. She comes out the back door and talks while I work. I don’t actually get very far till she leaves – she is quite the talker with 80 years of history to impart. She returns an hour later. I’ve cut the hedges with a slight grade toward the front of the houses to keep the light and emissions out of her personal space. Smiling, she comes over to admire the changes and again invites me in for a cup of tea. We sit, sip, and chat. She mentions then that she’s always wanted a “whimsical arch” in that hedgerow. I take on the challenge and back to the hedges we go. After a bit of work, we have the makings of a future whimsical arch in the hedges. Once it grows in next spring, it will be quite something I imagine. She seems quite pleased. Truth be told, I’m somewhat impressed with it myself!

A few weeks go by. I’ve been spending quite a bit of time over there absorbing her stories and history. One day, she wants to show me some pictures she received in her e-mail. I cannot believe the machine that I see when she takes me to her computer! It’s an Apple for sure, but I think it must be a relic from when Steve Jobs was first setting up shop in his garage! And OMG! It’s got a dial-up connection? I can’t believe this still exists! I can’t hold it back, though I’m trying very hard to be polite, “Mary,” I tell her, “A dial-up connection is just NOT the thing. It can be so much better for you. This just HAS to go!” She hems and she haws and she puts me off for weeks, but I do not give up. I continue to point out advantages here and there. I bring over literature. I keep floating the idea trying to get her comfortable with the notion. I engage her kids in the fight and find out that they’ve been on her quite a while to get moving on this, so I redouble my efforts. Finally, it happens. I don’t know what did it, but she utters the words, “Well, I suppose we should just do it!” I pick up the phone right away and make the call before she has a chance to back out! Am proud. It will be a total upgrade….house phone service, TVs, and internet all in one package. Her kids are falling over in their shock. She seems resigned to her fate – she knows she’s really in for it now.

The crossover from archaic to modern takes quite a few hours. But she’s actually quite bold while the technician is there. She is punching buttons and trying things out. I am surprised to see no fear and instead curiosity. This is not what I expected at all. It holds until the technician leaves and she gets back from the trip she had to leave for the day after all this change. That’s when she actually starts using the TV on her own. The next few days are refreshing her memory on all the new ways, fielding questions, or a tweak that we have to clear up. She’s doing just great! I’m very impressed. Wonder why she keeps running her hands through her hair like that? But, things level out and calm down a bit after a few weeks. She’s rolling her eyes much less and starting to get some comfort with the new ways of doing things.

One day, she makes an off-hand remark that her phone needs a new battery. I look at the VERY LARGE and obviously VERY OLD phone on the table and say to her that it might be cheaper to just buy a new phone. She seems agreeable to this and we decide to do that on our next trip out.

While we’re on the subject of phones, I broach the subject of a cell phone for the times when she’s out driving alone. She furrows her brow and seems to have a headache. It’s not a luxury I tell her; it’s a must – a safety concern. She hems and she haws, but again I persist. I e-mail her kids and employ every tactic I can and finally, one day we’re out shopping and I show her the phones. “It’s easy,” I tell her. She rolls her eyes and quietly sighs, “Okay.” We buy the cell phone and the cordless phone for the house and I set it all up. Next day, I give her a few instructions on each phone and we make some test calls. But now she’s confused calling the cell phone the cordless and not keeping things straight. Hmm. Probably need to slow down just a bit so she’s not overwhelmed.

Another day, while we visit over a cup of tea, she mentions that she wants to put shelves in her art studio to give it a neater appearance. She’s talking about hiring a carpenter. I gasp at the expense! Instead I think, “Ah! A new project,” and I jump right in! Why does she have that deer-in-the-headlights look? We talk about it, shop around a bit, and finally make a plan. She seems a little dazed at all the activity, but I enlist my husband and he spends a few hours one day installing the shelves for her. She also wants a wall of pegboard for empty frames. “No problem,” I say and we install that too. She watches us work and eyes up the growing mess on the floor. She comes in with a small broom and dustpan. She seems a bit weary. But she’s excited too and I know she’ll be happy with a neater setup in the end. What fun it is to have a new house to work on!

As I look around in the studio next day, I say, “You know, before we put it back together, this room needs painted!” As I’m having this thought, the phone rings. It’s one of her daughters that I’ve recently met. I manhandle the phone away from Mary and speak to the daughter with my new idea. The daughter agrees totally and volunteers to do the painting. Exciting! Now, we just need to clear the whole studio to allow for the painting. This is good….She’ll have a much cleaner looking studio with brand new paint and shelving! Why is Mary wilting over there in the corner? I look around. Okay, there is still a lot of stuff here to be removed; but we can do it, I’m sure. The next few days are spent with her in a commotion struggling to remove 20 years of art supplies from the space and trying to keep the rest of her house in some kind of order. I drag her out and we go shopping for paint colours!

I’m having such fun with the house next door! Why is my neighbour looking so frazzled lately? Will have to talk to her about that. Perhaps she needs a new doctor…….

AND NOW ONTO HER SIDE OF THINGS….

I have new neighbors!! I see, through the overgrown hedge, a flaxen-haired girl and two men. I can’t see too well through the hedge….it is overgrown, leftover from the previous owners next door. They surrounded their property with a 3-foot holly hedge, indigenous to this area, scrupulously maintained at exactly 3 feet which drank up a lot of standing water and did not block out the breezes that need to pass through, which can be very still, dead air in the humid summers.

The next neighbor let the hedge grow and added a high solid board fence around the property to protect their dogs and children. I wonder what the new neighbors will do?
I introduce myself one day when they are out of doors and see that they are a man, his wife, and their teenage son…..nice polite people so I extend an invitation for tea and hope she will come and be sociable. She comes for tea and we get acquainted. She is from Pennsylvania and doesn’t know Maryland or the Eastern Shore so I offer to introduce her to the amenities of the area when she has time…she works on her computer at home.

We have several bike rides around the village, become more friendly, and she says they wish to trim back the hedge. I suggest, “Why don’t you cut an arch or portal in the middle so we can access the property rather than use the street.” She agrees and gladly snips away. Voila! We have a charming, natural gateway – a hedge with a hole in the middle.

Here she comes through the hedge. Today, she sees my computer and remarks on how old it is..….a relic given to me by my daughter – an old Apple, which I am comfortably familiar with. I just use it for e-mail and music. My neighbor is very young, modern, hip, and energetic and is ready to take on the chore of upgrading me from an old slow Apple to a new quick laptop, which my daughters had tried to do for several years while I stubbornly stayed with the familiar and wished for the old days. My neighbor persevered, with youthful expertise, and carefully nudged me into trying a new hookup and faster service. I wish I could crawl back to a quieter, less complex, pre-computer age. My daughters are delighted. My new neighbor has succeeded in accomplishing what they had been trying to do for years.

OMG! Where’s the Z?! The computer man’s coming and my daughter calls to ask if I’m packed and ready to fly to the Caymans tomorrow. Are you kidding? My computer, telephone, and TV are being switched to a new, complete, efficient bundle!! Oh, how nice…where’s the Z?! (Z is a zone where I go to find a calm acceptance of life). Today, my neighbor comes from the house next door, through the hedge to hold my hand while the computer man reconnects all these wires! OMG! I am glad but sad when I’m lost in the labyrinth of a whole new system, more buttons, and wires, flash ads and unwanted advertisements – a Pandora’s Box. And then we have to stop my orientation of the new system because the computer man’s truck has gone dead and now my neighbor needs a lift to pick up her car before the dealer closes and I’m still not packed to fly out of here. OMG!!! ”Good fences make good neighbors!” Who knew I’d been doing Robert Frost in an era of OMG and GWI?

After my return from the Caymans, I crawl through the hedge to join my neighbor for a shopping trip to the electronics store for a new phone and end up with a cell phone too. Now I have two phones, neither of which I can use.

A few weeks later, it’s the studio. OMG! They are coming through the hedge to hang the shelves and I’m not ready. All this clutter and collection of 15 years and what will I do with all of it??!! OMG! I just found a black snippet on the floor under the counter and it’ is an 1887 B/W photo of Uncle Vincent!!! OMG!! They saw and they hammer. There is nowhere to step!

I can’t crawl back to the high hedge but……..

 

 

The Shepherd and the Assassin!

When commiserating with Gluestick Mum over the foibles of husbands who never seem to complete a job 100%, she suggested I break precedent (writing only to club prompts) and write up my saga of the weekend. As I swirled this idea around in my head, I thought well, actually, I’m only responding to another prompt given to me outside the club so it won’t affect the aim of the blog. So I’m taking on her challenge.

Having just moved to this area, we aren’t very aware of the absolute nightmare of wildlife that exists down here. Living near to the Bay, I’ve been overwhelmed to find that it isn’t all fish, crabs, and oysters. As we’ve come out of the longest winter in the history of this earth, we’ve gone into our first spring down here.  Thus has begun the onslaught of creatures not happily confined to the water.

I’ll start with the bees. The bees here are HUGE. I am not a fan of bees of any size, but these bees are carpenter bees over an inch long, with shiny black bellies, and as obese as they come. They come looking for wood to bore into and nest. As our property is completely surrounded in a high wood fence we are a prime target it seems. We aren’t helped by the fact that my neighbor has an overhang on her back porch made from wood trusses and evidently this is great food because the bees are over there by the hundreds swarming all the time while they look for new places to bore. When they get bored (excuse very bad pun there) boring her boards, they venture over into our space.

My son has grown up with my bee paranoia and though he’s now a teen it hasn’t abated. When we are outside and the bees show up you can hear us both screaming like girls (okay for me, but alas, not so impressive in a teen boy) running back into the house where it’s safe. (I say running but at this point my run is now more a determined gallop but it still gets me where I’m going which is away from those bees!) My husband has always been very understanding about my paranoia and goes to great lengths to do obliterate any of these giant bees that show up in our space. You can see him out there standing watch over me tennis racket in hand and batting them down as they dare to invade. He’s a modern day knight in shining armour, but instead of a lance and armour, it’s a tennis racket and work clothes covered in paint.

This weekend things took a turn for the worse. I was walking the yard with our small dog as he sniffed out his perfect spot for the deed when what to my wandering eyes should appear but A SNAKE! Let it just be said here that snakes rank even higher than bees on my list of paranoias. As a matter of fact, snakes are right above bees and just below sharks which are just below alligators! (You’ve probably guessed I am not an outdoorsy girl by now).

Anyway, upon seeing this snake there baking in the sun, I grabbed up our little 10-pound dog (frustrated as I’m sure he was not yet having found the perfect place) and ran (okay, performed my determined gallop) screaming into the house, “THERE’S A SNAKE, THERE’S A SNAKE! OH, GOD HELP ME, THERE’S A SNAKE!” Straight to my knight I went and tried to calm down and maintain a bit of decorum. I started by telling him there was a snake that needed to be killed. I followed up logically with factual insights. “It could perhaps eat our small dog,” or worse, “Our colourblind son might stumble upon it never even seeing it.” My knight took off for the garage with a nod of his head and a determined gait. He returned not with his tennis racket, but instead with a shovel, hoe, and rake! I felt good to see so many great weapons of war!

As I watched him from the safety of our back door, though, I was surprised to see him approach this great beast with the rake? As the rake approached, the snake took off across the yard and then stopped. Husband then approached him with the rake again and the snake took off. This progress lasted until husband basically shepherded said snake to the other side of the yard and watched him disappear under the fence. He came in happy to report that the snake was gone. I said, but did you kill it? “No,” he reported, “I didn’t have to kill it. It’s gone.” I didn’t want it under the fence. It might come back. Told him if I wanted a shepherd I would’ve called the biblical David. What I wanted was an assassin! Told him this was no good. If the snake could go under the fence once to escape he could come back under again and now none of us were safe. He wasn’t too pleased with my lack of adulation for his efforts.

After about 20 minutes of haranguing him over his lack of murderous intent, he finally admitted that he was concerned with the prospect of what would happen after he killed it. His concern was that the leftover bits, now very separated and gory would have to be removed and who, he asked would do this? Well, he had me there. I couldn’t volunteer and our son was no help either. As nowhere in our marriage vows did I think to include the promise to remove gory snake bits, I guess I’ll have to be content with the shepherd.

Perhaps I should tell the Gluestick Mum to be happy with her 90 percent because for sure when it comes to snakes around here I only get the leftover 10 percent. Grief.