Folks who live on the lake often find themselves with more houseguests than they anticipated. Second cousins show up for the weekend. Old acquaintances from high school come by for a drink on the dock. But then there are those houseguests that you never saw coming . . . and never wanted to see in your house . . . (insert scary music here.)
When my daughter Rachel was about eight years old, she and my son were cleaning up the house. “Jimmy!” Rachel called out to her brother. “Come get your plastic snake out of my room!”
“I don’t HAVE a plastic snake!” he replied.
“AAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!” she cried. “THERE’S A SNAKE IN MY ROOM!”
It was just a little tiny black snake. We chased it around, trapped it under a trash can, and let Daddy deal with it. From that day forward, Rachel has been terrified of snakes.
Another one paid a visit, this time in our garage, when Rachel was in high school. My husband was out of town, but I wasn’t too alarmed; I just left the garage door open so it could crawl out. Rachel, however, couldn’t sleep, thinking about that snake.
So she called her boyfriend (in the middle of the night, I might add) and he came over, caught the snake, and removed it from the garage. That’s true love. Or, as it turned out, wasn’t really. (Enough about THAT boyfriend.)
With all the snakes, you’d think mice wouldn’t be a problem. But our lake house, surrounded by woods, enticed all type of critters. Mice would pay a visit, usually after the first cold snap of the season.
Now, you wouldn’t think I’d be squeamish about mice. I had my first pet rodent when I was in second grade, when our class had Snowball, a white rat. At the end of the year, the teacher decided to send Snowball home with a student to live. To decide who would be the lucky student, she decided to have a drawing, and sent permission slips home for the children to participate.
My dad was an engineer, and therefore approached situations in a logical manner. He figured that since there were 26 students, it was very unlikely that I would win. Therefore, I’d be disappointed by fate, and not by my father. He signed the slip. He was the only parent to do so.
I was thrilled to bring Snowball home, and we lived happily ever after. Until she didn’t.
But enough about Snowball.
Later, I had a pair of mice as pets (after all, we already had a cage for them to live). But they didn’t prepare me for coming face to face with a bonafide WILD mouse staring at me from the top of a can of chicken noodle soup in my pantry. That, I didn’t like at all.
Mice seemed to know when my husband was out of town. That’s when they’d decide to have a party at my house.
Then, there was the raccoon that broke into our basement to eat the cat food at the top of the stairs. Not only did the raccoon eat all the food in the dish, it also helped itself to the large Tupperware container with five pounds of cat food, bouncing it down our stairs in the wee hours of the morning. Thank heavens my husband was in town for THAT little episode.
Frogs, lizards, and turtles were playmates to my children and their friends growing up. One of my neighbors was constantly finding frogs in her son’s pockets, sometimes unfortunately on the wrong end of the laundry cycle.
Lake life is not for the squeamish, my friends.
But at least we’re never lonely!