Stunted Adults

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And A Snake Brings It All Full Circle

Last week, one of my co-workers told me, with eyes filled with terror and trauma, that she had seen a snake in her backyard.  She spun wild tales of snakes slithering amok all over our city and wanted to rally all of the exterminators to decimate these reptilian invaders.

I politely shook my head at the nerve of those pesky snakes and gently told her not to worry because, of course, they were just harmless little garter snakes.

Then I went all Jon Snow on her, telling her not to kill the obviously dangerous beasts in our midst because I am so noble, brave, and kindhearted.

There is no way this ends with anyone getting hurt….

But, much like Jon Snow, I know nothing.

NOTHING.

When I got home later that day,  I threw on some old cut-off jean shorts because I had to do some gardening and then, once I was done in the yard, I went inside and started cooking dinner.  Country Boy stayed out in the front yard to continue planting those bulk plants that I told you about back in March.  Yes, we are STILL planting them.  Country Boy and I have never met a project that we didn’t want to start and not finish.

A while later, Country Boy popped his head through the front door and asked for a glass of water.  I began preparing a glass of cold refrigerator water with ice to positively reinforce his decision to finish up the garden, but, before I could finish that artisan water cocktail, he stopped me and told me that warm sink water would be just fine.

I looked at him.

I knew I was about to ask a question to which I did not want to know the answer, but I just couldn’t stop myself.  I’ve never met a bad decision that I didn’t like.

So, I asked “What do you need the water for?”

He sighed, recognizing my error, and responded “To clean up all of the snake blood off of the driveway.”

I whispered, with eyes filled with terror and trauma, “Excuse me?”

And, he, with a barely suppressed eye roll, said “There was a snake, so I killed it with my shovel.  It got blood everywhere.  I just need to wash it off before it stains.  Relax.  It was just a harmless little garter snake.”

I said “Right.  That’s totally normal.  Here’s your snake-blood-cleaning water.”

After Country Boy went back outside, I took a few deep breaths and talked myself down off the ledge.  I reminded myself that snakes are living creatures that people keep as pets.  People also keep puppies as pets.  Ergo, snakes are totally the puppies of the reptile world.  And puppies are awesome.  So, snakes are awesome?  Logically, this was no big deal.

If a snake is good enough to be friends with Britney, then it’s certainly good enough for me.

All was well until I realized that I had BBQ chicken cooking on the grill.

The grill that was outside.

WHERE THE SNAKES LIVE.

And then I became like this guy, because snakes are not friends. SNAKES ARE NOT FRIENDS!

It was all terror and trauma up in my kitchen.  I did not want to go out in the backyard.

But, I also did not want to starve.

So, I took a deep breath and evaluated my options.

I quickly realized that there was only one option.  I had to go to the grill.

Apparently, my love of BBQ chicken trumps my fear of poisonous snakes.  It’s good to know that I have my priorities in order.

Maple-Mustard BBQ Chicken

There ain’t no mountain high enough, ain’t no valley low enough, ain’t no snake scary enough, to keep me from getting to you.

But, I’m not dumb.

So,  I armed myself with a rake just in case Mr. Dead Front Yard Snake was friends with Mr. Alive Back Yard Snake and his crew.  I also cracked a Coors Light because liquid courage is never a bad idea.

And that’s how I found myself wearing grass-stained jorts, swigging a cheap American beer, and grilling meats while fighting off vermin with a homemade weapon on a Tuesday night.

I am totally one small step away from having fox in a box in my freezer and from serving raccoon to my holiday guests

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My Very Own Kato Kaelin

Despite the fact that I have spent the past decade living a champagne and croissant fueled life in the heart of a major city, I seem to have all too regular run-ins with feral vermin, particularly those of the raccoon persuasion.

And this year is no exception.

A few months ago, Country Boy and his hapless but hilarious assistant (me) finally finished revamping our tiny backyard.  We managed to squeeze in a deck, an in-ground hot tub, and a covered porch that is the home to a gorgeous white outdoor couch.

photo (2)

This joint is straight up Shangri-La.

But, Shangri-La ain’t cheap, which means I have to drag my ass to work every day to pay for my little slice of paradise.

I came home from work earlier this week and wandered outside to get my zen on.  Sliding into that hot tub would make every argumentative telephone call and curt email melt away.

But, I immediately felt that something was amiss.

And then I saw it.

There were muddy prints all around the hot tub.  Around MY hot tub.

pawprints_by_pool

No.  NO.  NO!

I knew those paw prints.

I had seen them before.

They come with beady little eyes, a mask, and paws.

Ready for the catch

WHAT ARE YOU DOING BACK IN MY LIFE?!

WHAT?!

How in the hell was there a raccoon in my hot tub?

I live smack in the middle of a city, a tropical city no less.  While I do have a one-story house, it’s an urban house.  On every side of my house, there is another house within spitting distance.  There are high-rise buildings within walking distance.  There is no nearby forest filled with wildlife.  Hell, this place is barely hospitable to pigeons.

Yet, there were those unmistakable paw prints.

This raccoon had clearly packed a suitcase, took her last $200 and her record collection, and hopped a bus to make her way in the big city.

sherrie christian

Looks like someone watched Rock of Ages a few too many times.

But, then I turned around.

It was immediately apparent that I was not dealing with some sweet, misguided raccoon who was fresh off the bus from Kansas.

Oh no.

I was dealing with an entirely different sort of beast.

There were also paw prints all over my new white couch, eventually ending in a circle in the corner where the raccoon had decided to stretch out and assume her lounging position.

photo (3)

Apparently, this is a raccoon only VIP area.

You know what else was on my pristine, white couch?

A half-eaten avocado.

WHAT?!

Not only had this raccoon taken a dip in my hot tub and sprawled out on my couch, she had also managed to procure some local, organic produce for her afternoon snack.  Apparently, everyone knows that nothing pairs better with a day of leisure than some guacamole.

Raccoon eating avocado

Can someone pass me the cilantro?

And my little ‘buddy” did all of this while I was trapped in an office working hard to finance the entire operation.

I was clearly dealing with a professional.

The raccoon version of Kato Kaelin had moved into my backyard

The raccoon version of Kato Kaelin had moved into my backyard

How did this happen to me?!  How did I become both the sugar mama and the maid to a freeloading vermin of leisure?

I sat down on my violated couch to ponder how my life had taken such a turn.  After a few moments, a shocked gasp escaped my mouth.

I had a realization.

You know what a hot-tub lounging, guacamole-eating urban raccoon probably has?  An iPhone.

And, you know what an iPhone has? The Internet.

And, you know what the Internet has? My blog post from last Christmas about how I risked family scorn and exile, because I wasn’t willing to eat raccoon.

Kato the Raccoon apparently misinterpreted that as an open invitation to take up residence in my pool house.

Sorry, Kato the Raccoon, but you will not be the Ryan Atwood to my Seth Cohen.  You have got to go back to Chino right now!

Sorry, Kato the Raccoon, but you will not be the Ryan Atwood to my Seth Cohen. You have got to go back to Chino right now!

I always knew the Internet would ruin my life, but I just never expected its weapon of choice to be a feral woodland creature with a penchant for Mexican food.