What Happens at the Lake

What happens at the lake, stays at the lake, and for damn good reason.
Larry, Kelley, and I arrive at Clearlake a few days earlier than the rest of the clan to get things set up for our 4th of July celebrations, work in quiet for a couple of days, and paint a couple of wicker patio chairs. Seems pretty tame?

Believe me when I say things did no go as planned. [Trigger warning, this post contains graphic accounts of spiders and snakes] We begin transferring from car to house duffles of clothing, coolers, computer bags, cases of wine, hundreds of dollars worth of groceries, and a few safe and sane fireworks for our upcoming celebration. These are rote sort of task as we load the food into the pantry, clothing to our rooms, setting up home offices in our claimed spaces. When these tasks are finally complete I show Kelley the recently shiplapped rooms and a few minor upgrades we’ve completed while she’s been away.
This is when we hear, “Holy shit! Are you kidding? He’s back,” Larry sort of screams from the back of the house.
“Who’s back?” I calmly ask because I have been taught not to panic.
“The snake,” his voices edges up a notch.
“A SNAKE,” Kelley bellows, she slips into total panic mode, repeating the word “snake” at least five times.
Larry says, “Yes, it was peeking out from under the laundry room door, looking around as if we were invading his space. I think it’s the same one we found here a few weeks ago.”
“Wait, there was a snake in the house a few weeks ago? What the hell? I was not informed of this crisis?” Kelley says.
“It would be impossible to keep you up on all your Dad’s adventures,” I add.
Below is the video of our previous snake removal for your enjoyment.

Little did we know Larry ignored my recommendation to let the snake go away from the house, as soon as he was out of sight, he dumped our little friend in the ivy on our side yard.
Bad move Looney!
That badass snake is back, he’s pissed, and he’s not ready to leave.
Larry tentatively opens the door to the laundry room and there he is all coiled up behind the door!
“Oh my God, it’s huge,” Kelley shouts.
Larry heads to the garage and returns with a bucket and shovel while Kelley and I frantically shove a towel under the door.
Kelley says, “what are you going to do with that?”
“Get our friend out of the house.”
“This is how we got the last one out,” I explain.
The laundry room is a tight space, as Larry tries to corral the snake, Kelley screams, the dog barks, and the snake slithers under the washing machine. I can’t site Larry’s exact words here, it would be inappropriate, as this is a family-friendly blog, but let me just say it wasn’t pretty.
I think it’s sort of extraordinary that snakes are sacred to Egypt, associated with the power of the underworld, and a source of fertility in some societies? Alice Turner says, “snakes in the ancient world, because of their skin-shedding ability, often symbolized immortality or eternal youth.” There are people who believe snakes are the barriers of guardian spirits and they protect the home.
Yes, those people are clinically insane.
Snakes can have dozens of young at a time, and so they have come to symbolize fertility. They resemble vegetation, especially roots, in their form and often in the green and brown of their skins. The undulating form of a snake also suggests a river. A point of muscular tension passes through the body of a snake and drives the animal forward, like a moment moving along a continuum of days and years. Like time itself, a snake seems to progress while remaining still. In addition, the body of a snake also resembles those marks with a stylus, brush, or pen that make up our letters. Ornamental alphabets of the ancient Celts and others were often made up of intertwined serpents. It could even be that the tracks of a snake in sand helped to inspire the invention of the alphabet. Boria Sax
There were snakes, therefore I write, maybe I should be grateful.
“I wonder why he keeps coming back?” Larry muses as he unhooks the washing machine. Our plan is to put the machine on a dolly, roll it out to the courtyard, coax the snake out of the machine, and put it in someone else’s yard.
Best laid plans.
I say, “what’s not to like about this place? It’s cool, lots of tile, holes to slither in and out of, spiders to eat…someone make me stop talking.”
I get the look.
“Dad you should put on some shoes!” Kelley warns.
Larry ignores her and proceeds to wheel my beloved washer outside. Kelley and I are extremely helpful, jumping around, squealing, and wailing. The dog is wagging his tail as if this is a joyful event. Larry is cussing profusely. We lay the machine on its side and all three of us bend down to peer into the bowels of this snake-filled contraption. We can see the little fellow all coiled up in the back corner behind the drum and several spider webs. The next thing we know he disappears?
Larry starts removing the side panels. I’m thinking that’s the last load we see washed in that machine! I’m a little contrite.
Kelley decided we needed to go live on Instagram. Perfect. If you’re in a hurry it gets exciting around minute six.

From my Girl Scout days, I learned a few things, I call them survival skills, for example, if you see a snake you should stand still or walk backward very slowly, never run, or scream. As I’m running and screaming at least I know I shouldn’t be.
The very next day calamity paid us another visit. If it’s not snakes, its spiders!
“Are you kidding? I can’t believe it, the dock fell, if it’s not one damn thing it’s another,” Larry comes running up the ramp shouting (I left out a few words for your benefit, you’re welcome).
Kelley and I are enjoying an adult beverage on the patio, I whisper, “do not go live with this Kelley, he’s sort of crazy about his boat, things might get ugly.”
We all run down to the boat to offer our assistance, the dock is completely submerged in the murky water, with the boat bouncing off the piling! Apparently, this unleashed hundreds of spiders that were peacefully cohabitating underneath the dock.
They’re everywhere, huge, gigantic spiders and they’re pissed.
Larry comes running towards us with a flimsy piece of plywood in one hand and an extension ladder in the other.
Are you thinking what I’m thinking?
Thankfully Griffin and Tori show up, our neighbors, and they run over to help. It was unfortunate that several spiders took a liking to Tori’s legs and she went into a spider jig, you know the one, where you scream and flounder about, brushing spiders off your person. You get the picture.
It’s spider season. Every year, right about now, thousands of the godless eight-legged bastards emerge from the bowels of hell (or the dock, whichever’s nearest) with the sole intention of tormenting humankind.
Charlie Brooker
Kelley, Griffin, Tori, and I are attempting to hold the boat study while Larry has erected the extension ladder on this thin piece of plywood which he has laid across the bow of the boat. He climbs up to the top of the ladder, which is leaning precariously against one of the support beams, in order to reach the motor, and replace the chain that slipped off. It isn’t going well. There is a lot of yelling and cussing and instructing that the boat holders “are doing a piss poor job (not his exact words).”
“I have moved an inch, any more this ladder goes down, and I’m dead.” We’re over the water so I believe he’d survive, there could be a broken bone or two, maybe a few spider bites, and some splinters. I’d say his chances of survival are at least 73 percent.
While the spiders climb up our legs and drop on us from the rafters, we attempt to hold the boat study, as Larry leisurely repairs the chain. I’m shaking from the effort, flinging spiders off me with my free hand, you can hear the thud as they hit the deck, scuttling off to terrorize someone else. They have eight frickin legs, they move sideways, how is that right? Who authorized the evolution of spiders, because seriously, that was not a good plan.
“I’ve only had three bites. I’m sure they’ aren’t black widows, please take your ever-loving time.” It’s possible I’ve overreacted.
Finally, the chain is fixed, but that is only the beginning of this catastrophe. Larry climbs down from the rafters, lays the ladder down, and tells us (roars at us) to each hold onto one of the wires attached to the submerged dock, and an intricate pulley system. He pushes the button to test the chain, it holds, he presses the button as the dock rises with this very concerned look on his face.
Excuse me but I want his job?
That only serves to incite the spiders, and by the way, death to anyone who abandons their post. “The spiders so large they appear to be wearing the pelts of small mammals,” notes Dave Barry.
By some miracle the dock lifts up and captures the boat, it’s not level or structurally sound, but for now, we have solved the immediate problem. All of the wires have unspooled and it’s nearly impossible to fix that without about eight hefty guys who can weigh down the cables as we restring them.
His brothers will all be up tomorrow and they can deal with it. For now, Kelley, Tori, and I race for the safety of the patio, brushing the spiders off us as we go.
We sit on the deck while the sun sets, sipping wine and, and imaginatively retelling our tale. It gets exaggerated with every telling and slightly funnier.
Day three, while enjoying coffee martinis (it’s a real thing) on the Goudreau’s patio in the late afternoon, Tim (Kelley’s fiance) walks around the corner causing quite a ruckus! There were tears and cheers but no hugs! His visit was a complete surprise, we’are touched by his sacrifice to be with the family before starting his hiatus in Florida to cover the NBA games.
Kelley was over the moon, spider bites, and all!
Just when I think I can’t handle one more unexpected event…
Larry set up his office in our bedroom, he’s on conference calls all morning, with those AirPods on, it’s as if he were on his own planet.
I went to take a shower, yeah, I’m that person.

I’m Living in the Gap, shedding my clothing, trying not to look back at the demise I leave behind.

“When a woman teams up with a snake a moral storm threatens somewhere.” Stacy Schiff
“A man was asleep in his open hut, when a huge snake bit him and swallowed his foot. The idea of this happening is enough to drive chills up any person’s spine. The snake then proceeded to chomp its way up the man’s leg, until it couldn’t go any farther. The man’s yelling and screaming brought people running to the rescue. Men with machetes hacked away at the thrashing monster, until the snake finally released its hold. Local legend has it that the man survived but lost his mind in the ordeal and hasn’t been sane since. Trinidad does have huge snakes including Pythons and South American Anacondas. The island, known for its snakes, has the greatest diversity of these reptiles in the Caribbean.” Captain Hank Bracker
“Nevertheless, again and again, in season and out of season, the question comes up, “What are rattlesnakes good for?” As if nothing that does not obviously make for the benefit of man had any right to exist; as if our ways were God’s ways….Anyhow, they are all, head and tail, good for themselves, and we need not begrudge them their share of life.” John Muir
“Spider venom comes in many forms. It can often take a long while to discover the full effects of the bite. Naturalists have pondered this for years: there are spiders whose bite can cause the place bitten to rot and to die, sometimes more than a year after it was bitten. As to why spiders do this, the answer is simple. It’s because spiders think this is funny, and they don’t want you ever to forget them.” Neil Gaiman

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