Last night, I was putting the boys to bed. Lil'Bro needed Buddy - his favorite stuffed dog. He was in the car. I asked Pokemon Boy to run into the garage and grab Buddy. He didn't feel like it. I didn't blame him after his big day yesterday. So I went into the garage, opened the back door, grabbed Buddy and slammed the car door. That's when I heard it. This weird hissing. Like I had somehow punctured one of the tires and it was just blowing air out of a small hole. I stood in the doorway back into the house listening. Was it a pipe that just blew a leak? Was it a tire? How could I have popped a tire by closing the door? What in the world? If I had been outside, I would have thought a sprinkler head was freaking out. One tiny part of me thought...could that be a rattlesnake????
Then my mind did what happens to lots of people who are now dead. It started talking me out of the most terrifying possibility. I started telling myself "Man, get a grip! You're totally overreacting. There's no WAY you'd have a rattlesnake in the garage!" Pokemon Boy came up behind me and said, "What is that noise?!" I may be trying to talk myself out of the rattlesnake scenario but I wasn't risking his life. I shooed him back into the house and followed him quickly. I stood there thinking, "Now what?"
I grabbed the phone and went out the front door. I opened the garage door from the outside. Maybe I could see from that angle better. As the garage door opened, the weird loud hissing started. As soon as it stopped, the hissing stopped. Oooookaaaay...could the garage door opener be freaking out and making some weird hissing sound? Kind of doubt it. So I took a step forward and the hissing (now, unmistakably having a rattle quality to it) started again.
At this point, the ex had called so I had him on the phone and was filling him in. I looked in to the left, in the corner just beyond the garage door opening and I think I saw a rattler (or snake of some kind) coiled up under my ladder. I'm still not sure. It could have been some old rags back there. But at the time, I was pretty sure I saw a snake with its head up off the ground. I told the ex I had to go call someone and ran inside.
I don't know who you're supposed to call at 9pm to come get a rattlesnake out of your garage. But I called 911. They'd know. My heart was pounding and my kids were freaking out. Well, Pokemon Boy was scared. Lil'Bro was scared but asked if he could go look at it. NO YOU CAN'T GO LOOK AT IT! You...you...BOY!
The 911 operator was nice. And he said sure, I was correct to call them. He told me the sheriff was on another job but he put me next in line. I guess a deadly snake in the garage trumps some other things. He told me to leave the garage door open so the snake might leave. If we shut it, he might go deeper into the garage.
Twenty minutes later, a very nice sheriff showed up. This sheriff was smart. He hates rattlers. I don't blame him. But I figured he had a night stick and a gun. I had bare feet and...a broom? He gingerly checked the perimeter of my garage with his flashlight. My car was still in there so he was a bit too close to the sides and junk there. After he check the perimeter, I got in the car and pulled it out of the garage. We both stood in the middle of the garage and checked more. We made a lot of noise. Nothing. No rattle. No hiss. No movement.
That's all he could really do. He told me to call back if I heard it again. GAH!
I know, I know. Welcome to Texas. And people that live in the country get these things in their houses all the time. But the people I know have brains and still don't like the snakes. Familiarity or not - they're dangerous and should be feared.
So last night, I did a lot of praying. The boys prayed, too. I told God, I am SCARED here. I don't want to live in fear. So we asked for a God snake barrier around the house. Then we extended it to our neighborhood. Then we extended it to everyone we love. So you guys are all protected from poisonous snakes!
After getting the boys into bed VERY late, I picked up my iPod and opened my online bible. I searched every verse for snake, viper, or serpent. And the verse I chose to claim in prayer was Psalm 91. It is one that I've sent to sick friends. It's one that sustained me through my divorce. I love it.
Psalm 91 (New Living Translation)
1 Those who live in the shelter of the Most High
will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 This I declare about the Lord:
He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;
he is my God, and I trust him.
3 For he will rescue you from every trap
and protect you from deadly disease.
4 He will cover you with his feathers.
He will shelter you with his wings.
His faithful promises are your armor and protection.
5 Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night,
nor the arrow that flies in the day.
6 Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness,
nor the disaster that strikes at midday.
7 Though a thousand fall at your side,
though ten thousand are dying around you,
these evils will not touch you.
8 Just open your eyes,
and see how the wicked are punished.
9 If you make the Lord your refuge,
if you make the Most High your shelter,
10 no evil will conquer you;
no plague will come near your home.
11 For he will order his angels
to protect you wherever you go.
12 They will hold you up with their hands
so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.
13 You will trample upon lions and cobras;
you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet!
14 The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me.
I will protect those who trust in my name.
15 When they call on me, I will answer;
I will be with them in trouble.
I will rescue and honor them.
16 I will reward them with a long life
and give them my salvation.”
This evening, I was talking to my friend on the phone. He's the dad of one of Lil'Bro's little classmates. I told him about the snake. He insisted on coming over to check the garage. I didn't like that idea. I don't want to be responsible if something did happen to him. He came anyway. He took this big 10 foot pole I have that extends to clean windows and the like. He poked around behind everything in the garage. We made all sorts of noise. Nothing. No hissing, no rattling, no movement of any kind.
I think the snake is gone. I think God got him out of there. I'm still asking God for that barrier around the house. It's snake season. They're coming out now. So I will be vigilant. I'm still on guard. I'm still really wanting to buy snake boots or the full regalia. But I know God's got my back. And I gotta "cowboy up" as one of my friends put it. Gotta get used to this.
Welcome to suburbia in Texas.