Life is always throwing things at us to deal with. Annoying things, like my switching the alarm to off. Hence, I miss being woken by Diana Krall singing her live version of “Let’s Fall in Love” and can’t sing along with her (after a year of being woken by the song I know every word). Alright, so maybe it’s not that life is a problem but me. Yes, I seem to be my own enemy. Like when I lose my keys. Of course they should be on the key holder but they’re not. Hence frantic searching through purse, coat pockets, counter tops and turning the house upside down. Inevitably I find them in the bathroom, because that’s where I had to hurry for a pee when I got home and threw them onto the bathroom cabinet. Found!
But, it’s the unexpected that gets us. The surprises that leave us short of breath for a while as we recover from the shock. A lot of times we bring these upon ourselves by watching a scary movie that makes us leap out of our seat or with me I let out a scream that sends everyone else leaping out of their seat. The scene might not have even been meant to be scary but that’s what makes it fun watching horror movies or thrillers with me. It becomes twice as frightening. However, those instances that we don’t purposefully bring onto ourselves are the ones that we remember or we should. They can be silly things like farm-sitting for someone and having to go to the bathroom at night and not realizing the brightness you see is not an open area with a window but a reflection of light from an opposite window. Thud! I walk into the door jam. After several instances of this and a sore nose over several days I finally buy a night light. Yeah! Problem solved.
People can leave you unexpected surprises. Here is an example. I am preparing dinner and open the freezer door in my kitchen to find vegetables. Instead, I see several beady pink eyes looking at me. Huh! There, in a ziploc bag are several white mice, packed in rows lying upon the bottom of my freezer shelf. At eye level. Dead eyes staring at me. Queue gasp of shock, shudder and slamming of freezer door. Ugh! I have to open the door again to retrieve what I originally wanted. I open the door again and stand aghast as I look at the poor little frozen white furry things. I shake myself out of it and grab a bag of veggies. You would think I would remember this occasion right? Wrong! A few days later I open the freezer door to see the pink tails and pink eyes with rock hard bodies and let out a shocked breath of air.
Now, I have to meander from here for a moment because it brings back the recollection of a sheep course I attended at Kemptville College years ago. We had been shown how to revive near frozen lambs by stomach tubing them and syringing Revive into them. A perilous course of action that could result in flooding the lungs if inserted wrongly. I always tested the end of the tube with a hair to see if it wavered. That way I knew if I was incorrect in positioning the tube. If the hair moved I would quickly pull it out and try again. My reward when the syringe was plunged down was being peed upon. I was never happier than when urine was running onto my legs and flowing to the layers of newspaper beneath me on the floor. If you’d seen me you would have thought I was on leave from major therapy as I sat there in bright yellow rubber pants on my kitchen chair. I digress as usual. So, back to Kemptville College. The guy tells us you can revive lambs even when you think they’re dead. They can be so frozen that you could hammer nails in with them and still bring them back to life. Ah! The undead! I don’t think I ever had a lamb that frozen but I saved many little ones from death in my unusual tubing gear.
Back to the white mice. I wasn’t going to try and stomach tube these poor little beggars. No walking undead for these guys. Well…not for now. What? Onward we go. There I am the second time I have received a fright from these sad critters. Again, I quickly close the door after grabbing what I need and shake my head as I stomp off to continue the job I’m presently doing. Few days later. You guessed it. I open the door stand rooted as I gasp yet again at the frozen white as snow mice. I decide I am not going to look at them again so I move things around placing the tiny corpses at the back.
A few days later I get a question from my husband.
“Where are the mice for Grump?”
Grump is my son’s Cornsnake. He is an albino Cornsnake or as my son would say an amelanistic Cornsnake and like the mice he has pink eyes. He isn’t big but his home takes up a large portion of my son’s bedroom or what was my son’s bedroom. Since he has now left for university it is up to us to take care of his snake. The terrarium is almost four feet long and filled with Cyprus mulch, fake trees and leaves, plus a long branch that my son took from a tree that was trimmed. It looks very exotic including the fake rocks that Grump likes to hide under. He has a small cave and a large cave and when his little head pokes out with his waggling tongue he is quite adorable…quite.
I tell my husband where the mice have been relocated to and hear him fumbling around in the freezer. I think nothing of it. He’s obviously going to feed Grump with one of the mice. I wander happily into the kitchen get to the counter and see one of the brown glass coffee mugs on it. Oooooh! Dear hubby made me a coffee. I have my hand on the glass handle when I see a tail sticking up out of the liquid. Ugh! I leap back cringing, feeling a little nauseated. Thanks dear. After I have stopped shuddering I quickly move away from the glass cup. Don’t worry it does get sanitized in the dishwasher so if you’re having coffee at my place, no mouse worries there. Unless my husband is in the kitchen. Then it might be iffy which you get.
My husband wanders in soon after, oblivious that mousy has surprised me yet again. He pulls the tail and tries to wiggle the body. Still frozen. He pours out the water and refills it again with hot water from the tap. Just like warming up a babies bottle. A little later he checks the temperature of the mouse. Not unlike a babies bottle. The mouse is now moving. Not really only because he’s flopping it around. Mousy is now mobile, he flexes every which way and my husband dries him off. Now undead, okay I’m being dramatic but mouse is no longer hard enough to hammer in nails. Mousey is taken upstairs.
In the bedroom we open the top of Grump’s terrarium. I see a small tongue flicker outside of his large cave.
“Looks like he’s hungry.” My husband pronounces.
He has the mouse by the tail and lets it flop down in front of the gap to Grump’s cave. The head wavers back and forth for a few seconds before Grump grabs it with the tenacity of a T-Rex. I give a startled jump. Mouse disappears into the inside of the cave as if it was never there.
It still surprises me how large an animal a snake can eat for the size of its head. When Grump comes out with the constricted white fur underneath his coils I can see he has dislocated his jaw to wrap it around the mouse’s head. The process of swallowing is slow but the mouse has been crushed enough that if had been breathing it wouldn’t be anymore. Although it may sound ghoulish, it is fascinating to watch as he eats his meal. It takes quite a while but eventually the lump is there and you see it become less and less the further it continues into the snake.
I have to admit I’m glad he only eats once a week as I’d be required to help out with the feeding and I’m not up for that yet. I’ve accepted little corpses in my freezer but as for thawing them out and feeding them to Grump? They’re not a part of my job…yet. I will have to gear up for that I’m sure and forego the odd shudder that these poor things emit from me. I have no doubt eventually I will end up having to fill in and feed Grump. I also know that when that happens in the back of my mind I will sincerely be wishing that my son had bought a hamster instead.