Friends In Low Places, With Bonus Science Trivia!

Alternate title: Why I’ll Never Go Outside Barefoot Again

I’ve been meaning to post something for weeks now. I even have some posts in progress, but watching the news and seeing so much suffering- the fires, the hurricanes, the Covid-19 cases and deaths, unemployment numbers- made me feel bad about coming here and rattling on about decluttering and how I’m tricking myself into eating more vegetables. It breaks my heart seeing so many people suffering and knowing better days may not arrive for a while.

Not writing doesn’t change anything, but it does make me feel badly because I committed to doing it.

So. Several weeks ago we stepped out of the house and saw this guy chilling a couple feet from the front door.

It freaked me out because I’ve never seen a snake so close to my house, and this was a big mofo. Usually our local snakes are small and skinny and bright green, like the one who’s taken up residence in some cracked masonry outside our garage. When I saw that one escape in there while watering the tomatoes, I thought I could get Bob to plug up the crack, thus resolving the problem. But I felt guilty about the idea of condemning it. So he’s likely still cruising around. You’re welcome, snake, and please stay away.

I reported the green snake sighting to Bob, and said, “I’m glad I didn’t see it go inside the garage.” And he could’ve participated in my wishful thinking, but he chose to shatter my bit of security and said, “Oh, I’ve seen snakes in the garage.”


This has complicated my grand plan to unload old furniture and bins of random stuff. When I was working on my project in 2015, someone suggested bringing the bins into the house to sort through when it was too cold to be outside. And I purged lots of stuff using this approach. But now I worry about bringing a bin with a snake into the house. Since the temperature’s been good, I’ve been working outside, but the snake possibility has raised questions. Do I leave the garage door open so I have another way to flee if I see one? (This assumes I don’t break any bones falling over stuff as I try to escape.) Or leave the garage door closed so a snake can’t get in?

I’m probably overthinking this. And since I never see snakes during cold weather, I thought I could relax.

Deciding to consult the Google Monster shattered that feeling. 

So…YAY! And with the cooler weather we need to inspect for spots where mice can get into the house. The owner of my first apartment building did much of the maintenance and didn’t live there, so I got to rent the super’s apartment on the ground level. The fridge was in a recessed area with a padlocked door that led to the boiler room, and I’m pretty sure mice lived back there. And since it was an NYC neighborhood near the East River, probably a rat or two. My cat spent lots of time in front of the fridge, ready to pounce. Anxious, I told a colleague and she said, “Don’t worry. They can sense you have a cat and will never come in.”

Not anymore. The idea of three cats=triple mouse protection is invalid.

During my first project, I never addressed the idea of getting organized for preparing the house’s exterior for the colder weather. I’m adding another item to my list.