That kind of day

By Mir
May 27, 2009

When I woke up before Otto’s alarm clock went off this morning, I just had a feeling it was going to be one of THOSE sorts of days. I wasn’t sure why I felt that way; I just did. Sometimes you just know.

Today’s the day Chickadee goes to the allergist. Her rash is fading a bit, since she stopped eating wheat, but she still looks a little bit like she has leprosy. Of course there’s been precious little we need to run out and DO this week, so today—the one day we need to get up and out at a reasonable time—I looked up from my computer at 10:00 and realized she still hadn’t, you know, GOTTEN OUT OF BED.

It’s hard work, being her. And I’m all for sleeping in in the summer, but c’mon now. I woke her up and tried to jolly her into getting her sleepy behind into the shower, but she was exactly as delightful as you might imagine someone who was woken up at 10 and still tired might be. So that was fun.

While she was snoozing, I was tooling around doing my thing. Working, drinking my tea, putting some food into the crockpot for dinner (mmmm… hunk o’ beef), and—of course—tending to the garden.

We’ve reached the part of gardening which is both very rewarding and actually a fair amount of work. It turns out that when it rains there are slugs. Many, many slugs. And when it doesn’t rain, there are aphids. Many, many aphids. And rain or shine, there are always, always sow bugs. And I am trying to keep the garden organic, which means a lot of bug-picking and spraying with soapy water and ancient tribal dances and scattering of things like coffee grounds and diatomaceous earth. Not particularly difficult, you understand, but sort of time consuming.

And plants grow big and start to fall over and need supporting. I am raising a bunch of INSANE TOMATOES, the kind that actually grow so tall and so big that they outgrow the tomato cages and start randomly crashing down with their limbs here and there outside of the box. I’m grateful for their vigor, but I am thinking of buying stock in twist-ties. Just sayin’.

On the other hand, every day now we can walk outside and pick ourselves a snack. I’m sure the burgundy and wax beans are delicious cooked, but so far Chickadee and I have been unable to leave enough of them to warrant even a light steam; we go out and pick them and then eat them all raw because they’re that good. And THAT is what I was hoping to get at, with this garden—the ability to step outside and snag a home-grown snack.

But this morning I went out to do my usual garden things and discovered that Monkey’s beloved cabbage is under attack. It’s being devoured by… something. Something green and slimy. So I got to do some indeterminate-yucky-bug picking, and then some soapy-water-spraying, and some reading up on what sort of horrible green worm is eating it, and tried not to even let myself imagine what sort of hellish apocalypse might play out if Monkey returns from his trip to discover that I let his cabbage die. I would have to buy him a puppy, and I do not have time for a puppy.

So I wrangled the cabbage for a good half hour or so, feeling very accomplished and hopeful, by the end of it, and then I realized that the pool needed cleaning, so I went and lifted the cover on the skimmer basket so that I could empty that and then vacuum the pool.

There were snakes in the skimmer basket. SnakeS! PLURAL!! Swirling around in the water, waiting to EAT MY FACE OFF.

I put the cover back. I came back inside. I sent Otto a message letting him know that there was a wonderful surprise for him in the skimmer basket, and he should feel free to clean the pool when he gets home this afternoon, on account of his incredible manliness and whatnot.

And then I woke up Chickadee, who insisted that it was too early to get up.

So, yeah. It’s one of those days.


  1. Lacey

    Yep, I am pretty sure those snakes are waiting for Otto!

  2. Leandra

    Plumbing pipes (the plastic kind) actually make excellent tomato plant supporters. You can keep adding to it via joints as they get taller. On the downside it makes for a truly, truly unattractive garden.

  3. Anne

    I think you handled the snakes very well. If I had seen them, there would have been much screaming and levetation. I. Hate. Snakes.

  4. Megan

    Awwww… I like snakes! Although not sure what species chooses skimmer baskets as their happy home so I’d probably give them a respectful distance.

    I’m with Chickadee though, woke up with a serious case of the Don’-Wanna’s and haven’t shaken it yet.

  5. Debbi

    Snakes are still better than frogs ;-) Hope your day improves. Good luck to Chickadee today.

  6. dad

    It’s a jungle out there!

    Note to Otto: Check the identity of the snakes prior to performing the manly removal. They are likely not water moccasins or black mambas but verify that before sending them off.

  7. Tracy

    OH MY GOSH!!! I would NEVER go near that skimming thing AGAIN. Otto would have swimming pool cleaning from this day forward!

    Good luck at the allergist! I’m sure she’ll be feeling better soon!

  8. toni mcgee causey

    slugs… one of my neighbors used to put a bowl of beer out in the garden. The slugs would climb in and drown. (I am not a fan of slugs, so drowning them seemed like a positive option to me.)

    The snakes would’ve pretty much guaranteed I didn’t go anywhere near the skimmer for months, though.

    I’m feeling a bit like Chikadee–it’s 11 now and I’m wondering if it’s too early for a nap.

  9. Suzannah

    It may be a cabbage looper that’s devouring your cabbage. Check out this page and see if it fits:

    If so, you need some Dipel Dust. It’s not chemical, a bacterium that infects the caterpillars and makes them quit eating almost immediately.

  10. Aimee

    Gah! Snakes in the pool! Snakes in the pool!

  11. Jamie AZ


    Our tomatoes last year completely collapsed their cages and grew horizontal to the ground, stretching out about 8 feet from where they originated. Strangest thing, but we got a ton of tomatoes, especially from the cherry tomato plant.

    I looked this morning and I might even have an edible zuccini about 6 inches long. Seems they get about 4 inches long and start dying. Need to ask Dr. Plant Google why that is.

  12. Rachel

    Was jealous until I read the snakes part. I would run (away from the pool) but my 9 yo boy would run toward the pool – he is obsessed with snakes. I had nightmares about snakes as a kid, so don’t really like to listen to all the snake trivia he has stored in his head. Jealous of the tomato plants & such, I have small tomato plants I am nursing along in our garage, may plant them next week, when the fear of frost is (hopefully) gone until August. ND, still waiting for spring (I think it’s gonna be here soon!)
    You look pretty today!

  13. Sara

    Snakes in a skimmer. Get Samuel L. Jackson on board, and you’ve got yourself a summer blockbuster, my friend.

  14. ChristieNY

    I hope your day gets better, and I’m anxiously awaiting word from Otto on what kind of snakes those were! Ick!

  15. Ani

    Funny. Cause I’d be writing Otto to get a quote on filling the pool to make the snakes go away. Snakes definitely put a damper on swimming for me. *shudder*

  16. nik

    Those snakes-in-the-pool kinda days are tough. Feel better!

  17. Scottsdale Girl

    Ok see the snakes in the skimmer would likely invoke my unnatural fear of leeches. I would be afraid the snakes would be inthe pool when I am and latch on like leeches and then I would Die Dead and be Dead and Gone and then scream once and die.

  18. just beaux

    My wife called me on the landline this morning to get me out of bed. (11:30 a.m. and it felt great).
    I hope all is resolved today. :-)

  19. Jean

    You handled the snakes way better than I would have. I would have run screaming back into the house and never left.

  20. Half Assed Kitchen

    Oh, snakes. Yuck. Only one step above dead birds.

  21. Joshilyn

    DUDE go GET THE POOR LITTLE SNAKES OUT the chlorine will kill them. And if left alive in your garden, they will eat your bugs. Were they ringnecks? We have a host of charmign little ringnecks living out back. Were they grass snakes?

    Of course, if they are cotton mouths, bite they little headses off, nibbles on they non-existy feet. But otherwise HALPS THE SNAKES!

  22. The Other Leanne

    Snakes in the skimmer? I would be hiding under the covers and I would never go near the pool again. Where are the snakes when they are not in the skimmer??

  23. Peggy

    i stepped on a big ol’ slug the other night. barefoot. it wriggled under the arch of my left foot. ICK!!!!!!!!!! I vote for saucers of beer put around…. i hate em!

  24. MelissaB

    If you see snakes again, stick the end of a rake or shovel down in the opening for the skimmer and the snakes will let themselves out. It works for spiders too. Snakes I can handle, spiders totally creep me out. Joshilyn asked if they are ring necks, that’s who we usually find in our pool. They are cute and sweet and small. We find black racers too, also cute and sweet but not so small and super crazy fast.

  25. crazyjane

    we have a pet snake. s/he is perfect. they don’t make any noise! or hang on me! or ask me for cookies or juice! over and over and over and over again! also, s/he has never ever grabbed my boobs.

  26. Emily in IL

    Beer will totally work for getting rid of the slugs. But it might lure the snakes…drunk snakes, do you suppose they like to sleep in too?

    I’m totally with Chickadee – sleeping in is AWESOME.

  27. StephLove

    Oh, wow. There’s nothing edible in our garden yet except some lettuce and I’m waiting patiently so as not to pick the entire crop for one salad.

    No snakes in our garden, either though, so I guess it’s a wash.

  28. Flea

    Snakes! How cool is that?! I haven’t seen a snake close up since leaving Florida.

  29. kendra

    Snakes in the Skimmer=band name. They can play at pool parties!

  30. Sharon

    My tomato plants are still living in the garage. We had frost last week and nighttime temps near 40 this week. Yeah, we’re not going to have tomatoes from our own plants until September.

  31. corina

    One of those days…. I can echo that here. You dealt with the snake well. One day, when visiting my MIL, she came running into the house saying that a snake ate the hamster (which she kept in the “barn”…. long story….)

  32. Miss Elanor Ouch


  33. Cele

    Oh no, I’d never go into the back yard again… I dont’ do snakes. And Joss, who can see if there are rings when the mouth is wide open screaming? Really girlfriend, cat pit hair.

  34. elswhere

    I think you should wake Chickadee every morning by sweeping into her room and bellowing “PEDICURES ACROSS AMERICA!!”

    (What’s that? No, I don’t know when to stop milking a joke, why do you ask?)

  35. Kelly

    I want to see pics of the garden! Particularly of the beans… since I’m trying peas and I think they are similar. I’m a few weeks behind though.

  36. Stephanie

    OOHHHH! UGH! We had a snake in our pool in Texas, once. It was caught in the channel (the pool had three negative edges, so the water spilled over the sides into the channel). I really felt sorry for the poor snake. It was so tired, when we netted and released it, that it sort of had to sit there a minute before slowly slithering away. I even took pictures! Did you take pics??? Go get your camera, woman! lol

    As for Chickadee…man! I sure hope she doesn’t have Celiac…my MIL, SIL and niece and nephew all have it. The skin thing that improves with the removal of wheat sure does sound familiar. My niece, in particular, had HORRIBLE skin problems, until she was diagnosed. The thing is, Celiac needs attention more than an allergy because of what it does to the lining of the intestines (or something like that). I don’t know if an allergist will check for it, but you might want to ask about it.

    Good luck. I REALLY hope it’s just an allergy or two.

  37. Colleen

    I told you! Watch out for stuff in the skimmers! My husband brings snakes and turtles home all the time. On the other hand, if there are snakes in the skimmers, there are probably NOT any black widows.

  38. Otto

    After a bit of research, it seems they were baby brown snakes – about six inches in length, totally harmless. Unless your a slug, then … well … let’s just say that would be bad.


  39. Otto

    Ack – YOU’RE … not functioning fully this morning …


  40. Mary @ Holy Mackerel

    I had one of those days today as well. Can’t quite pinpoint what was so awful about it, but it was…I hate days like that.

  41. MomCat

    Ladybugs eat aphids and all sorts of other veg eating bugs. You can buy a bag of 1000 of them for about $8, and it will last in your fridge (don’t think about it – they hibernate) for two weeks. This has saved me endless spraying/picking in the garden.

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