Yesterday was strange, with a blustery buildup to an electrical hailstorm that knocked out our power for most of the night. But let's start with Chauncey, whom Aidan jointly purchased with his friend, Rebecca. While I was blissfully working on a sewing project with classical piano music in the background, Aidan brought Chauncey home and put him in the terrarium. Aidan then turned on a heatlamp, gave instructions to all of us not to touch him, and left to spend the afternoon with Rebecca, whose mother wisely liked the idea of Aidan having full custody.
I am not afraid of snakes, so having Chauncey in Aidan's room didn't bother me, but when John went to check him out and said, "where is he?" I had that bad feeling mothers get when things go wrong. Brooks, John, and I looked in all the obvious places in Aidan's room, and when Brooks called her brother to give him the news, he responded in disbelief, with words I will not quote here.
While we were looking, Brooks confessed that she was very uncomfortable with having a snake at large in our house. This is a girl who had lab rats for pets and studies bugs and bones when hiking. She is not squeamish, but she is sensible.
By the time Aidan and Rebecca arrived to help with the search, we had dismantled his room and put many of his possessions in the hallway. I'm happy to report that the only undesireable items found were two Swisher Sweets and one Big Mac that had definitely gone off. When queried later, Aidan claimed that the cigars were "hella old."
John, who loves looking things up on the web, reappeared with the news that Chauncey's species, Ball Pythons, like to roll up into a ball, and they also like to climb. I was thinking it was more likely Chauncey slithered into the heating grate, even though the kids were sure he was too big to fit. This last bit of information did not make Brooks feel any better, since she hadn't yet seen Chauncey and had been slightly mollified by her assumption that he was small.
With Aidan's room resembling tornado aftermath, we started looking beyond to my workroom, which is pretty tidy at the moment.
Tidy, that is, except for the Closet of Doom, which was conveniently open just enough to create an escaped snake's hiding place. Not to mention that my workroom also has another heating duct, into which a flexible python could easily slide.
The prospect of clearing out that closet made me desperate, so I went back into Aidan's room and stared at the corner formerly known as Chauncey's. At this point we had been snake searching for nearly two hours, and it was not looking hopeful. As an aside, I have to hand it to Rebecca for remaining cheerful and not blaming Aidan for losing the pet they had only just that afternoon acquired. He claimed to have put the top on the terrarium, but sometimes you just never know.
I can't tell you why I did what I did next, but I reached my fingers behind the Hamm's golfing bear on the wall. And then I squealed. Just a little. For when I put my fingers behind the frame I felt something cold, smooth, and fleshy. When I put my fingers back there I found Chauncey.
It took us a few minutes to disengage him from the picture wire at the back of the frame, but when we did Rebecca and Aidan took turns trying to warm him up. So much for not touching him. We also realized that he could easily have pushed the top of his terrarium off. Chauncey is very strong. He also could easily have slid down into the heating duct, if he had travelled that far. He is big, but he is flexible.
All in all it wasn't how I would have chosen to spend the rest of my afternoon, but I am glad I didn't have to deal with that closet. That will take at least two days and a lot of intestinal fortitude.