Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Honey, Where Are Our Snake Waders? I'd Like To Take A Walk.

So, here's the deal.  I've rolled with the punches of this move pretty well.  Other than the pouting about missing my friends and family.  


But I've rallied.  


I totally bought face moisturizer with a SPF of 30 instead of 15. 


I've enjoyed time and time again how very different the space within our own country can be, in terms of basic culture and sites.  


I've loved driving along and seeing cows roaming in the pasture next to a shopping strip.  


I've defended the boiling summer to everyone by saying it will be a small price to pay considering the rest of the year we will be sitting pretty.


But yesterday I hit a wall.  It involved poop, a playground, and the terrifying knowledge that The Internets can bring us with just a few taps of our fingers.


I met at a local park for a play date and was enjoying my conversation with another adult, when suddenly her daughter came up to us pointing at her foot and crying.  We thought she hurt herself, but no she was upset because she had stepped in some animal "droppings".  


I will try to keep this less gross, by just saying, it was obviously not a domestic animal nor was it a human's.  Thank God for that I guess.  But the mom said, "I bet it's a bobcat.".






*sound of a record scratching*






Um.....a who now?  






Turns out, we have bobcats in this area.  You may be picturing me living out in an area with sprawling acreage for every home, and although the city we live in certainly does have a lot of wooded areas and nature, it is very much a city.  In fact, when this scene took place we were right outside a school and also within a subdivision. 


You see, this area's population has absolutely exploded in the last several years, which also means that the natural habitat rapidly lost the spaces that used to be theirs.  


Later that day we had walk through of our new home with our Realtor and builder.  


I gazed out the window of our new home at the walking path surrounding our subdivision.  The path lies next to a wooded area, and I thought about how last time I looked at the path, I pictured walking in the mornings and riding bikes amongst the natural quiet that comes with a tree lined space. 


Now I saw it as an opportunity to go on one of those jungle safari's, just on foot and with no one to help you when faced with an animal that would like to make out with your head using it's teeth.


"Tell me about bobcats", I whispered to my Realtor.  


I saw her contemplate how much she should share with me.  A little part of my soul died during that silence.


She and the builder went on to assure me that while there are bobcats in the area, they will surely do me no harm.  They did tell me to keep an eye on outside cats and small dogs.  I'm also not to feed birds or squirrels in my yard lest I create a feeding frenzy in my own backyard.  I sat in silence contemplating this, feeling my husband's dread over the fact that I had this to obsess over.  I thought of the wiener dog my daughter would so love to have.  It would actually be a hot dog for some bobcat.  


Then the conversation took an ugly turn.  I came out of my reverie to this:

Builder:  My advice is to not worry, just watch where you step.  Because there are snakes, and some are poisonous.  However they won't bite you unless you step on them. 



UNLESS I STEP ON THEM?  


He assured me that I could wear something called snake waders if I wanted.  I think he was making fun of me.  A joke was made about this being why Texan's carried guns.  My mind reeled and suddenly spiders came to mind.


"Tarantulas!"  I screamed.  "What about tarantulas??". 


Builder:  You don't need to worry about tarantulas.
Realtor:  Um....
Builder:  You've seen tarantulas?
Realtor:  Twice. 
Builder:  See, I thought the only thing to worry about was black widows.  If you go to reach for something in your garage or off a shelf, you need to just make sure there's no black widow there because that is how people get bit. 
Husband:  Yeah, a guy at work reached onto a shelf that is rarely used in the factory and he was bit by a black widow.  We had to get him to the hospital.


Dying.  I'm dying.  Tarantulas.  Bobcats.  Snakes.  


I went home and immediately consulted The Google Machine.  I entered my city's name and the word 'bobcats'.  Several past community warnings came up....along with these photos of an area a few blocks from our current location. 


Please enjoy the following photos while clinging to your loved ones:







In case you are not absorbing my reality, these special fellars are climbing around on fences in a local subdivision.  You know, around the backyards that our children frolic in.


So, if you come to Texas you'll probably hear about the girl from Wisconsin who walks around the subdivision paths wearing snake waders, carrying a gun, and looks insane as her eyes dart between the ground before her, avoiding snakes, to the woods around her....waiting to be pounced on.


Sounds relaxing doesn't it?

24 comments:

Amy said...

I was laughing about this until I saw the pics of the bobcats on the privacy fences. WTH?! This has been an issue for my aunt in Denver - they've had a dog attacked by jungle cats and also a neighbor kid. But they're in the mountains! I can't imagine this in the 'burbs! Yes, the gun thing makes perfect sense to me now. Also, did I ever tell you I found a scorpion in my garage in South Carolina?? But I lived to tell the tale.

Amanda M. said...

I am dying laughing out loud at this. But only because of how you put all of this into words - not at the actual problem that is TEXAS VERMIN. And how all of these things happened to me (minus the bobcats, however. Those are all yours, I believe.) But seriously, I think you are the funniest writer ever and you should write a book. About horses without balls and bobcats.

Okay, so I have to tell you that when we were here looking for homes, I asked our realtor about snakes. And yes, I also actually SAW the wheels turning in his head regarding how to answer said question. He quickly said "Oh, I've MOSTLY only seen them on the golf course." (And I SWEAR he only said this because we had previously had a discussion about how I don't golf.)

THEN the other night on the news I saw this special feature on how the snakes and other vermin are all soooooo thirsty because of the terribly drought in the Houston area that they are moving into subdivisions looking for water. And they are biting people. And as luck would have it, I live in a subdivision with LAKES in the title because there is a whole huge bunch o' little lakes here. Nice. Plenty of snake-thirst-quenching delight.

Then, I read somewhere online someone talking about how us Yankees are just so dumb and that if we'd grown up in the South, we'd know to look where we step so we don't step on no snakes. No, not dumb. Perhaps just smarter to live in an area with no snakes? :-)

Ranger said...

Haha Loved it, I can so picture my wife doing this! We are from Wisconsin but have lived in Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee, and a short stint in the desserts in Cali. We have seen everything from Wolves to rattle snakes to black widows to scorpions.

So when we moved to New Zealand you can imagine how ecstatic I was to find out there are not any poisonous insects nor carnivorous animals here! So imagine my shock, 6 months later while eating an ice cream cone at the beach with my family, when I got bit by a Red Back Spider (type of black widow from Australia) that somehow snuck its way here in someone’s luggage. Then imagine that as you’re lying in the doctor’s office ready to pass out and hurl all over the floor as he is getting exciting and comparing your bite mark to 5 different books and then says “WOW I never thought I would get to see one of these! Oh hey are you feeling all right?” By the time he was done being fascinated with it I was passed the peak point and ready to go home.

Ms.Wasteland said...

Yikes! Is there any way your husband can transfer?

Suniverse said...

OH. Holy. Hell.

I don't even have the words for this.

I get nutty about the fucking possum in our neighborhood. That kind of wild life?

I'd be indoors FOREVER.

FOREVER.

Good luck. I hear target ranges are a great place to practice.

Megs said...

Holy crap. Those pics suck. They might be the one thing that actually makes me change my stance about my family keeping a gun :) Be careful using the internet, sometimes it's too scary. I think the snakes are the scariest part, but if there's something called snake waders-no sweat, right? On the other hand, your blog continues to be brilliant so as long as you don't get eaten by the Texas vermin, you're golden :) I'll just pack both my shit kickers and my snake waders when I come visit.

myinnerchick.com said...

OMG,Those Bob Cats R freaking Amazing. I draw my line on Black Widow's though. YUKKKKKKK
I never realized Texas was so jungleous. WOW.
This was a Fab Read :)

Julie said...

Oh, I laughed and cried for you at the part where your soul died in the realtor's silence...

Hang in there.

I'm sure it won't make you feel any better, but here in Southern California, we have rattlesnakes, coyotes, black widows, all that crap. All over our yards and driveways and garages etc.

(no tarantulas though thank god i would die i feel so bad for you.)

Where should I send the waders?

Mindy said...

I'd move. Again. We have a coyote problem around here. We have the same warnings about children and small animals. They howl or whatever that wretched sound is they make at night. Scares the bejeezus out of me. After seeing your pictures, though, I think I'll take the coyotes. After I consult the Google Machine to be sure... ;)

The Flying Chalupa said...

Okay, that picture of the bobcat is pretty freaky. But most people can commiserate. In fact, we battle nature every day and live 15 miles from a major city. We have bobcats too. And mountain lions. And scorpions. But you know what? It's the deer that ear our flowers that my husband most wants to kill.

May God be with you and your snake waders.

Kara said...

I was preparing my comment as I read your post - something about how unfamiliar animal threats are scarier than familiar ones, like how you probably were accustomed to living around wolves and bears in Wisconsin, and how you will probably never see a bobcat as they're more scared of us - and then you posted those photos! I mean....bobcats walking on privacy fences?!!! WTH?!!!

Amanda said...

I hear you on others commiserating. I was actually thinking about that the last few days, it's just new wildlife that I'm not used to yet. I've come to make peace with the bobcat issue, but I'm still not over the snakes. That will never happen.

I'm also not buying a small dog appetizer for the bobcats.

Amanda said...

Amanda, I knew you'd relate to this! I loved the horses with balls so much more than these snakes!

And, I've heard the dumb Yankee thing too. But seriously, I've not noticed anyone walking with their eyes focused on the path before them yet. Also, I'm guessing that most of these people being bitten are from the area.

Leave the Yankees alone! We are scared!

Chels said...

I think I'd pee a little if I saw a bobcat in my yard. Straight up.

Also, our family had a pet tarantula once. I know. Who the hell gets a pet tarantula? My mom, that's who. Sometimes it would manage to escape it's cage, and we wouldn't find it for days. Needless to say THOSE were sleepless nights. Freaky ass stuff, yo.

Kristine said...

I wanna go HOME!

::rocks self, sobbing::

(But I think Kara has a great point. Coyotes don't scare me, but these snakes and spiders and, as I found out today, ALLIGATORS, freak me out.)

Ixy said...

I'm not sure which was more horrifying - the bobcats on the fences or Chels' comment on her mom's tarantula roaming the house for days!! Eeek. Actually the bobcats would make me move - seriously. My daughter's a year old and I would never let her out of the house again if this is what was in our backyard. I've always been thankful I live somewhere with no extreme weather or wildlife. There are enough other dangers in life without worrying about the natural world attacking you on a regular basis!

Grace Matthews said...

OMG! I feel for you. We moved from NY to NC and I would much rather fight snowstorms and the occasional skunk then tornadoes and poisonous snakes. That is scary! I have to be careful of the chicken hawks swooping up my Chihuahua :(

Stopping by from the Crazed Fan Weekend Hop

http://www.giveawayswithgrace.com

cam - bibs & baubles said...

it's crazy, i know and it's an issue here in some L.A. neighborhoods. crazy scary.

cam - bibs & baubles said...

also, just followed you on networked blogger. :)

winterbabe98 said...

Amanda, I wouldn't be at ease, knowing those animals were walking along fences not too far away!!

Babymama said...

This post made me LOL.

Texas. Not for this girl.

xo
babymama

Lindsay said...

You are hilarious! The situation, however, not so much!

Jim Lochtefeld said...

Snakes give me the willies. Unlike spiders.

Jim Lochtefeld said...

Unlike spiders, snakes creep the hell our of me. Especially poisonous ones.

Bobcats? Eh, they are probably very reclusive (wild cats tend to be). But then my kids are all WAY too big to be considered likely prey.