it was WONDERFUL! it was great to get away! we rented a cabin in the blue ridge mountains. it was….rural. it was…..WAY rural! it was…..extremely way way rural!!! once we passed the last sign of human life we drove another 12 miles….and then we turned on the gravel road and drove another four miles. no cell service….no internet service…..just us. which was incredibly awesome. more laughing and talking and sharing and connecting than EVER goes on in the real world! that being said…..i will say i am quite the fan of civilization! the “herd” of turkeys (i realize some of us refer to them as “flocks” but not emma) that waddled thru the yard was kinda freaky… as was the 2 inch long wolf spider on the deck one morning (and when you’re talking spiders, two inches is ginormous!!! WAY too big to squish!!) reminded me of an experience i had when we lived in western kentucky. we lived in a house with a decent size back yard that backed up to a wooded area. so i was not unaccustomed to seeing “critters” in the yard. well one day our dishwasher broke and tom looked into repairing it….only to leave the job not QUITE finished. so i am standing at the sink washing dishes by hand and hear a noise near the floor. no biggie….it’s the wires from the dishwasher flopping around since tom left them unhooked. then i hear the noise again. and look down at my feet in time to see a six foot long king snake drop out of the under-the-sink cabinet onto the lovely little area rug i have there. approximately 2 -4 inches from my feet. in approximately 2-4 seconds, my feet are on top of the kitchen cabinet on the other side of the room along with the rest of me. apparently i made a tiny little surprised noise (kids say i did some blood curdling scream but i beg to differ as one has to have air in your lungs to make that kinda noise and i was completely out of oxygen from the combination of hyperventilating and scaling the cabinets with my rear end in tow)….but somehow the kids knew i was experiencing a bit of stress and came running. as they came in i screamed “every man for himself!” ….. i mean….. i calmly said, “children, do not fear – mommy has this situation totally under control! i will save you all!” and then i hear matthew start saying things like “cool! look at that!” and i look at the snake (puke) and notice for the first time that it seems to be ignoring us, as it has a mouse caught in a mousetrap in it’s mouth….and is trying to remove the mouse from the trap for a little snack. (double puke)!! my first call is to my dear spouse. “tom….there is a killer snake in my kitchen….i cannot move from the cabinet i am standing on….please come get it before it eats one of your children as i am unable to physically move and cannot save them. and please hurry!” so i got help on the way! second call is to a woman i adore who is not ….um….not as “flustered” by the appearance of a reptile as i am…and i ask her to assess from the phone exactly what kind of danger i am in. “well……” lynnda says very slowly and calmly….”you need to look at the snakes eyes. if they are round you’re good. if they are slanted, you’ll probly want to stay on the cabinet.” couple of issues with this particular answer. #1 – i shall be staying on the cabinet no matter what. any other plan seems suicidal! and #2 – i will in no way, shape or form EVER be getting close enough to the snake to CHECK THE SHAPE OF IT’S EYES! that’s insane!!! and what snake stays calm and still long enough for you to SEE the shape of it’s eyes???? and what if it’s a round eyed snake but it’s squinting cause the sun’s in it’s eyes? then they’ll look slanted and i’ll panic for nothing, right? this seems to be a very in-exact science. so as lynnda is explaining how it’s probly a king snake and they are good and i WANT those around cause they catch mice…. i decide she’s on crack and hang up. haha (love you lynnda) (plus….let’s say she’s right….i obviously have a slacker snake since it caught the mouse AFTER the trap did…) so about this time tom comes in…..walks around the corner into the kitchen – expecting some kind of worm i am sure – and i hear him suck all the rest of the oxygen out of the room and say “holy moley….that IS a snake!” what the???? of COURSE it’s a snake!! now while we were waiting, matthew got megan’s pair of sparkley red dorothy-wizard-of-oz shoes and came in the kitchen to “squoosh that snake” for mommy (he was 3 at the time). i screamed at him to back away and save himself…i mean i thanked him and explained that the shoe might be a wee bit small for destroying the predator in question but i was totally grateful for the thought. so i told tom the “shoe” solution was out. so he gets the broom. really????? and he chases the snake behind the fridge. i can hear it back there slapping that dang mousetrap around still insistent on a snack. so tom positions the broom and a couple pots and pans around the fridge and decides to – on the count of three – yank the fridge away from the wall and sweep the snake into one of the pots. after yelling “who do you think you are???? the crocodile hunter???? i think not!!” i mean – after sweetly asking if he’s quite certain about this plan of his….i watch in horror as he yanks back the fridge (that took about 7 minutes and 27 yanks – wasn’t what you’d call a “clean sweep”) and in this amount of time the unwanted-slacker-six- foot-long-hungry-who-knows-what-kind-of-eyes- it-has-snake realizes that it is being hunted and it drops the mouse and trap and slithers through a hole in the cabinets drilled for the ice machine line. gone. snake is gone. tom looks at me and says – “there you go honey!” i am speechless. uttterly speechless. REALLY????? uh….there is still a live reptile in my HOME!!! after recovering enough to recall the english language and regain the use of my voice, i calmly look at him and explain that i will be on this very cabinet when he comes home this evening and he BETTER bring moving boxes as i will not share my home with a snake. no way. never did find that thing. i’m sure it left long before we did….. but not before shaving who knows how many years off my life!!! so you need to buy some furniture since i may not have much longer left! bah ha ha!!!