Slither, hiss, rattle, bang.
September 07, 2011

Yesterday morning when Charlotte woke up I told her it was a Homeplace Day.  We are going to launder all the dirty clothes, I said.

YES!, she exclaimed.  ALL THE DIR-TY CLOTHES!  And off to work we went.

All of our family’s Highly Exciting laundry business takes place in the garage.  I build mounds of dirty clothes, sort them, and when a pile is large enough I recruit my daughter to painstakingly pick up every individual article of clothing and stuff it into the washing machine.

The way I figure it is that exploiting her for free labor is her way of paying me back for the daily trauma that I incur when it’s time to brush her teeth, OH MY GOODNESS, DO NOT EVEN GET ME STARTED.

Yesterday was the same as always, but for some inexplicable reason the urge struck me about halfway in to speed things along.  So I went over to the pile, gathered a bunch of clothes, and that’s when I heard it.  An angry sound, low, soft.  A hiss.

I immediately paused.  I straightened up slowly and looked at the clothes in my arms.  Nothing there.  STOP MOVING, I told Charlotte and when I heard her rustle behind me I made my voice lower.  When I repeated the command, it sounded more urgent.  She stopped.  We stood in silence for a moment while I looked around.

It was coiled about four inches away from me, a foot away from my daughter.  And then it moved its tail and I heard that terrifying buzz and my heart thudded in my ears.  Charlotte, I said, I need you to listen to me very closely.  There is a rattlesnake next to Momma’s foot and it is very dangerous and it can hurt you very badly.  You need to run, okay sweetheart?  Run out of here, run toward the orange tree, okay?  And when she ran, the snake’s head rose up and I dropped all the clothes on it and screamed.  RUN, RUN, RUN!  GET IN THE HOUSE, CHARLOTTE, GO!

In the house, I gave her something to keep her attention for awhile.  I locked the front door, checked to see which neighbors were around in case I got bit, then called Donald.  There’s a rattler in our garage, I told him, and since it isn’t full-grown yet, I don’t want it alive in our yard with Charlotte running around so I’m going back to kill it.  I need to set down the phone, and if you don’t hear from me in a few minutes, please call 911.

Then I did just that.  I set down the phone.  I enticed the snake out of the laundry.  I trapped it near the trash cans.  I pinned its body under a tool with a long handle.  I grabbed a large metal bar.  I distracted it with my left arm and held the tool in my right.  I smashed its head.  I waited until its tail stopped wriggling.  I hit it once more, just in case.  Then I scraped its body off my driveway and put it in the trash.

It’s done, I told my husband, the rattlesnake’s dead.

And then it took me the rest of the day to come back down from the adrenaline high, The End.

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  1. By Miranda on September 07, 2011

    Yikes that’s scary! I’m so glad that you and Charlotte are ok and that the snake is dead. I don’t know if I’d have the guys to kill it myself

  2. By Karen Bennett on September 07, 2011

    Coming from someone who grew up in south Texas with full grown rattlers I happen to think you are awesome. I would have left the house for the day. Or trapped the whole pile under something and left it for my husband.

    You are mamma…hear you roar!

  3. By Sarah on September 07, 2011

    HOLY SHIT!!! you are so awesome. I would have put all my kids in the van and driven FAR away. But Iam a chicken like that! I am in awe!!

  4. By on September 07, 2011

    Truly a superhero move!

  5. By Megan Stilley on September 07, 2011

    OMG! That is terrifying.  I don’t think I could have killed it myself, I would have been too scared.  But who knows, maybe it was just mom instinct and you couldn’t not kill it in that moment.

  6. By on September 07, 2011

    Good gracious! I stand in awe! :o)

  7. By Amira on September 07, 2011

    Holy crap!! You’re so brave! I would’ve most likely left it for someone more capable of keeping their shit together in the face of a rattlesnake. Talk about Mamabear!

  8. By Jenny | The Balow Bunch on September 07, 2011

    That story has my adrenaline going and I wasn’t even there. I hate snakes and the ones here are harmless. I would have freaked out if a rattlesnake was that close to my baby!

  9. By on September 07, 2011

    Oh my gosh, I don’t know what I would do, probably faint! You handled it very well! Thank goodness we have no rattlesnakes in Minnesota!!

  10. By lceel on September 07, 2011

    I would have peed my pants.  No two ways about it.

  11. By mommica on September 07, 2011

    Ahhh! I’m SO SO glad Charlotte is a good listener! Knowing my daughter, she’d probably go “Where?“ and take a step closer.

  12. By Ashley Austrew on September 07, 2011

    Oh my gosh, I would have FLIPPED. MY. LID. I’m so glad neither of you got hurt!

  13. By Sarah Christensen on September 07, 2011

    Mommica - The weird thing is she usually isn’t.  I joke all the time that it was useless to name her since she never responds anyway.  I think my tone of voice just scared the heebie jeebies out of her!

    Megan and Karen - I think it’s momma instinct.  One time before Charlotte was born, I saw a snake in the bathroom and I screamed and panicked and jumped on the toilet seat…and it turned out to just be a lizard tail that my cat had detached that was still twitching.  Baby rattlers are more poisonous than adults because they don’t moderate their toxin levels well, and three years ago I would have trapped it in a box and left the house for the day…but I couldn’t handle the thought of it getting out with Charlotte running around!

    Donald told me later that 99% of people, even children, survive rattlesnake bites so they aren’t as scary as I think.  Whatever.  I still feel like I conquered the world lol.

  14. By on September 07, 2011

    Yep. You’re a super hero!

  15. By on September 07, 2011

    That is because you did conquer the world!

  16. By on September 07, 2011

    I thought you were going to say you ran into the house to call a REALTOR!!!

    Because that is what I would do.

    You are a rock star!

  17. By on September 07, 2011

    Good Job.  My son would have gone for a closer look…

  18. By Lacey on September 07, 2011

    Eeek, you really ARE a superhero. I would have been calling my husband to come home, stat.

  19. By on September 07, 2011

    Wow - you’re amazing!  I would have had exterminators and pest control (with an EMT as backup) screaming out to our house.  The idea of killing it myself wouldn’t have even crossed my mind!  I’ve had to get my husband to kill the few black widows and brown recluses out here - and those aren’t even life threatening!  The respect is earned and given!!

  20. By Sarah Christensen on September 07, 2011

    UGH, Helen, we get black widows all the time.  I hate those things.  I usually kill them with a rock, but have been known to call in Donald to do the dirty work.  No brown recluses, though.  Those things freak me out way more than a rattlesnake.  I like my dangers to give me a little forewarning!

  21. By elizabeth Mackey on September 07, 2011

    You go girl!!! Yikes that must have been quite scary! I’m so glad that you guys didn’t get bit!!

  22. By Christy on September 07, 2011

    Holy crap, you are totally my hero.  I would have been scared to death.

    I’ve never seen a rattlesnake outside a zoo and I’ve only seen 1 black widow in real life, but we have hobo spiders and they are totally scary.  Hobo’s are like brown recluses only aggressive not reclusive.  They give me shivers just thinking about them.

  23. By Sarah on September 07, 2011

    Wow, I’m so thankful we dont have those here. I probably would have peed myself, and then fainted

  24. By Sandra Lang on September 08, 2011

    Hi,
    your name is Sarah.
    You are a superhero!

  25. By on September 08, 2011

    whoa !!!
    kudos to you !
    dude, we don’t even have SNAKES, here. the closest we have to snakes are big earthworms. so really, WHOA !

  26. By Sarahviz on September 08, 2011

    You?  Are a BADASS!!!!

  27. By Heather on September 08, 2011

    Thank baby Jesus you killed that snake! I would have stopped and stared like a deer in headlights, so you’re a total bad ass!

  28. By on September 08, 2011

    I am impressed and so thankful you are both unscathed! I often worry because my son (18M so hopefully this will change) doesn’t listen at all. Knowing that Charlotte usually doesn’t but this time responded to whatever new tone was in your voice gives me hope that maybe Eli would too ina similiar situation. Hoping I never find out, and continuing to work on the listening thing though!

  29. By Summer on September 08, 2011

    Oh my ever-loving God.  You are insanely awesome.  I freak out whenever I see a harmless little garter snake in these parts. Bad. Ass.

  30. By Rachael on September 08, 2011

    Holy Crap! You are much braver than me. I would have told Charlotte to run and I would have been hiding in the house until someone else came to take care of that snake! You ROCK!

  31. By on September 08, 2011

    You are so brave! We grew up with water moccasins at our lakehouse. Every time we went we had to look and clean house. My great grandmother was very proficient with a shovel. She could take one look, aim and cut that snakes head off in one toss.

  32. By Dianna on September 09, 2011

    Um, yeah. I would have died. Fainted, been bit, died. Guess you really are a superhero!

  33. By Courtney on September 09, 2011

    You could be a Montana gal.  We’re proud!

  34. By Camille on September 12, 2011

    Thank God neither of you were hurt!! That must have been so scary. You are incredibly brave, I don’t know if I could have gone back out there.


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