I thought I had things pretty well set up yesterday for the arrival of my beasties at 4:00. It was the first day in weeks that we didn't have a baseball practice, or a soccer practice, or a softball practice, or an Academy training session, or technical training, or a softball game, or a baseball game, or a soccer game, or an open house and I wanted to take full advantage of an afternoon at the Sloth Castle. The weather is glorious, the flowers are blooming, the birds are cavorting all over the bird bath and feeders and being in the front yard is about the nicest place in the world.
I went for my run, doing the long loop out around the village and back and then began my CrossFit training. In between rounds I began setting up the Art Deck for some Challenge Projects. To keep the beasties on their toes and pushing forward in different disciplines, I give them each a challenge project for the week. This week Kelly is working on her Mindstorms robotics and designing a new robot. Alex is reading "The Most Dangerous Book for Boys" and working on mastering paper airplane design and construction. And Isabel is using the Kapla blocks to build more complex and daring buildings - specifically I wanted her to design and build a structure taller than herself.
I had already gotten to the store and picked up rib eyes, salad fixings, smashed potatoes - the works - so we wouldn't have to leave the house again. So as I finished my fourth round of Sumo Deadlift KB Pulls etc. I found myself drenched in sweat, the house all set for the kids, and nothing to do but fill out the chalkboard with the day's plan and soak in a tub for ten minutes before the bus dropped them off.
I drew a robot on the board to match Kelly's cool red robot and listed our plans which they love to read and check off as we do them. I briefly surveyed my handiwork: there were extra tables and chairs set up in three work stations, the books were set, fried chicken and grapes were set out for their snack, lemonade for them to sip on, and then I slipped into the tub.
Toward the end of the afternoon, projects going strong, I asked Kelly to go marinate the steaks and told her I'd go clean the grill. I turned on the gas and clicked the lighter to find . . . no gas. Okay, so we *are* going to have to leave the house. No problem, quick trip to Lowe's to swap out gas cylinders. We load up and head out.
It is nearly impossible to walk into Lowe's without seeing a half dozen things I really need. We pick up a new float and rubber gasket for Moaning Myrtle (the toilet in my bathroom) some ant spray, and then pause to look at a product called "Snake Be Gone."
We laughed at Snake Be Gone. This was a classic mistake. "Who would ever need a bag of Snake Be Gone?" we wondered aloud. Yes, I know . . . we are just heaping on the mistakes here. We finish snagging another three or four items, the kids go climb on the riding lawn mowers while I wait for the checkout girl to unlock the cylinder locker, and then we head home.
Isabel was the first one to report, "Dada, there's a snake under the piano."
Now, my first instinct was to crinkle my face and look at her carefully. This is the girl who puts one of the cat's play mice in my loafer *every single night of her life.* This is the pink princess who serves me soup with my rolly-eyed fake monster eyeball in it and cackles with glee. I'm trying to remember if we have a rubber snake and whether she is teasing me.
"Is it moving?"
I'm not a fan of snakes. This is a huge understatement. Snakes are right up there with jellyfish in my list of favorite animals in the world. Not to mention this is my second snake of this young Spring. The lake house had a snake in my bedroom. That was bad enough.
Kelly fetched me a shovel, Alex brought me a broom and I swept Mr. Snake up into a bucket, took him back to the pond on the golf course and let him go making a mental note to never, ever laugh at strange products I see at the hardware store.
The gods are always listening.