The Snake in the Ceiling
One of the first things I said I would do when we moved into the house was to remodel the bathrooms first. Both baths are pretty nasty and needed to be gutted. There is no historical significance with anything in the baths. I am trying to figure out when they were added to the house.

In mid-August the flat roof over the downstairs bath was leaking so bad, I had no choice but to move it to the top of the to-do list and put a new sloped roof on it. I hated to do this because my intention is to raise the roof on the kitchen and bath at a much later date. The ceiling in the bath was black with mold and took on an interesting blue fuzzy highlight. A couple of pieces of drywall began to fall so I told my wife Alison to go ahead and start pulling it down if she had time. She got a good 3 foot chunk down that day.
Later that night after looking at the hole she created, I decided to try and finish the job while Alison was out. After I got down about half of the ceiling, I noticed some insulation raining down on me. When I looked up I saw the body of a sizable snake passing through a void in the blow-in insulation. Now I don't mind snakes, BUT, at night in my bathroom ceiling, when I wasn't expecting it was kinda CREEPY! It seemed to keep going and going. I never saw the head so I wasn't sure of its length.
I jumped back and gave out a yelp. My two 6 year old sons came running and THE HUNT WAS ON!! I started pulling down large chunks of the ceiling and insulation as fast as I could so the snake couldn't escape to somewhere else in the house. Old houses like this have giant gaps connecting every wall, floor and ceiling. After tearing down most of the drywall, I couldn't find the snake.
I sat on the sink wondering where it could have gone and should I even tell my wife there was a snake in the walls? She wouldn't sleep until I caught it. Would the two boys keep quiet? Yea RIGHT! I was screwed. I had to find the snake if it took me all night. Suddenly it moved and I spotted it in the overhang of the eaves. I started poking at it with a small plastic rake to get it to drop into the tub so I could carry it outside. I started to think, if this snake falls into all the debris on the floor I would loose it again. I decided to put a blue plastic drum under the snake and let it drop into the drum. That way it wouldn't get lost in the mess and I could just carry the drum outside.

WRONG! That snake saw right through my plan. It curved around and dropped into the pile of rubbish. My son Zack was yelling "Get it dad!". That snake was pissed. It started moving around under all the stuff on the floor.

Remember that scene in Star Wars when Luke was in the trash compactor. Josh, Zack and I only lacked the blasters & light sabers.

Now I realize that a black snake is not poisonous but when it's really pissed and striking at everything and you can't get a good grab behind it's neck, it's just easier to take a small plastic rake and fight it into a barrel (or so I thought). You know how your dad always told you when you were a kid "snakes are more afraid of you than you are of them". Well I've got some news for dear old Dad. This snake was on the attack from the moment I got it out of the ceiling. It was hissing like a cobra and creeping me out by rubbing it's body back and forth on the bathroom door trying to get out.

I finally smacked the snake back and laid the barrel on the ground and Zack handed me a yellow rubber snake. He said, "Put this in the barrel Dad and the snake will think it's a friend and go into the barrel." At first I cracked up at how serious he was with his "man on a mission" stern face. Then I thought "why not", all I was doing was pissing it off. So into the barrel it went! The snake tried it's best to go around the barrel. but eventually slithered into in. Well I sprung into action and stood the barrel upright. Josh, Zack and I dragged the barrel outside to the porch to show Mom when she got home later that night.

Here's the really good part: The next morning we went outside and the snake was still in the barrel. I told the boys we should take it to the other side of the horse pasture and set it loose. As I started to move the barrel from the porch to the front lawn, the snake stood straight up and crawled over the top of the barrel. The snake could have left the barrel any time it wanted. Even while it was still in the house.

Well that snake took off back to the house. If it got to the front hedges I would have lost it back under the house. There are a lot of holes in the bricks behind the bushes. As it reached the boxwoods I grabbed it by the tail and slung it out into the yard about 25 feet. Well the two boys thought that was one of the funniest things they had seen. They kept asking me to "throw it again Dad!".

I carried the snake out in front of the right horse paddock and threw in down into the drainage ditch, out of eye sight of the house. Zack kept yelling "Throw it in the road dad!" I've got to have a talk with that boy!

Thinking back on the situation I realize if I had lost the snake back into the ceiling it would have been best to keep my mouth shut. Alison says she would have stayed with her parents until I found it. I guess I should keep the snake skin I found sticking out of a hole in the ceiling of the 2nd floor porch a secret.

(Later, Zack decided maybe we should put the snake back in the ceiling after all, since it would eat any mice that might be there!)