Sunday, November 23, 2008

FAMILY PET - M.I.A.

For about a year my youngest son begged us to buy him a corn snake for his birthday. He claimed a corn snake would be the perfect pet because they don't smell, are easy to take care of and don't cost a lot of money. Not to mention they're really high up on the "cool factor". I'm not opposed to pets, I love animals and my kids have had lots of them.

There was the goldfish that lived five years (I am not joking!), the tree frog that lasted two, not to mention our big fluffy dog, Daisy, that's been a part of our family for a couple of years now. No, I love pets. The only thing that bothered me about getting a corn snake is that they eat mice. I'm terrified of mice. We caught a mouse in our basement almost two years ago and I haven't been down there since.

So, my son wore me down and we bought him a corn snake for his birthday in September. He named him Cornelius, and my husband ordered 240 frozen pinkie mice on the internet. They arrived at our door shipped in dry ice and packaged like little frozen hot dogs. When it was time to feed the snake my son broke off a pinkie, thawed it in a bowl of water and fed it to his snake. Trust me; I made sure I was out of the house when that lovely little event occurred.

Cornelius died a month after my son's birthday. He was devastated. (I quietly pondered what I'd do with the 230 frozen mice I still had in my freezer. Hmm, Craig's List or eBay?) We had a funeral in the backyard with all the trappings; candlelight, a nice cardboard coffin lined with tissue paper for Cornelius while he rests in peace, beautiful eulogies were offered. I couldn't stifle a small giggle in the middle of my husband's moving, heartfelt words about how he had come to love Cornelius. It just seemed funny in a bad television sit com kind of way. My son heard me, turned, and looked up at me with tears in his eyes and I silently thanked God for giving me the words to explain to him that humor sometimes helps us get through times of grief. My son understood, wiped away his tears, went on to profess his love for Cornelius and vowed he would never forget him. It was no longer funny, my heart ached for him and I cried with him.

Three weeks ago we got him another corn snake. He couldn't settle on one name so he calls him King Cornelius II, Cornelius 2 or Thomas Cornwallace. I call him "lost". Sometime between Thursday night and this morning the snake got out of his cage and is nowhere to be found. We've spent the last two hours searching cabinets, under the refrigerator, in the floor grates, and behind the furniture. According to the internet "lost" snakes can live in your house for months before they turn up. I guess I better hold off advertising "Free: 223 pinkie mice" on Craig's List, again..

I'll keep you posted......

BREAKING NEWS, BREAKING NEWS! ALERT, ALERT!

Miraculously the snake has been found! We set a trap that included putting a warm, wet towel on the floor next to the wall with the theory the snake would be drawn to the warmth and moisture in the towel. The next morning we left for Florida and didn't even look under the towel because I didn't think the trap stood a chance of working.

But low and behold when our friend came over later in the morning to take our dog to their house for the week he looked under the towel and the snake was there! So, I'm happy to report the snake is now back in its container. Which means the 200+ pinkie mice in the freezer aren't going anywhere...

3 comments:

laurie said...

Oh My Goodness. I would hate the thought of any kind of snake being lost in my house! Loved your story about the funeral. At least, maybe the lost snake will catch all of your mice in the basement, and you'll be able to go back down there. Good luck! laurie

Angus said...

Ms Kramer,
Why do you never mention your husband? Also, I'm sure that you were nice enough to keep that goldfish in a nice large fishtank for 5 years...right?
Sincerely,
Greenpeace (Norfolk Chapter)

Gail Kramer said...

Dear Mr. Angus,

In response to your question regarding why I never mention my husband, it is because he is in the witness protection program and doing so would threaten his safety and that of his very best friend in the world, who coincidentally goes by the call sign "Angus".

Hmm, coincidence, or not?