Sunday, April 19, 2015

The Hose

Friday afternoon I got home early and discovered that the same idiot who'd left the hose running less than two weeks ago (me) had done it again.  I wanted to beat my head on the wall.  This time I'd managed to empty out the tank by the well completely;  when I turned on the kitchen tap, nothing came out but a hiss of air.  I was furious with myself for being so forgetful about the one thing I'm thinking about, dreaming of, and longing for at all hours of the day and night -- water.

I called Bruce at work and asked him how much he loved me.  He said, "A lot," which was reassuring, so I told him that I'd left the hose on...again.  He was very nice about not calling me a careless nitwit and promised that he wouldn't hold my second lapse of memory against me.  I appreciated that very much.  He then gave a refresher on how to reset the pump.  Patient man.  I flicked the circuit breakers in the garage like he instructed and then there wasn't much left to do but silently berate myself for wasting water and wait for the tank to refill.

I've gotten into the habit of walking every chance I get now that I'm wearing a Fitbit to track my steps.  Since I couldn't water the garden because there wasn't any water, I began walking around the living room and then on down the hall.  I was looking so intently at the Fitbit app on my phone to check my steps that my bare foot almost came down on what looked like a length of striped hose stretched across the wooden floor.  It took only another second to realize that the hose was a snake (in my defense, hoses were very much on my mind at that moment).  A fat, striped, two-foot long garter snake, to be exact.  I managed to rock backwards onto my other foot and hop backwards, which was a pretty fancy maneuver for a 60 year-old woman.  I'll admit that I may have also shrieked just a tiny bit.  More than once.  The snake was unimpressed and immobile.

Once I'd regained some composure, I caught the snake using the dishtowel method:  gingerly drop one over the snake,  wrap the coils in the folds of cloth and then scoop the entire bundle up.  When this technique works, it's a great way to catch a snake.  When it doesn't work, one is left holding an empty dishtowel and there is a snake sliding off somewhere.  Fortunately, the snake was so still that I got it gathered into the towel very easily.  I even was able to hold it in one hand and the camera in the other so I could take its picture.

The dishtowel-wrapped snake and I then took a walk down to the small canal that feeds into our pond.  I set the draped snake near the water and (Abracadabra!) lifted off the towel to reveal my coiled up friend.

The snake was now lying on its back and still not moving.  It actually looked rather dead, but I could see its sides heaving.

I sat down on the dirt and grass about four feet away and watched.  The snake remained where it was, so I began pulling a few weeds that were within reach.

When I looked up, the snake was as still as before, but it had turned part of itself right-side-up when I wasn't looking.

I weeded a few more minutes, and when I looked up the next time, about half of its stripy upper side was showing.  Again, the snake was completely still.  I figured out that it was watching me and only moving when I was busy with something else.  Clever guy.

When I looked up the last time, it was gone.  It was as though there had never been a snake at all.  Poof.

I'm certain that he slithered under the slab of rock that is our bridge over the canal.  It's a good place for a water snake to live and I hope he does well.  Perhaps my adventure with this hose-like water snake that that showed up in the house with such impeccable timing will serve to remind me to always TURN OFF THE WATER.  We can only hope.

Oh, and when I got back to the house, the tank had refilled and we had water again.  So I went outside and did a bit of watering.  I turned off the faucet when I was done.

I do like a story with a happy ending.


  1. I'm HORRIBLE about forgetting to turn off the hose. Just did it (again) three days ago when filling up the stock tanks.....and finally realized that after about a half hour that I had flooded half the goat yard. Ugh.
    Like the snake story, especially the happy ending :)

  2. When you leave on the hose, things flood. When I leave on the hose, we run out of water. It's a strange world!