I had a clever title for this one, but I think I left it in the dishwasher

What I did between 3:00 and 6:30 this evening:

1. Picked up the girls from school, at two different campuses, each complete with its own nightmare of congested traffic.

2. Picked up Big Boy from the sitter.

3. Began preparing an after-school snack for the girls.

4. Called Deputy Dad in a panic when The Drama Queen – acting on a tip from the dogs* – spied a RATTLESNAKE – coiled, rattling, and ready to strike – in the backyard, a few feet from the back door. (Thankfully, she was in the house, and saw it through the sliding glass door.)

5. Called Father-In-Law in a panic about the rattlesnake, because Deputy Dad was 20 miles from town and transporting a prisoner.

6. Stood at the back door and watched the Big Dog do the Dance Of Death with the rattlesnake while waiting for Father-In-Law to ride up on his white horse and slay the dragon rescue the kids and me from the rattlesnake holding us hostage.

7. Consoled Miss Attitude, who was scared to death that one of the dogs would get bitten.

8. Watched (from the safety of the living room) Father-In-Law beat the holy hell out of the rattlesnake with a rake, throw it over the fence to the front yard, retrieve it, and throw it in the back of his pickup.

9. Consoled Miss Attitude, who was scared to death that Poppy would get bitten.

10. Thanked Father-In-Law profusely, and pretended not to hear when he told the neighbor, “You know, when you find one, there’s sure to be more.” (ACK!)

11. Returned to business of preparing after-school snack. Apples had already started to turn.

12. Changed Big Boy’s poopy diaper.

13. Recounted Rattlesnake Tale in phone conversations with Deputy Dad and Mother-In-Law.

14. Supervised homework of two daughters while simultaneously trying to soothe/entertain/pacify Big Boy, who was fussy, cranky, and angry that he didn’t have my full attention.

15. Lost patience with The Drama Queen when she wouldn’t pay attention to the instructions for her Social Studies Six Weeks Project, due in a week and a half. (Today was only the fifth day of school.)

16. Changed Big Boy’s poopy diaper (AGAIN).

17. Regained composure and patience.

18. Consoled The Drama Queen, who was in tears because “Third grade is just too hard!” (Again, FIFTH day of school. God help me.)

19. Decided we had ‘worked on’ the Project enough for today, and sent the girls to take their showers.

20. Wondered what the HELL we would have for supper, since it was already 5:30 by then.

21. Called a sympathetic Deputy Dad, who said he’d pick up some barbecue on the way home for his supper break.

22. Emptied dishwasher, being careful not to let Big Boy slam my hand in the door, as he opened/closed/opened/closed it.

23. Rinsed dirty dishes and put them in dishwasher, loading the stuff on the bottom rack no less than eleventy hundred times, since Big Boy was still “helping.”

24. Moved Big Boy to the living room so he wouldn’t hurt himself on the kitchen floor when he threw a tantrum worthy of a two-year-old (He’s SO advanced) after I shut and latched the dishwasher door, declaring “All done!”

25. Waited for what seemed like an eternity (but was probably closer to 20 minutes) for Deputy Dad to show up with the barbecue.

26. Breathed a heavy sigh of relief as Deputy Dad’s work truck pulled into the driveway.

*The Big Dog was such a good boy this time, alerting us to the danger, while carefully keeping himself from getting bitten. Maybe I was wrong before, when I called the dogs useless, ungrateful mongrels.

* * * * *

UPDATE 8/30/05:

Bucky said:
I’d have been crappin’ my pants and throwin’ a holy fit if my dog was out there with the rattler!

I probably should have included this in my original post, but I did have a couple of reasons for not bringing the dogs in, the main one being that I WANTED the Big Dog to keep barking at the snake. I knew as long as he kept barking at it, the snake would stay coiled, ready to strike, and IN THE SAME SPOT. If I called the dogs away from the snake, it would move on and I WOULD HAVE NO CLUE WHERE THE DAMN THING WAS, which would be SO not good. I wanted to know for sure where it was, right up until it was (a) good and dead, and (b) MILES AWAY from my house.

BUT. I certainly didn’t want either of the dogs to get snakebit.

SO. I stood at the sliding glass door, watching the Big Dog bark at the snake. (The Little Dog stood on the opposite side of the patio, wetting himself and looking appropriately frightened.) The Big Dog was standing at a safe distance (out of strike range), barkingbarkingbarking the strong, protective, snake-scaring bark of a yellow lab. Whenever he moved closer to the snake, I would tap on the door, and he’d move back, out of strike range. Thus, I was able to be a big chicken shit keep the dogs safe, without actually, you know, putting myself or my children in harm’s way, which sounds eversomuch more brave and grandiose than, There was no way in hell I was leaving my kids unattended in the house while I stepped outside and tried to wrangle two hyper, riled-up dogs, with a rattlesnake just a few feet away.

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