It was horrific and humbling and hellish and probably other h-words if I’d had the time to collect my thoughts.

Recent actual phone conversation:

Bag Lady: “There’s a snake in the basement.”

Mr. Bag Lady: “No there isn’t.”

Snake: “Thwip-thwip.”

BL: “He’s sticking his tongue out at me. We most definitely do.”

Mr. BL: “Use a stick, get him into a bucket, fling the bucket outside.”

BL: “OK, I’m going to put the phone down and try that … AHHHHH!”

Snake: “Thwip-AHHHH!”

In direct response to my stick-bucket maneuver, its full 8 inches lunged (well, lunged-ish) in my direction, then dove under a shelf and disappeared. I could barely collect myself enough to pick the phone back up and admit, tearily, that I’d been less than successful.

Awful, right? It gets worse.

That snake is still down there.

And that’s despite the laudable efforts of Mr. Bag Lady and the useless assistance of Bag Cat. She sniffed around and declared the place snake-free in minutes. Liar. All of which leads me to shopping this week for the means to keep and maintain an anti-snake basement. And, heck, why not anti-mouse, -skunk and -bug, too.

One quickly learns perusing shelves that this whole anti-pest business can turn lethal quite fast, but I don’t want anything dead, just gone. And maybe startled. And definitely regretting it ever tangled with Bag Lady.

Just in case guilt and verbal threats don’t work:

• Bonide Mouse Magic, J.L. Hayes, $8.99
Ooh, “magic.” I’m listening.
This mix of minty essential oils says it lasts 30 days and turns back mice who are not minty fans. Who knew?

• Havahart Critter Ridder, 2.2 pounds, Lowe’s, $14.97
Sprinkle and, allegedly, dogs, cats, squirrels and chipmunks be gone. OK’d for organic gardening, according to the package. Let me down again and Bag Cat had better watch her back, all I’m saying.

• Weitech Moth Repeller, J.L. Hayes, $9.49
About the size and appearance of a smoke detector, the package says it sends out noise so moths can’t hear bats. Presumably, moths get all panicky – “What was that?!” – and fly off.

• Lentek Bite Shield, Aubuchon Hardware, $7.50
Affix to belt, load with two AAs and turn back bugs for a 15-foot diameter. Also turns back everything cool and hip; the price to pay, I suppose.

• Havahart squirrel-sized trap, Aubuchon Hardware, $39.99
The holes are too large, so it’s no good on my problem snake, but would work on the problem skunks and groundhogs I fervently hope never to have.

Best find: Dr. T’s Snake-A-Way, 4 pounds, Lowe’s, $13.97
A bit of ask and you shall receive! Formulated for my exact problem. The label boasts “University tested” and “Repels poisonous and nonpoisonous snakes guaranteed!” (The same folks make Rat-A-Way and Bat-A-Way.)

Think twice: Tomcat household pest glue boards, Lowe’s, $3.97

Notepad-sized glue board is laid on the floor, a beast walks/slithers over it, becomes stuck in place and starves to death. Bag Lady’s going to pass on this anguish and suffering, mine and theirs. Um, hello, someone’s got to clean up the sad, dead whatever so, problem not solved.

When you don’t even live up to your own standards
It was my intention to ignore VH1’s dating show “Daisy of Love” and its cast of hot, crazy messes.

But did you notice that word, intention?


So now I’m rooting for either “12-Pack” or “Flex” (Surprise! Both have muscles), and hoping that someday my taste matures along with my sunspots. To encourage that, I’m watching “Antiques Roadshow.” One hour of PBS for every one hour of VH1 is a good cultural trade, right?

“Thwip-thwip.” (Hey, at least basement snake agrees.)

Bag Lady’s true identity is protected by a pair of stylish, sweater-wearing Doberman pinschers (who were not called in to help because one of them – seriously – is afraid of stairs) and the Customer Service counter at the Sun Journal. You can reach her at [email protected]

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