Friday, June 19, 2015

An Eventful Book Club

Last night, my book group got together with the intent of discussing this month's book, The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins.  I looked forward to our gathering not only for the company which is always fun, but I also really liked the book and couldn't wait to talk about it.  Each book club host chooses the book and prepares the meal.  Our usual M.O. is to catch up a bit while the host puts finishing touches on the meal and while eating.  We then move into our book discussion about halfway through dinner and continue for a bit until someone takes us off topic.  Then it's dessert and time for goodbyes.  There was no reason to think it would go any different last night.  However our bookclub got a bit derailed by a snake in the grass.
No, literally a snake in the grass!
Our host for the evening moved into his new home about a year ago.  It butts up against the side of a mountain and is known to have wildlife venture into his yard fairly regularly.  Once dinner was served we made our way out to the patio to enjoy some al fresco dining.  As hot as it has been this week, it was a beautiful evening.  During our catching up time the subject of his local wildlife was brought up.  We've heard stories of snakes in the backyard and were told that certain precautions - snake deterrent fencing being the most recent - have been implemented since our last visit.  And in the middle of a story about the last snake sighting, another book club member pointed towards the brick wall across the yard (which boasts the snake deterrent fence by the way).  "What's that?" she asked.  "Is it a snake?"
I'm not a fan of snakes, so that's all I needed to hear.  I jumped up from the table and made a beeline to the screen door and went inside. I stood at the door and watched what unfolded.  Sure enough, a black and white snake slithered it's way up the leveled block, on the inside of the snake deterrent fence.  There were only 5 of us tonight.  Two moved in for a closer look, two stayed seated at the table, and I stayed in the house safely behind the screen door.
This snake was not some little garden snake nor was it a rattle snake, thank goodness.  But it WAS about 5 freaking feet long, almost as long as I am tall!  They watched it climb the length of the fence for awhile, hoping it would make it's way back to the mountain.  But it stayed put.  Which is when the fire department was called.  While we waited everyone else went back to eating and I continued to stand behind the screen door, hoping the fire fighters would hurry up and arrive.
While we waited, the snake started to slither back the way it came and thenthe person who spotted it in the first place said it looked like it went back through the snake deterrent fence as it seemed to have disappeared.  The fire department was called, but we were told they'd still come just to be sure.
About 5 minutes later they arrived.  I let them in and showed them back through the house, still watching from inside.  They got all the details and determined that it must have been a king snake which are harmless to people and pets, but quite helpful in keeping rattlesnakes away.  They spent some time looking along the wall, in the trees, and a couple of them even climbed over the wall and looked along the base of the mountain.  Once they confirmed it was no longer on the property, they kept looking as one of the firefighters wanted to catch it and take it home to his kids (Can you even imagine!?!?).  After about 10 minutes of looking they got another call, climbed back over the wall and bid us farewell.
The whole ordeal taking about 45 minutes, I finally ventured back outside to finish my dinner.  After that though, the book club talk was 10 minutes at best.  The snake ruined our book club discussion but shook up our somewhat predictable schedule.
Funnily enough this is not my first firefighters-come-save-us-from-the snake at a social gathering.


  1. Nope, not touching this one.
    Just hugs, big ones. In fact really big ones.
    OK, I don't like snakes but and this is the truth, I don't know if I'd grow a pair if I had to deal or potentially deal with them on a regular basis. It could well occur if ever I came to visit LA that I'd be a total gibbering idiot.

    1. The thing is, it's not like we're the wild west and they are slithering down Hollywood Blvd or the I-5 freeway, well maybe parts of the freeway. They're in those areas that back up to mountains (which are abundant) and I also think newer areas. This particular track is about 10 years old, so they're still living among the animals so to speak.
      I do think it will probably get worse though before it gets any better with the drought. There is literally no water for them, anywhere, right now except for the homes with their swimming pools and the rare two days a week we get to water the yard. I wouldn't be surprised if most of the people that live in those areas wake up each morning with a small ecosystem around their swimming pool.
      Last week we got an emergency phone call from the water agency telling us to reduce our watering from (the already reduced) three days to two days. That happened right at the start of this heat wave. I changed my timers right away and am now only watering on Mondays and Thursdays. I went out with the dog to kick the ball around this evening and the backyard grass is brown and the ground is so dry it has cracks in it - every time Rigby chased after the ball a cloud of dust formed under her feet. These wild animals are probably dying of thirst.
      As for growing a pair. It's hard to say. For me, I never will. They will never be something that I can even look at without sending shivers down my spine. The thing was 20-30 feet from me and it was TOO close. Where others are deathly afraid of bugs or spiders or what have you. I'd say if you can look at them in pictures, you're probably ok. If not, you're probably out of luck. :)

  2. Y'all are both big weenies!! :D Just kidding (considering I'm the woman who shrieks and runs if a worm touches her). Still... snakes fascinate me and I would have been one of the two moving in for a closer look. Okay, I know it's a matter of being a totally different venue, but I'm amazed at the thought of calling the fire dept. over a snake. I guess it's because I've killed (or not killed, depending on the variety) so many snakes in my lifetime.

    I loved this story, but do feel bad for you - both because you had to deal with something that truly distressed you so and because you were robbed of a fun book discussion. Here's a ((hug)) from me, too.

    1. Book club was still fun, just for different reasons. :)
      If I had been forced to stay outside, then it would have been distressing. The funny thing is if it were a mountain lion I would have stayed and watched. And worms are just tiny snakes! :) Fears are odd. :)
      The firefighters being called made me laugh, both this time and the previous time. Animal control won't deal with snakes, which is odd since they came and took the dead rabbit out of my yard. Anyhow, I've been told that they actually like those calls as it gives them something to do when they're just sitting around the house. This time only three guys came in one truck. The last time a truck, and engine, and a paramedic truck all showed up. It was a laugh.

  3. Oh come on. Of course the firemen are delighted to turn up to a book club. And pretty much as you were admiring them they were admiring you lot. That type of call out must be known as a pre-booty call.