I don't know what has happened to me. Sam had a meltdown a few days ago, and part of his tearful undoing was the fact that he really wanted to see and hold a snake, and soon. I thought it was weird, I'll admit, until I realized it was kind of how I feel about having a bath, that it takes the static away and makes me feel all whole and reborn and all that, and who am I to judge, and please just calm down, son.
I don't feel that way about snakes myself, but I do know that near my favorite and the best coffee shop in the state The Coffee Club there is a pet store called Mark's Ark: Utah's Most Exciting Pet Store. If anyone would have snakes, they would!
I told Sam I'd take him there and if nothing else we could act like we were going to buy a snake and they would let him touch one. With that promise, I took him to work with me Monday, and we ran out of time to go, Tuesday, and he had to spend the night at his dad's house for a scout physical, and today I picked him up from his dad's house, and he made sure to remind me I said we would go to the pet store. The kid has been to work with me every day so far this week, which isn't exactly super exciting for a summer vacation, but luckily he is easygoing enough this isn't the worst thing in the world.
Even though I forgot my breakfast AND lunch on my way out the door and spent my day alternating between tearfulness, stomach pain and extreme irritability due to acute hunger, on our way home from the office we stopped at the much-promised Mark's Ark.
We were not disappointed. All the parking spots close to the door were taken, which is amazing anymore for a specialty brick & mortar store, and inside was full of customers and animals – lots and lots of animals. Ark is a good name for it, and I'm pretty sure they have more exotic reptiles than the zoo.
I texted this photo to Sam's dad, with the note, “I'm at the pet store with Sam looking at a new pet snake. I'll be delivering this guy to your house today.” Yes, I think I am so funny.
Actually we want this little guy. He's a newborn corn snake! He's teeny!
The guy got him out and let Sam hold him! I can't believe this but I actually think he is cute. (This is the pet store guy, not Sam, holding the snake in the photo.)
And this is how big he'll get as an adult.
They eat mice, and to start he'll need to eat newborn baby mice. Honestly, I don't hate mice. I think they are cute and smart and rats too, and they make good pets themselves, but once my house got infested by mice and at first I thought eh, what's a mouse in the pantry. It told all its friends about my hospitality, and they had a big frat/sex party, and started making tons o' babies, which was a little too much for me because I am no fun that way, so then because I am a hippie I bought humane traps.
The mice invited more friends to come laugh at my humane traps, and then they ruined my entire food storage, started cavorting in my kitchen cupboards at night and then infested my children's dressers. All my food was ruined, they left droppings everywhere and my house smelled like mouse piss. By this point I had tried every trap in the store, every bait I'd been recommended, and called an exterminator and told him to get rid of the little vermin, whatever it took.
So while I don't necessarily hate mice, I don't exactly love them, and I categorize them in the same emotional place I categorize, say, a grasshopper. I don't go out of my way to kill them but I really don't care if a snake eats one.
They also had every other kind of animal, including bunnies, which Hazel cooed over, and I said, “Oh, no touchies!” A store employee was standing there and took a barrier down and said, “Actually you can pet the bunnies. This is a fun pet store!” And walking around, there was a random cat on the floor too. I love this place.
I will admit, if we had Sam's new room all completely set up I would have bought the snake and the snake-aquarium kit on the spot and taken them both home. It probably would be a good idea because you're not supposed to handle them for 4-5 days after you get them home and Sam is going back to his dad's this weekend for 4th of July festivities, so he won't be tempted to handle it. I didn't know that in the moment though. Maybe I'll get him tomorrow.
We came home and I finally ate some food, and still felt sick and dizzy and laid down and took a nap. Naps are scarce and I appreciate them sooooo much!
I did more research on corn snakes, especially newborn ones, as pets, and the more I read about snakes the more I like them. I guess I relate. They need something to keep them warm, and they will coil around it, and if it's too hot they will still coil around it and burn themselves. I remember our last night at Burning Man I was cold and wanted to walk into the fire and Ryan wouldn't let me. I need to stay warm too, and in the winter I have a heated mattress pad which I will crank all the way to high and let the heating elements burn my skin and bones and revel in how very good it feels. Mmm…warm.
On the way home, Sam explained to Hazel what a reptile was, (a kind of animal that cannot self-regulate its body temperature and has scales; birds are also a kind of reptile and have scales on their feet, and lay eggs and do not give their babies the nursies [though then Sam informed me that some reptiles give live birth]), and then we talked about the platypus, which is not actually a specialized mammal, but rather a primitive mammal that lays eggs and has nursies. And then I wondered, what am I because I gave live birth, fed my babies the nursies, and cannot regulate my body temperature. Sam and Hazel thought this was pretty funny, though when I'm freezing I don't think it's funny at all, but I see their point.
I'm a little under the weather today, and not just from my Day Without Food, but I'm thinking it's nothing a hot rock and somewhere to hide won't cure. I think this snake and I will get along just fine.