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Monday, August 29, 2011

Snakes on a Plane? How 'Bout Snakes in a Clothes Dryer?

Our regularly scheduled Monday Nutrition Tip of the Week is being preempted in favor of the latest installment of "Adventures with Varmints."

It all started way back last Friday, otherwise known as laundry day in these parts. I had just put the first load of clothes into the dryer and pushed the button when the dryer made a strange noise, quit, and then immediately gave off a burning smell. "Shoot!" I thought. "The dang dryer is broken."

A bummer, but not unexpected considering that we just bought a new mattress, and Murphy's Law of home ownership states that when you make a purchase over $300, inevitably a crucial home appliance will go belly up. My bet was on the refrigerator, but whatever. I texted Zach the news, he hypothesized that it was a belt, and I sent him the pertinent serial numbers so that he could look up parts. (Have I mentioned that I love having a handy husband?)

Since it was 105 degrees AGAIN on Friday, I fashioned a makeshift clothes line out of jump ropes on the patio. (See? You never know when being fit is going to come in handy. If we hadn't done Asylum, we wouldn't have two jump ropes lying around to put into use as clotheslines. So, go order Asylum!) The clothes dried as quickly as they would have in a dryer, so no big whoop on not having a dryer for the day.

Fast forward to Sunday morning. I wander out of my bedroom and there is a decidedly foul odor in the front part of the house. I sniffed the trash, the sink...nothing. I opened up the laundry room. SHEESH! There was something nasty going on in there. I opened up the dryer and then it was undeniable: Dead Varmint Smell.

I was familiar with DVS from when a squirrel found its way into our attic when I was in high school. It died and proceeded to stink up the house until we paid one of my high school buddies twenty bucks to retrieve the rotting corpse. (Thanks, Chris!) The putrescence of that episode is still fresh in my memory, more than 15 years later.

I called Zach and told him to high-tail it home from the land -- we had an issue to deal with. The smell was about to drive me from the house, so I decided to drag the dryer out into the garage. I peered up into the nether regions of the dryer, and here's what I saw: (Beware if you're squeamish and/or a member of PETA...this ain't pretty.)

At first I couldn't tell if that was a snake, or some kind of weird cord or something. I didn't want to stick around too long to look. When he arrived, Zach quickly confirmed that it was a snake. Taking off the back of the dryer revealed the exact fate of the wayward critter.

I bet that wasn't a very fun ride! Note the head on the right and the tail alllllll the way over there on the left. Yowzah!

Zach unwound the snake from the fan so we could determine how big, and what kind it was.

About a three-foot-long rat snake...harmless except to field mice and Friday laundry chores. The good news is that when we put the dryer back together (after a copious cleaning, of course), it still works! (Guess that refrigerator may not be out of the woods, after all...) The bad news may come next Friday. Friends and neighbors, if I'm wearing an inordinate amount of perfume next week, it's just that I'm trying to cover up the DVS.

The moral of this story is to check out your dryer vent occasionally to make sure no free-loading snakes looking for A/C can crawl through the pipe and foul things up.

Workout of the Day
Insanity: The Asylum - Strength

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