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Sunday, June 29, 2014


I am not sure how many times I have been given an 'either/or' preference, and neither option appeals to me.  As I have to remind myself over and over again, I live in Texas, and life is so incredibly different. 

Whether it be in the form of a fifty page local rag, or a single sheet, most communities have their newspaper.  Our condominium association is apprised of the 'goings on' by double sided piece of paper filled with news and pictures.  Dana was reluctant to hand over the latest gossip as it sported two rather large pictures of snakes.  Knowing my aversion to the reptile, he considered the portraits of two well known Texas serpents, could be disturbing, but I assured him that I could cope with a couple of drawings.  As I read through, it was reported that a couple of sightings had been made.  However, we were reminded that our complex is surrounded by undeveloped land, which is the natural habitat for the offending sliders.  The rattlesnake is not only dangerous, but endangered.  The sentence that I had most difficulty with was the one that contained the words, 'Although it maybe tempting to try and catch one...'.  Catch one?  For me, the word 'dangerous' was unnecessary.  They had me at 'rattlesnake'.  Fortunately, the snakes, apparently, do not like to come into contact with the residents.  The writer did not say whether it was all residents, or just a few in particular!  I find my neighbours to be very friendly, but then I do not know them all personally!  However, I am very grateful to those who are keeping the slithering beasts at bay! 

The second offender is our friend!  Texas rat snakes are non-venomous. This is where the preference comes into play.  The rat snake helps keep the rodent population to a minimum.  (I assume they are talking the four legged creatures and not those that offend the dear old rattler!)  The (presumably) rhetorical question was posed.  What would I prefer?  Snakes or rats?  Not exactly the same as having to weigh up chocolate or cheese cake. 

The writer suggested that the creatures sometimes venture out of their habitat at the end of the day, to get the last of the sun's heat.  Unsure as to whom is the 'snake whisperer', they were obviously not aware of our 'visitor' at the pool a few years ago, who curled up in the shade of the bushes and waited for his dinner to arrive.  As I have not seen a rodent by the pool, I can only assume he (or she) was successful.  After reading the rest of the news, I continued with my housework.  As a rule, I am thorough and methodical with my chores, but I did spend an excessive amount of time checking under the beds!  Would I rather see a snake, or a rat?  I that really considered a choice?

Fortunately, the only non-invited guest I encountered during my search had plenty of legs.  The millipedes appeared to be out in force this year, which would probably indicate the lack of another species.  According to research, they are the diet of some reptiles, so I should have felt sort of comfort as the abundance of the multi-legged critters in my house could mean a lack of snakes.  However, the lack of snakes means the increase in rats.  Choices, choices!

The choice as to whether to take myself grocery shopping, or wait until much later in the day and have Dana accompany me, was not difficult. As a rule, I enjoy my husband's company at all times, but accompanying me to Walmart has to be the exception.  Samantha was at a birthday party and was not going to arrive at my house until mid afternoon.  My either/or choice for midday was whether to simply go to the shop, or go shopping.  Shopping won!  After spending a short time searching the 'clearance' section at the book store, I took myself to the Dollar Tree.  With everything at a dollar, my choices are not either/or, but more like 'not only but also'.  Admittedly, there are some items that are cheaper in the supermarket, and some that are not even worth the greenback that is being asked, but for the most part, to me, it is tantamount to Aladdin's cave, and I can stroll the aisles for a great length of time.  I didn't need the inflatable alligator, and it certainly would not be as prolific at keeping down the rodent population at my complex, but then again, it wouldn't be offended by the residents!  I did not need the inflatable whale either!

My choice of attire was  probably not the best.  I found a floral skirt that I had not worn for several years, and a collared top.  I donned my wide brimmed white hat, and pink flip-flops. Whilst this may look very fetching on some ladies, it did very little to accentuate any form of sophistication on me!  It was a brave decision to leave my house in such attire as, although I did not look much like a rat, I could have been misconstrued as a little 'mousey'.  I was asked, several times, if I needed help in Walmart.  When I finally reached the check out, I was beckoned towards one of the self service scanners.  The instructions were not very precise, and I wandered to the nearest machine.  Two children came and stood in front of my trolley, and I chose to ask politely for them to move.  I soon realised that they had been sent to the same scanner.  Perhaps, I had not understood the instructions!  The parents moved on to the next machine, and a young man made his way to the one that I had now occupied.  Apparently, the mousey lady in the wide brimmed hat and flip flops was perceived to be a little naive and everyone around shrugged their shoulders. 

Samantha and I spent a very enjoyable afternoon by the pool, with Pepper the Alligator, (named after a nickname we have given to a rather obnoxious child who occasionally comes to the pool).  As the wind picked up, Pepper, started to move, and looked like he was walking towards the grass.  Perhaps he had seen some plastic millipedes?  Pepper did not seem to be offended by any of the residents!

There was no 'either/or' on Sunday.  I watched the earlier Futbol match, and saw Holland evict Mexico from Brazil in a very exciting climax.  However, the choice between spending an afternoon swimming and reading, or watching Costa Rica finally eliminate Greece, was weighted heavily towards sunning myself!  After about an hour of company, I was left alone with my book.  Perhaps if I had not been made aware of the increase in serpent sightings (probably not an increase in the snake population, more likely their lack of camouflage) I would not have jumped at every blow of the wind, or snap of a twig, or bark of a dog!  I made the choice to be very brave and stayed poolside until the second wave of visitors arrived, and scared away all the noises! 

My either/or choices are more simple tonight, and involve neither snake nor rat, as my tastebuds are uncharacteristically (again) craving junk! (Although I have heard some riveting stories about rodents and various fast food palaces, but have never been sure how much is just propaganda!) 

One choice I shall not have to make will be the either/or when it comes to working next Friday.  Both myself and the USA will be celebrating a birthday.  Although the country is a good few years older than me, we choose to celebrate together!  Whatever my choices, I am sure they will make ................. another story!

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