Come play in my world for awhile!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

All that and a box of chocolate

Once upon a time I entered a giveaway. I was intrigued by the prize. The brilliant blogger, Cassie, promised to make a totally customized and unique gift for the winner. She would create this mystery prize based solely on information she would pull from the winner's blog. I was hooked, and I played, and I won!

My box arrived on Monday and I eagerly tore into it. Wanna know what I got?

There was literally something for everyone in the box:

For Emily: Let me introduce you to Michael Paul (brother of Michelle Paul). Emily was over the moon when she found Michael. And when I told her he wouldn't rot? That was the smile I got.

For Rachel and the Beaver McBun (aka the stupid rabbit): There were rabbit treats. Rachel is speculating that these blueberry treats are to rabbits what chocolate is to a PMS'ing woman. Next time McBeav has another false pregnancy we'll know just what to do.

Honestly, The Beav was more interested in chowing on Michael, the coconut, but Emily stopped short of letting The Beav actually chew it.

For Abby: There was some Immodium AD. Now Abby can eat fruit until she is ready to explode (and, yeah, I wrote it that way on purpose.) and the Immodium will keep her "safe."

Unfortunately, Abby has lost all of her top front teeth. What she really needed were some dentures. I don't think she could chomp into that peach if her life depended on it.

And for Hannah: A plastic snake with which to torture mommy! It's already been in my shoe, in my bed, and flung into the shower at me causing soap to get in my eyes.

Yeah. Good times. Hannah is lucky she can run really fast.

And for me? I got a rockin' t-shirt. I mentioned that getting my kids moving in the morning was like herding turtles and I also came to a complete stop in the middle of the road to save our friendly turtle, Freaker. This shirt is brilliant.

The only person in this house the brilliant blogger didn't take care of was hubs! I started to feel badly that he was so obviously left out of the gift bonanza. For a fleeting moment I felt sorry for him. But then I shook it off as I realized that living with the fabulousness that is KathyB! is more than any mortal male could ever fully appreciate... and so Cassie was just quitting while she was ahead.

Life is really good sometimes. I got a box full 'o goodies in the mail AND I get to sit with my laptop and a glass of wine and talk trash without any chance of somebody calling me on it.

I love this blog.

And thanks again to Cassie for the awesome goodies.
We've had a blast and I truly appreciate it.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I'll shut up about it after this

The most common reaction I get when people hear about the kayaking trip is a groan of horror/sympathy. But you wanna know something funny?


The day of the trip I must have asked myself a thousand times what the heckity-heck I was thinking when I signed up for this. I'm certain I was surly to anyone who came within 5 feet of me, and I may have crossed into bitchy territory, but I'd never admit it. I'm still trying to convince hubs and the kids I'm perfect.

The trip was everything I feared it would be: hot, sticky, humid and hard.

But a funny thing happened. I worked my tail off. Once or twice I was literally trembling from exertion. I should have been miserable, but instead? I was energized. I can't honestly remember the last time I attacked something that physically, intellectually and emotionally intimidated me. I won, and it was invigorating. I felt as though parts of me were awakened that I didn't even realize were sleeping. Suddenly I was strong... capable... invincible. And definitely not bitchy.

I'm soaked to the skin, riddled with bug bites, and exhausted. And EXHILIRATED.

But I don't know how to do it. How do I keep this part of me alive?

Without battling imaginary snakes, of course.

That part wasn't fun at all.

Monday, August 24, 2009

I didn't mind...

* The work. We paddled eight miles to the island. Holy-screaming-triceps. It was hardcore.

* The heat. The temperature was pushing 100, and it felt like the seventh circle of hell. Don't let the pictures fool you. They make the pictures look good to suck the first-timers into the vortex. It is hot, I tell you. HOT.

* The rain. I was okay with the flash-flooding. And digging drainage canals when we discovered some of the tents were literally in 4 inches of standing water. And hey, the rain took care of the heat and washed a little of the stench off of me... so it wasn't all bad.

If you look closely at the bottom of the tent where it says "Kelty" you can see a water shoe floating away. And this was taken at the beginning of the "flood." It got worse. Much. much. worse.

Actually, there were a lot of things I didn't mind: the half mile hike to the compost toilet, the camping food, the sleep deprivation, the BUGS.... I could handle all that stuff. In fact, I was enjoying myself. Loving it even.

But there was this one part...

We were getting into our kayaks for the return trip. Everyone was hot and tired and focused. There was a storm heading our way and if we didn't get out ahead of the lightning, we were going to have to paddle back to the island to wait out the storm without any shelter and then try to make the trip again. Did I mention it was an 8 mile paddle? To say we were motivated would be the understatement of the century.

So I'm out on the water in my kayak along with roughly half the girls. I'm snapping a few last photos knowing that once everyone was geared up and ready to paddle we'd be moving too fast for more. I was just stowing my camera in it's Ziploc bag when one of the girls started screaming in her kayak. I froze for a moment as I tried to process the situation. And then she screamed, "Oh, God... help me... IT'S ON ME!" In that brief moment my brain spun through a thousand different scenarios before coming to rest on the only rational conclusion:


(And I don't want any snappy remarks in the comment section about how snakes don't live in the ocean. Yeah, yeah, yeah.... blah, blah, blah. And don't you DARE suggest that my irrational reaction had anything to do with sitting in the tent after all the girls were (finally) asleep telling stories about crazy animal encounters. The blog is called the world according to me for a reason. So cork it.)

Everyone was scrambling to get to her. I paddled for all I was worth and I was just closing in on her, when she flipped her boat. I was closest, so I threw common sense out the window, and jumped in, too. She was still screaming when I reached her so I grabbed her by the life jacket and tugged her to shore. At this point she'd stopped screaming and was struggling against me a little, but I was going to get her out of that water and away from that 60 foot, man-eating snake if it was the last thing I did.

By now everyone had gathered and was peppering her with questions.

Turns out there was a spider in her helmet. When she put the helmet on her head, the spider crawled out onto her face. It was a BIG spider. She was screaming and flailing trying to kill the spider when her kayak went over.

There was no snake.

I was waffling between relief that nothing was lurking in the water waiting to get me, and irritation that I was all wet and salty... when I noticed my own kayak had gone over in the pandemonium. And my fanny pack was bobbing in the briny water. I quickly scooped it up, but it had been floating for a couple minutes. As I frantically assessed the state of the camera one fact became crystal clear: I had gotten the camera back into it's Ziploc, but I didn't zip it closed. The camera was soaked.

There were a lot of things I didn't mind on that trip.

Ruining my camera wasn't one of them.

Friday, August 21, 2009

The revelation

Yesterday I promised you the gory details so... We're headed sea kayaking!

On previous trips we've stayed in tent cabins and, occasionally tents. We camped but I wouldn't say we were roughing it. This trip should be a bit more interesting.

Here's a portion of the email I was sent:

Bear Island Pack List (BIPL)
(edited by KathyB! for length and to get rid of the boring stuff )

BIPL says: Fleece blanket to sleep on (NO SLEEPING BAGS and NO PILLOW allowed)

KathyB! says: Good thing my body is nice and squishy. I guess that's the benefit of carrying a couple extra pounds of chub on your body -- built in cushioning. Otherwise that would sound u-n-c-o-m-f-o-r-t-a-b-l-e.

BIPL says: One set of dry clothes to wear when not kayaking. This MUST be a LONG sleeved shirt and LONG pants to protect from bugs.

KathyB! says: Helloooo! It's, like, 90 degrees with 90% humidity. That's the equivalent of a tropical freakin' rainforest. I'm gonna die of heat stroke dressed like that. How bad can the bugs be anyway?

BIPL says: Tooth brush/paste, hair tie, small comb, bandanna. NO OTHER TOILETRIES.

KathyB! says: Um, soap? No soap?! That's just gross. Wait... I have a plan. I'll use the stench of my unbathed body to ward off the bugs. This way I won't need to pack the long pants and shirt. I can use the space that I'll save to smuggle over a bottle of wine. And yes, I know I'm brilliant. I tell myself that all the time.

BIPL says: Rain poncho. With the hurricane moving up the East Coast we expect rain and damp conditions in it's wake.

KathyB! says: About that hurricane... Is sea kayaking in the wake of a hurricane really the best idea? You're sure? Well, if you say so... I personally feel more secure knowing that I'll have a flimsy sheet of plastic my trusty rain poncho to protect me from the gusty rain and 14 foot waves that are predicted.

BIPL says: Girls will be getting into the tents for bed on the island as soon as the sun goes down to protect from bugs and ensure they are rested enough to make the trip.

KathyB! says: Holy crow! Are these bugs or vampires that we're dealing with? And if the girls need to be "specially rested" (they're kids! I was like the Energizer Bunny at that age!)... What does that mean for the nearly-forty-year-old-mommy who came along for the ride? Is there a powerboat trailing us that will pick up stragglers?

BIPL says: All fresh water will be carried onto the island on your kayak. DO NOT PACK ANY EXTRA GEAR as it will weigh down the kayaks and make paddling more difficult.

KathyB! says: So my plot to smuggle in a bottle of wine should be aborted? Sigh. I guess if there's no water I can understand why we don't need soap. You're going to smell me before you see me when I return from this little soiree.

BIPL says: Again, please speak with your daughter about the primitive style of this trip.

KathyB! says: Speak to my daughter?! I still have to remind her to brush her teeth every night. I think she's going to be fine. I think maybe somebody needs to speak to me about the primitive nature of this trip.

So wish me luck! I'm all packed up and ready to roll. It should be fun, right?

What could go wrong?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Here we go again

This weekend I am going on another adventure with my eldest daughter's Girl Scout troop. Last time I camped with them we went to the Outer Banks. The plan was to tour a famous lighthouse, and go horseback riding on the beach.

It was an adventure and I was looking forward to it with anticipation.

I was most excited about the horseback ride on the beach. The day of the ride was soon upon us and the stars seemed aligned for a wonderful trip. The weather was nothing short of perfection, and the scenery was breathtaking.

The ride began as wonderfully as I had imagined it would. When we finally made it through the dunes and onto the beach I caught my breath in awe of the pristine, untouched sand sparkling in the crisp sunlight.

I was literally having the time of my life. All I can say is I must have been a little giddy when the guides asked if we wanted to let the horses "loose," because I agreed enthusiastically. The guides explained that the horses were not trail horses, and would do as we asked. If we wanted to gallop? Just give them a kick. If we felt uncomfortable? We were welcome to continue at our current walk/trot pace.

The moment the horses were given their freedom everything went wrong. One of the girls in the rear of the group was riding a pony. I have no idea exactly what happened back there. What I do know is that her pony decided it was running the Kentucky Derby. That stupid pony blasted through the group of horses in front of him at full throttle. And immediately the mellow horses on the beach were transformed into a stampeding herd.

I held my own for about 20 seconds of this bedlam before I was yelling WHOA, and yanking back on the reins for all I was worth. The horse's eyes bulged a bit as a result of my yanking and screaming, but otherwise he was unfazed. If this was the Kentucky Derby? My horse was in it to win it.

At this point I was screaming bloody murder, flying along the beach at break neck speed, and gaining on the evil pony that started this whole mess. I was also pretty sure I was going to either fall off the horse, or get a black eye. Protective helmets are important but when riding uncontrollable horses on the beach, never underestimate the importance of a sturdy bra.

In a fit of desperation I dropped the reins, grabbed hold of the horse's mane, closed my eyes, and held on for dear life. One of the guides finally caught the demon-pony and wrestled it to submission. The demon-pony stopped, and miraculously, so did the rest of the horses. The balance of the ride, thankfully, was uneventful.


And so here I sit. One year later. On the cusp of another adventure. I'm definitely excited. It seems like it should be the trip of a lifetime. But there's a tiny part of me wondering what in the heckity-heck I've gotten myself into this time. You have to admit, stupidity happens an awful lot around here. It's more the rule than the exception.

Wanna know where I'm going? I'll fill you in on all the gory details...


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Little Shop of Horrors?!

My blueberries and peaches were spirited away by birds and squirrels.

But the tomatoes?


If I didn't know better, I'd swear that plant was eating Hannah.

It sort of reminds me of this...

Monday, August 17, 2009

I thought I knew it all.

Before I had kids I was full of all sorts of things. Mostly opinions. I thought I had it all figured out. I knew what type of mom I would be, how I would discipline my kids, and that I would never, under any circumstances, have any of those kids. Wanna guess how many of those I had correct?

Fast forward a dozen years. All the answers I thought I had? Turns out I didn't.
Yeah. I fell pretty hard off that giant pedestal I built for myself. I might have hit my head on the way down.

These days I pretty much fly by the seat of my pants and pray that I don't muck up to the point that they all wind up in therapy by the ripe old age of 14.

* * *
Since Rachel was old enough to talk she's been obsessed with horses. I diverted her attention by signing her up for every sport known to mankind. And at the conclusion of every season she asked about the horses. I tried everything I could think of but over time she wore me down. But even after I gave in and let her start riding? I still tried to talk her out of it every chance I got.

I got to take her to compete in a horse show this weekend. My heart nearly broke with pride as I watched her do something for which she clearly has such passion. The fact that she managed to get to this point in spite of the fact that I actively discouraged her humbled me.

I'm still flying by the seat of my pants, but every once in awhile I have days like yesterday. Days when I catch a glimpse of their passion. Days when I can see the fire in their spirit. Days when I catch a fleeting glimpse of the person they might become.

And I feel like I'm doing okay.

In spite of myself.

Friday, August 14, 2009

It came out better this way

I was working in the classroom with a group of fifth graders. The kids had recently had their health education talk about the "changes" their bodies would soon undergo. Every parent I know took this opportunity to take things a step farther and have the talk with their kids. Inadvertently, it had turned into a week-long cornucopia of sex education. As a result, the kids were all wandering the halls with heads filled with the horror of how that baby really got into mom's tummy. None of the kids were really talking about it.

But sex education was in the air.

The kids were filling out some sort of form for middle school. It was the standard stuff: name, birth date, sex, address... The teacher was out of the room and my role was simple. All I had to do was get the kids to complete the forms and deliver them to the office. Piece of cake.

I wandered the rows casually assessing the answers provided. Until I saw this:

Name: Naive Innocent Girl

Birth date: Does it really matter?

Sex: Not yet.

I hope her answer remains the same for many years to come.

* * * * * * *

When I sat down to write this post I thought it would be funny. Yes, my jaw dropped. My eyes were like saucers. I froze. We had an awkward and embarrassing (for her anyway) conversation where I explained her misunderstanding. I was just getting ready to go back and edit my writing to highlight the funny.

But I realized that as I wrote, it didn't feel funny anymore.

It felt more like stripping away one of the last shreds of her innocence.

It feels bittersweet.

And sad.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Sometimes I just walk away

Not too long ago we were on summer break and I was encouraging my girls to write about their favorite thing they'd done while away from school. I was trying to be sneaky and get the kids to write over the break without actually calling it writing. They immediately recognized it for the ploy that it was and began focusing their efforts on getting around the task rather than just getting it done.

Abby was in particularly fine form and thwarted my efforts by writing:

I love summer!! I love the hole in tire thing!
Two sentences? Wow.

I decided to go with the positive and see if I could coax more out of her. We began talking about what she wrote and I explained to her that the correct word choice was entire -- the whole entire thing. But Abby insisted I was wrong. She told me her teacher taught them about those phrases, and I'm not supposed to take everything I read so litterly (her word - I didn't even try to correct it). We went around and around... but Abby wasn't budging. And no amount of logic or reasoning could change her mind. After 11 years of Swiss cheese logic and irrational conversations you'd think I'd be used to this. But I'm not.

Eventually, I threw in the towel (see Abby? I get it. I didn't actually throw any towels) and admitted she was brilliant and my meager brain was no match for her clear mental superiority and told her to ask her second grade teacher when school started.

* * *

Monday afternoon Abby brought her weekly folder home from school and it was filled with the product of last week's school efforts. And there it was again. The hole in tire thing. Complete with teacher correction.

I mentioned this to Abby and was mildly surprised when she let out a heavy sigh as she shook her head in disappointment and gazed reflectively at her feet. She said, "I know, Mom. I was so surprised. She got it wrong just like you.... If she's not careful she might really confuse us kids... It's a good thing I've got it straight."

Um, yeah. Good thing.

I'd love to be a fly on the wall when she explains this one to her teacher.

I expect I'll hear about it shortly.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Hannah say what?

When my kids conscientiously place their dirty clothes fling their clothing into the laundry basket, 99.9% of the time they can be sure to over-shoot their socks and/or underwear. And by overshooting, they guarantee the clothing will be eternally trapped in the no-man's land that is the 4.5 inches between the washer and the wall.

You know the spot. It's tight enough that you can't do more than stick your arm in the gap, but the gap is long enough that you just... can't... reach the stuff that's fallen in there.

I let the menagerie of laundry build up as long as I can. But after awhile the basket full of lonely socks staring longingly at me as I sort the darks from the whites gets the better of me.

So Friday I had my arm wedged in the gap. I couldn't quite reach. I jammed my shoulder into the crevice as far as it would go. I hoisted my butt into the air and angled myself down as hard as I could. My shoulder shrieked in pain. At this point my rump was flying high and proud like the American flag on the 4th of July. It wasn't attractive, but I could almost reach... I pushed a little harder and felt the washer shift against my weight... so close...

Just then three of my kids waltzed into the laundry room, and before I even registered their presence Hannah said:

Hannah: Man, mom! That should be illegal! You could break a bone doing that!

KathyB!: ((furiously)) What the heck is that supposed to mean?

Hannah: ((looking confused and clearly unaware of whatever she just stepped in))

KathyB!: ((mentally scrolling through all the snappy retorts I could fling at her if she wasn't 9... and wondering why acting like an adult never feels good))

Hannah: I don't know, mom... What did I say?! When the guy said it on tv everybody laughed.


Hannah finished collecting the socks and unders from the impossible gap.

It was trickier than it looked to get those socks and unders.

She didn't break any bones.

And it was totally legal.

Friday, August 7, 2009


Yesterday it seemed as though every blog I visited was discussing the fact that it costs $221,000 to raise a child to age 17.

I have four kids.

That means, hypothetically, I'm out $900,000.

I spent the day listening to my eldest daughter moan about being bored. So that I could spend the afternoon in meetings. So that I could volunteer to do things that, most days, I don't want to do. So that I could glower at my children during the meetings as they giggled just a little too loudly. So that I could come home and have one of my children pitch a royal tantrum - directed at me - for something I had absolutely nothing to do with. So that I could send her to her room until dinner. And listen to her bemoan her tragic fate.

I got all that for $900,000. Yeah. I'm that good.

Then I did the math:

* 4 kids x 17 years = 68 years

* 7+7+9+11 (their current ages) = 34 years

* I'm basically 1/3 of the way through the specified years.

* 1/3 of $900,000 is $300,000.

That means I have $300,000 in equity

So I'm wondering...

Should I post them "for sale"
And hang this sign over the front door?
(Ignoring egregious grammatical errors, of course)

I have a lot of equity
I could be flexible on the price.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

My family tree

Do you ever watch your kids and, you know, wonder?

If they're a few fries short of a Happy Meal....

Or, if that time they fell on their head while learning to walk was more serious than it looked...

Most days I think my kids are pretty stinkin' brilliant, thank-you-very-much. But every once in awhile, well, I have to wonder. I'd been noticing lately that a lot of the clothes coming through the laundry basket were covered in cherry juice. I didn't think much of it until yesterday when I saw Emily leaning over the sink. At first glance I thought she'd cut herself and was trying to wash up. I rushed over to her in concern.

Turns out, she just can't spit. Seriously.
And it has nothing to do with the missing teeth, either.

She just....



She was tearing the cherries apart to remove the seeds and, in the process of shoving them in her mouth, leaving a sloppy trail of cherry juice all over her hands, face and clothes. I guess I know who was loading the laundry basket with cherry-stained clothes.

Emily and Abby may look exactly like me.

But they clearly act more like their father.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Snakes on a plane in the pool

Yesterday I gave you some background on our pool and it's magnet-like ability to attract frogs and snakes. I really needed you to appreciate my state of mind when I approach the pool and contemplate peeking into the skimmer basket. The vast majority of the time I pop it open and find only cute little frogs. But every once in awhile, when I start to feel complacent....

I was standing by the pool preparing to check the skimmer basket . I was alternating between saying little prayers that it would be empty and berating myself for being such a big wuss. DH was out of town, and he was going to be gone for a solid seven days. Sometimes I just ignore stuff while he's gone, but not for a whole week. I sighed in resignation and had just hunched over and pulled the lid off the skimmer basket when I noticed a long, black tail sticking out and floating in the pool. I gave a muffled shriek of dismay and dropped the lid to the ground with a loud bang.

Inside the basket, swimming against the downward swirl of the water, was a long, black snake.

I took a moment to ponder the fact that this sort of crap happens almost exclusively when my husband is out of town. I figured I had two choices: I could leave the snake there swimming futilely against the current to eventually drown. Or I could grab the pool net and try to fish him out.

I'm a lot of things, but heartless isn't one of them. And besides it wasn't a poisonous snake, so what could go wrong? I grabbed the net and gingerly tried to lift the snake from the skimmer. It worked, but it worked a little too well. The snake new exactly what to do, and when presented with the net's pole he he wound himself rapidly around the handle and began worming his way towards me at lightning speed. I froze momentarily in total panic, but there's nothing like the prospect of a snake crawling up your arm to make you wet your pants jolt you into action.

I try to act like an adult most of the time, but every once in awhile the veneer cracks and I morph into, I don't know, it's like a cartoon character version of myself. So I screamed, and trust me when I say that I can put a B-list actress in a cheesy slasher flick to shame with my vocal talents. And then I hucked the snake and the pool net as far away from me as I possibly could. Except it didn't go very far. The whole lot of it -- the snake and the net -- ended up in the pool.

In addition to trying to act like an adult I also try to be a good role model. Not that day. There was a blue cloud of profanity hanging over my head by that point. I think I might have invented a few new cuss words. Sailors the world over were proud. I finally got the net back using my legs (hello! legs in the pool with swimming snake! I should really get a medal here) and a swim noodle. I tried the snake removal again, and it was like deja vu. The snake came up the pole, I screamed like a girl, I hucked the whole mess like a javelin, again, for all I was worth...

Except this time I pitched it away from the pool.

I hurled some more creative profanity at the snake
as I retreated to the house on wobbly legs.

And I sent the kids into the woods to retrieve the net.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Remember that snake story I promised to tell you?

Well, you need a little background first. You need to understand the evil that regularly lurks waiting for me in the pool...

About a year ago, a month or so after our pool was complete, my husband was traveling and I was in charge of cleaning the pool's skimmer basket. There was torrential rain the night before. I tell you this because soon after the rain ceases a veritable orchestra begins. One frog begins with a tenuous chirp and in a matter of minutes the woods are filled with the cacophonous croaking and chirping of what sounds like at least a thousand frogs. Apparently, the increase in water makes conditions suitable for breeding so the males croak to attract female frogs for mating. Female frogs think croaking is very sexy. I think the croaking is very LOUD.

When we first moved to NC I envisioned the kids playing in the shallow creek behind the house. I fantasized about the hours they would spend with nets scooping frogs, and toads and minnows. It never even occurred to me that we had moved into a giant, all-you-can-eat buffet for SNAKES! Because you see, snakes just adore eating frogs. And based upon the racket the frogs were making there was no doubt the buffet was open for business. The really, really bad news is that when the buffet is open the snakes chase the frogs, and the frogs end up trying to escape into our swimming pool. Guess where the snakes end up?

I headed down to the pool with trepidation, and spent several minutes assessing the situation.

This is what s skimmer basket looks like. See the lid? You have to put your fingers in there and there's no way to see what's hiding in there waiting to get you...

In order to get the lid off of the skimmer basket I had to stick my finger into a hole in the lid to pull it off. Of course you can't see through the lid to see if any unwanted visitors are in there with your finger. So essentially you are sticking your top two knuckles into a black hole with God-only-knows-what waiting to have a go your defenseless finger. As long as the pool pump is on it creates a bit of a whirlpool in the skimmer basket. It would be difficult for a snake to overcome the current and reach up to get me, but still... Stranger things have happened in the world according to me.

So this fine morning I tried everything before actually removing the lid. I stuck my eye right up to the hole to see if I could spot anything. Of course when you push your face up to the hole like that light can't get in, thus making it impossible to see. So I tried to pry the lid off with a stick, but the stick broke. I tried the handle of a rake, but it was too straight and the lid kept crashing down before I could see anything. At this point I had wasted a good 20 minutes dancing around the skimmer basket and accomplishing nothing. I was feeling more than a little silly at this point so I decided to just stick my finger in there and hope for the best. Unfortunately, the second I got my finger into that hole there was an ear splitting screech from some sort of construction going on across the street. I don't normally consider myself to be jumpy, but the timing was horrible. I flung the solid brass lid to the skimmer about 20 feet in the air above my head, and then had to duck and cover to avoid getting whacked as it returned to Earth. At this point I am on my back in the wet grass, fairly soggy, a brass skimmer cover laying roughly two feet from my head and feeling like a huge idiot.

I have to tell you that there actually was a snake (he was dead. But really? Does that make any difference) in the skimmer basket that morning. It was third we'd found in the pool.