Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Um. That was unexpected.

Today has been one of those days.  Yesterday evening around bedtime we discovered Cinderella had a fever.  Great.  I stay home with her today because we, unlike many parents at daycare, actually keep our child home when she’s sick.  Ok, enough of my soap box. 

This evening, Jayna had an appointment to get her hair fixed.  She leaves at 6:30 and I’m left to handle dinner, bath, books and bedtime.  Not a problem.  We go through the first half of the night night routine and sit down to read our books.  For some reason the dogs are barking in the back yard.  Now, this isn’t overly unusual, our dogs are obnoxious.  Tonight was different.  They weren’t stopping.  And the primary barker was Beau.  Beau is the fat, lazy and normally docile one that rarely barks.  Most of the time he just stands there and stares at stuff.  Not tonight, he was barking like he was defending his food bowl or something.  I couldn’t hear Bailey barking at all.  That’s even stranger, she will typically bark at a stiff breeze. 

Ok, books are read, daughter is tucked in and the freakin dogs are still barking.  I storm down the stairs and look out the back door to see nothing but Beau’s butt sticking up from under the fence.  Bailey is sitting behind him observing the ridiculousness of it all.  I walk out the back door and divert the attention of Beau briefly.  He has apparently been attempting to escape Attica or something because there is a mud hole next to the fence and Beau is covered from head to toe in mud.  Nice.

I go over to the fence to get a closer look at the carnage and I can see the edge of a turtle shell.  Of course.  Beau was attempting to eat a turtle.  And I might add, in doing so, has wrecked my well groomed back yard. 

The turtle in question appears to be wedged under the fence.  The house next to us is brand new and just had sod installed.  He was wedged between the sod and the fence and had slid slightly under the fence.  I reached down to push the turtle up out of the hole he was in, hoping he would just continue on his merry way and we could be done with all this commotion.  When I started to push on the shell the turtle jerked and kind of hissed.  Wait a minute.  I know that sound.  I have certainly never heard a terrapin make that noise.  I take a closer look and sure enough, there is that long rat like tail that tapers down to a point.  That’s about all I could see but that was all I needed to see.  What the hell is a snapping turtle doing in my back yard in suburban Tulsa?

For those of you that know me well, you know I grew up in and/or around the country.  I spent many an hour at farm ponds.  I’ve seen snapping turtles.  I’ve harassed snapping turtles just to see them get angry.  However, I have lived in Tulsa for over 10 years now I can’t say I’ve seen a snapping turtle during that entire time outside of the zoo. 

If you’ve never had an experience with a snapping turtle, they’re not like you average turtle.  They’re FAST, their neck is LONG and their bites HURT.  I decided that poking this turtle from the other side of the fence where I couldn’t see anything was probably a bad idea.  I go to the garage and fetch a rake and head to the neighbors yard.  I peel back the sod because the turtle is completely covered by the sod.  As soon as I peel back the grass the turtle starts hissing at me.  Wow, this is a particularly angry fella.  I decide it’s a good thing I brought the rake, maybe I should use it.  I hook the back of the shell with the rake and he immediately latches on to the rake and doesn’t let go.  I lift him out of the hole between our yards and swing him over to the middle of the yard.  It takes me a second to get him to let the rake go and he continues to hiss at me.  I walk around the corner of the house and keep an eye on him for a minute.  He finally calms down and wanders off.

I spend the next half an hour washing the dogs and trying to cover the gaping hole in the back yard with something until I can get some dirt to fill in.

I swear this stuff only happens to me.  Really?  A snapping turtle?

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