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Dear Oprah,

I don’t usually write about experiences at work, as I feel there is a fine line between amusement and unprofessionalism, however there is a story that I must tell.

Our design center is open from noon to 5p.m. on Sundays and we are to get there shortly before to be ready for the day. Yesterday, I got there and started to pull a few fabrics and design ideas for a couple of appointments that I had.  D. the person that runs the front desk on the weekends came in just before the store was to open along with some clients that were standing at the door like teenage girls waiting in line for One Direction tickets.

The store is set up like a fancy home only with track running the full circle, so the “One Direction” clients took off to the left (good sense of direction on their part…tee…hee…) and D. went off the to the right. I went straight back into the design center to finish pulling my things together.

Moments later, D. is standing in front of me looking like she needs to ask a diva designer a favor and is afraid they’re going to be a snot about it, which I found a little strange since our working relationship is really nothing like that.

It seems that when she went over to the right side of the showroom to look at a piece of furniture, she found a guest enjoying the delightful spaces of our store.  A three-foot black snake.  We think he squeezed under our glass foyer doors overnight and decided it was a cool place to squat.  Like no female said, ever, (until now) I exclaimed “let me check him out!” over my shoulder as I headed off to find the little guy.  Surely he was a harmless black racer. He was. With an oval head the same width as its neck and skin lighter on his belly than the rubber-tire scales on the rest of him, he was pretty benign looking, except that he was afraid and agitated.

I sent D. to find a broom or something so that I could corral him back to the foyer and out the door, all the while keeping a close eye on him, so he couldn’t undulate off to some dresser drawer and scare the bejesus out of some unsuspecting client or designer.  About this time I found a huge camel colored grasshopper, who also became agitated as well and took turns jumping on my shoe and pant leg likely trying to evade the snake’s giant jaws (they would be pretty giant to something an inch tall.)  I tried not to add to the chaos by tap dancing around to get it off me, but I really wanted to lose my freak out a little.  I can handle reptiles and amphibians but insects are the nemesis to my cool.  I thought snake-y (as my boys would aptly name him) would gobble it up, but in his stress he just wiggled and writhed his way passed me and under a side board  Not wanting to grab him behind the head for fear he would strike me before I could get a good hold on him, I simply stood guard.  Getting bitten has happened to me before by a black racer…it’s like being poked with a pin, but still, I don’t want to be poked with a pin.

About this time D. shows up with two brooms and I manage to scare him back to the foyer.  Meanwhile, more of my coworkers are becoming aware of the situation along with some more clients.  I can hear one of designers (you know who you are) sort of gagging as she is watching me wrestle the snake (with a broom) from the safe confines of the design studio area.

Finally, another designer who is homegrown in Florida and shares my intrigue with Florida critters more than most, grabbed the other broom because mister fancy scales got behind and angled sofa and just out of my broom’s reach.  My friend, let it be known is about 10 months pregnant—literally—she could go at any moment.  So giant belly, in a dress, and armed with a push broom, she managed to get around the other side of the angled sofa to stop the snake from moving any further out of reach from the long arm of my “snake” broom.  Trapped in my bristles, I swept him toward me, then out the door, across the sidewalk and into the hedges where he probably breathed a huge sigh of relief although probably not as much as my 12 coworkers.

Since I was in animal and people saving mode, I took my all-powerful broom and got the grasshopper to jump on the bristles where I gave him a ride to the great outdoors as well.  I would like to say my coworkers put me up on their shoulders and paraded me around the showroom, and bought my lunch, and maybe named a day after me, but I had to settle for being called a hero.

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