|That looks like rope, right?|
That's a Black Rat Snake (Pantherophis obsoletus). They're common in the eastern and central parts of the U.S. and Canada. Ugly suckers. They're non-venomous constrictors, harmless to humans, really. They're great climbers which means they have a nasty habit of showing up where you least expect them: mailboxes, hanging planters, etc. When they get cold they go looking for someplace warm. You see where this is going.
Earlier today I was cleaning dropped socks and other stuff out from under the built-in pantry in our laundry room. I moved an old shoe and a potato that had somehow rolled underneath when I saw it: a big black coil. I did the adult thing and resisted freaking out but I got the dog and me out of the basement and shut the door behind me. They can climb and constrict but they don't have opposable thumbs so they can't open a door knob, right? Except maybe they can coil around it and turn and...wait, I just creeped myself out again. Anyway, I immediately called my always sensitive, caring and compassionate husband. The conversation went something like this.
Me: Did you leave some hose or something under the pantry in the laundry room?
Kind Husband: I don't think so, why?
Me: Are you certain?
Perplexed Husband: Yes. Why?
Me: F@$&! I think there's a black snake in the basement.
Silent Husband: (Silence)
Detective Husband: Did you look?
Me: Yes I looked! I wouldn't be calling you if hadn't looked.
Still Detective Husband: You're sure it's a snake?
Me: I wouldn't be calling you if I was sure. I'd be calling the fire department.
Exasperated Husband: Don't be testy. Get the flashlight and go down and look.
Me: And wake it up?
Further Exasperated Husband: Take the dog, he'll protect you.
Me: What if it attacks him? He's a bird dog, not a snake dog.
Reaching The End Of His Tether Husband: Then shut the door and I'll look when I get home.
It was just about time to pick up the kids so the dog and the kids and I went out for a while. When my sensitive, caring and compassionate husband came home he went and looked and did I mention that he's not funny? He wouldn't be funny if Robin Williams was writing his material. He started screaming like he was being attacked, naturally (the dog he said would protect me? Slept through that part). Then he came up the stairs carrying the shoe and the potato I dropped earlier and the lid from a hamper that I haven't seen in about five years, dark blue and curved just so. *Sigh* My hero. Lucky for me that Jim Stafford gets me.