woodchips

Florida Gothic
  • The further south you go, the further north you get. Directions mean nothing. You drive and drive and end up further away from where you were going than when you started. You only end up in the south (or is it the north?) by accident, and are never sure how you eventually get back.
  • Several times a year the tourists flock into your town, clogging the highways and the beaches and the restaurants. You look the other way as they wade into water that is just a bit cooler and murkier than it should be. What’s a few tourists, in the long scheme of things?
  • You see the Snowbirds come, the retirees that visit every winter to escape the cold. You have never met the same one twice. You stop asking for names.
  • You take a kayaking tour of the coast. Your guide whispers to you to be careful, says that the mangroves can be dangerous, warns you not to get lost. In the distance there is screaming. Your guide says that it’s just the local frogs, and you pretend not to see his haunted stare.
  • Alligators appear in every body of water. You hesitate to leave the bathtub unattended, never leave the dishes to soak in a full sink, but it does no good. They crawl out of the water pitcher, the birdbath, the puddles on your counter. You try to ignore them. They ignore you. You learn to live with them.
  • There is a Publix on every street, and you are glad. You love them with a fierce devotion you cannot begin to explain. When you visit other states, you feel empty inside, always thinking of when you can get back.
  • You do not believe in snow. You have seen it three times, on vacations up north… you do not believe in snow. 
  • You barely even notice anymore when the hurricanes come, not until the air is heavy and yellow and the wind is strong. You think ‘oh’, and drive to the store to buy the third-to-last loaf of bread, and then it rains for 5 days and you eat canned beans by candlelight. Afterwards you can barely recall that it happened. Outside, there is a pile of woodchips where a tree used to be. You don’t remember why.
  • There is a man selling oranges beside the road, beside almost every road. You have never seen anyone stop for them, but there they remain. Someday, you think, you will buy some of those oranges. You never do.
  • In the distance, the clouds loom like mountains. You are not sure what mountains are, but you think they must be mostly like that. A handful of minutes later, they are gone.
concept playlists

all your work is due tomorrow and you put on flip flops, leaving the house, walking around the street just to get away from your looming deadlines, you stand on the fire hydrant, you hit the street signs, just anything so that the weekend won’t be over and you don’t have to walk back inside where you feel the strain of the past being gone

your dad is driving you to the lego store on a strangely humid night just because he can, when you look in the rear view mirror the headlights look like wolves’s eyes and you can feel them chasing you

you’re a mermaid sitting on the bottom of the ocean, watching sea green jelly seep out from the cuts on your skin as you cry air tears and choke on the salty water you breathe, the world seems to move in waves

you’re in sixth or seventh grade and you can feel your childhood come to an end as you run around behind your gymnastics building, there’s another two hours before you can leave but the sky is getting dark and you can’t breathe from running so much, your muscles ache and you aren’t wearing shoes on the gravel and woodchips, it’s not going to stay like this because you feel like you’ve been here forever, every wednesday afternoon spent waiting for the wednesday afternoons where it’s warm enough you don’t have to face fog’s bite as you run

trying to catch a bus and having to run past a burger king that plays classical music to scare away homeless people, seeing a familiar perfume ad up in the air, the size of the commercial buildings on the ground, catching your bus next to an empty theater, trying to recover from losing a hit musical to LA, and now you’ll get home 20 minutes later

childhood sounds

wind chimes, a creaking swingset, scissors cutting construction paper, “coming soon to home video”, barbie jeep motor, pool splashes, sidewalk chalk against pavement, the ice cream truck’s song, running on woodchips, bicycle spoke beads, jumping on a trampoline, popping open plastic easter eggs, hose water on backyard grass, lizzie mcguire theme song, opening a vhs tape case, playstation 2 start up, basketball dribbling in the driveway, zipping a lisa frank backpack, leappad book’s narration, playing with wooden blocks, walking down basement stairs, crickets at night, thermometer beeping

fluttering bright eyes, overalls, giggles, music in the car, woodchips at the park, sunshine, swingsets, swirly slides, blowing bubbles, scraped knees, bandaids, grass stains, zoo pals paper plates, sippy cups, car rides, jumbo coloring books, color coded crayons, stickers on everything, playdoh, washed hands, colorful utensils, plastic plates, full tummies, heavily loved stuffed animals, watching your favorite movie, footed pajamas, yawns, “I’m not tired"s, sleepy eyes, peaceful dreams

“Almost ready?” I asked, leaning over while still standing, trying to tie my shoe in the most inefficient way possible.

“Let me get a drink first,” Veronica said, grabbing a glass and heading to the bathroom sink.  Veronica told me she liked bathroom water more than kitchen water on our fourth date.  It was a little weird, but I didn’t judge her.  Maybe she knew something I didn’t.

She paused to smile at the mirror before turning on the tap.  I remember what she told me about that, too.  She said she did it every time she came across a mirror to remind herself that she was a beautiful person.  She was beautiful, that was certainly true.  I couldn’t knock her runner’s figure or her shielded eyes or her Mediterranean brown hair.  She also dressed well.

When I was in elementary school, I remember we had this assembly in which some guy came in and the basic message of it was was that we should protect the rainforests.  I have a vague recollection that there were songs involved, but I can’t really remember the full details of something that happened almost fifteen years ago.  What I’m stuck with now is the question: why did the school permit someone to tell 7 year olds to protect the environment?  What could I, a 7 year old kid, possibly have done to stop the mean companies from bulldozing trees to make paper out of?  I disliked paper just as much as the next kid; you had my full support already.  Did they pay that guy or did he pay the school?  And which would be worse?

“Ready now?” I asked as she finished her second glass.  "We should get out there before sunset.“

"Yeah,” she yielded, tossing me the glass glass.  

“That’s glass,” I scolded, carefully setting it inside the dishwasher.  

Does this qualify as a skill: I’m really good at measuring someone’s attractiveness.  I can look at any woman and immediately scale her outward beauty compared to other women.  If you put 100 women in a room I could place them in order of my attractiveness to them without any struggle at all. What does that mean?  What does that say about me?  Do other people have this same skill?  I’m afraid to ask.  I haven’t ever mentioned this to anyone.  I realize it’s a very rude thing to even talk about doing.  Plus, where would I find the 100 women?

We disembarked from my second floor apartment, careful on the icy outdoor steps to the parking lot.  After four sentences of discussion, which I will spare you, we decided to head west, so we could face the setting sun as we ran.  I had forgotten my sunglasses, but Veronica had remembered hers.  She also remembered her water bottle and her ipod.  It was one of those mid 2000s ones, definitely pre-iPhone, but I couldn’t remember what it was called. Anyway, she also had one of those straps runners have that lets you attach it to your arm as you run.  Man, technology has really advanced.

When I first started driving I used to be really nervous about making left turns. Something about them startled me.  Maybe it was the improvisation and finesse required to judge the distance needed to successful turn without getting destroyed by the opposite side of traffic, maybe it was because I probably only did ten of them before going for my license test.  I think I’ve mastered it now, but I still really prefer right turns.  They’re a lot easier to pull off and there’s less of a chance your car will be hit if you make an honest American mistake.

I really struggled to keep up with her, no matter how hard I tried.  I had that sharp pain in my abdomen you get from not eating enough pasta and tomatoes the night before you run.  I also had one of those little woodchip spikes you get in your socks in my sock.  It wasn’t that bad, though; I had definitely had worse woodchip splinters in my sock before, that’s for sure.  All in all, it wasn’t worth complaining about and it definitely wasn’t worth stopping and getting left behind.  The sun was finally starting to do its nice colors thing, so I sucked it up and kept running at pace with Veronica.  She had on one of those yellow-green jackets runners wear to make themselves really visible.  I had one of those nice black caps that robbers wear, but they’re really warm so I didn’t mind having to face that stigma if it arose. 

Original #11: I Know What Happened To Mike O’ Brien

Length: Long

TRIGGER WARNING: SUICIDE

I’m a midnight listener. There are many of us around the world, but as far as I’m aware of, I’m the only one on my campus.  During the day, I’m your ordinary college student. But at night, more specifically during the hours of midnight to 2am, I’m the school’s midnight listener. What I do is simple. I listen.

During those hours, students come into my “office” – an old storage room in the top floor of my dormitory. They sit infront of a large black curtain that separates me and the student. That way, they can’t see me, and neither can I see them. That’s why students like to come to me instead of the school counsellors. They enjoy the anonymity, the privacy of being able to speak their mind about their worries and troubles without judgment or repercussions. So they lock the door, sit infront of the curtain, and then they speak. What they say is entirely up to them. Most of my sessions revolve around people talking about their family, relationship, and academic problems. Some speak about their mental illnesses and how they’re coping. Some tell me secrets they’re too ashamed to speak publicly of.

I’ve been running my sessions for a while now. I’ve heard from many different people. Usually I listen, and then I forget. It’s my coping technique for not empathising too strongly. However, there have been a couple of instances that particularly piqued my interest. This is one of them.

This is the story of Mike O’Brien, a senior in my college.

A month ago, Mike vanished. At first, nobody batted an eyelid. This was college after all and people were bound to go AWOL for a while. But when all calls and messages to Mike went unanswered, people started panicking. The school was notified, who called Mike’s parents, who called the police. Statements were taken and posters were printed. Search parties were organised, but none were successful.

A week later, the police received an anonymous phone call about Mike’s return to his dormitory. The caller was unable to provide any concrete proof. The call was subsequently treated as a prank, and was ignored. That same night, at around 4AM, the police received a second call about Mike. This time, it was from the school’s residence office. The student living next to Mike’s room had called up the office and complained about loud and repeated thumping noises coming from Mike’s room. Half an hour later, the office sent someone up with a key, and Mike’s body was subsequently discovered. He was hanging from the makeshift pull-up bar in his room.

According to the office staff, Mike’s body was swaying from the rope, even though there was no breeze in the room. His feet made loud, steady thumping noises as they hit against the wall. The swaying promptly stopped right after Mike was discovered.

A review of the CCTV footage showed Mike stumbling back to his room. His body movements were consistent with that of a drunk. Nothing was amiss, except the fact that Mike was walking with a pronounced limp. Mike never had a limp at any point in his life. The coroners were unable to explain this, however. Mike’s death was subsequently ruled as a suicide, although his one-week disappearance remained unexplained.

Now up until this point, I’d no personal interest at all in Mike’s case. It was shocking, sure, but I didn’t know the guy personally. So I didn’t care. But that all changed the night Ryan came to speak with me.

It was a couple of nights after Mike’s body was found. I’d just settled down in my office when I heard the door squeak open. I couldn’t see the door from my seat, but could make out a shadow drifting across the room before plopping loudly onto the chair across the curtain.

“Midnight listener here. How may I address you?” I called out.

Silence, and then an uncertain chuckle.

“You don’t have to use your real name if you don’t want to,” I continued.

The silence continued, before a reply: “Ryan, I guess.”

“Hey, Ryan. Whenever you’re ready.”

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lunchables, dirt-caked sneakers, hot pavement, back to school commercials, animal cracker boxes, the smell of woodchips after rain, popsicle stained tongues, sidewalk chalk, scraped knees, “summer 2005” on a tie-dye bouncy ball, ant traps, rooftop fireworks, bug spray odor, windowsill crickets, chlorine-and-ice-cream-cold, sleepy rainbows, a barbie diary full of stories

Thiam Week Day 3: Games

**NOTE** This is a continuation from Day 2 which can be found on my page

**NOTE 2** This story will continue on day 4 because I’m all about the slow burn that turns into an all out fire 😈


Liam nodded his head up and down at Theo’s question. He had never wanted to play a game more in his life. Well maybe except for a few lacrosse games but this definitely topped those. Theo was still pinning his hands against the wall and flicking his eyes between Liam’s lips and back up to his glowing eyes. Liam was ready for Theo’s next move and was unpleasantly surprised when he dropped his hands and took a step back from him.

“Go shower. You stink and the smell of your blood is going to drive me insane.” Theo said unapologetically. Liam stayed against the wall not believing that Theo was able to just step away from him like that AGAIN. Get a grip on yourself, it’s just a game to him. Closing his eyes, he thought of his mantra to get his eyes to change back. Once he knew he was in control again he pushed off the wall and stomped his way into the bathroom slamming the door. He heard Theo chuckling from the other room and flipped him off through the wall.

After throwing his dirty clothes on to the already large pile in the corner, he turned the water on to hot and climbed in. He watched as the water at the bottom of the tub went from clear to a dark pink and then back to clear once all the blood was gone. Picking up the bottle of soap he poured some on his head and some down his chest as he began to scrub everywhere. As his fingers ran through his hair, his thumb accidentally touched the spot on his neck that Theo had found in the alley sending a zing of excitement through him.

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at a park: drarry

harry pushing draco on the swings

harry showing draco how to go on the monkey bars

draco laughing at harry and brushing his fingers on the bars while going under them (”we can reach them from the ground you idiot”)

harry pushing draco down a slide without warning him what he’s doing

draco cursing harry and trying to get woodchips out of his hair

harry going down the slide and landing on top of draco

kissing

draco asking what the heck the ‘merry-go-round’ is

harry taking his hand and dragging him over there

harry telling him to sit on it and hold on tight

draco asking him what the hell he is doing as he grabs on to one of the bars and begins running

draco shrieking

harry letting go of the bar as it keeps spinning to fall on the ground laughing as draco curses him, unable to get off without injuring himself

the merry-go-round ceasing to spin, so draco can get off and tackle harry

more kissing

fluff

so much fluff

hand holding

just drarry in general

at a park 

drarry at a park

Experimental

Pardon me did @10outta10wouldsinagain say “Greed taking care of Nina AU”?


It was something he heard from every guard and scientist in the Southern Command lab—always the same breathless whisper, with a dry-throat choke of fear and the shaky tremor of disbelief: Monster.

They’d whisper it, and swallow, and then run. That part was always nice. Humans weren’t a fair fight.

“You’re…Y-you’re a—“

“—yeah, yeah, monster, you’re not the first genius to reach that conclusion pal.” Greed cracked his neck, rolling his shoulders where his shield melded with the flesh near his collar bone. “Words hurt sometimes.”

Dorochet swung in from the left, katana in hand. The guard hadn’t budged since Greed spoke, and his frozen gun sliced easily in two, along with a cut of his scraggly gray beard. This jolted the man into action. He let out a high-pitched whine, then tripped on his own feet as he spun and bolted down the hall.

“But still, I guess monster is better than homunculus. Less chance of Pops finding me here.”

Dorochet didn’t answer. He turned, breathing heavy, and watched. Greed rubbed at his neck.

“You know you’re a real stick in the mud today, Dorochet. Usually you laugh at my jokes.”

“She’s close,” Dorochet answered. He stuck his nose in the air, grimaced, and twisted on his heels to the left hall. His sword slipped back into its scabbard.

Greed followed. He surveyed the walls with muted curiosity. Harsh fluorescence beat down from overhead. Small strips of lighting lined the bottom edges of the hall. It was sterile, and white, and buzzed distantly, and seemingly hadn’t changed from the day he busted in to free his own chimera gang.

“I’ll bet you’ve got some pleasant memories of this place,” Greed mused. They turned another corner. Empty—not so much as a painting worth snagging off the wall.

“Oh yeah, the best,” Dorochet bit back. His lip twitched over his teeth, the hair along his neck bristling. “The antiseptic smell is real nostalgic.”

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Tails' Ball Python Care Sheet

MATERIALS:
Must Haves-
•Thermostat ($30-$100+)
•Temperature and Humidity Gauge ($5-$10)
•Temperature gun ($20+)
•Substrate ($2-$20)
-Cypress, aspen, paper towels are the most recommended.
•Hides ($10-$25 each)
-a good rule of thumb; a hide for every 10 gallons of tank
-cardboard boxes with holes cut into doorways are also okay, I personally prefer them
•Water dish ($10-$30)
-the snake shouldn’t be able to knock it over
•Under Tank Heater [UTH] ($20-$50+)
•Spray bottle or mister ($1-$50)
•Food, mice or rats ($8-$20+)
-Frozen/Thawed are recommended, as live prey can bite and infect your snake
•Hand sanitizer ($5 for a huge bottle)
•A tank or bin ($15-$120+)
-I personally use and prefer tanks
-10 gal. for hatchlings/neonates, 20-25 gal. for subadults, 30-40 gal. for adults
•Water purifier ($5)
•Cleaning solution ($5)
•Gram scale ($15-$25)

May Haves-
•Climbing branch ($10-$25)
•Heat lamp ($15-$20)
•Ceramic Heat Emitter [CHE] ($10-15) or infrared bulb ($5-$10)
•Decor (varied prices)
•Sphagnum moss ($10-$25)
-usually used for humid hides, a practical must
•Feeding tongs ($1-$15)

SET-UP:
Heating-
There should be a warm side and a cool side, and a thermometer for each. I like to have the thermometer/hydrometer pair at the top, middle of the tank, to measure ambients, and the other two on the sides at the bottom, where the snake is. Even with thermometers (which are known to be faulty) you should have an infrared temperature gun to measure exact temperatures in certain places. You should spend about 5-10 minutes a day evaluating temperature, humidity, and all technology is properly functioning.
The warm side is where the UTH and lamp should be. You won’t need a lamp if your house’s temperature never drops below 75°. DESIRED TEMPERATURE OF WARM SIDE: 88°-92°
The cool side shouldn’t have any heating elements. Most people keep their water dishes on the cool side, though the dish can be put on the warm side to boost humidity. DESIRED TEMPERATURE OF COOL SIDE: 85°-83°

Humidity-
In general, the humidity should be in the 40-50% range. You can put the water dish on the warm side to bump up humidity, mist the tank 1-3 times daily, add sphagnum moss and a humid hide, and if you have a mesh lidded tank put damp towels over the top. When the snake is in shed, humidity should increase to 50-60%.

Hides and decor-
There should be at least two hides in a tank, one on the warm side and one on the cool. A lot of handlers, however, use the 1:10 ratio; one hide to ten gallons. There’s no such thing as too many hides!
Hides come in various forms and prices. The most inexpensive hide is a cardboard box with a doorway cut in it. Cardboard is an insulator, which is why cats like to sit in boxes and snakes like them as hides. The most common hide is a small halved log called a Habba Hut, which is about $5 for a small hut. Many professionals use a basic, black plastic hide that’s about the same price. There’s also caves, skulls, and other hides that get a little more pricey for the natural look. Be careful with decorative hides- make sure there’s no place they can cram themselves into and not get out of, or anything that in an emergency you can’t remove them from. And if you want to get crafty, there’s a ton of DIY hides you can try.
Substrate is more of an aesthetics option. While woodchips (cypress and ReptiBark) are more natural and can boost humidity for a time, they’re the most expensive and hardest to maintain. Aspen is cheap, but can also be a pain to maintain humidity and cleanliness. The substrate should be about an inch thick.
The simplest and cheapest are paper towels. While not pleasing to look at or natural in any form, they’re functional. They don’t absorb the water spilled or misted on it, and are the easiest to clean and keep fresh.
Live plants tend to be a hassle and are easily crushed by the heavy bodied ball pythons. Aquarium fake plants work, along with fake plants from craft stores (required there’s no glitter, scents, etc.). The plants can be used to make hides or as decorations. The plants should be cleaned with the rest of the tank, and should be sanitized with the cleaner before being added to the tank.
Ball pythons are nocturnal, and enjoy dark, cramped spaces. Consider adding siding and backgrounds to your tanks to add security, as they can’t see out or get much light in.
TIP: By varying thickness of substrate (high to low, odd dips, etc) you can add a bit of enrichment to your snake’s tank when you clean it.


Cleaning-
Tanks should be thoroughly cleaned every 30 days. Spot cleaning should be done daily. Water changes should be done every 2-4 days, and the water should be purified. All objects should be cleaned with a safe cleansing solution before being added to the tank.

FEEDING:
Prey-
Hatchlings get a mouse crawler every 5-7 days.
Hatchlings-150 grams get a rat pinky every 5-7 days.
150 g-400 g: rat pup every 5-7 days
400 g-600 g: weanling rat every 5-7 days
600 g-1200 g: small rat every week
1200 g-1800 g: medium rat weekly
Do not handle the snake within 12-24 hours of it eating, as this can cause regurgitation, which is very stressful.

Going off feed-
Ball pythons are renowned for their finicky eating habits. Going off feed/not eating can be caused by:
•incorrect temperature
•incorrect humidity
•breeding season
•stress
•different fur color
•illness
•in shed
Evaluate your tank for any issues. Correct them if there is any. Reduce handling and add hides. Check your snake for symptoms of illness (wheezing, crackling or popping when breathing, stuck shed, weight loss, cloudy eyes, etc.).
Carefully watch your snake’s weight for a significant loss. As they don’t expel a lot of energy, they don’t need a lot from their food. If there is a significant loss, take it to a local exotics vet. If there isn’t, there isn’t much to worry about.
Only offer food once a week (or however long it takes you to periodically feed them), even if the snake doesn’t eat. Over-offering can stress out the snake, and cause them not to eat even longer.

Frozen/Thawed:
Yes, most breeders have their snakes on live as its faster and easier for people with large amounts of snakes to feed at one time. Transitioning-ease varies on the snakes; some will take the first food they’re offered, some need to be offered prekilled a few weeks before taking F/T, and some will fight you until their dying day.
When thawing, put the prey in a Baggie into a container of cool water for 30-40 minutes to defrost. DO NOT THAW THEM IN HOT WATER- it causes bacterial growth in the prey and can cause illness in the snake. After it is completely defrosted, heat the prey in hot water for 10-20 minutes, or use a blow drier to heat them in the same room as the snake- the smell of the prey will get their senses going.
Oh and DON’T microwave the prey. It will explode.

Tempting Balls to Eat F/T-
Try:
•splitting the head open or braiding the prey (not for those with weak stomachs)
•scenting the prey with dirty mouse or rat bedding
•blow drying the prey to warm it in the same room as the snake (mentioned above)
•a zombie dance (wiggle it, make it scrounge around if you have to)
•leaving it in a hide overnight (be sure to check on it the morning after)
•annoying the snake with it (yes, quite literally, poke and prod at them with it. Get their attention.)

Live feeding-
This way is risky and highly unrecommended, but on occasion, unavoidable. After every meal, check the snake for bites or missing scales. If the snake doesn’t strike it within an hour (UNDER SUPERVISION; NEVER LEAVE LIVE PREY UNATTENDED), remove it from the tank. Don’t leave prey in the tank.
DO NOT GET A BALL PYTHON IF YOU ARE NOT PREPARED TO FEED IT LIVE. While ideally every snake can be transitioned to the safer F/T, some are set in their ways. You shouldn’t starve your pet because you can’t handle to feed it live.

HANDLING:
SNAKES DO NOT NEED TO BE HANDLED. While us mammals enjoy physical contact and being cuddled and held, snakes don’t. This can stress them out, and can easily be overdone. It’s important to make sure they aren’t impossible to wrangle or are the nastiest nibblers out there in case they need medical treatment, but it’s not necessary to take them out for a little play date everyday.

Getting them used to you-
DO NOT HOLD THEM FOR 5-7 DAYS AFTER BRINGING THEM HOME. They need to settle in. With the stress of moving and an unfamiliar space, handling can tip the scales. Give them their space. After that, do short, 15-20 minute sessions every 3-5 days, watch how they respond to it. If they’re responding well, you can handle them more frequently. If they’re not, give them more time.
Ball pythons are shy, and babies can be defensive. Don’t go in the tank afraid of them. Go in confidently. Pet their sides to let them know you’re there and you’re not a threat, then pick them up at their thickest. If you’re worried about being bit, pick them up by lifting the body behind their heads- they won’t turn around and nab you.
Don’t grab their heads or their necks. Like most snakes, ball pythons are head shy, and this can cause them to panic.

Bonding-
Snakes can’t bond like mammals; they can’t feel affection towards their handler in any traditional, mammalian sense of the word. While they think they’ve privileged you with not striking you when you hold them, to you, the relationship is lacking. They’re sort of like scaly cats.
While snakes can learn to trust their handler in a sense, they can’t really bond to them. They simply don’t have the mental capacity to. Though everyone who owns one believes they have a special connection to their noodle, truthfully, they don’t.
The closest thing snakes can establish to a bond is a sort of comfort with the familiar. They recognize your scent, your voice, your hands and their warmth, and your schedule. When you’ve handled a snake a lot, you’ll notice they’ve become used to you- they know their favorite spots to sit, that your finger isn’t a prey item, and your heat signature is yours alone. Humans vary slightly in temperature; not very much to us, but to snakes, a few degrees or points of degrees is a huge difference. Many snakes when handed to a stranger will seek out their familiar handler, simply because they’re used to that person and their set of quirks.
While this isn’t much of a bond to us, it means a lot to them. If you really want them to love you, leave them alone!

KEEPING RECORDS:
While not everyone owns hundreds of snakes or even more than three, records are very important. You need to keep track of feeding, shedding, and digestion. While this doesn’t need to be horribly extensive, you do need to carefully follow:
•feeding/going off feed
•weight (weigh in once a shed, at least)
•shedding
•age
•size
FUN FACT- People who own multiple snakes commonly use a 1.1 sort of system to keep track of snakes. The first number (1.0) is how many male snakes are owned. The second (0.1) is females. This can continue into 3’s and 4’s for unsexed (0.0.1) or eggs (0.0.0.1).

HEALTH:
Snakes will hide their issues, as its a great weakness in the wild. You will have to carefully watch your snake for any changes.

Veterinarians-
ALWAYS HAVE MONEY SET ASIDE FOR THE VET. You never know when something could go wrong. Before purchasing a snake, look up exotic vets in your area, and check their services.

Health issues-
RESPIRATORY INFECTIONS [RIs]- Commonly diagnosed by:
•crackling, popping, or wheezing
•bubbles in the mouth (can be checked by gently holding the snake’s head or neck and carefully pushing down the lower lip)
•frequent “yawning” (jaw readjustment should only be seen after feeding)
Cured by:
•antibiotics; aka Veterinary treatment.
If you suspect your snake has an RI, check the tank for anything that could be wrong. RIs can be caused by improper heat, humidity, or stress.

STUCK SHED-
Commonly diagnosed by:
•patchy, incomplete sheds
Cured by:
•humidity increase:
•adding a humid hide
•increasing mistings
•adding sphagnum moss
•cleaning the water dish, adding a little extra fresh water
•pillow case method: put the snake in a damp pillow case and tie it, leaving the snake in there for 30 minutes.
•bathing- the water should only be as high as the thickest part of the snake’s body.
Stuck shed is a very easy problem to deal with.

MITES-
Commonly diagnosed by:
•the snake frequently submerging themselves in the water dish
•small, black bugs on the snake or in the tank
Cured by:
•mite sprays and frequent cleanings. Make sure the snake has plenty of fresh water too!

GENERAL CARE/COMMON HUSBANDRY MISTAKES:
Shedding-
Be sure to bump up humidity in the tank. A humid hide is really great to give the snake a place to shed in peace.
You can tell a snake is going into shed when their belly scales begin to become more pinkish, their pattern darkens, and their eyes become cloudy. This is known as “going blue”. They’re in blue for about two days before clearing up, which is when they should take a day or two to completely shed their skin.
Snakes tend to be irritable at this time; my mother calls it a “snake period”. Some won’t eat while in shed. Younger snakes tend to shed more frequently, often 3 weeks to a month. Older snakes can go about 45-60 days until shed.

Cohabitation-
DO NOT, I REPEAT, DO NOT COHABIT BALL PYTHONS. This causes a huge amount of stress for both animals, and just because “they do it in the pet store” does not make it okay. If one becomes ill, you can’t figure out which one, or they could both become infected. Cannibalism exists even in well fed animals, so cohabitation isn’t worth risking.
And just to put it out there- I’m sick of having people say, “the breeder said they grew up together and can live together until they’re adults”. That’s a really unintelligent breeder. No one who had any idea what they were doing would tell you to cohabit these animals. I’ve already been over the fact snakes can’t bond; they don’t recognize siblings as nonthreatening. Snakes don’t have childhood friends. You put both your animals at risk doing this.

Smoking:
DO NOT, HOLY FRICK, DO NOT SMOKE AROUND YOUR SNAKE. Holding your snake while taking a few puffs isn’t cute. A snake on a bong isn’t cool. Ball pythons have a singular, primitive lung, and smoking around them or even in the same room as them is awful for them. Snakes can’t cough, as they don’t have diaphragms, which is why smoking and RI’s are such a huge problem. You can and will cause premature death if you have your snake on or around these objects. Even if you aren’t using the bong when you put your snake on it, it has remnants of smoke, and still is harmful.

Baths-
While you don’t need to bathe your snake everyday, you certainly can do it on occasion. It’s great for helping shed. Make sure the water is only as deep as your snake is thick.

Well, I think that covers everything. Hopefully this is annoyingly thorough and you’ll get sick of seeing it on your newsfeed. If I missed anything or you have any questions, feel free to message me at tailsandkabuki.

daft

based on a prompt @capseycartwright​ received from an anon, which was subsequently passed on to me by another anon:

Hello! Would you be interested in writing something angsty for Father’s Day? Maybe Aaron has Paddy over, and events being what they are, Paddy enjoys dropping several snide comments aimed at Robert over the evening, until he makes a remark about Jack or Robert not having anyone to celebrate with or something, and Rob has to leave. Aaron tells Paddy that’s too far, and Paddy doesn’t understand why THAT was the comment that pushed them over the edge, as several comments were much more hurtful. 

It’s the hottest day of the year so far. The air tastes like dust and feels like a winter coat. Sweat slicks Robert’s shirt to his back as he rocks back and forth on the swing, his hands curled so tightly around the mental chains that they’re carving out canyons in his palms. The sun has long since sunk below the horizon but its absence has done nothing to lift the humidity, the rain that the weatherman had promised never having arrived. Clouds hang heavy overhead, an unwelcome blanket trapping in the rising heat.

‘There you are.’

Robert turns at the sound of the familiar voice. Aaron stands at the edge of the playground, hands in the pockets of his jeans. The heat has been so unbearable that he actually chose to ditch the long-sleeves today, instead wearing a grey t-shirt that shows skin which he usually keeps hidden. He’s not ashamed of his scars; he just prefers to avoid the stares, because he doesn’t owe an explanation to prying eyes. He hasn’t really been anywhere today, and the only people that have seen him know him well enough to ignore them.

‘I’ve been wondering where you got to,’ Aaron says, making his way across the woodchip floor. Robert’s always wondered why they bothered with it. Surely it only makes the fall worse? Maybe it softens the impact but it leaves splinters that are far harder to deal with than a scraped knee.

‘I just needed some air,’ Robert says. The lie is so obvious it’s laughable even to him. Aaron sits down on the other swing, pressing his toes to the ground and kicking himself forward. His attempt to relive childhood play falls short, because his legs are too long and keep knocking against the floor. Any other day, Robert would joke about this being the only thing that he’s ever been too tall for, but he just doesn’t have the energy right now.

‘You said you were going to give Paddy a chance,’ he says when he comes to a halt.

‘I did.’

‘No, you ignored him all afternoon, made sarcastic comments and the stormed out when he asked you a simple question.’

Robert tilts his head back, looking up at the blank canvas where the stars should be. He wishes the night was clear, because this village is claustrophobic enough without the skies closing him in too. Its times like this that help him remember just why he stayed away from this place for so long. Despite the rolling hills and endless stretch of countryside, he feels trapped.

‘It wasn’t a simple question,’ he says. ‘“It’s father’s day, don’t you have somewhere else to be?” He bloody well knows I don’t.’

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anonymous asked:

It was a normal day until one of the customers through drivethru said that the woodchips behind the building were on fire. Manager said that it must have been smoldering for a while because the burnt area was pretty big. The cause? Some other customer threw their lit cigarette into the woodchips.

Flying Without Wings

Pairing: Sam Wilson x Lily Wilson (5 yrs old)

Warning: Cute fluffness.

Prompts: “You’re going to get us into trouble.” - “Don’t tell your mom and you can have ice cream for dinner.”
This was for @letsgetfuckingsuperwholocked, I totally agree the world needs more Sam love!

“Higher daddy!” Lily shouts as her father Sam pushes her on the swing set, the weather was warm and breezy, perfect for some park play time. Lily giggles loudly as she soars higher.

“Hold tight.” Sam warns her. “Your mom will have my behind if you get hurt again.” Sam chuckles.

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19. Our Grandmother’s are trying to set us up AU

Gah, I put this one on the list thinking that no one would vote for it and then it ended up getting the most votes, and then it actually ended up being really fun to write this so thanks for voting for it everyone

Lily had been going over to her grandmother’s house every Sunday morning for breakfast since she was little. After her parents passed away, she continued to do this, only now she came by herself, as her sister had moved north with her husband and that was all the family Lily had. Her sister and her paternal grandmother.

Anita Evans was a strong and opinionated woman, her trust and admiration was hard won, but she’d always had a soft spot for her quirky and idealistic granddaughter. She was proud of Petunia of course, she had married well and she had gone to uni and, well, that was enough for any grandmother to be proud, but Lily and her had a special bond. Everything that Lily did excited Anita, from going away to boarding school and becoming Head Girl to learning to drive and running errands for her.

Her grandmother had lived on the same plot of land her entire life, and while the surrounding area had changed, even since Lily had been alive, the inside of the house never seemed to change. And so, Lily was surprised when she came over one Sunday morning in the middle of August, to find that her grandmother’s drapes in the kitchen had changed from a pale yellow, to a bright floral print. When Lily commented on them, her grandma smiled.

“Oh yes, that’s my new neighbor’s influence.” She said, and now Lily had to narrow her brow because her grandmother hated new neighbors. She liked Mr. Gary, who had lived three doors down for nearly five decades, and she enjoyed Angelina Rosewood’s company every now and then as the girls had grown up together, but that was about it. Everyone else on her street was an interloper as far as she was concerned. “Her grandson helped us put them up, he’s quite a looker. Most polite boy your age I’ve ever met too.”

And that was the first Lily Evans heard of James Potter.

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