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After Work: How To Catch A Frog - No Hands

A large turtle is still doing laps in Dona Gibb’s swimming pool. “There’s a pre-sun-up parade of armadillos. A cardinal once hopped in an open door and added unexpected entertainment for a cocktail party. A grey fox and her kits dance in the dusk on the adjoining golf course. Two sand cranes often stop off at the local supermarket parking lot…’’

Be prepared for close encounters of the wildlife kind when you go to Florida. And keep a sharp eye out for those toilet-trained frogs!

We love nature, Ever-Enthusiastic Husband and I. And in South Florida we have flora and fauna in abundance, even in the midst of suburban sprawl.

The flora can be aggressive. Stick a subtropical-loving plant in the ground, walk around the house to uncoil a hose and presto, the green thing has already grown six inches. At least, that’s the way it seems to me.

So if plants threaten to over run us, you can imagine what the fauna’s like. As I’ve written before, we’ve had a large turtle doing laps in the swimming pool twice now. There’s a pre-sun-up parade of armadillos. A cardinal once hopped in an open door and added unexpected entertainment for a cocktail party. A grey fox and her kits dance in the dusk on the adjoining golf course. Two sand cranes often stop off at the local supermarket parking lot. They stride about on legs that look as if they were drawn by a not-too-gifted seven-year-old. They don’t seem to be the least haughty bit about their status as an endangered species. They only seem a bit befuddled.

All of that is charming.

I can even tolerate the raccoons, the little masked bandits, even if they leave unpleasant calling cards. I’d post a warning on the palms if I thought they could read: Warning. Palm fruit can cause severe stomach upset.

This is really nature at a distance. What sends me to the screaming-yelling brink is sharing my indoor living space with outdoor critters.

We are lucky enough to have three full bathrooms and one guest powder room in our Florida sand pink home. These are very handy when guests are here. There are only the two of us, and most of the time, they go unused.

Guests are on their way so I went into my crazed cleaning lady routine. That means scouring and scrubbing, digging out corners, dusting, fluffing and puffing. None of this really matters to the expected visitors but it makes me feel more like a hostess, a house proud Queen who issued a proclamation against grime.

So in the midst of this flurry, I bustled in to attend to the guest powder room. I flipped up the lid and saw a big water stain on the side of the toilet bowl. It was faintly grey. Since the water here is loaded with minerals, this didn’t surprise me.

But wait a minute. The stain seemed to have eyes -- black eyes that peered up out of the bowl. The only thought I could formulate was, “Eww!”

It was a frog. And I thought it was dead, bleached to an off-white, but somehow still clinging to the bowl.

I reached down to lift it out and it leaped out of the bowl and hopped behind the toilet.

It was early in the morning, too early for me to deal with this turn of events.

So I gently closed the door.

“There’s a frog in the bathroom,” I announced to Ever-Enthusiastic Husband who was disappearing into his office to read the paper.

I ushered him into the bathroom.

“Oh,” he said as the frog leaped to another spot. He too closed the door.

I worked out a plan. I would capture it in a small bowl, making a lid with my hands and take it outside to freedom.

I cautiously entered the bathroom. The frog was nowhere to be seen.

I called Ever-Enthusiastic Husband. He reluctantly stopped mid-article and shuffled in.

“He’s gone,” I said.

“He can’t be,” my husband replied. “Look, he’s right there up on the wall.”

There the frog was, legs stretched out. He was the color of the background of the wallpaper. He leaped onto the leaf part of the design and changed to a copper hue. He then sprung on to the mirror and then to an opposite wall.

We closed the door.

I worked out a plan. I’d capture him in a bowl, making a lid with one hand, and carry him to freedom.

The plan worked up to a point. I got the frog into the bowl but he clung to my wrist. The sticky pads of his feet crossed my ick threashold. I flung him and the bowl to the floor.

My husband thought it was great entertainment.

The frog did his wall acrobatic routine again.

And I closed the door again.

“O.K, this time, when I’ve caught him in the bowl, I’ll slide a piece of tin foil under the bowl between him and the wall,” I plotted.

My husband came in to supervise, probably hoping for a repeat performance of the freak-out.

It worked. Hooray, it worked.

Dear readers, remember this handy tropic household trick.

Imagine what could have happened if a guest had discovered the frog in the bowl. Or even more dramatic, the frog had found a guest on the bowl.

“Yeah, yeah. Now you’re a hero,” my husband snorted and went back to reading the paper.

I made myself another cup of coffee and gloated. The outside was outside where it belonged.

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