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Sunday, July 17, 2005


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sarah sunshine

The girls were entertained by a very large toad a few weeks ago. I found him hiding in some perennials that I was clipping. Although it would have been nice to move him to an equally shaded and bug-filled home, I couldn't resist the hour or two of uninterupted yard time I would have if I shared my find with the girls. This fella easily would have filled my hand and them some. He was kind of the toads. Since the girls were next door, I put him in a tall (+/- two feet), narrow bucket. As they were coming to see their surprise, as if on cue, Toad jumped right out of the bucket onto the driveway. We put him back and he did it again. No sweat. Completely vertical, cleared the top of the bucket with inches to spare. So, let your wife know that not only can the Toadster jump each step without difficulty, he can likely jump them all in a single hop. Happy toading.
I am curious, however, if our friend decided to head out of our neck-of-the-woods and find a more frog-friendly neighbor. Being "loved" by my daughters for a morning would make any critter hunt for a new home.


Every night since I wrote this piece I’ve nervously awaited the triumphant return to the front porch of Mister Toad. The first night he was particularly late and I began kicking myself for ever mentioning it and thus jinxing the entire thing. And I literally kicked myself, which was both painful and foolish-looking. Then again, that describes me pretty well.

But sure enough, he’s come back every night so far. He makes me very happy when he does. He also seems to be at least 25% bigger than he was the first night. Must be some good eatin’s.

So last night Top Management did something radical. I hate Wednesday mornings, ‘cuz it’s Trash Day. Why something as easy as getting the trash out to the curb bugs me baffles even me and yet there it is. It does. Part of it is the stress of having a deadline, I think—I hate deadlines. Thank goodness I decided to become a freelance writer. Sheesh.

Also, our trash guys sometimes come at 4:30 in the afternoon for three months, and then they’ll show up at 7:45 in the morning one week, causing us to rush around madly to get the stuff out on time or, more often, catch them as they’re on their way back up the street and beg them to stop and show pity on the poor sap who missed the Trash Deadline. I like routine. And don’t think I don’t know they’re doing all this just to screw with me.

Anyhoo, the radical thing Top Management did was to get all the trash ready last night, so I just had to wheel the thang out to the curb in the morning. Ain’t she the best. Well, I decided to follow her sterling example, and wheel the trash bin out last night, so there’d be absolutely no fuss and no muss this morn.

Imagine my shock and horror, then, to open the garage door at 10:30 last night and have a dozen tiny little toad hop into the garage. It was as if they’d been waiting there for me. They started hopping hither and yon like mad, clearly wondering what the hell had taken me so long. And I’ll tell you, chasing down a dozen tiny little toads—each about the size of a marble—is no picnic. Fast lil’ buggers.

So then I have to roll the trash bin out, but now I’m terrified of squooshing one of my ugly little friends, and big portions of the driveway are in shadow; it was like a toady obstacle course. In fact, at the last moment I saw, in the shadow of minivan, a big ol’ toad almost as large as my idol on the porch. I managed to avoid him, but coming back up the driveway I was surprised to note he was still there. I bent down to touch him to get him to jump out of the way, and he hopped like hell…straight into the garage which, mind ye, was about fifteen feet away. Why he didn’t hightail it for the grass, which was only about four feet away, is beyond me. Much as I admire The Toad, clearly I can’t yet think like The Toad.

So there I am at 10:30 at night, diving under the car, trying to avoid locking a toad in my garage for the night.

Toads. Can’t live with ‘em, can’t live without ‘em, can’t hop like ‘em, can’t think like ‘em.

But you can try.

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