I was innocently bringing a load of laundry upstairs yesterday morning when I noticed something at the bottom of the basement stairs. I did a double take because the kids’ toys are everywhere down there and I was sure I must have really seen a strangely shaped pile of army guys or maybe some old playdough but no.
There, in my basement, in the corner formed by the wall and the bottom step, was a toad.
This did not make me happy.
My sweetheart was gone, and I was the so-called responsible adult on duty in our home at the time, so I managed to refrain from screaming. I was afraid that if my sons knew there was a real live amphibian in our house that either they would run down the stairs in excitement to see it and accidentally STEP ON IT or they would– horror of horrors– catch it and want to keep it as a pet.
So I kept the presence of the toad on the down low. I sent the boys up to their room to put away their laundry while I called my husband and informed him of the presence of the scaly little booger. He did not share my sentiments which were basically (and I’m not really sure how to spell this): EEEURGH!!!! He was actually more concerned with how the toad entered our house. I didn’t really care about that as much as how we were going to get the darn thing out.
I went down an hour later for the next load and the toad was still there; it had not moved a muscle. Hope welled up within my bosom at the thought that perhaps the toad was dead.
When my sweetie got home I sent the boys back to their room and discussed the plan of action with my husband. I had been planning very carefully as I had folded laundry and washed dishes and checked facebook. The plan was this: my husband was to go downstairs, trap the toad, and release it into the wild, AKA our backyard.
It was a good plan.
You know what they say about the best-laid plans of mice and men and how they can be destroyed by a stupid amphibian with a brain the size of a peanut, right?
My husband ventured all manly down to the basement, armed with an old formula can labeled “Ryan’s special toys” and a magazine. I waited upstairs in much trepidation as I heard thumping and the occasional Christian expletive (“stinking TOAD!”) from the basement. And then– triumph!
Up from the bowels of the basement emerged my husband, formula can grasped tightly, magazine firmly atop it, and occasional flop coming from the inside as the toad attempted to escape. I instructed him to take it outside.
“Don’t you want to see it?” he asked, lifting a corner of the magazine.
“NO!!! Take it outside and I’ll call the boys and you can show it to them. Once the door is closed.”
He stepped outside and waited for the pitter-patter stomp crash bang of our progeny’s footsteps down the stairs, through the living room, through the dining room, and out the door.
He lifted the magazine to reveal Ryan’s new “special toy.”
“Uh, Daddy? There’s nothing in there.”
A moment’s serarching revealed the toad under our dining room table. I sent the kids upstairs with the dog while I clutched the baby to myself and rocked back and forth thinking happy thoughts and my sweetie tried to catch the toad.
One moment it was under the leg of the computer chair, and the next moment– gone.
He searched under the furniture. He pulled out the sofa bed. He found toys and socks and food items we thought were lost forever. He did not find the toad.
There is a toad loose in my living room I posted on facebook.
We let the kids and dog downstairs in hopes that Rosie, who loves chasing crickets, would also love to chase toads. I mean, they’re practically the same thing except for one is a bug and one is an amphibian. But they’re both nasty and hoppish and make annoying noise. The boys immediately began making epic plans to catch the wayward toad.
“We could make a trap Mommy!”
“We could use a fly as bait!”
“We could stick a fly to some spider web string so that it could fly around but not go away from the trap. And then when the toad went to eat it, we could catch the toad!”
“Why can’t we use a dead fly?”
“Because, we don’t have a gun. How would we kill the fly?”
Our lunchtime was filled with these elaborate schemes and I laughed even as I tried to ignore the little voice that kept saying “it could jump on your foot at any time!”
Last night, I was sitting here blogging. The kids were in bed. The husband was in class. And suddenly I knew.
I was not alone.
I looked over and there, in the middle of my living room, looking at me with its cruel beady toad eyes, was the toad. It didn’t care. It knew I was scared of it. And it knew that my dog was too busy licking her own private parts to notice that another animal was hopping with toadly abandon around the living room. It hopped under the computer desk.
I heard noises all around me for the next fifteen minutes. I was sure that toad was going to jump on my face. Then I saw it again, and I decided to be brave. I had a big box. I would capture the toad under the box and leave it for my husband to deal with. That’s the kind of wife I am. Isn’t he a lucky man? I grabbed my cardboard toad trap and tiptoed with great stealth toward the little creature. I got as close as I could but I was kind of afraid it would suddenly change directions and jump on me. Or do some kind of amphibious blackflip and land on my toe and I would never be the same again.
I slowly lowered the box over the toad.
He was too smart for me. I don’t know how he ever noticed an overweight woman, in a hot pink nightshirt with a giant crazed orange elephant on it, holding a box over his head. But somehow he did. He must have been an ESP toad.
I followed him as he hopped away, flooping on the carpet with each evil bounce. And then, just when I was sure I had him, hop.
He hopped down into the basement.
I looked at him down there on the step, fifth from the top, and I looked at my box, and I knew he had me beat.
I shut the door, updated my facebook account from “Erin is going to bed and shutting the door and praying the toad won’t hop up the stairs and under the door to jump on my face while I sleep” to “Erin just tried to catch the toad under a box and failed. It’s down in the basement now. I shut the door and am going to bed. I hate the toad.”
It has been 24 hours since the toad was last seen, in spite of my sons’ best efforts to ensnare it with detailed plans involving plastic wrenches and mouse traps and yet more flies. At one point today my husband took a step and something went pop and goo squished out all over and he was sure he had caught the toad with his foot but he had only caught a sample packet of body wash.
And as I sit here, waiting for my husband to get home, typing on my laptop, thinking how much I would really love some Starbucks caramel macchiato ice cream right about now, he is still down there.
He mocks me with his little toady ways.
I hate the toad.