Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Toadus and the capital of Syria

Yesterday was the first day of my vacation. A vacation long enough that I predicted it was likely my marriage wouldn't last until the end of it.

The Mrs. certainly got in her shots on that one a few minutes ago. Let me ask you married womens a purely hypothetical question. Let's say that it was around 10pm on a Saturday night, and your wonderful hubby had spent all day chauffeuring The Childrens around so that you could stay home and wrap presents. He had just rolled in with the older child from a two hour amateur ice skating Holiday Show, and he was down in the basement in his bar loading up the dishwasher while singing Sweet Caroline at the top of his lungs, and had just gotten to the part where you yell out "Bah bah bah", would you pick this exact moment to come down the stairs in the dark and ask him a question?

Then, if he were to stop singing, squint into the darkness, and say, "huh?" would you upbraid him for not paying enough attention to you when you talk? Or would you say to yourself, "Self, my hubby seems happily distracted right now, and he doesn't even realize I'm here. I had best do something to get his attention before I start talking. Like flash a boob or two."

Just wondering. Purely hypothetically, of course.

But anyways, back to the subject. Because it was my first day of vacation, it meant we could chase all over creation buying stuff. One of those places happened to be the pet store, as we were almost out of rat food. To The Childrens, a trip to the pet store is very much like a trip to the zoo, and all of the little critters need to be studied intently before leavings. Well, as luck would have it, there was a woman there buying matching gerbils (or perhaps mice, I really didn't pay that close attention), and so the cage was out and The Childrens got to pet some of them. And then there was another woman there who was researching rodent-family pets for her 9-year-old (who was not there and did not know of this clandestine operation), and so The Mrs. and HannahC had to set in on educating her about the joys of rats vs. hamsters. , which led to the rat cage being pulled out and the rat getting played with.

Meanwhile, our hero was standing around pondering how this morning when he got up, the toad's light was still on from the previous day, yet the cricket light right next to it was turned off. After some questioning, it was determined that Miss HannahC had decided to leave the light on for warmth (the lesson about the warmth-generating capabilities of florescent lamps will follow). Now, standing aimlessly in a pet store, our hero is overcome with the idea that what this toad needed was an electric rock.

And thus, with much fanfare, an electric rock was installed in LexieT's terrerium that afternoon.

The directions stated that it would take 6-8 hours to reach its final temperature, and sure enough, 6-8 hours later the glass was so steamed up that you couldn't see inside. So I opened the hatch in the lid to let out some of the humidity. HannahC closed it. This went back and forth all day until, at night, we were turning out the lights, and we had a discussion:
Me, CherkyB: "We need to leave the lid open so that she gets some air and doesn't boil.

HannahC: "Nooooo! She'll escape!"

Me, CherkyB: "She'd have to jump 1 foot straight up. Toads doen't really jump that well. LexieT has certainly never jumped that high. And she can't climb these sides."

HannahC: "No, Daddy. She'll escape."

Me, CherkyB: "OK, well how about we just leave the lid open a crack? The she can't jump out, but she can still get some fresh air?"

HannahC: "Are you sure she won't get out?"

Me, CherkyB: "Yup."

HannahC: "OK then."
I used a piece of some broken clay project to prop the hatch open about 1/4".

The next morning (today), I came downstairs and turned on the lights for the crickets and toad.

No toad.

Uh oh.

I dig around in the coconut bedding, cuz she likes to bury herself. No toad.

Uh oh. I search all around the bar area, then expand my search to as much of the rest of the basement as I can. No toad.

I tell The Mrs. She says, "Of course toads can jump really well. Duuuuuuh."

I know she is saying this just to make me feel bad cuz, you know, that's just the way she is. After all, she has never owned a toad in her life, and I have had about 15 pet toads. And none of them could jump worth a damn. Frogs, now those things can jump. Toads, well, there's a reason their primary defense mechanism is to pee on you.

The Mrs. also searched the toad habitat and found no toad. Then she searched the basement as well. The rest of the morning and afternoon, when I was home, I was lifting furnature and searching under things with a flashlight, all very surreptitiously.

HannahC had a busy day planned. 4-H club community service board in the morning. 4 hours of ice skating holida pagent in the afternoon, and 2 hours of watching another ice skating pagent in the evening. I didn't want her all flustered, so we kept her busy upstairs and out of the basement.

I called The Mrs. every now and then from ice pagent rehersal to see if the toad had turned up. It had not.


At 4:00 when we finally got back from rehersal, she wandered downstairs. The Mrs. and I heard her exclaim, "Where are you?" and then heard what sounded like the toad terrarium being moved around.

The Mrs. asked if I had informed her of the loss, and I said, "No." A little bit later, I decided it was time to deliver the news and listen to what a horrible father I was because I had assured her that toads couldn't jump and had thus let her pet escape.

When I got downstairs, the top of the toad terrarium was off. As I rounded the bar, I saw HannahC down on the floor playing with her toad.


So then what must have seemed like a very strange conversation with HannahC occurred.
Me, CherkyB: "Where did you find the toad?"

HannahC: "In her cage, of course."

Me, CherkyB: "Oh. I looked in there for her a little while ago and didn't see her. Was she hiding?"

HannahC: "Yeah. She had completely buried herself."

Me, CherkyB: "I had dug around in there and not found her. How did you find her?"

HannahC: "Oh, well, cuz she likes to completely bury herself, what I do is lift up the aquarium and look on the bottom, and I can see her tummy. "
Stupid toad.


paula said...

Sweet Caroline???cant imagine my hubby belting out that any time in the future, Amarillo by morning now maybe..... you are a A-1 hubby for taking the childrens for the day

Anonymous said...

Thank the Lord - the toad has been found! ! ! ! ! If it ever stops snowing in Barfalo I may get to see it, as my flight was cancelled today. Hopefully I can get out tomorrow.....Word verification is byegones

Anonymous said...

Who you callin' a dumbass?

Yes I know you told me the joke, but maybe some of your readers will appreciate your humor that was lost to them.

ellie said...

i had a pet turtle. it ran away. literally.

word verification: debfach