Snow and bullfrogs

Sallie Satterthwaite's picture

Our Jean lives in northern Virginia and is good to keep in touch regularly. This week she copied me with reports she has contracted to send NOAA concerning whatever weather was happening in her backyard. Snow!

She watches her small backyard carefully. When there’s snow on the ground, she tries to give her little boys the fun she remembers as a child in the snow. They love it. It sure keeps her busy since the 2-year-old periodically decides to take his clothes off.

If you have a daughter who didn’t have her children until, say, her thirties, you’ve probably noticed that she doesn’t get too excited about the small stuff. If her boys want to play in snow with wet gloves or no shoes, they’ll let her know when they’re too cold.

With everybody back in the house warm and dry, she noticed something.

“I had been puzzled by the little guys grabbing paper, and wrapping it around their toys,” she wrote, “until it dawned on me: They're wrapping Christmas presents.”

That will doubtless be reinforced Sunday when the family celebrates the oldest and youngest children’s birthdays. Abigail will be 23, and Jean whimpers, “My baby will be 2 on Monday. Wah!”

She gets the boys settled napping or otherwise occupying themselves and logs onto her favorite bakers’ circle, and found her on-line community in disarray. Cher, the woman who started the thread, apologizes from the subject line: “Totally off topic – so please forgive me!”

She says: “OK, here is a problem that I have. Last Saturday night (or more accurately at about 2 a.m. Sunday), my husband and I were sitting on our deck. Apparently there was a frog on the pergola. When I stood up to go inside, the frog pooped on me and my nightgown. YIKES! I have now washed this nightgown FOUR TIMES and cannot get the poop out. I have used OxyClean spray, just Gain detergent, Shout spray. Does anyone have frog poop experience out there?”

Jane replies: “I'm happy to say that my experience with frog poop is minimal. Having raised two boys, my experience with stain removers is vast. The best one I have ever used is Spray and Wash with Power Resolve. It works so well that one day they will discover that it is carcinogenic, I'm sure. Whatever, at least I will be buried in pristine duds.”

Another member apologizes for laughing, but notes that being pooped on (at least by birds) is supposed to bring good luck. And another says her husband had been “decorated” three times, but no increase in good luck.

“Well, this was a first for me,” Cher says. “My husband has been pooped on in London and Rome. Both times terribly inconvenient. At least I had the luxury (!) of being able to go get cleaned up and put on a clean nightgown.”

Someone ventured that the government is always studying these things. He said he’d ask his wife to “check with the folks on campus, though I don’t know that there’s a program in frog husbandry at UNL.”

He did offer that they had good results getting out tomato stains by soaking the item in cold water, keeping it wet for an hour or so in sunlight, then letting it dry in the sun.

The thread continues with stain-removal suggestions, at least 20, interspersed with animal poop anecdotes, but not the frog variety. One cautions Cher that sometimes sunlight sets stains.

Our Jean weighs in: “Do we know what kind of frog it was?” and Cher comes back with, “Let's see, if it's a bullfrog (a la Jeremiah) then wine will get the stain out? Use a chainsaw to get out the stain from a tree frog?”

She continues: “When you get pooped on, you don't usually go looking for the source. Having said that, we have two kinds of frogs here of which I am aware. One is a coqui and the other is called (I swear) a crappo. Will this help?”

Jean did a little research and provided this detail: Crapaud, locally pronounced and spelled, you got it, crappo.

My OED says it’s a toad or a large edible bullfrog found in South and Central America. That would explain a few references to “our island” in the thread.

Cher: “So, you want the coqui story? Here goes. We have a covered terrace on both sides of our house. It is held up by 8X8 concrete pillars. The pillar at the end by our bedroom became home to a coqui. At night, he would climb off the pillar and onto the wall to catch bugs [and leave] big, long, brown streaks down our pristine white wall. My husband blocked up a little hole it was hiding in thinking he would block it from its home. It didn't leave. He caught it in a colander with a t-shirt on top. He took it to the furthest part of our garden thinking it would solve the problem.”

There follow the ever-increasing distances that he carried the frog, with incrementally increasing time it took him to come back. But it always came back.

Cher: “Then one day he was trying to catch it and it jumped onto his t-shirt and peed down the front of him. I thought my cleaning lady was going to need CPR she was laughing so hard. Things were getting serious. He threatened to put it in the maid's car. She stopped laughing. We named the frog Pissy.

“YIKES! Plop! It jumped onto one of my pretty teak chairs. Now it has me mad. So we caught it again. This time my husband took it for a ride in the car to a house under construction several houses down the beach. When he got home, he yelled for me to come quick. He had the colander held against the car window. He thought he had gotten rid of [the frog] and found it stuck to the car window when he got home.

“So I jumped into the back seat and held the colander over the frog while he drove down the street again. He said, ‘Hold onto the colander while I lower the window.’

“Of course, the colander went flying out the window. When he opened the door to get it, I started screaming with laughter because the coqui was sitting on the front seat of the car! Plop! It jumped onto the console. Plop! Onto the floor! Plop! Behind the brake pedal.

“So we caught it again and finally got rid of it. When we got home, we were laughing so hard, we had trouble relating the situation to our friends.

“My cleaning lady still checks for Pissy.”

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