It’s been a year since we moved to Middle Earth. I know….I should call this place by it’s rightful name (that would be Huntsville, Alabama) but I have not found any degree of bliss that I’d hope for since moving here and really, who could after eight years of living in sun-drenched Southern California? I’ve dubbed this state, with the certain merit, Middle Earth because I feel I’ve been pulled from civilization and dropped into a black hole. Even my car (we call her “Goldie”) thinks so; I’ve yet to trust Goldie’s navigation system to get me to my destination since moving here, even with a $200 upgrade to her maps.

The journey of trying to find peace with my new circumstances continues with fits and starts and more expletives than I have (shameful to say) ever uttered. Yes, if I dig down deep and am brutally honest, there have been a few thoroughly blissful moments…but not so many that would remotely make me go over to the dark side (that is, actually liking living here).

Case in point… IMG_2844

With the Harold-the-snake encounter of last week still fresh in my mind, I now go out on my back patio and scan the steps–right, left, right again– before putting a toe anywhere near them. Even my poodle, sensing my apprehension, holds back sometimes before darting out for his morning business. And so, the other morning I was up earlier than usual because I couldn’t sleep. Hubby again was out-of-town, in transit back home from a European business trip. It’s the fourth of July and hopefully, we’ll still see fireworks together when he gets home later tonight. It’s 4:30 a.m. and still dark out. I’m bleary-eyed as I walk into the kitchen. While I am at the sink filling my espresso pot with water I glance at the back patio door. What the hell….? I put the pot down and walk to the door. There is a big frog on the window of the door at my eye-level. I froze! For a nano-second, I thought the frog was INSIDE. Whew…the frog is indeed on the outside of the door. ‘Oh Lord,” I mutter. “That is one big frog and what’s it doing plastered to the glass this far up the door?” Mind you…I’ve just never seen a sight like this. Can’t I just have ONE normal day here in Middle Earth?

I go back to preparing my espresso. About twenty minutes later the poodle wakes from his slumber; it thoroughly irks me that he sleeps better than I do! He greets me in the kitchen with a happy wag of the tail. He’s ready to go out. Hmm. The frog is still plastered to the door glass. Me thinks I’ll take poodle out via the front door which means having to put shoes on, get poodle on the leash, and bring my cup of espresso along so it doesn’t grow cold.

I figured the frog would go on its merry way once daylight hit and yes, eventually I note the frog is no longer on the door. I go about the day forgetting about the frog. Really.

Now it’s about 5:30 in the afternoon. It’s been a hot, steamy day and I’ve been busy with a gym workout, running errands, and getting the house in order since hubby is due to arrive by 8 p.m. this evening. I had just finished with the last basket of laundry and now wanted to water the geraniums in the backyard and the pot of impatiens on the back patio as they were looking pretty weary. I open the back door and poodle darts out. I step through the door’s threshold and feel something heavy plop on my head. I jumped with a start and begin batting at my head. I knocked the frog off my head. YES…THE FROG! Now, I’ll confess. The sight could not have been a pretty one….I totally freaked….totally! I’m doing what I now sheepishly call the “frog dance”….jumping like a maniac, head flailing in more directions than Linda Blair’s in the “Exorcist”…my long curly hair now in a tumbled mass of mess as if I’d stuck my finger in an electrical socket. I see the frog in my peripheral vision as I am “dancing” like a maniac with my heart beating out of my chest and eyes wild with panic.

I’m not sure how I did it, but I managed to get myself back in the house in one piece….spewing expletives like lava. Oh shit…where is the poodle. He’s sitting calmly at the back door wanting in. Great. I open the back door….ever so slowly….as if an axe murderer was on the other side…leaving barely enough room for poodle to squeeze through. He’s in…SLAM goes the door. I barely miss catching poodle’s tail in the door.

I’m pacing back and forth trying to calm down from the episode. I call my sister in Virginia. She doesn’t pick up. She’s probably downtown on the Washington Mall enjoying the fourth of July fireworks. I leave her a message…realizing that my panic attack has not ebbed much in the moments after and she’ll probably think I’ve been attacked by an intruder. I’m trying to catch my breath as I tell her that while we all may be able to laugh about it one day at this very moment I cannot find any humor about a freakin’ frog falling on my head! I also add that I am just one breath away from a one-way ticket out of Middle Earth. In fact….hubby is on his way home now and poor dear, he’s gonna find an empty house because I’m outta here!

My sis calls the next day. She had just retrieved the voice-mail message. She feels bad for me. But, wait..then says I should name the frog. In fact, she’s named the frog. His name is Claude for those of you who are interested.

There you have it….Harold the snake…..Claude the frog. I cannot imagine what’s next. And, although I can laugh about it now, I am a spastic-woman when I go to open any door to the outside.