To help battle the cold dry winter air, my dad came over to help me install a whole house humidifier on the furnace. Well exactly, I stood there and handed him tools. I’m a pretty handy guy, but dealing with the furnace was out of my league, so I played the role of assistant. As I was looking around the basement floor for a screw driver, I noticed something under the floor drain cover. It honestly looked like a mound of poop. Thinking this was odd, I took a closer look. It was pretty poorly lit by the floor drain and I was about to take the cover off when I noticed this “mound” had a nose. I jumped back as I wasn’t absolutely sure what this was. It was only able to determine that this was not something, but someone.
I stared at it from a safe distance and determined that it was a frog! In the middle of December, in my basement, crawled up from the floor drain, was a flippin’frog! I figured this thing had to be dead. It was December and he crawled up from the sewer. Who knew how long he had been there. I shined a flashlight on it just to make sure it was a frog and not something else… and it moved! It was a frog alright, with his black, blank, beady eyes were staring up at me. I’ve never considered myself afraid of frogs. A frog is a frog. Big deal, right? I eat frog legs when I go to a Chinese buffet. I should be able to handle this. But then I realized that the frogs I liked were Kermit the Frog, the Warner Bros Frog, or the Muppet Mayor frog from Emmett Otter’s Jug Band Christmas Special. Not frogs like the frog from my basement that crawled up from the sewer! It moved again and my dad and I both jumped back. He was still safely contained under the floor drain cover, but he did crawl up from the sewer. So who knew what this frog was capable of! I moved my coffee cup and put some gloves on… just in case. We decided to finish the humidifier installation before Operation Frog Bog began. We put a paint can over the drain until we could decide what to do.I could feel him looking at me and I didn’t like it.
The humidifier was installed and tested. There was only one task left to do. It was time for Operation Frog Bog. We both put our gloves on, got a flashlight, and a bucket. We pulled the paint can off the drain slowly. We looked at each other, then back at the drain. It didn’t seem like the frog was there. We shined the light again and moved a little closer to the drain, both of us ready to move quickly in case we were ambushed. My dad started to pry the drain cover off so we could look inside the hole. I had the bucket ready in case we had ourselves a “jumper,” but still no frog. It seemed like he went back down, back home. Or did he escape? This was a little unsettling. So we flushed the drain with water to wash him back down. We poured about two or three gallons down and waited. We were almost ready to call Operation Frog Bog a success and then we saw a frog nose appear, and then his eyes. He was back!
We couldn’t just reach in and grab him because he was inside the drain pipe. But what to do? What would you do? Would you leave the frog and hope he’d go back to the sewer and crawl up someone else’s basement, or would you remove it? My dad looked over at the shop-vac, then at me. “That ought to do it,” he said. Where was the Kirby salesman now!? “A vacuum so powerful it sucks up frogs!” I couldn’t believe it. Were we actually going to suck up a frog out of the drain? Was this the only way? I needed a minute to gather my thoughts. To be okay with this… to devise a plan. After deliberating on our alternatives for a while, we determined this was the best option… to suck it up.
My dad was going to hold the vacuum hose, and I was going to flip the switch. I turned the power on and with the hum of the vacuum going, we starred at the floor drain in silence…. waiting. We looked at each other, at the drain, and then back at the vacuum. We weren’t sure anything had happened and then SLURRRRP! The hose jiggled! And we jumped! I turned the power off and my dad held his hand at the end of the hose. We needed to verify the frog was indeed captured. My heart was pounding, and I was nervously sweating. I couldn’t help but think of the other times I’ve been in a situation like this. Like the time I found a squirrel in my Uncle’s basement or the opossum in my parent’s garbage can. And now this! A frog in my vacuum cleaner! I slowly opened the canister top and peered in. It was dark inside and it was hard to get a good look without taking the whole top off. I could see the shimmer of water at the bottom and some random debris, but that was it. Then my dad shined the light in and as soon as I got a glimpse of his webbed foot, I slammed the top down. We got him! Now what?
What do you do with a frog in the middle of December? It’s not like he’s going to frolic in the backyard with the other frogs and toads. It’s December. He is cold blooded though, so that means he likes the cold weather, right? We took him outside hoping that maybe he’d make friends with the winter bunnies. Or maybe he’d be a snow frog! If he wasn’t, he sure is now. And thus, the legend of Freddie the Frozen Christmas Frog was born. Every Christmas Eve he comes up from your basement floor drain and leaves candy canes under the tree for all the good girls and boys.
Ribbit ribbit my friend… Ribbit ribbit.
Anybody want to go to the Chinese buffet?