How to rescue a tree frog you discover jumping around and climbing the inside of your glass fireplace doors at midnight and driving the cat insane, in just 10 Easy — oh, who am I kidding — in 30 Not-So-Easy Steps:
1. Spend 10 minutes debating whether the frog is capable of getting out on its own. Remember the squirrel that died in there on top of the damper a couple years ago and how awful it smelled. Also, death flies. Resign yourself to performing sooty acts of heroism at midnight.
2. Put the cat in the bathroom. This is important, as the cat is faster than you are and she has been stalking that stupid frog for 20 minutes. She really wants that frog.
3. Retrieve the cat [see above re: faster], who now knows what you’re up to. Put her in the bathroom, again.
4. Decide you don’t particularly want to touch the frog. Get a paper towel.
5. Realize a dry paper towel will stick to the frog and you will have to touch the stupid creature to pry off bits of paper towel upon release.
6. Go back into kitchen and return with a damp paper towel.
7. Reassure the cat that NOTHING IS HAPPENING OUT HERE CALM DOWN.
8. Try to find the stupid fucking frog, which has now disappeared.
9. Find the flashlight. Hope it works.
10. Spend five minutes cursing the now absent frog, wondering how it is even possible for a frog to climb a two-story house and get past the supposedly critter-proof chimney cap and survive the drop and still have enough energy to torment the cat and then be wily enough to HIDE FROM YOU WHEN YOU’RE TRYING TO SAVE ITS STUPID LIFE HERE GODDAMMIT.
11. Take a deep breath and back away to reassess frog/fireplace logistics and have a sip, okay maybe a couple big gulps, of wine.
12. Reassure the cat once again that THERE’S NOTHING INTERESTING HAPPENING OUT HERE ISN’T THE BATHROOM LOVELY AT THIS TIME OF NIGHT OH JUST BE QUIET PROBABLY THE NEIGHBOURS CAN HEAR YOU.
13. Open the glass fireplace doors even wider and stick your head inside because you are now determined to save this frog like it is the only frog left in your entire ecosystem and the fate of the known world hangs in the balance. Plus, DEATH FLIES.
14. Realize the frog is quietly crouched three inches from your face on the front edge of the door frame staring at you like WHAT THE HELL EVEN IS YOUR PROBLEM WHEN IT’S BEING SO FUCKING COOPERATIVE SITTING THERE PATIENTLY WAITING FOR YOU.
15. Gently pick up the frog and wrap the damp paper towel lovingly over its filthy little ash-covered body.
16. DO NOT DROP THE FROG.
17. Try to ignore how it feels like you’re holding an eviscerated still-beating heart as the frog thumps against your palm and loosely curled fingers and tries valiantly to escape.
18. CHRIST DO NOT SQUISH THE FROG.
19. Head to the back door and freeze with your hand on the knob when you abruptly realize you can’t put the frog on the deck because there’s a BIG ASS SCARY SPIDER THAT HAS BUILT A MASSIVE WEB RIGHT THERE NEXT TO THE DOOR FROM WHENCE IT HAS BEEN TERRORIZING YOU FOR THE PAST WEEK. FUCK. THAT. WAS. CLOSE.
20. Mutter increasingly vile curse words under your breath as your heart rate returns to somewhat normal and you once again reassure the cat that THIS WILL BE OVER ANY MINUTE NOW JUST HANG ON DAMMIT STOP STRIPPING THE FINISH OFF THE DOOR.
21. Carry your throbbing bundle-o-frog to the front door and open it and gently DO NOT FLING THE FROG RECKLESSLY INTO THE NIGHT YOU MONSTER gently place it on the front step and tell it to go now and live free and TRY NOT TO GET EATEN and maybe USE BETTER JUDGMENT next time when confronted with a chimney because you’ve just gone to GREAT LENGTHS to save its stupid life PLEASE AND THANK YOU and hope no one is out there walking their dog who might witness you having a one-sided conversation with a goddamned frog on your front stoop in pajamas at midnight and decide to stage an intervention.
22. Nonchalantly, like you didn’t see that curtain twitch in the window next door and you do this ALL THE TIME YOU’RE A WRITER DAMMIT YOU MAKE STUFF UP FOR A LIVING WHAT DID THEY EXPECT ANYWAY, go back inside and close and lock the front door.
23. Close the glass fireplace doors.
24. Open the bathroom door and STAND THE HELL BACK. [Note: it is important to do steps 22 thru 24 in this precise order.]
25. Dispose of all frog related evidence and wash your hands. Thoroughly.
26. Place an apologetic offering of kitty treats on the hearth, which will be totally ignored due to lack of movement and also a heartbeat. Cats are barbarians.
27. Refill your wine glass and offer up a sardonic toast to the Frog Gods and their DEATH FLIES BRETHREN. Imbibe freely.
28. Pretend to be impervious to the cat glaring and sulking and withholding all signs of affection for . . . looks at clock . . . well, for however long it takes.
29. Take a picture of the cat, still stalking that stupid damned frog at noon the next day.
30. Write a blog post about it, because of course.