Sunday, March 10, 2002

ANIMAL ADVENTURES
I'm starting to feel like Dr. Doolittle.

Late last week, while driving Jake home from school, I spotted a large turtle trying to cross a busy street. Needless to say, I pulled over, told Jake to wait in the car, and went to help the turtle, who had stepped off the curb into traffic. I was planning to pick him up and run him over to the nearby lake. As I had in the past with other turtles, I tried to tap him on the shell with my shoe so that he would button up and I could pick him up.

This turtle was having none of that. This turtle was of the mean-ass snapping variety, the brand that's known to clamp down with jaws of steel and kill pets on occasion. He promptly spun around and took a small piece off my shoe. Yeeeow! I tried to move around but that turtle followed me every step of the way, advancing on my and snapping some more. The turtle was chasing me! I got a golf club from my car in hopes of just lifting him by the shell out of the street. He made another stab and locked his jaw on that putter. Finally, I flagged down a Winter Park Street Divisions truck and the guys inside got out a shovel and finally - after dropping him once or twice when he spun around - got him back into the lake.

Why was he so pissed off? My only thought was that he was old and tired and trying to committ suicide. After a day of slowly walking from the lake into traffic, just a few feet shy of his goal, I showed up to do my good deed and screwed up his leap to the afterlife.

The next day, the family had dinner outside on the patio and Natalie discovered a large fron flopping about in our pool. That might seem okay, but if that frogs can't get out, they drown and end up a swollen mess in our skimmer system. I fished out Froggie, put him under a bush to dry out and he left by day break.

That morning, the final chapter of our animal adventures - Natalie found a 6-inch ring snake in the pool skimmer basket (she thought it was a big worm, but it wasn't). I picked out the leaves and snake with a pair of kitchen tongs (Note To Self - Buy new kitchen tongs), put everything into a bucket, then emptied it in some bushes on the front lawn. I'm always telling Jake not to play in those bushes because snakes could be in there. Now he knows I'm not kidding.

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