So, once we made the rare sighting of the Pedal Tavern during our photo safari of downtown Nashville, we hopped in the car and drove for two hours to a place in the country where our family reunion was taking place.
I like to think of myself as an adventurous person, but I am much more comfortable with taking my life into my hands by jay-running between speeding cars in the city than I am with hiking through poison-ivy infested woods.
My daughter’s first priority for vacation was to go horseback riding. I’ve done this several times, so I know the basics: wear close-toed shoes, put your left foot in the stirrup first so you don’t end up facing the horse’s rear end, and don’t let yourself fall off. Despite the fact that my horse, Maverick, emulated his Top Gun namesake by showing no regard for anyone but himself and nearly decapitating me on low-hanging branches several times, I did pretty well.
It wasn’t until that evening that I realized my wardrobe mistake. Major chafage pain in the posterior region informed me that I should be less concerned about panty lines the next time I go trotting through the forest. I know this is TMI, but I feel it is my duty to warn my fashion-minded readers about the consequences of improper undergarments when riding a horse. No one thinks to tell you these things. Sure, they will give you a helmet to keep you from cracking your head open, but no one mentions the importance of protecting your crack.
I did get advice later on that day about the ramifications of picking up toads. The kids seemed so enamored with one that was hanging out by the sidewalk that I swept it up in my hands to give them a better look.
“Ewww. It’s going to pee on you!” approximately 10 people shouted to me at the same time.
Now, I’ve had held lots of strange animals – hedgehogs, snakes, tarantulas, hissing cockroaches, etc… And, a few of them have peed on me. It’s no big deal. You set the animal down, go wash off the tiny drop of urine and all is good. So, I wasn’t too intimidated by this warning.
Toad pee, though, is a bit different than hedgehog pee. Apparently, a toad’s bladder holds an unprecedented volume of pee. Picture yourself holding a water balloon that is the size of the palm of your hand, and a dime-sized hole suddenly opens in the bottom of the balloon. Oh, and to this picture, add a bunch of kids of various ages watching you closely to see if you are going to screech and pitch the poor toad 10 feet into the air as soon as it dumps urine all over you.
Ironically, my efforts to encourage the kids to observe nature more closely ended up with them observing me intently for signs of a freak out.
I will tell you , quite proudly, that I did not toss the toad. Nor did I freak out. In fact, I calmly held the toad for another couple of minutes – until it released another gallon of pee all over my fingers. Then I prudently set it down and said, “Well, that’s enough for now. Why don’t you go chase fireflies?” (to the kids, not the toad. Although I guess the toad might be interested in eating fireflies, too, but I was a bit too ticked off at him to be giving him meal or entertainment suggestions) and walked quickly to the bathroom to wash my hands.
Well, as quickly as one can walk when your butt cheeks are on fire.