Monday, September 07, 2009

Lacerta Liberatio

I do not have many claims to coolness as a mom. I am not the greatest living singer/songwriter like she is. I am not a phenomenally talented novelist like this one. I have never been governor of a state or VP pick like you-know-who. I'm not a great warrior of the faith like, well, you know who you are, and I am terribly envious. Nope. Usually, my great list of accomplishments begins and ends with the fact that my bathrooms get a good scrub down weekly (or every ten days at most); and we all know that that doesn't even win points with hubby, let alone the kiddos. But, as of last Monday, I have staked out a new claim on the coolness criteria frontier. For I have freed the lizard. Indeed I have.

The song will be sung and the story will be told long after my ashes have fed the earth of how I freed the lizard. The children who witnessed this marvelous feat will tell their friends and their children and their children's children and their friends' children of the day when I freed the lizard. Some day, an enterprising author will hear the tale, believe it to be a myth of suburbia, and capitalize upon its eternal truth and wisdom by making it into a children's book illustrating for posterity the sheer heroism of the deed. But, you, lucky reader, will hear of it first.

We had glue traps in our garage. The pest control company put them out at the corners of the garage door entry way to trap any little scurrying rodents who may try to make their merry way into our home. Until last Monday, the traps had only caught spiders of various sizes, from small and spindly to large and hairy. Yuck. I have no sympathy for rodents -- who use their wretched teeth to eat into our plumbing for what I can only assume is the fun of it -- nor for spiders, who really ought to live outside and not hassle me. But, on that fateful day, behold, a lizard was caught in one of the glue traps. Oh dear.

I have a certain sympathy for reptiles. Snakes and lizards and tortoises are my friends. Hey, snakes eat mice -- you know I love that -- and the big ones occasionally eat those little yappy dogs, too. Of course, recently, that terrible one killed a two-year-old, which is not cool at all; but, snakes, in general, have my approbation. They do the Lord's work. Except in the Garden of Eden. And lizards are adorable -- with their little blinking eyes and sticky-outy arms and legs. And Tortoises -- c'mon, who doesn't love them?

So, my heart was sad to see a lizard stuck in glue. Poor dear. He was probably chasing after one of those horrible spiders and followed it into the mire. I figured that he was dead. Upon closer inspection, he proved to be very much alive. Every inch of his underside was stuck. His tail and feet and belly and throat and jaw. He could only blink his eyes, protrude his tongue, and sigh. Sadie and Rylee looked at the lizard and then looked at me. "You have to get him out," they cried, almost in unison. Four eyes -- two blue, two dark hazel, both big and round and sad -- gazed at me expectantly.

How was I to get out a glue-bogged lizard? I ran and got a butter knife, hoping to slide it under my scaly friend and lift him to freedom. Unfortunately, his wee feet were so deep in goo that I quickly saw any forcible lifting without nullifying the grip of the glue would likely rip them off. So, I did what every sensible herpetological neophyte does when faced with an existential reptilian conundrum (that is, relating to the continued existence of this particular lizard); I went on-line.

A quick Google of "how to free a lizard from a glue trap" revealed myriad sites. Literally, myriad. Ain't the 'Net grand? I clicked on the first one and, after reading a bit how cruel and unnecessary glue traps are, the author got to his point. First, you cover the trap with flour to neutralize the stickiness of the glue, so that your incrementally freed animal does not re-stick during the process. Then, you could use vegetable oil -- or, even better, Goo Off -- and Q-tips to marinate the poor beast which will, in turn, dissolve the glue. Aha! Why, I had both flour and oil! The girls and I gathered the products and ran back outside to our sad friend.

If little reptiles were able to think in an abstract manner, I am certain that no good thoughts would have run through that lizard's brain. To be trapped and then have giant mammals hovering over you, covering you with both flour and oil . . . well, that sounds like "breading" to me. Out of the glue trap and into the frying pan! But, no, we had no designs on making him a mid-morning snack. He could not know that, but he had no choice whatsoever. If ever a lizard looked glum, it was he.

I worked feverishly with Q-tips in hand, while Rylee and Sadie kept the neighbor's friendly cat at bay. First, I freed his tail. It immediately whipped about and into another part of the trap; but, the flour did its job and his tail remained at liberty. Then, I oiled his little arms and legs; went on to his belly; and, ever so gently, freed his throat and jaw. Sweet freedom! Rylee and Sadie cheered. I grinned. As soon as he realized he was really, truly free, the little feller ran off -- straight into our garage and behind some cans. Crap!

By this point, I was a wee exasperated with our reptilian buddy. Fine, you fool, I thought. Run off into the spider-webby garage corner. I am through with you. I tossed the glue traps into the garbage, bundled the girls into the bike trailer, and we went to the library.

When we came home, though, the lizard was waiting on the other side of the garage door. He had obviously had second thoughts about hanging out with spiders while drenched in tasty oil. He gave us a long look -- I'd like to think that the glimmer of gratitude shone in his eye -- and then scurried out into the bushes that line the driveway. And there I hope he is today, eating small bugs and wearing off the oily sheen.

And that, my friends, is the tale of how I freed the lizard. A good tale, do you not agree? And, what's more it is all true. I advised Sadie that, should she ever be called upon in school to write an essay about why her mom is cool, she should remember the day I freed the lizard. Sadie gazed at me with her big, dark, inscrutable eyes and spoke those immortal words of reassurance that every mother longs to hear: "Sure, Mom. Whatever."

A freer of lizards is not without honor save in her own household.

3 comments:

vermonster said...

Hurrah for the Lizard Liberator!

What that poor lizard must have thought..the panic and eventually, the gratitude.

Jo said...

Oh Justine, do not knock your own skill at writing! :) You have a true gift for story-telling.

That is one lucky lizard. And one lucky girl to have you for a mom - she'll appreciate it when she's grown, if not before!

We've had our own lizard adventure lately. Our cat caught a skink and we managed to rescue it, but alas, it is now going through life sans its beautiful blue tail. Hopefully it is grateful! lol T. was absolutely fascinated by the way the tail kept wiggling even after it was detached. The cat just seemed greatly annoyed! :D

Arphixad said...

Awesome! I used to do pest control, so I knew about the oil - but the flour is pure genious. Congrats on your most excellent adventure & triumph.

And somehow, slightly out of context, Matthew 25:40 comes to mind. :D