Visitors are always welcome but some more than others when it comes to critters. Sometimes they hop in, others fly. A few are expected, like our daughter’s dogs, others are not, like a toad.

To be honest, I’m not sure if it was a toad or a frog but a definitive description says that, technically, a toad is a kind of frog and by the way, they cannot give you warts. In other words, toads are frogs but not all frogs are toads.

Whatever. It doesn’t make a bit of difference except to say that there was a tiny one, sitting on a small, low dresser in the bathroom. It was my early morning surprise a couple of weeks ago.

I switched on the light and caught a glimpse of it out of the corner of my sleepy eyes. It was motionless, probably wondering where in the world it was which was my question exactly. How and why it got there remains a curious and unanswered mystery. We were in the city and not at the lake where you might occasionally expect to see something from outdoors, indoors - invited or not.

In an instant, I hustled to the kitchen for a small plastic container I could use to brush it into the pail I had grabbed from the garage. That way I didn’t have to, eek! touch it. (I know, I know. It sounds all too girlie not to want to pick it up but that is somebody else’s scenario, not mine.)

I scurried out the door with it, thankfully on a warm sunny morning, and dumped it quite unceremoniously on the ground. We were both relieved.

There was another visit from something even tinier that ended up in my husband’s coffee one evening at the lake. He was sitting reading the paper and quite idly sipping away when after a while, he took a swallow and felt something hard in his mouth that had a rather bitter taste. Spitting the coffee back into the mug, he saw a floating lady bug, the unscientific name for the little red and black beast that plagues the cabin during certain years of their invasive cycle.

Startled, he ran to the kitchen sink to rinse his mouth out trying to get rid of the most unpleasant taste and to kill what he thought might be anything else unwanted and floating along with it. He was not a happy camper and never drank his coffee afterward without peering into the mug first to make sure that he was not about to get a mouthful of bugs. When I asked him what the ladybug was doing in his coffee he said, “the backstroke.” (His great sense of humor always rises to the occasion.)

Then there was the time when a sparrow flew into the cabin through the door propped open to haul in a refrigerator. To its great relief and ours, I fanned it back to outdoor freedom with a dish towel.

There are days when the “Welcome” sign does have its limits.

Janice Kimes sketches the domestic cartoon of life with its inevitable calamities, delights and vigor. She and her family enjoy their seasonal Aitkin County cabin.

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