Monday, September 17, 2012

Leapin' Lizards

Tomorrow I’ve been invited to speak at my Grandma’s church and tell others about my experiences in Cambodia. I’m nervous and excited but most of all, as I was practicing my words today, I felt a longing to be there. I had just texted my friend Erica that I was missing Cambodia when God decided to give me a little glimpse of it. 

I stopped by my sister’s house to pick up some things she had for me. She’s moving to a new place and was giving away her fish tank and some other things to me and some cute little nephews of hers. She said I could take her plants from the backyard, too, and I was super excited. I have a huge back yard at my house now and no plants!  “I would love to have them,” I told her. So while she was at work, I headed over to grab them from her backyard.

There were about 7-8 plants, I think. Plenty of room in the back of my Explorer to fit them all. I was a little nervous about what could be inside them... my sister has a track record of seeing snakes in her backyard... so I shook them and kicked them hard before moving them. 

It wasn’t good enough. 

As I set the last one inside, something green and slithery caught my attention. Now, I hate snakes, so I was happy when I realized that it was, instead, a lizard. A pretty big green one, but still, it had legs. I could handle it. The boys were standing there as I jumped when I first saw the little creature and they giggled. I said I was going to be brave and grab it. It took me a few seconds to gain up enough courage to grab it, and I did, right there on the tail. 

You know what happens to a lizard when you grab its tail, right?  Not only does the creepy thing fall off, but it scares the rest of the lizard into hiding! That little big guy jumped over the backseat and into Jack’s carseat.  At this point, the kids stopped finding it funny and started screaming and crying. As I’m comforting them and trying to swat a lizard with random toys from the back seat,  a sweet neighbor – remember I’m not at my own house, I’m at my sister’s  - came over and asked what in the world was going on. I told him and he goes “Oh, geez, not lizards, those things are creepy!”

He brought over his broom and helped me a little. Then he (conveniently) had to leave once the lizard disappeared deeper into the car, and left me the broom. About that same time I saw another one.  In my car.  Yep.  Great. 

I opened all the doors and started pulling things out. The kids were running up, peeking in the car, and running away screaming. Over and over again. Yeah. I wasn’t sure if it was for fun or from fear, but it certainly didn’t help me any. 

At some point I decided to take the plants out of the car. I mean, all I could think was that if there were lizards then there might be a slithery snake in one of those pots. As I grabbed the second or third one, I saw another lizard on the pot. I knew it was a different one because it was smaller than either of the others and brown instead of green. I figured would stay on the pot while I set it outside. 

Of course it didn’t, though. It, too, jumped inside the car and immediately hid. With two carseats, toys everywhere, and yeah, I admit, some trash on the floor, too, it became impossible to find those lizards. 

And then I saw one, one who still had a tail. He was on the door so I used the broom the neighbor had left and swatted it away. It went flying across the driveway and slammed into the garage door. I became the coolest mom ever at that point.  The boys watched it as it crawled away, unharmed.  (Thankfully for the kids sake!)

Okay. One down, two to go. Or at least I thought. I couldn’t let myself imagine how many there really could be. I found the second one, which was the largest one, aka Mr. Tailless, hiding in between the seats. With some poking and prodding I got that guy to run out of the car on his own. More giggling and screaming from the kids. They thought they were all gone because I hadn’t told them about the baby one I saw last. 

And when I kept looking and couldn’t find that little guy, I outright lied to my kids and told them there were no more. I know, I shouldn’t lie to them, but come on!  I had a 30 minute drive back home and didn’t need them to be freaked out.

Yeah.  The drive.  I was so worried about driving away with that lizard still in there. Without the plants, of course, because there was no way I was keeping those things inside my car after all that. Sorry, sis. The kids were begging me to never put "leaves" in the car again.  
And that’s how it was like Cambodia. But it wasn’t. In Cambodia there were geckos and lizards everywhere. They over and beside us as we ate at restaurants, they came into our kitchen and bedrooms, and they likely rode in tuk tuks with us. It was expected, so it wasn’t all that strange. I guess I’ve adapted now, though, because the thought of driving away with that little guy stuck inside my car, my closed up, moving vehicle, driving on a 4 lane freeway, freaked me out.  I almost couldn’t do it.

But I did.  I lied to the kids again as I buckled them in their carseats.  And I drove.  But every little flicker of light made me jumpy because I thought it was a moving reptile... my mind was still imagining a snake being in there, too.  At one point one of the kids threw a toy into the front seat and I jumped.  They thought that was so funny that they did it again a few minutes later. 

We finally made it home, with no sightings of the lizard. Thank you, Jesus. Because if that thing had run across my lap or jumped on my back while I was driving, I’m sure I’d have closed my eyes, let go, and started singing “Jesus, take the wheeeeeel!”

Whew.  What a day.

I don’t miss Cambodia anymore for now.  
And I'm not driving that car again for a while.  

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