Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Amphibian Ambivalence

Say hello to the most common threats to showering without stress when I was a child - the green tree Queensland bathroom frog.

I know there are many out there who know not of what I speak, but if you ever lived in or visited a home before 1983 in regional Queensland you will nod your head and say "ah yes" with a little flutter of repressed panic in your voice.

1983 is the year that bathroom renovation hit the regional register, I believe.

Oh, I am not saying we were all hicks, but prior to 1983 while bathtub may have moved into the main building there was always the shower for the workmen down on the cement block where the laundry was, where the plumbing was "adequate" (if adequate is expanded to include drains being hollowed grooves in the concrete or a pipe from the wall) - and where the walls/doors/windows did not offer full protection from the green tree Queensland bathroom frog.

Now, it is the case that the true fear of my childhood wasn't ever the frogs, it was the frogs jumping on me - or towards me, at least. I once had a few of these friends as my "pets" so it wasn't really about the frog - my fear was definitely restricted to the bathroom when I was vulnerable and naked.

There is one other vulnerable moment in a young girl's life that can also be affected by the green tree Queensland bathroom frog and that is on the throne. As they have a proclivity towards sneaking in to these furnishings, there is a look to Queensland loos that I haven't seen often elsewhere. Often there is a requirement to remove the lid of the tank - and there seems to be such an oftenness to this that it just darned well gets left off.

Fast forward a millenia thirty years and in the modern age, there are some improvements on the Queensland bathroom - and some very obvious traps for young players.

Take for example the ensuite to a bedroom infrequently used, and my adventures within on the evening before I write this epistle.

Now, to do this experiment at home, first you must have someone use the ensuite earlier in the day, ensuring that the light is left on to attract insects, and the door both into the ensuite and out to the garden surrounded balcony are left open.

When I first went in to put my things in for my shower, I had certain expectations. I mean, at the family bathroom, there were three very fat green tree Queensland bathroom frogs having a feast on the outside of the closed windows, so when I saw the light on I knew the odds were good to excellent of a few creatures in the room, so it was with a certain amount of relief that I counted one on the window sill and one on the floor in the ensuite. Two - I have two eyes, so I could keep one on each I figured.

The good news with the green tree Queensland bathroom frog is it will imitate a statue if you have your eye on it, see?

Having an urge to use the other facilities on offer, I moved towards the toilet - and three more heads popped up from the tank. That increased the degree of difficulty, I can tell you.

Then when I switched on the shower, they began to call to each other - to the one in the upper corner of the ceiling, the one behind the towel rail, the one on the side of the dirty clothes basket - but thankfully, none in the enclosed shower stall.

In I went, closed the doors and breathed a sigh of relief - at least I was safe from their jumps - until I noticed movement at the top of the gap the sliding door left when it was closed - and as much as I enjoy looking at the bottom end of a frog statue while showering, I am sure both the frog and I breathed again with relief when I abluted with full speed and escaped!

It could have been worse. Sometimes other things follow the frogs into dwellings... (please note how nice I am not finding an image of the green tree snake?)

What is the scariest bathroom experience (short of remembering The Shining) for you?


Jen at Semantically driven said...

My childhood home on the farm had an outside toilet only. I went to visit it one afternoon and someone had left the door open. A brown snake greeted me (very deadly for those who don't know). I promptly shut the door and got mum. She got a shovel and cut it in half. She held the shovel down on the back half first until it stopped moving. She then did it to the top half and even though it was cut in half it still kept biting the shovel.

I was always scared to go to the toilet after this. A frog sounds nice in comparison.

Oh, and in India, I've had pigs at the other end of the toilet waste chute eating my waste! Mmmm, dinner.

Anonymous said...

Huntsman under the soap bar. (I always use liquis soap now, but as a kid, this was not an option). Big fat hairy spider undr the soap bar. I mightmared for weeks.

Anonymous said...

It obviously affected my ability to spell and proof read, as you can see.

(I WAS educated, I promise)

Debby said...

We had an outhouse as a child. Outhouses attract flies. Flies attract snakes. I can't tell you the number of times that I opened the door only to have a snake leap out.

To this day, I have a fear of snakes. Goannas too.

Lin said...

My first thought was: oh how cute, frogs, I'm so jealous because we never see them here. (Hear them near water though)

Then I remembered that I like my wildlife at least 2 metres away from me at all times. And I very much prefer them to not have an inclination to jump or crawl on me!

No scary bathroom experiences here unless you count being convinced for a while that a bear was going to leap out of the toilet any moment when I was 4.

Anonymous said...

spiders in the loo really used to rattle me. *shudder*

I am quite used to green tree frogs jumping on me though from working plant nurseries while in QLD - adorable things I think :)

Frances said...

Huntsman spider lurking inside the shower cap.Yeek

Reddunappy said...

A spider in the bathtub! eeuwwww, now I laugh as I say this, but I am talking a Yank spider, our house spiders here are rarely over 1/2 inch LOL
I am realy lucky to live in an area that about the only snake is a gartner snake, bug eaters and no venom I like it that way LOL
Now if you live out in the country here, black bears can sometimes be a problem, have a friend that went out to feed the horses one morning and a bear was standing upright in front of the barn! Usually they are as scared of us as we are of them, I try to keep that in mind LOL

Jayne said...

Spiders in, on and scuttling with lightning speed around the loo.
Oh and doin' the nasty with other spiders riiiiiiiiight above the dunny seat.

Just-Me-Jen said...

No really scary moments - I grew up in the 'burbs, and what critters we did have around never bothered me much. I was the type to "relocate" them instead of squashing them.
Here in Florida, we have the little tree frogs, and I've never minded them jumping on me, but then I've never had them visit the shower, either! :-D

Pencil Writer said...

Hmmmmmm. Brings to mind the plague in Moses' day when Pharoh wouldn't let the Israelites leave Egypt.


I think frogs are cute..especially the colourful ones. I can say that because over here they remember to stay out of doors.

Crazed Nitwit said...

This is hilarious. You did a fabulous job describing the scene. I could totallly picture it. I love frogs. Not to play with but I loved watching them.

My brothers had snakes as pets so I never had a chance to be a girly girl and feel fear. If I had felt fear my bros would have exploited it thousands of times in a year.

Melody said...

Oh my goodness. As much as I love those green tree, sorry, green bathroom frogs, having them in the same room as me would freak me out!!!

However, I would rather shower with those than my own horror story.

I lived in a house which had frequent (too frequent, I am talking EVERYDAY frequent) visitors of the 8-legged kind. Huge, gumboot wearing, hairy, size of your hand, huntsman spiders. *shudder shudder* In fact I am shuddering so much I don't think I can type much longer....

...Just imagine bathroom door, in shower, getting out, grabbing towel, looking above doorway to go to the bedroom to get dressed and seeing one of those looking back down at you. (You know when you get the feeling something is looking at you?) How does one escape when one is frozen to the spot? *shudder*

Anonymous said...

I still have green tree frog issues in my toilet bowl. They (or maybe it's just one) show up every few months or so. Long enough for me to think they've gone forever. So I make my morning journey to the loo, do what you do, and then as I flush I see these big eyes looking back at me, imploring me, as though to say, "why did you just pee (or worse) on me?" But by then I've flushed - and away he goes. Only to come back the next day. But this time he's crafty, and hides below the rim, so I can't see him. So then when I flush, he's gripping on to the slippery side of the toilet bowl as best he can. Every time I see him (and I refer to it as him but I don't know if it is, and I don't know if there is more than one, but anyway) I get freaked out. There is no way I'll take him out of the toilet because, eek.

This has turned into a saga. All to say, I feel (in a small way) your pain.

MissyBoo said...


You are such a marvellous storyteller.

My scariest bathroom experiences don't involve wildlife. No its way, way more scarier!

Squat toilets. First encountered in France in 1990 and frequently following that in my travels. They just freak me out BIG TIME!

Lin said...

I forgot that I actually did find a dead gecko in the bath once. Or rather my then 3yo found it. She'd been keeping it company until she saw it float past and had to then spend some time convincing me that there was a real - not a plastic - lizard in the bath.

I don't find huntsmen spiders scary though: they catch other insects and are always welcome to stay at my house. Though again, I draw the line at them walking over me.

Also didn't mind the squat toilets in India.

jeanie said...

Jen - that would scare the requirement for the toilet right out of you!!

rhubarbwhine - okay, a great way to develop arachnaphobia!

I didn't know flies attracted snakes, Deb. I just thought they were nasty.

Lin - a bear would do it for me. Eek. And a dead gecko in the bath? Must have been ailing because surely they are bathproof?

Misstress B - I am not sure I would get "used" to frogs jumping on me - they would still elicit a squeal.

Frances - Welcome! Spiders in the shower cap? Oooh, excuse me while I shudder. That would freak me.

Reddunappy - Welcome to you also! Bears do look so cuddly on the tube, but in front of the barn they would spook me (and the horses, no doubt).

Jayne - I agree, all toilets should be "G" rated!

Just-Me-Jen - I am a relocater when applicable - but I am a call on someone else to relocate if possible!

Pencil Writer - I am fairly sure that God wasn't giving me a specific message, having no israelites in my possession!

Elizabeth - over here, houses are just rather large trees to frogs!

Crazed Mom - what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, for sure. But I am still a wuss.

Melody - oh yes, while frogs do a statue when we look, we do statues when spiders (or snakes) look.

Tanya - one of the toilets on the property has a colony of those frogs - my brother once relocated them 30km away and they beat him back.

M+B - we had those at school camp - and as my dad used to say, 10,000 acres of toilet when we had a need while mustering so I am sure (I think) it wouldn't phase me too much...

♥.Trish.♥ Drumboys said...

I loved this Jeanie.

When we worked from my Father in law's property there were several green tree frogs in the toilets - that were attached to a shed (that once sold alpaca or wooly craft stuff). Part of the building but two doors opened only to outside.

We always had green tree frog issues in the toilet bowls. I would try to re home them to no avail.They would be gone for a few days .Long enough for me to think they've gone forever.
Then like Tanya said ...
"So I make my morning journey to the loo, do what you do, and then as I flush I see these big eyes looking back at me, imploring me, as though to say, "why did you just pee (or worse) on me?" But by then I've flushed - and away he goes " only to come back trying to hang on for dear life .... "on to the slippery side of the 'can' bowl as best he can one step up two steps back.

Yes, I got freaked out but I knew they were there.
Woo the unsuspecting customers who would had driven a 'wee' long way out to the sticks to find us and who would check the facilities before going to the office. Eeeks the screams that we heard 50m away

I had to stop PMSL and ROFL because it truly was hilarious...

thanks for the laugh and the memory jog... this is so blogable !

♥.Trish.♥ Drumboys said...

ha The next word verification is 'blyme' - I love it.