So imagine my horror when I'm chatting away on the phone with my sister, and wander into my bedroom, sat down, and stop cold in my tracks. On the baseboard I spot a lizard! Now I have to be honest it had to be maybe 3-4 inches total--maybe. To me it may as well have been 12 inches. All of a sudden my throat got dry, I got very quiet. I whispered to my sister, as if lizards have ears (or do they? Hmmm), "There's a lizard on the baseboard in my bedroom."
My sister offered absolutely no reassurance. She responded with an "Ewwww." Then she reminded me of her first house, which I vividly remember, that had the scorpion problem. As I kept my eyes locked on the lizard, and drifted in and out of conversation, she informed me that if it had been a scorpion, that I should capture it in a container, take it into the middle of the street, and smash it. She explained that they carry their babies on their backs so you don't want to try smashing it in the house and sending surviving scorpion infants scrambling for cover. Geez thanks for the crash course in Scorpions 101.
Back to the reptile chillin on my baseboard. I'm starting to freak out. They run fast. If I don't catch it, will it try to get even in the dead of night by exploring my ears, nose, or throat? I decide I have to do something. I call my daughter in for guard duties while I grab the bug spray. She sees the lizard and wonders if she can hold him. "No!" She then asks can she catch him. Uhhhhh no. Then my sister begins round 2 of Scorpions 101: "I don't think bug spray is gonna work. You know nothing kills scorpions...," and she continues to describe how much they paid various exterminators before realizing this. Thanks again for that trip down memory lane.
Back in my bedroom with bug spray in hand, I approach cautiously, with the precision of a SWAT officer. I squeezed the handle 2-3 times and looked to see what happened. Nothing! "I think he figures I just gave him a warm shower, " I tell my sister. I turned around for a minute, and suddenly he was gone! I look, but can't find it.
About an hour and a half later I looked around the baseboards again. Guess who I find behind my window seat alive and well? At this point I call my kids in--figuring we might as well name it. They watch with fascination. "Can we keep it?" My daughter asks. I force a smile and say, "I don't think so."
With my kids napping I knew I had to do something. I grabbed a plastic bottle and a small piece of paper cardboard. With a swift move, I realized I had caught the little critter. I looked at it closely--it was almost kinda cute. Except this was the type of lizard that snaps part of it's tail off when it's in danger...and the detached tail was wiggling like a worm! Now covered in goose bumps, I methodically go downstairs. In my mind I'm saying over and over "Please don't let me drop this--I will go nuts."
I maneuver and get the back door and screen open. So far so good. Once outside I walk away from the door and let the little lizard go on the sidewalk. I had a little smile of satisfaction as it seemed to run away. But that smile was short lived. I watched as the little guy/girl ran in a circle for 30 seconds. Suddenly it did a literal back flip ending up on it's back. It lifted and wiggled it's head once or twice, probably in a dying attempt to ID me to it's dozens of relatives that I see every day scurrying around the yard, and then expired. I was so traumatized!!
What did I do wrong? I thought it was a good thing letting it go free! Then I remembered. I live in Arizona. You can literally fry an egg on the sidewalk during the summer. Oops. I took comfort in the fact that the kids were not there to witness my failed attempt at returning the lizard to the wild. I'm pretty sure I would've had to explain to the 5 year old that lizards are not trained in tap dance and gymnastics. To that poor little lizard all I can say is I'm sorry dude. Rest easy.