The newspaper and the TV weather lady both say that it is supposed to get to thirty degrees tonight here in Miami Beach. It’s raining. Yes, if the news is correct, it may snow in Miami Beach.

Our house was built in 1950. They didn’t feel a need to put in heat in houses back then. For the past few days the temperature in our house has been hovering around fifty-five degrees, INSIDE our house. If it gets to below freezing, I have no idea how cold it will be in here.

We are wearing long underwear, long pants, socks, shearling slippers, a short-sleeved shirt, a long-sleeved shirt, another long-sleeved shirt, a fleece sweatshirt, gloves and a hat, in bed.

The water has not turned to blood yet, however, my pee is day-glow orange, which I had earlier attributed to a urinary tract infection.

We did get a frog in our house a few days ago, but we were able to scoot it outside again with a 5 x 6 card. So far there have been no frogs in our bedchamber, our bed or, God forbid, in our oven. We don’t have a kneading trough.

We have not yet discovered lice, although our heads do feel decidedly itchy. We do have quite a few cockroaches coming inside trying to get warmer.

There are no regular houseflies in the house, although there are fruit flies in the kitchen, due to the cantaloupes that are sitting on the windowsill.

There has been grievous murrain visited upon our fish, as some of you may know if you were recipients of my missive.

Thankfully no boils breaking forth with blains have visited us, or our animals, although the lady who cleans our house has a husband who had a colonoscopy yesterday during which the doctors found numerous polyps.

It is raining like the dickens outside, but so far it is still water and not snow nor hail as yet.

Although we have seen no locusts, the cold itself has already killed all of our flowering ginger, our lipstick palms and our countless orchids. We won’t know until morning what tropical plants, fruits and trees have survived. Therefore, the result is indistinguishable from a visit by a swarm of locusts.

As I write this, it is very dark.

Do any of you blame me for being agitated about the health of Sara, my firstborn? (Or Lonny, if God was only speaking of boys, which he tended to do back in the day?)

I do not think I will be able to sleep tonight. No. I do not think I will.

Victor and I sent our grandchildren an early Christmas gift of a tank containing two bright green frogs, contrasting pink gravel, a year’s worth of frog food and other assorted frog-related paraphernalia. Our son-in-law was home alone when this package arrived.

He ate both of the frogs, basted with olive oil and fresh rosemary, and lightly grilled.

Now, do not be so quick to judge.

You would forgive him this momentary, seemingly inexplicable indiscretion if you knew all the facts in play here.

Victor and our son-in-law are both ardent carnivores. As a result of this, they exchange virtually identical gifts every birthday and Christmas: meat. Styrofoam containers bypass each other in the mail each holiday, containing, for example, steaks or varieties of salami. The surprise, naturally, is exactly which remarkable type of meat is included under the dry ice each time.

When our son-in-law opened the package, which was addressed to both him and my daughter, he made the assumption that he had received his meat gift. It was a misunderstanding that we should have foreseen.

You should also know that our son-in-law, due to medical restrictions, has been on a severe sodium restricted diet for almost two years. During this time his diet has consisted of the same exceedingly boring and tasteless foods, day after day after day, containing especially low levels of sodium. Serendipitously, these particular frogs happened to be appropriately low in sodium content.

This strict regimen has affected his culinary, parental and conventional judgment. The bright green frogs were irresistible. Who among you would begrudge him this soupçon of diversification in his tedious diet?

Fortunately, our grandchildren were gamboling in the park when this act of extraordinary, but erroneous impropriety took place. Their father, after swiftly despatching the two lightly grilled frogs, immediately realized his horrible misunderstanding. He went about putting right his blunder.

Their father is renowned for his ingenuity.

He drove to a near-by Dollar Store and purchased miniature Christmas ornaments, each water-resistant, and strung them on silver and gold threads in the tank of water with the bright pink gravel. He even found waterproof colored lights to light up the water. He always does a superb job with everything to which he sets his mind, so the frog-free tank was transformed into an elaborate and aesthetically pleasing Christmas decoration.

Our grandchildren are quite young and naïve, so they were easily convinced that their grandparents had sent them an extravagant Christmas decoration, which, though not actually animate, required monthly feedings for a year.

The night after each monthly feeding, when his children have gone to sleep, their father strains the adulterated water and replaces it with Perrier, which he has on hand since he formerly loved to drink it, but now cannot, due to its high sodium levels. This keeps the water pristine and lovely, even somewhat bubbly for a short time.

You might have thought that the impropriety of consuming your children’s pets would result in their psychological harm, but you forget! They never knew about the existence of the frogs to begin with.

In fact, this rejuvenated tank of inanimate, yet hungry, Christmas ornaments has turned out to be their favorite Christmas gift, a win-win, so to speak, (except for the frogs, of course.)

 

 

(Gentle reader, if you were truly appalled by this tale, I humbly beg your forgiveness. Most of this story is true. Occasionally, the total truth vexes me, when, with just a tweak, it becomes more palatable, if you will excuse the pun. I will, charitably, reassure you, gentle reader, that said frogs are in good health. One has been named “Hug” and the other “Kiss.” They live in their rather ordinary tank on an ordinary kitchen table in our grandchildren’s house.) (Ho hum, ho hum, ho hum.)