Considering the world is on Royal Baby Watch (and I am, too), the daily doldrums of putting a house together is nothing news worthy. Yesterday, for example, Rob and I didn’t see each other until dinnertime, even though we never left the house (he constructed wood shelving in the garage, I made drapes for the dining room). After a trip to Ikea, I put together two large bookcases, ALL BY MYSELF, finishing only a little worse for wear (a sore hand, a premature blister on my thumb, and a small cut on my forehead – not sure how that happened). Our conversations have danced around topics of bookshelves, overhead lighting, paint colors, and hanging pictures. Not exactly the tête-à-têtes of romance.
However, there is one thing – one sound, I should say – that brings us together with a smile, and helps us forget for a moment about our task at hand. And that’s Freddy.
Before the boxes, before the enthralling home improvement conversations, Rob, my mom, and I basically camped in our house for a few days. We ate meals off of our green, plastic camping plates, drank wine out of plastic wine glasses, and slept on air mattresses. We used folding chairs in the living room and would get up, walk around to the back of the chair, put a hand on each folding side, 1-2-3 lift, and carry the chair to the kitchen for dinner, or the backyard for some time on the patio. Musical folding chairs became quite standard.
One evening when sitting on the patio, we heard a noise. It was loud. Too loud to be far away which meant, whatever it was, its proximity to us was unnerving. It sounded like a combination between a squeezy dog toy and a sheep in labor, and it literally halted conversation. Finally, I got up – yes, me, not the boy who sees anything slippery and slimy and runs away like a little girl (sorry, Rob, but you know it’s true). Perfectly smushed between the upper corner tracks of the sliding glass door was the smallest, greenest, frankly coolest looking frog I’ve ever seen. Such a loud noise out of such a little being, but that little green tree frog was making his presence known, and clearly wanted to be a part of the party. Mom put a rock in the door tracks to prevent any accidental casualties (imagine the noise then!).
Almost immediately he was named Freddy, which then started a debate with my dad about whether he should actually be named Teddy, as he was probably a toad. I do think he’s a Florida tree frog, Dad. Google told me so.
Freddy has been making appearances on our glass door, hopping and jumping and leaving little froggy foot prints as a reminder of his presence (as if the croak wasn’t enough). Freddy must have liked us, as he called over some friends and started a little frog fraternity on our outdoor ceiling. He found his way to work with Rob one day, clinging on to the side mirror long enough to give a little frog thanks-for-the-ride “thumbs up” when he decided to jump off. Freddy has clearly become a household name.
So, as Rob and I have been spending our days getting all of our honey-dos done, trying to make specific efforts to enjoy this beautiful summertime, and truthfully just get accustomed to Florida’s flora and fauna, we needed to take a trip. To Ikea. Why is going to Ikea a trip, you ask? Well, it’s actually a step up in the Rob ‘N’ Jill Travel World, as when we lived in Oregon, it was a 4-hour trip to Ikea and a 2-hour trip to Target. Now in Florida, we’ve upgraded to a 2 ½ -hour trip to Ikea (and yes, we would drive to these places, because Target and Ikea are just that awesome).
Like most of our driving trips, I slept most of the ride, and woke up just in time to exit the freeway. As I yawned and stretched and took a sip of my lukewarm tea, Rob generally stated that it wasn’t that bad of a drive. We had made it to the-land-with-Ikea (aka Orlando) with no problems whatsoever. Until we stopped.
Rob made a noise unlike any noise I’ve ever heard come out of his mouth. Generally, Rob has a pretty deep voice, very masculine, and a surprisingly nice bass intonation when singing. That is, until Freddy arrived.
I guess if it were between hitchhiking while clinging for life on the side mirror, or hitchhiking in the comfort of the Explorer, I’d choose the Explorer as well; plush seats, air-conditioned, Sirius radio. But I definitely would not like the driver screaming at me in a high-pitched voice, and I’m sure Freddy was just as putout. After all, we make a nice home for this little guy, let him bring over his friends, encouraged him to make loud noises way late into the night, and obviously he was comfortable with us. So comfortable, in fact, that he silently drove all the way to Orlando with us, and then at his stop he rang the bell to get off the bus – doing so by jumping onto Rob’s arm, then his leg (and as the uncontrollable shaking and dog-hearing-only-pitched noises started out of Rob), then onto the window. Rob rolled down the window (still making noises) and Freddy hopped directly onto his original hitchhiking spot on the side mirror (probably thinking that may have been the better option in the first place), and off to his new digs in Orlando.
Ah, I’ll miss that little guy.
On the way home, then the rest of the night, and a few times yesterday, Rob would randomly get heebie-jeebie shivers and mention Freddy. Of course, I’ve joked about making frog-legs for dinner and such, but it just doesn’t seem to be as funny to Rob as it is to me. Oh well.
However, we have been eating some comfort foods that can only satisfy one while they are working hard and building things, namely pizza. Is there anything better than pizza and a cold beer after a day of home improvements (and frog attacks)? For a moment – just a moment – we deliberated over which pizza place to call, but then I remembered I had some of my favorite ingredients in the fridge, ready to make a pizza almost anyone would love. We indulged that night on a BLT pizza, giving all the bacony, tomatoey, mayo-y goodness of a BLT sandwich, but the comfort that only a pizza can bring. Rob brought up Freddy. I laughed.
Hitchhiking frog or not, you must try this pizza – it’s a winner. On to the next improvement, and maybe even more pizza!
- 2 beefsteak tomatoes, sliced into rounds
- 4 slices thick-cut applewood smoked (my favorite) bacon, diced
- 2 loose cups roughly chopped lettuce – we use a tender red oak lettuce, but whatever you like will work
- 3 tbsp good mayo
- zest and juice of 1 small lemon
- ¼ c shredded parmesan cheese
- pizza dough – make your own or store bought
- cracked pepper, to taste
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
First make the sauce – mix the mayo, lemon zest and juice, and cheese until smooth. Set aside.
In a saucepan, render the diced bacon until just before crispy. Using a slotted spoon, remove the bacon and place on a plate lined with a towel, to soak up the extra grease. Set aside.
To assemble the pizza, stretch out the dough to your favorite size (I like the traditional round), and use flour or cornmeal on your sheet tray or stone so the dough does not stick. Lather the top of the dough with the mayo mixture. Lay the tomato slices on top of the mayo, and sprinkle the bacon on top. At this point, crack some good black pepper on top, to taste (the mayo, cheese, and bacon has quite a bit of salt, so I did not add extra salt). Place in the oven, and remove when the dough is super crusty and the house smells like fresh pizza, about 12-15 minutes.
Let cool for just a minute, and then sprinkle with the fresh cold lettuce on top.
Slice, serve, and enjoy!