My daughter works with the Special Olympics and special needs groups in her high school and she has made me aware of the campaign going on to replace the R-word. Please take a moment and watch these two videos, then spread the word!
Do you ever catch glimpses of movement out of the corner of your eye, turn to look, but there doesn't seem to be any cause for it? This has been happening to me, way too much lately. So today, I started paying attention to what's going on in my own backyard.
Did you know spring has finally sprung? I know it's hard to believe, given the weird weather we've all been having. I mean, I just drove through a blinding snowstorm on my way home from Phoenix, Arizona, of all places, and had to take refuge in a hotel because I couldn't see the road, let alone the cars and trucks.
As it turns out, green grass has actually pushed up from the soggy soil. Daffodils and tulips have popped out of the ground and are blooming in all their varieties and color. The trees have budded, bushes are flowering, and believe it or not, the sun is shining. Hallelujah! When did all this happen? Have I been totally oblivious, too hunkered down, too depressed by the gray skies to look out my windows, or has Mother Nature finally taken things into her own hands, taken a turn for the better? I sure hope so.
And what about all that movement I've been so paranoid about?
It's birds. Yes, birds. And not your average, run-of-the-mill, every day kinds, either.
Though they may look like ordinary birds, these are tricky. They lay in wait, taking turns to see if they can outsmart the human. These winged-creatures are "smart-alicks"! They knowingly zip in and out, beneath the patio cover, taunting me, sneering at me, gloating over the fact that they can flutter just out of my line of sight. I swear each one takes bets on who can be the most sneaky.
I have only caught them unawares a couple of times. They are huddling in the trees, conspiring. I can see it. I can hear it. They are chirping to one another, most frantically, gathering twigs, string, leaves, and the like, hiding, building blinds, etc., etc. I have a sneaking suspicion that they think, I think, they are just building nests, but I know better. I see through their cleverness. Can't you just picture it?
Who knew birds could be so smart, so speedy. Robins are in on it, black birds, canaries, and finches, plus, who knows what all else. They are all in on the conspiracy, not to mention the obnoxious woodpeckers and magpies, who deposit wonderful splotches of poop all over the patio and deck.
And if you don't believe me, just ask my husband, who goes about banging noisy contraptions, whistling and yelling at all times of the day and night, startling neighbors during their family gatherings, and startling them out of their beds in the middle of the night, not to mention their dogs and cats.
Now, I don't want to give you the wrong impression. We love birds, just not the sneaky, out-to-get-us-kind-of birds. And you would be with me on this, if you were here. Trust me!
Yesterday was a day I had set aside to work on my manuscript. I was totally looking forward to the large block of time. Who wouldn't right? I had all my things laid out just so, organized, giddy with anticipation. Cracking my knuckles, I sit down to write a master piece.
But as life happens sometimes, everything went wrong and kept going wrong all day. The phone wouldn't stop its incessant ringing, though I tried to trap it in a draw with bunched pillows, forgetting the headset in the office and the one downstairs tucked in the couch. Sigh. A split-pant emergency, forgotten lunch money, unexpected friends from far away I just had to talk to. Knocks came at the door, Fed-Ex, UPS, asking for signatures. Life demanded my attention every minute. I think my computer even sighed, tired of being clamped shut so many times. So, when the nineteenth phone call came, I had had it; it was the last straw.
With only one hour left of my supposed "free day," I was tempted to ignore the ring. But the annoying thing just wouldn't stop. Argh! So, closing my laptop for the umpteenth time, I grumble all the way into the kitchen and dig the phone out of the drawer, feathers flying everywhere because of the pillows, only to find that it's my husband on caller-id. Someone I can't ignore.
Putting phone to ear, I said, "Hello," in my sweetest voice, trying not to sound irritated. But there's no answer, only noise in the background, and lots of it, machinery, men shouting, a grinding of some kind. Where in the world is my husband calling from? I wait for a second. Is he going to say anything? After all he's the one who called me. Nothing! So I assume he's accidentally touched speed dial.
"Hello," I yell. No answer. How exasperated am I at this point? Well, let's just say, you wouldn't have wanted to be in the same room with me. I yell, "Hello," again, only this time I put some umph into it. I could have shattered some eardrums. My stars, doesn't he know I'm busy? I'm not too proud of that moment to say the least, but desperation breads desperate acts.
About to hang up, I hear this tentative voice,"I'm sorry, but who am I talking to?"
Choking on my pride, shocked to hear an unrecognizable voice. I timidly say, "Who's this?" feeling embarrassment creep up my face. I have just screamed at a total stranger, not that I wouldn't have felt bad if I had broken my husband's eardrum, mind you. What must this person think of me? Typical, right?
"Ma'am," he says. "I found this phone in the road."
Now I feel like a blathering idiot. "Oh," I say in a much quieter voice, my cheeks turning Scarlett as I realize I'm going to have to meet this person face to face in order to get my husband's phone back.
But then it registers what he has just said. Road? My heart skips a beat and adrenaline threatens to rush through my body. Has my husband been in an accident? Is he all right? Now, I've added guilt, terror, and several more emotions to the pool.
I think he sensed my concern, having endured such a long pause on my end. He quickly reassures me that everything's fine and that he has rescued the phone from the pavement before any traffic can so damage to the blackberry.
So, here I am, driving down the road, a mixture of emotions bubbling around inside of me. I know, I know, another unexpected errand. And I'm wondering how my husband is possibly getting along without his phone, which is usually glued to his hip or ear. How am I supposed to get hold of him? I have no idea where he is or how long it's been since he dropped his phone.
As I draw closer to the scene, my face is getting hotter and hotter. How am I going to face this good Samaritan? Of course, bribery. He'll forgive my insolence with a few dollars. I dig in my purse. No money! Ah! Of course. Another stop. The line to the ATM is huge, moving as slow as a turtle with weights attached to its hind legs.
Finally retrieving several green bills, I pull up to a short curb and identify the kind man who has called because of all the machinery in front of the building he has described.
He doesn't even hesitate. Hurrying to his bobcat, he grabs the phone. Why is it so obvious that I am the one that has come for the dratted phone? Is it my red face, what? It still baffles me.
Anyway, he hands me the phone. I start in on my apology.
"What?" he says. A tractor has just come to life, grinding gears.
"I'm sorry," I shout as another piece of equipment growls with all its might.
The man puts a hand to his ear, a puzzled expression on his face.
For a brief and embarrassing second all goes silent, and I'm yelling at the poor man again. My voice drops off at the end. I hand him the money, mumble my thanks, and try to escape with some dignity, but of all things, he doesn't want to accept the money. Oh, the humiliation! He really is a good guy. Now, what do I do?
"You have to take it," I say, "You have to" and I force the money into his hands. "I thank him again, and again, stumbling over my words as if I've never encounter the English language before. I'm a sorry sight. He graciously accepts on behalf of his workers. He will buy them a treat for their hard work. They have been there all day without anything to eat.
Suddenly, I don't feel so stupid. I'm humbled. Here these men are, working their tails of, so to speak, without having had so much as a crumb for their troubles.
They could have stolen the phone, spent a fortune on phone calls, pawned it off for money, etc. But they chose to call me, a stranger, and return the phone to its owner.
I went home a better person. I even let a few people in when they tried to nudge my car off the road. I didn't get angry once. Dignity has returned in small amounts. The small act of kindness has made a huge difference in my outlook on the day.
So, of course, it doesn't stop there. The instant I get home. The phone rings. I almost break my fingers, pushing the buttons on the alarm system so it won't screech at me.
It's my husband, for real this time. Panic has set in. He has realized he's missing an appendage, well almost an appendage. I reassure him. I have the phone. Guess where he is? In the building I have just come from to rescue his phone! He's been there the whole time. Naturally. Needless to say, we have a good laugh. And he goes out to thank the good Samaritan again.
My faith in humanity has been restored once again and my family lets me have the whole night to work on my book. How is that for an amazing turn of events?