You know you’re doing the parenting thing right when your twelve-year-old is looking at you with a combination of doubt and amusement. At least, that’s the way I figure it. So the other morning, my beloved dog woke me up at 4:30 as she paced back and forth down the halls and up and down the old wooden staircase of our house over and over. I finally convinced myself to give up on the tossing and turning bit and groggily ventured downstairs and to my fuel, ahem, coffee maker at 5:58. As I was pressing start on my favorite kitchen appliance, the electricity went out. Noooooooooo!
The first five minutes of the power outage I was optimistic. I lit some candles, chatted with my ten-year-old, (who was so excited to be using her new flashlight in the dark), and I decided to start my Bible study. But all I could think about was that coffee. So when the power came on about forty minutes later and I had the first cup of deliciousness in my hand, I was dancing across my kitchen. Now, some people know that kitchen dancing is kind of my thing, but this morning I got lost in the moment. All I know is that I glanced up mid-one-woman-conga-line to see that look I mentioned a minute ago coming at me from my 12-year-old. I was singing the Conga beat, (da-da-da-da-da-da), coffee in hand, my favorite cozy robe on, dancing across the kitchen and in place of shouting “Con-ga! Con-ga!” I was singing, “Cof-fee! Cof-fee!” What can I say? I like my coffee.
A little while after my earlier than usual kitchen dance party, I had just finished my yoga and was at the sink, when I spotted a hawk on my neighbor’s fence. I got excited. I always do when I see hawks. I think they’re so cool I had to include them in my teen fantasy book series, HARMONY RUN. I showed my daughters, who both thought the bird of prey was neat, and enthusiastically alerted my husband. Meanwhile, the hawk flew to another tree. By the time Charles got to the window all he could see was, “something black.” Based off his description, I gathered he didn’t quite seem convinced his dream woman had seen a hawk. (Maybe her overactive imagination had gotten carried away again?) To be honest, I think he was only on his first cup of coffee, so maybe he wasn’t as alert as yours truly. Still, in my ongoing quest to prove to Charles I’m holding onto a bit of sanity, I tugged my boots on, grabbed my camera and a winter coat to go with my yoga pants, and headed out into 23-degree weather.
The hawk moved from branch to branch despite my stealth-like approach, (snow boots snapping every twig and crunching every leaf in my yard), but I kept praying that I could just get one picture to show that man. And voilà. I got one, and only one, picture. But thank you, Lord- that’s all I needed!
When I went back inside, my 12-year-old was laughing, the doubt still lingering on her beautiful face. She nodded towards my yoga Capri pants and shook her head. “Cold, Mom?” she asked. “Yes, but I got the evidence I needed for your dad,” I declared triumphantly. The girls were impressed with the photo. And Charles…well, he took one look at the photo and said, “Oh…wow!” surprise evident in his expression, and that made my dash into the cold worth every freezing moment.
I may be a coffee-chugging-one-woman-Conga-line, but I’m not seeing things. Well, not all of the time, anyway. 😉 Don’t forget to look out your window, friends. You never know what you may see. And the next time your morning cup of coffee brings a smile to your face, why not consider doing the kitchen Conga line? I promise I won’t judge. I’m too busy amusing my children.
Okay, so I know this isn’t my official website, and this is my blog featuring the many scenic delights of Southwest Florida, whether that be a picturesque ocean view, an up-close of a flower that makes me smile, or one of Florida’s “wild” animals. But I just had to let you know I haven’t had time to chase down scenic shots lately! What have I been doing? Well, here are the basics:
I moved…again. No, I’m not addicted to moving, but there is just something unsettling about a strange person sleeping on your doorstep. Hello, Naples, I’ve finally got my bags unpacked, and so far, my family loves this place. So if you could refrain from sending the welcoming committee to mess with us that would be delightful. 😉
I’m writing a book, and unlike some of my amazing author friends out there who can pump a book out a week, this requires some effort on my part and what’s the word I’m looking for? Oh yes, time.
Plus, I’m a mother. (I know, they let just anyone be a parent these days, right?) 😉 I’m trying to help my children navigate their way through the educational system, which, let’s just say, can be trying at times. (We’ve only had one parent teacher conference requested so far this year- in the six weeks school has been in session.) 🙂
But as far as wild animals go I haven’t really…Oh wait, there is the one. The wild dog that follows me around and sleeps on my feet or near them as I write. Also, some very lovely birds have stopped by to welcome me to my new neighborhood…
Still, I just haven’t had a lot of camera time lately, so as you can tell if you’ve made it this far, I’m sharing photos with you from my most recent book signing. It was a delightful afternoon last Saturday in Ft. Myers at Barnes and Noble with a pack of respectable, interesting, and hard-working…authors. I admit, no one was wild. Unless of course you count the two little ones who are pictured with me above. We’re still working on ‘appropriate’ book signing behavior…in between teacher parent conferences that is. Have a great day! I promise to share something “wild” with you very soon…
I don’t know what it is about eagles, but whenever I see an American Bald Eagle, I lose the tiny fraction of sanity I am barely clinging to and act like a complete and total idiot. That ruse of cool, collectiveness I attempt so much to maintain washes off of me faster than you can say Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah, and I scream at the top of my lungs, “It’s a Bald Eagle!” Sometimes, it doesn’t come off quite so poetically, as in the case I’d love to tell you about. Now this happened over two months ago, but I remember it clearly. Allow me to set the scene…
It’s a Sunday afternoon. My husband and our pirate children are hanging out in the living room while I attend to my chores. More specifically, I am folding laundry upstairs. No, I don’t get paid for this service, despite my attempts, which explains why I am putting fifty percent of my efforts into folding the laundry neatly, (fine, kind of neatly,) and the other fifty percent of my energy into animal watching out of my bedroom window. Animal watching is an activity? Well, in Southwest Florida it is…We live on alligator lagoon, so let me assure you the likelihood of spotting something that this native Hoosier would consider animal-like or wild is pretty good. So, I am sort of tackling one of my household duties, as my eyes periodically roam to the window.
Suddenly, I look up and out of the window again. As my eyes land on the bank across gator lagoon, my breath sucks in sharply. The shirt I am folding slips from my fingers, and I belt out my very natural and perfectly acceptable Midwesterner-transported-to-Southwest-Florida-response, “HOLY SHHHHH*******T!”
That little pest of an angel, who attempts to perch on my shoulder from time to time, whispers is my ear, “Sarah, the little pirates definitely heard that…” Of course, she is correct, but I don’t have time for lectures. I’m already in my pajamas. (Sure, it’s only three p.m., but this is customary in case you haven’t heard.) I flick the angel off of my shoulder and take off running. Being in pajamas means I need to find my shoes, my bra, my camera…my bra!!!
Where is my bra?
I think of what my sister would say…
You don’t even need a bra, Sarah!
She’s right! Forget the bra. Grab zip up hoodie! I push my arms through the sleeves and take off for the steps.
I run, slide, half fall down the staircase and slam into my husband as I stumble off of the bottom step. He looks horrified, worry covering his face. “What’s wrong?” he blurts.
Wrong? He thinks something is wrong? The man doesn’t know me at all. If there is danger, I scream danger. The two times there was a snake inside of our house, (yes, I said two,) I clearly yelled the word SNAKE at the top of my lungs. I dash past him and run for my office. I must find my camera. I hear him calling after me. I yell over my shoulder. “There are THREE Bald Eagles outside right now! I’ve got to find my camera!”
The camera isn’t in my office. Maybe, it is in the dining room. As I whiz past my husband again, I catch the expression on his face, which indicates he does not find the situation sufficient reason to scream an obscenity at the top of my lungs. I don’t have time to chat about my inappropriate language. The man can take a number and get in line with that pesky angel! There are three Bald Eagles behind the house!
No sign of the camera in the dining room. I race to my office again, locate my trusty Adidas flip flops, but there is still no camera. I put the shoes on as I yell, “WHERE IS MY CAMERA?” As I race through the house again, I can hear Charles talking to me. “I think we need to have a conversation about when, exactly, you screaming something like that at the top of your lungs is appropriate.”
I ignore him and continue in circles, my eyes scanning the interior of our home. He continues as I dash past him and something in his voice changes, “Um, Sarah, not to alarm you further, but there are actually four Bald Eagles out there right now.”
Four Bald Eagles?!? My heart races to unchartered territory. Suddenly, it hits me. “MY CAMERA IS IN THE CAR!” I yell louder than necessary.
I dart past my pirate children, who I hear giggling in the excitement of their lunatic mother dashing through the house, into the garage and grab that camera. When I return from the garage, I run past my family and towards the patio door, going over my checklist…Camera, check. Shoes, check, (well, flip flops.) Bra, negative. But I have gone out into the wild wearing only a bath towel before, so this is substantially better. Once past the door, I am vaguely aware of the farewells coming from the little pirates, “Be careful, Mommy!”
As I trek through the overgrown foliage beside gator lagoon, I notice voices around me. Loud ones. Not the mental ones or imaginary characters who keep me company and inspire my fiction novels. Real, actual human voices. How rare. I never hear people out here…I can hear them talking about the eagles. They are making entirely too much noise as far as I am concerned, but there is no time to investigate the human intruders. I must get a photo of the eagles.
I barely make it in time. I step through a sticker bush on the way to the water’s edge and see four Bald Eagles as I lift my camera. One flies away before I can get the photo. I silently curse out the people making all of the noise. (Silently, People, sue me.) But there are still three eagles on the bank. On the edge of gator lagoon, I snap as many photos as I can. I get a few shots, and then the Bald Eagles take off, one by one, returning to the sky.
Alone on the bank, I take a moment to smile victoriously. My foot is slightly irritated from the collection of burs I picked up on my adventure, I am wearing my pajamas, no bra, and my mysterious neighbors, who I have never even seen before, are suddenly outside. I figure today isn’t the day we should meet and head back inside.
As soon as I open the door, Charles has that look on his face…You know the one. I figure it is time to own up to the error of my ways and apologize for my sailor mouth, but I’ll feign ignorance for the moment. “What is it?” I politely ask.
“As soon as the door closed behind you, Audrey yelled, “Holy Sh*t, there are four Bald Eagles behind the house, Daddy!”
I bite my lip as I gage his level of irritation. I realize this is the part where I am supposed to feel terrible about the potty mouth my six-year-old has suddenly developed because of me, so I try my best to hide my smile. (No, I don’t think it’s okay, but I’m still riding high from my Bald Eagle experience. This was my first time to see more than two at once!)
“I’m really sorry,” I offer as I sit down and begin pulling stickers out of my ankles and socks. Audrey looks at me, and I try to look apologetic. “Mommy shouldn’t have said that word. It’s a bad word, okay?”
Charles takes over and gently explains to the pirates about not repeating the S-word again. I hear the lecture but it’s more of a muted sound, playing in the background. I’m in a happy place. Charles looks back at me, and I happily proclaim, “There were just four Bald Eagles out there!” Giving up on his reform-the-mother-of-his-children-lecture, he goes back to the computer, and the pirates go back to their quest to commandeer a ship in choppy seas.
Alone, staring out the window, I can’t stop smiling.
I may not be the recipient of a parenting award any time soon. I might not win that award ever. So at the risk of irritating my mother, that pesky angel, and the father of my children once again, I must tell you…
I got a photo of three American Bald Eagles…right behind my house…and HOLY SUGAR it was cool!
You didn’t really think I was going to curse again, did you? 🙂