March 31, 2014

Reminders from the Mallard Duck Couple

There is no perfect time. There isn't a certain time when things settle down or the pieces all fit together. Things are what they are when they are.

The Mallard Duck Couple already knows this, as did all the other Mallard Duck Couples before them, I suppose. I only know this because I watched them as we walked by a narrow stream.

Standing in the stream's current was a hip-wadered fly fisherman.

Oblivious to water bubbling over rocks, gurgling past driftwood and moving through and around his hip waders, he gracefully cast and re-cast lines creating more ripples on which sunshine could dance.

That's when I noticed the Mallard Duck Couple. They weren't faring well in the current as fly-guy was. Beneath the water, their little orange feet were visible, and paddling fast and furiously against it, even as their bodies couldn't help but bob and dance along atop the water to the stream's rhythms.

But soon, their feet joined their bodies and gave in to the waltz, and they stopped paddling. Not with freak-out quacking. Not with a frantic "we're outta here" flight away. They chose to stop, to allow the stream to carry them until the current slowed down a bit. When it did, they calmly paddled out of the current and over to the place they wanted to be.

For good or bad, currents aren't just a part of life. Currents are life, including sickness, lippy eleven-year-old-girls (ahem), illness, working because you have to not because you want to, and any and everything else that keeps you up at night.

But there's also the good too: the smell of coffee brewing on a Saturday morning, listening to your child gab on the phone and remembering it was only a few years back that she learned her first word, laughing so hard your stomach aches, when your husband reaches for your hand just because..and of course, good hair days.

The Mallard Duck Couple has it right.

Life's currents can't be stopped; and sometimes paddling against them is necessary. Other times, you've just got to have sense enough to let them carry you until you're able to waddle off to the place you wanted to go in the first place.

March 16, 2014

Paper Plates and Cabbage

We needed paper plates. Not one thousand paper plates. Just enough to tide us through the days when we don't feel like washing dishes. That would be a quick trip to Walgreen's. From parking, to running in, to checking out, it'd be ten minutes. Tops.

Which is perfect, because despite my near constant presence at The Store, capital "T" capital "S," I hate shopping. From making the list, to scavenging for items matching the coupons painstakingly clipped, to throwing the stuff in the cart, to waiting in the checkout line, to lobbing the stuff from the cart onto the conveyor belt, to stuffing it all into the car, to hauling it into the house, only to pack it away where it magically disappears into the cupboards, fridge and freezer: I loathe shopping, and also, especially The Store, capital "T" capital "S."

Doesn't help that the place is one square block, and nine times out of ten, if I'm there for even four things, all four things are in opposite corners of the square block.

After hopping into the car for the ten minute Walgreen's trip, I remembered: We need cabbage for St. Patty's Day. Walgreen's has a lot of stuff, but cabbage definitely isn't one of them. No. That's a job for The Store, capital "T" capital "S.

What about the gas station? They have plates, right? And cabbage? No. No the gas station does not have cabbage, and if they did, I have a sneaking suspicion that I wouldn't want it anyway.

Once I was done banging my head on the steering wheel and a series of choice words, I headed to The Store, capital "T" capital "S" and began my one block amble for two items that were, expectedly, located in opposite ends of The Store.

Item 1: Cabbage. Done.

Photo: Joshua Minso,
Item 2: Oh, wait! Pineapple's on sale? I'll just grab one of those. Oh, and do we have carrots? Well, you can never have enough carrots. I'll take two bunches. 

Now onto...
Item 2: Paper plates. Done.

At just over thirty minutes, I was done. Almost. Because that's when I thought it would be a nice treat to make homemade mint green shakes since swinging by McDonald's for the annual Shamrock Shake was out of the question by this time.

Forty five minutes later, I finally reached the Promised Land: the checkout line, only there was no line. I did a happy dance and grinned in response like I had just pulled off the greatest heist in history.

One, by one, as each item plopped onto the conveyor belt, I reviewed them to myself: Pineapple. Carrots. Paper plates. Green shake stuff. Cauliflower.

Cauliflower? Why the? What the? Where's the cabbage?

I'll never know why I picked up cauliflower instead of cabbage. All I know is that it's most likely in the corner opposite of the cauliflower, and that I'll be back at The Store, capital "T," capital "S" sometime tomorrow.