O Lord, You gave both these guys a similar talent for strategy, a gene entirely missing from my makeup. The crafty, older man wins at chess every time. But OMG, maybe the bright little brain will calculate a win sooner than Grandpa expects?
During the COVID shutdown, Hubby and I discovered weird vandals had swathed our garage light with dead tiger lily leaves.
“You never know how quarantine boredom will affect some people,” he said.
Eventually, we discovered Courtney, a robin, wasn’t bored. She was constructing a nest.
She and Jason, her mate, must have flunked Nestbuilding 101. Their shapeless leaf pile dangled halfway to the ground.
No eggs or nestlings fell. Still, we felt sorry for the hardworking couple. Hopefully, they’d consult a new architect before trying that blueprint again.
“Looks like we hung shrunken heads on the garage,” I observed.
Eventually, the robins’ mess toppled.
Instead, Courtney and Jason built another amorphous mound of lily leaves, topped by a tipsy nest.
We held our breath as Courtney settled in. Don’t lean to the right! Or left! No heavy lifting. Raise your feet so they won’t swell!
Courtney took on a new-mama look: frazzled and frumpy, with missing feathers she’d worked into her nest. She probably couldn’t stand Jason, debonair in his neat, black-and-red suit. You did this to me!
Still, Jace babysat eggs and brought food to his grouchy spouse.
We grandparents-to-be grudgingly admitted the garage-light choice made sense. Under an overhang, the birds escaped bad weather. A perfect distance from the ground and roof, their abode protected them from interested neighborhood cats.
Those kids were smarter than we thought.
For Courtney, 14 days on the nest probably seemed like 14 years.
Then, it happened.
Hubby yelled, “Jason’s pecking at the nest!”
Our worry changed to celebration. Three tiny, wide-open beaks clamored for Daddy Jason’s tasty victual.
We did the Grandma-and-Grandpa Dance.
Unsure of their gender, we named the babies Ellie, Nellie and Belly — the last, the pushiest at dinnertime.
Their parents, making 100 trips a day to find food, didn’t care about their children’s preferences: “What, you think this is McDonald’s? Eat!”
They did. A lot.
Soon, they crowded the nest as if in the back seat of a VW Beetle. Before long, the triplets left home.
Impossible! A little sad. But even nasty viruses couldn’t banish our smiles as we witnessed that shiny, brand-new life. How glad we were that Courtney and Jason moved into our neighborhood!
Though, about that nest blueprint, kids. Maybe you should check out different ones the next time?
Your Extraordinary Ordinary: Have birds squatted on your property?
O Lord, You know that once upon a time, this beautiful little girl invited me to Grandparents’ Day. The happy ever after is that she’s grown into a beautiful young woman, inside and out. But OMG, can’t we replay the story a few dozen times?
Whether wide open, singing to a glorious, sunny sky or pursing lip-petals in a demure pout, tulips are delightful harbingers of spring.
My tulips, the teenagers of the flower world, refuse to get out of bed. I sacrificed knees and back to lavish exotic foods on them. Yet, they only lift a limp leaf or two.
Bloom? Too much trouble. Besides, why should they be bound by my expectations?
Each spring, I waited again. Again.
“Hey,” I yelled, “you’re supposed to be perennials!”
I stumbled over a “Do Not Disturb” sign erected by the tulip that had drawn the short straw.
One greenhouse declared tulips will faithfully bloom every spring … if I relocate to the Turkish Himalayas foothills. The fussy lovelies crave their native habitat’s hot, dry summers and extreme winters. Dutch growers have devoted 400 years to discovering ways to imitate these conditions. They have learned, as Mary Beth Breckenridge in the Chicago Tribune once suggested, to “think like a bulb.”
With all due respect to the Netherlands, I’d rather retain IQ points, thank you very much.
Only once have my tulips bloomed more than one season. Even then, contrary red ones, planted to border pink tulips, bloomed two weeks early. They formed a lovely circle … around dirt.
At least, the tardy pink tulips created a clump of color. For two days. Then, strong winds blew them flat.
Still, hopelessly in love with gardeners’ photos, I again fertilized and hoed. On my knees, I planted more bulbs.
The next morning, I peered outside at my perfect flower bed … only to meet squirrels’ chittery scorn. My efforts had supplied a Golden Corral buffet for little thieves.
Something inside me snapped. I dashed outside, yelling and swinging a hoe like a Mr. McGregor samurai. “Hi-yah!”
The squirrels escaped unhurt, laughing.
Rush hour drivers zooming past also enjoyed the show.
Why did they laugh? Just because I still wore my nightgown …
Once, though, I outwitted the squirrels, planting bulbs in a different bed. The following spring, these bloomed in glorious display.
For two days. Then deer devoured every last one.
Will I ever tiptoe through my own tulips?
When I talk Hubby into moving to the Himalayas.
Your Extraordinary Ordinary: Do your tulips bloom every year?
OMG, couldn’t You, just this once, make the carbs and calories disappear?
Have spring longings germinated in you?
Delicate green tendrils, they remind us: “You’re still alive and kicking!”
One pops up, then another. Before we know it, we’re caught in their delightful grasp.
Perhaps for you, these comprise seed catalogs. Your spouse may hide them and block websites, but all in vain. You fill your basement/garage/bedroom with seedlings, hovering as if they bear your name. When you install old baby monitors, your spouse finally gives up.
Spring has seized you. There is no cure.
Other victims are captured by home improvement. They not only remodel their houses, but also demolish walls in those of strangers.
Hubby’s big spring thing, however, is adding gravel to the driveway. When winds soften and buds swell, his wistful look sprouts. “Let’s call the gravel pit guy.”
“We have gravel,” I say. “Don’t you remember? During the last snowstorm, we shoveled it all into the flower beds.”
Others live for their lawns. Years ago, our neighbor, instead of renewing marriage vows, pledged eternal love to his John Deere riding mower.
Similar spring madness victimizes women with a compulsion to wash windows. If denied, they are found in alleys, foraging for empty Windex® bottles to sniff. If you are a lawn lover or Windex® sniffer, please come see us.
Instead, my husband and I can’t wait to ride our bicycle built for two. Baseball gloves’ leathery smell sends fanatics, aged four through 84, to soggy backyards to play. Golf devotees, forbidden to swing clubs inside after window incidents, now drive with abandon matched only by platoons of skateboarding kids. College students dance amid showers of Frisbees while music thunders from open dorm windows.
Age doesn’t matter when spring’s call, potent as a tornado siren, issues from the nearest ice cream place or drive-in. Customers shiver through hot fudge sundaes and root beer floats. Or we fire up grills and torment neighborhoods with cravings for that first juicy burger.
I drive with windows open wide, The Beach Boys harmonizing approval on the radio. Passing college dormitories, students’ Top 40 echo back. Zooming near wetlands, I hear hundreds of spring peepers spout crazy love songs.
Spring seizes us all. And we’re loving it.
Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What tells you it’s really spring?
O Lord, If my heaven-based mom visited, I know what she’d do, first thing: hug me. Then wash my windows. Because Mom kept her windows like You kept her soul: transparent, shining, reflecting the Son at every opportunity. OMG, I, on the other hand, could use a little extra spiritual and literal Windex!
Even before spring, desperate parents, after excessive winter togetherness, pay their teens to cruise. Their alien music blares through wide-open windows, loud enough for Martian counterparts to keep the beat.
But we did it, too, right? Although when I cruised, gas cost 30.9 cents per gallon.
In my hometown, puberty’s onset compelled us to cruise Jerry’s Drive-In. We parked outside, as only squares ate inside. My girlfriends and I feared if we darkened the restaurant’s door, Percy Faith and his orchestra (Jerry’s Muzak®) would scar us for life.
My cruel parents once dragged me inside and made me sit by the window. I slid down into the booth and covered my head with a menu. Finally, I escaped to the restroom, but Mom followed.
She even talked to me. “Are you sick?”
Didn’t she know a Popular Person might be concealed in a stall, listening?
Afterward, on Saturday nights, I retreated to the second-coolest A&W — which tied with Jerry’s if your steady worked there. Fortunately, I was dating a cook. Sometimes, he came outside in all his A&W glory (apron, little folded hat) to wow me and my friends.
When we split, though, my A&W status plummeted. I returned to Jerry’s.
I’d noticed a tall, shy guy in my biology class, so my friend, Celia, and I officially added his house to weekend cruises. I’d perfected my slink-down technique: I could ride on the car’s floor an entire evening, yet record my targets like a satellite camera. Golf-green grass surrounded my guy’s house. Symmetrical evergreens. It was located near the A&W, so we also could zoom past and spy on my ex.
Once, when I drove past my crush’s house in my parents’ uncool station wagon, Celia hung out the window and screamed, “Steeeeeevie, baby, we looooove you!”
I peeled out, chastising Celia for endangering my fragile status with my new Numero Uno and his parents, who probably had been waxing their driveway.
However, no damage was done to my relationship with the sweet guy who made biology lab fruit flies so fascinating. Soon, he and I did a little cruising too.
“Want to go to the A&W?” my future husband asked as we pulled out of his driveway.
“I’d love it.”
And I did.
Your Extraordinary Ordinary: Where did you cruise as a teen?
O Lord, You made some of us roses and some of us dandelions. If I must be a dandelion and annoy some people, OMG, help me also brighten their day.