Friday, July 19, 2013

Being startled ...

Marlene Terry
Being startled happens at different times and in different ways.
It wasn't all that long ago that my hubby, thinking it was the funniest thing ever, jumped out of the dark and yelled "Gotcha," as I passed through my laundry room from the garage.

Was I startled? Oh yeah ...  along with being scared to death, breathless and not amused.

And then there are the times when being startled isn't scary, but a pleasant thing. Like the year my sweet son drove hundreds of miles in order to surprise me on Mother's Day.
He called from his cell phone, chatting as he walked to the front door, all the while explaining why he couldn't be there, and how much he wished he could be.
Then the doorbell rang! ... That day being startled meant tears of joy, laughter and love.

Despite the occasional "wonderful" happening though, "startled" has never been my favorite emotion. And that's  because it comes quick and without warning and leaves the recipient at the mercy of impulse. Really! There is nothing that undoes reason and the ability to function in a normal way, more than being startled.

Ever come upon a mouse while you're looking through a drawer? A snake slithering through the grass just ahead of your lawn mower? Or better yet a snake that appears suddenly in the basement while you're vacuuming. ... I have!
... And I want you to know that I still feel remorse for some of my impulsive solutions... like wondering, after the snake had rotated several times around on the roller bar of the vacuum, whether or not to turn off the machine. And if I did how in the world I ever be able to remove that flip-flopped serpent?

So with that in mind, please don't judge me over what happened a few days ago.
Chatting to my hubby as we sat on our deck, I informed him of my intention to cutback the petunias in our hanging baskets before I watered them. We had let them bloom out for several weeks and they were now, although still colorful and lovely, "long and gangly,"  I told him, "and attracting seed-eating birds" from a nearby tree.
The biggest problem? The birds were choosing to sit on the edge of one particular basket while they relieved themselves. 
... Needless to say because the basket was adjacent to the patio doors the glass was covered with poop!

"OK," my hubby agreed sleepily. "Go ahead and cut them back."

... And everything went well ... until I took that very last basket down, and suddenly saw it ... a BIRD'S NEST with two eggs of-all-things!

The scream I'm sure was heard for miles. And maybe even seen, was the sight of the basket being flung high into the air while I ran away as fast as I could, losing a sandal in the process while shaking and uttering obscenities.
... Also startled was my napping hubby, when the realization hit him that the basket was coming his way and he had better catch it ... which he did and saved the day as well as the nest.

... As I said there is nothing that undoes reason and the ability to function in a normal way, more than being startled.

♦ Hope you'll let me share your stories and photos here at my new residence "In a Nutshell." Email me at nutshellstories@gmail.com.