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Uncovering laughter, joy and sanity in everyday life.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Less Than Graceful

Random person dog walking at Antioch Park
On Saturday I got the call to babysit. I was honored and quickly started thinking about all the things we could do together. Once Nial showed up at the house we had some breakfast and then off he played, while I packed the car for our outing to the park - Antioch Park to be exact.

If you know me at all, I have a certain way of doing things. When it comes to feeding animals and people, I'm kind of a food snob. Yes, some people think feeding wild animals is wrong, but they already live at the park anyway. So, when I go to the park, I bring corn, which I get from the local feed store for the ducks and geese. Bread for these animals, has little nutritional value.

While Nial was playing, I packed up the car with the stroller, the corn, and the dog's leash. I felt guilty leaving Atka behind and I knew she wanted a walk. As soon as I reconfigured my purse for the walk, picked up the car keys, I heard a bark at the door. If we were going for a car ride - Atka, was not going to be left behind.

At the park we geared up. Nial in stroller - check. iPod on very low - check. Dog tethered to retractable leash - check. Retractable leash tethered to my waist - check. Corn at bottom of stroller - check. Start walking! In 5 minutes we see our first item of wildlife, a wonderful Western Ribbon Snake.

He coiled up, raised his head and hissed at us with all his might. What a cute little guy. Atka kept walking ahead, not even aware this little snake was angry with us, disturbing his sunbathing. I took his photo with my cell and he slithered on his way, off the paved trail into the brush.

It doesn't take long to walk the park. However, pushing the stroller limits where I can go. Not much off the concrete path today. We walked the North Lake and headed to the South Lake across the boardwalk to the free-form concrete bridge...that has no railings. At the end of the bridge I tied up Atka. I parked Nial in the stroller, by a bench. Some boys carrying fishing poles asked if they could pet Atka. Unfortunately, she couldn't be bothered.... affection? There are ducks in the water! The bees in her head made her too busy to keep still.

Onto the concrete bridge I walked, even though I was nervous of boys with fishing rods. I turned, looked back at the baby and the dog, turned back, tripped on my shoelace and fell in the water - up to my shoulders! Off the concrete bridge! My feet immediately stuck to the murky bottom of the lake. As I was completely disoriented, people came running to my rescue. A man came to help pull me out - because, no ladder or steps. Jeans, and a heavy sweatshirt are particularly absorbent.

I was mortified. The baby said nothing. The dog said nothing. But I knew they were laughing inside... as were the ducks. I gathered the dog and baby, a park ranger was walking straight for us - I froze in fear, thinking he might interrogate me! May ask ludicrous questions:
Miss, have you been drinking? Why did you fall into the water? Is this your baby?

My confidence had washed away in the pond. What was left, was me - a soggy, smelly mess. Our exchange was far less complex. As the ranger approached, I said:
Ya, I got a little wet.
The ranger, in full pace, without concern, replied:
Ya, that happens.
Obviously, he was after someone with the wrong fishing permit - for example. Who knows? Yes, he could have asked if I was okay but, his lack of concern was rather refreshing.

Me walking Atka by the creek at 103rd street - Atka saw lots of geese

The three of us proceeded back to the car passing as few people as possible. We hurried home to get my clothes in the washer, Nial down for a nap and me into the shower. On the bright side - everyone seemed to have a good time at the park. The rest of our weekend was much more tame.