Note: This column appears in the 8/27 issue of The Glendale Star and the 8/28 issue of the Peoria Times
I had an interesting morning a couple of weeks ago. Would you like to hear about it? No? Well too bad.
It was Wednesday morning and I was up at my usual time of whenever our seven-month old foster son decides to get up. So who knows…4:30am? I have not woken up with the sun in five months, so all I know is that it was dark.
I embarked on my daily morning routine of bringing our foster son downstairs with our dog Mac happily following in my footsteps. I put the little guy down on the carpet so I could feed the dog. Then I let Mac outside so he could do his thing. As I approached our foster son and got ready to pick him up, what did I see resting on the nearby tile floor trying not to be noticed? Yes. A scorpion.
So that was cool. A scorpion. In our house. Just feet away from a toddler. I celebrated this early morning surprise by smashing the scorpion to bits with my sandal. I smashed it so much that there was nothing to clean up, and I can only assume that the remaining particles of this particular scorpion are now embedded into the bottom of my sandal, along with the particles of other scorpions that have died similar deaths.
Now I’m all flustered. Few things in life make me feel as angry and yet helpless as seeing a scorpion. I’m still shaking as I turn our foster son over to change him. He attempts to take my mind off of things by diverting my attention towards the other surprise he has left in his diaper. But then my attention is diverted towards something else.
There is a golden rule in our house: whenever you don’t know where Mac is, and you can’t hear his chain jingling, he is getting into trouble.
I hadn’t heard Mac’s chain from outside this whole time.
I scooped up the little guy and rushed to the screen door that leads to our backyard. It was just now starting to get light out, which allowed me to see Mac lying happily on the ground with a dead bird in his mouth.
Now, it must be mentioned here that my wife hates birds. Despises them. Thinks they are all rats with wings. If scorpions could fly, she would still hate birds more. It’s irrational, but very real. We have tried to trace the roots of this loathing, and it may stem from a youthful and impressionable viewing of the Alfred Hitchcock movie. Or the time she was inadvertently left in a cage filled with birds while on a family trip to Italy as a child. Either way, she will literally turn around and go back from whence she came if there is a pigeon in her path. It's a miracle she graduated from NYU.
I’m not a huge fan of birds myself –- especially dead ones –- but I knew, for my wife’s sake, I had to resolve this issue before she awoke.
So I rushed outside with the little guy in my arms, with no plan of action. Mac, knowing this, simply ran away with the dead bird in his mouth, and into the house thanks to the fact that I had carelessly left the screen door open.
He ran upstairs towards our bedroom. “She is going to die,” I thought.
Luckily, Mac had dropped the dead bird on the stairs. At this point, my wife had walked out of the bedroom to see what the ruckus was. “DON'T LOOK!” I screamed. But her eyes had already witnessed the dead feathered creature on the stairs. She cupped her hands over her mouth as if to throw up and ran back into the bedroom on the verge of tears.
I had to get a small garden shovel to scoop the dead bird into a garbage bag. When I first touched it with the shovel, it fluttered a little bit, scaring the living crap out of me. One last dying breath.
Then I got stuck in traffic.
The circle of life