Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A Fiction Round Robin Story Adventure

I have this awesome group of writers I've been lucky enough to "meet" online. We recently struck up a writing adventure together- round robin style. The amazing Laird Sapir provided the title and graphic and each person has taken a turn writing a chapter then passing it on to the next person.

I recommend catching up on the earlier chapters if you have some time. If you only have a few minutes, however, here is a bit of a recap (with spoilers!).

Chapter 1 by Tami Clayton - In which we meet Twinkle (thus named for his love of the song Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star); his father Geraldo, a toy maker; and his mom Juniper Jackie who leaves to pursue her passion for tree climbing acrobatics. Twinkle is summoned by the Sparkle Sudz Soap spokesmodel (The Golden Goddess) through his television.

Chapter 2 by Mike Schulenberg - In which we meet archnemesis Lord Lobstar, his army of Shrimperators, and a cloaked figure named Jupernia.

Chapter 3 by Liv Rancourt - In which we learn that The Golden Goddess is Jupernia's sister.

Chapter 4 by Ellen Gregory - In which Jupernia goes to Twinkle's house for help, but Lord Lobstar lands his crustaship in the garden and Twinkle is captured.

Chapter 5 by Richard Monro - In which Twinkle is tortured by the Shrimperators but manages to ward them off with Sparkle Sudz Soap.

Chapter 6 by Kim Griffin - In which Jupernia tells Twinkle that soap won't work against Lord Lobstar and we learn that Jupernia is actually long lost Juniper Jackie.

Chapter 7 by Jodi Lea Stewart - In which we learn Jupernia is from a planet of trees and Lord Lobstar plans to ruin her planet as well as earth. He's a little angry ever since SpongeBob stole his girl.

Chapter 8 by Cora Ramos - In which Jupernia explains to Twinkle and Geraldo why she really had to leave and devises a plan to thwart Lord Lobstar using paprika, soap, and lavender. Alas, Twinkle has run off.

So, what does a writer do when handed this story? She curses, laughs, notes a few key points, and types away. I give you Chapter 9...

*    *    *



Lather: The Twinkle Jackson Story


Chapter 9


SparkleSudz“He’s gone.” Jupernia spun from one side to the other in case Twinkle was somehow just hiding in a corner. Spinning didn’t help. He was still gone. “Damn it, Geraldo. Twinkle is gone!”

“What do you mean gone? Twinkle doesn’t go anywhere.” Geraldo had come up behind Jupernia and was now surveying the otherwise empty room.

“We can’t stop Lord Lobstar without him.”

“Hold on,” Geraldo said and left the room.

Jupernia huffed muttering, “Hold on? Lord Lobstar’s crustaship is squashing the squash plants outside and Twinkle is gone. Sure, let’s just hold on.” She paced the floor wishing the sister she only mostly hated would appear at a convenient time for once.

Hiccup.

“You rang?”

Jupernia whipped around to find the Golden Goddess standing there in all her perfect elegance. “Don’t do that! You startled me.”

“Did you or did you not need me?”

“Twinkle is gone.”

“What do you mean gone?”

“Why does everyone keep asking that? Gone. As in gone.”

“We can’t stop Lord Lobstar’s evil plan without him.”

Jupernia rolled her eyes. “I know.”

Geraldo returned surprised to see two women where only one stood before. Rather than waste precious time wondering where Jupernia’s sister had come from and why she was dressed like the Sparkle Sudz Soap icon, he simply said, “I know how to find him.”

“How?”

“With this.” He held out a small rectangle.

“Geraldo,” Jupernia said, “you detest all things technological and especially that fruity company ever since your falling out with Steve when you were children. Why on earth do you have an iPhone?”

“If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em?” The way he phrased it as a question made Jupernia question his motives, but there wasn’t time for that now. They had to find Twinkle fast.

Geraldo opened an app and in a few minutes a little glowing dot appeared on a map. “He’s there.”

The Golden Goddess looked over his shoulder. “How do you know?”

“I tracked his phone.”

Jupernia’s jaw dropped. “You got Twinkle a cell phone?”

“No. He got it himself. He doesn’t know I know.”

She smiled. “Aren’t you full of surprises? Well, what are we waiting for? Let’s go.”

Five minutes later, they were knocking on the door of a small white house on the other side of town. The Golden Goddess cocked her head to the side like a dog. “Does anyone else hear quacking?”

Before anyone could answer, the door opened just wide enough for a girl’s face to peer through. “Can I help you?”

Geraldo spoke. “We’re looking for my son, Twinkle Jackson. Is he here?”

“Aww, Dad.” The door opened a little further and there was Twinkle with his radiant hair. “How’d you find me?”

Geraldo held up his phone.

Twinkle couldn’t believe it. “You have an iPhone?”

Casting a wink at Jupernia he said, “Why does everyone keep asking me that? Are you going to introduce us to your friend?”

“This is Surnia.”

The Golden Goddess stepped forward greeting Surnia first, then turning to Twinkle. “Look, toots, we need your help. We have Sparkle Sudz Soap, paprika, and lavendar, but we can’t save the planet without you.”

“It’s you,” Twinkle gasped. “You talked to me through the tv.” Surnia raised her eyebrows at Twinkle. He shrugged. “Fine, I’ll go with you.”

They all turned to leave the porch and found themselves ensconced by large white ducks that had managed to sneak up behind them. “I told you I heard quacking,” the Golden Goddess said.

“Those are mine,” Surnia said. “We raise ducks, chickens, and turkeys.”

Jupernia looked at the army of ducks then at her sister. “Are you thinking what I’m thinking?”

“You bet I am. Surnia, you and your ducks are coming, too.”

*    *    *


Will Twinkle and his family and friends be able to stop Lord Lobstar from destroying the Earth and Planet Juniper before it's too late?

We'll find out as the story continues. I think Elizabeth Fais is up next, so watch her blog for the next installment. I'll try to keep you updated here as new chapters come out.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Building the Coop

Soon it will be time for the ducks to move out of our bathroom (thank goodness!) to the great outdoors- something they can't do until they are fully grown (to better ward off unfriendly creatures), fully feathered (to regulate their body temperature), and have a place to live.

In comes the chicken coop.

Our research showed that ducks can live in chicken coops and, even better, ducks and chickens can cohabitate in coops (in case we decide to get chickens at some point in time).

My husband (Mr. Go Big or Go Home) had a grand vision of building a whimsical little coop that would be a fun little addition to our garden (which itself has a grand plan but still needs a substantial amount of execution). Jeff says he wants the garden to be a place I will love to be in- sitting and puttering my days away.

Sounds dreamy to me. The only problem is I'm a little tired of projects. I didn't like the idea of adding another project to the list when there is still so much to do to set up the garden and when chicken coops are available for purchase built and ready to go.

Store bought varieties are a bit pricey and we couldn't find one that seemed right for our needs, so I set out online and found ChickenSaloon.com. Some of their models seemed a bit small for what we wanted, but The Rambler looked like it might work. Thanks to a sale they were running and a coupon my husband found, we snatched it up for a great price.

Here is how it came...

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Okay, well it didn't arrive in a tornado as it appears in the photo. It came in two boxes with pictorial assembly instructions which led to us affectionately referring to it as the IKEA coop. (I wonder if IKEA sells coops?)

It came with seven different screw packets of slightly varying sizes. Seven! (Jeff had already started with packet 1 when I took the photo.)

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So we set out to assemble IKEA coop. "What's first," my husband asked.

I looked at Step 1 (as shown in the box below the screw list). "Um... pretty much... build a coop."

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"Okay," he said. And so we did. Here is my handy-dandy husband at work.

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And here is the (mostly) finished product...

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It's cute. There's just one problem. We're not sure it will work for the ducks.

The doorway is a bit narrow for our ducks, who are growing insanely fast. And once the ducks are inside there are roosting bars that hang about one foot above the floor (the roosting bars help chickens get up into the nesting boxes which are hanging off the sides of the coop). The ducks aren't short enough to walk under.

They're removable, so we could take them out, but if we decide to get chickens in the future (a possibility we tried to accommodate with a supposedly larger coop), they would need the bars.

Also, the floor space is only about 9 square feet which doesn't seem big enough for what could be a minimum of 8 birds (2 ducks, plus chicks which are sold as a minimum of 6). Things could get tight in that little house.

So after all that, we may be selling the coop and starting over with the original idea of building one to suit our needs. We have some friends that want to get chickens and offered to buy the coop, so it will go to a good home and should suit their chicken-only needs perfectly.

As for us, we'll be in project mode once again.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Ducks: Week 4 update

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The ducks, they are a-growing. Squackers and Buttons have been with us for four weeks now and are probably four times the size (or more) from when we got them.

They are as tall as the walls of their brooder (i.e., Rubbermaid storage container). Here they are huddling in the corner trying to avoid me...

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They didn't imprint on us as we've heard ducks sometimes do. I don't know if there's still time for that or if we've missed the window. They're not mean or anything, they just try to get away from us when we come to feed them or move them.

We can hold them, however it takes a few minutes for them to settle in and its much harder to do alone now because they are so big. It's easier if my husband takes one and I take the other and we sit close so each duck knows the other is safe.

Their yellow fuzz is being filled in by patches of white feathers. This makes their backs really fluffy and soft at the moment. The color and texture variations are particularly outstanding on their cheeks (do ducks have cheeks?).

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With their current size and the appearance of feathers, I suspect our little friends will be ready to move outside in a few more weeks.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Interview: Robert Thornton

Each Wednesday is Wonderstruck Interview day. Hearing other people’s stories is a great way to see things from a different perspective and perhaps find something new to apply to our own lives.

Today’s interviewee is Robert Thornton, founder of Paper Clouds Apparel. Paper Clouds Apparel sells t-shirts, prints, and greeting cards featuring artwork designed by individuals with special needs and half of the proceeds go back to the school or organization who donated the work. As their tagline says, "Helping others has never looked so good."

RobertThorntonWhat have you been wonderstruck by recently?

I was wonderstruck by a group of people from Wisconsin who sent me letters thanking me for what I am doing to help those with special needs. Sometimes I can get frustrated and worn thin by working 110-hour weeks, but these letters reached me at the perfect time and reminded me exactly why I am doing this.

What part of your day are you grateful for?

I am literally grateful for every morning I am allowed to open my eyes. Every new day is a chance to change a life in a positive manner.

What part of your day is tough? How do you move through it?

The middle of the afternoon can be tough. If I had a long day of sending unreturned emails or a slow day selling our Paper Clouds Apparel products to raise funding for special needs schools/organizations, it can frustrate me a little. I just take a look at some of the emails I received from the parents of children with special needs thanking me for doing what I am doing, then I snap out of it real quick. :)

What do you wish you are more conscious of?

I wish I was more conscious of taking care of myself. I know I need to get more sleep, eat better and get more exercise. But when I try to sleep, my mind keeps spinning--thinking about the emails I need to send, people I need to call and art I need to collect. Then, I forget to eat a lot of the time because I am busy working on projects. And when I'm at the gym, my mind starts telling me all the things I could be doing for Paper Clouds Apparel instead of lifting. I just need to recognize that all my work will be much better if I am rested and healthy. So, now I am scheduling sleep, time to eat and exercise, and it is already sharpening my work.

How do you stay focused on what is truly important to you?

To stay focused on the task at hand of growing Paper Clouds Apparel and helping millions of individuals with special needs I simply just need to read emails I have received from parents of children with special needs thanking me for what I am doing. I have been very blessed to receive a large amount of positive reinforcement from members of the special needs community who see all the different ways what I am doing with Paper Clouds Apparel is beneficial to all with special needs. Their positive words and how hard they work to help their children gives me all the extra motivation I need to keep fighting the good fight.

About Robert Thornton:

Robert is the founder of Paper Clouds Apparel. Paper Clouds Apparel raises funding for special needs schools and organizations, while showcasing the amazing artistic abilities and talents of those with special needs.

Every two weeks, Paper Clouds Apparel is teamed up with a different special needs school or organization. So, every two weeks there is a new line of shirts, 8x10" prints and greeting card sets featuring amazing art created by artists with special needs.

Find Robert and Paper Clouds Apparel here:

Website: www.papercloudsapparel.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/PaperCloudsApparel
Twitter: @PaperCloudsPCA

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Sometimes I'm a Slacker

I need to change my ways. Too frequently lately I've allowed myself to get lazy. There have been too many poorly thrown together dinners and too many drive-through lunches. My stomach, my skin, and my overall energy are showing the signs (and they're not good).

I've allowed myself to get caught up in my own quiet world. Sure this can be a good thing sometimes, but it has slipped to the dark side where I ignore my family. Too much time lost in books, computer, iPhone. All of these things are great tools, of course, but when they take my attention away from my toddler or distract me from writing, they are no longer useful tools.

I'm falling short (by a lot) on my Camp Nanowrimo goal of writing 10,000 words in the month of April. I'm at a lowly 2,766 words with only 7 days to go.

I'm supposed to be helping my pastor lead a small class after church on Sundays yet I rushed through the two lessons for the week during breakfast that morning.

I've planned for a bigger garden this year (with wandering ducks, as you know). I managed to start some seeds indoors this month, though I think I was supposed to do that in March (I'm not sure. I'm no garden expert. Yet.). I don't have the materials for my garden beds. I have a coop that is much too small for the ducks (that story to come another day). No fencing (to keep the ducks in or to keep the wild creatures out). No soil or compost. And Mother's Day weekend is the official time to start planting in my area. (Mother's Day is only two-and-a-half weeks away so start working on those gifts/cards/flowers/whatever you do for your mom.)

I wish I could say there was some good excuse for all this, but there's not. I've taken too much time dreaming and not enough time doing.

This morning started off much the same until I had a "this is ridiculous" moment. I checked my email (in order to procrastinate on other tasks, of course) and saw a message arrived an hour earlier about a "hot" copyediting job due Thursday. As in two days from now Thursday. Was I interested?

Without hesitating I responded yes. Given everything I just explained was falling by the wayside, why would I say yes? Have you ever heard the expression "if you want something done, give it to a busy person?" I think that's true of me sometimes.

Since accepting that offer four hours ago, I've played push the scooter with my toddler (where we push his scooter back and forth to each other), formatted tomorrow's wonderstruck interview, gone to the big box warehouse store to stock up on some food items (something I've been meaning to do for, oh, a month or two), stocked the pantry, washed the dishes, folded the laundry, made some notes for a possible writing project, and written this blog post.

Compare that to the first four hours of my day where I... um... had breakfast... fed the cat... dressed the toddler... well, there were probably a couple other things, but not many.

Fortunately I realize that just because a day started off one way, doesn't mean it has to end that way (flashback to my old post Restart. Repeat as Necessary.). I'm turning it around.

And because accountability is helpful, here are the things I want to do this week (in no particular order):

  1. Put together two weeks worth of meal plans including lunch, snacks, and dinners. (Breakfasts are easy enough for me to prepare on the fly.)

  2. Write for a minimum of 15 minutes each day toward my Camp Nanowrimo goal. I may not get to 10,000, but I sure want to step it up.

  3. Finish the hot copyediting job. (It's a job, so no slack here anyway, but still, I'll list it.)

  4. Write at least one more blog post (other than the interview).

  5. Maintain the current state of clean in my home. (At least one load of laundry per day, all dishes cleaned and counters cleared before bed.)

  6. Engage in at least one focused activity with my toddler each day.

  7. Spend some time outside- at least 30 minutes at least twice this week. (The weather hasn't been very cooperative the last few days, but hopefully it will warm back up.)


That's it. I have the rest of today and four more days to do this. Totally doable. I'll let you know how it goes.

Do you have any goals for the week? Put them in the comments and I'll cheer you on.

 

 

Friday, April 12, 2013

More Gratuitous Duck Photos

It's time for some more duck photos, don't you think? I think so.

Buttons and Squackers have been with us for two weeks now and, yes, they're still in a makeshift brooder in our bathroom. (Don't I sound like I know what I'm doing when I use the term "brooder?" Ours is really just a big storage bin with a red heating lamp over it.)

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Last week we introduced them to the bathtub and, let me tell you, they LOVE it. They primped and preened and drank and cleaned. I've never seen such thorough scrub-a-dub-dubbing.

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You may have also noticed that these little guys (or girls?) are getting bigger. Here's what they looked like when we brought them home two weeks ago:

Photo Mar 29, 9 22 25 PM

So little. They both fit in my hands at the same time. By contrast, here's what they looked like a week ago while roaming our bathroom...

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...and here's what they looked like this morning.

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That's just two weeks worth of growth, people! Also, note the bare spots on their neck and wings. I wonder if feathers are on their way?

So there you have it. More gratuitous duck photos.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Then There Was the Time a Class Ring Flew into Our Toaster

Do weird things happen to you? I'm talking unpredictable weird. Like a bowling ball rolling at your car down an exit ramp. (Which happened to my husband once.)

This morning I was helping my husband get a cereal bar and a yogurt to take to work for breakfast. I put them in a thermal lunch bag (black with his company logo on it in case you were picturing something pink and girly).

"That feels like overkill," he said. "Use this." He tossed me a plastic grocery bag from our stash under the sink. It landed on the counter next to me while simultaneously something clanged behind me.

Puzzling since grocery bags don't clang.

The sound came from near the toaster, so I looked all around it and under it. When nothing seemed amiss, I looked inside. There was a ring in the bottom. As in silver piece of jewelry- ring.

So we pulled out the crumb tray and dumped the toaster every which way into the grocery bag my husband had so conveniently grabbed. After a good five minutes of shaking the toaster (and laughing, of course), out came a class ring.

Today I'll take it back to the grocery store where someone is probably missing it- perhaps the girl who bagged my groceries a few days ago.

Beyond the obvious question of why my groceries came with a free ring (class of 2010), how did it so perfectly end up in the toaster from where it was flung on the opposite side of the kitchen?

And what other craziness does this day hold? I'll have to stay alert.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Bread & Wine - A new book from Shauna Niequist that is definitely wonderstruck

With as nervous as I am to write this review, you'd think I wrote the book. (I didn't.) It's just that it's such a good book, I worry I won't do it justice.

I loved Shauna Niequist's style from the minute I picked up her first book, Cold Tangerines. Literally, the first minute. She got me right in the introduction.

bread&wine_cover_artWell, she did it again with her third book, officially due out tomorrow. I jumped around my kitchen for a good five minutes when I found out I was getting an advanced reader's copy of Bread & Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table with Recipes. Lots and lots of jumping.

Like her earlier books (Cold Tangerines and Bittersweet), Bread & Wine is a collection of essays- beautiful, honest essays that make you feel like you're curled up on the couch with your best girlfriend.

She talks about love, vacation, babies, losing babies, prayer, body image, and meals with friends. A lot of meals with friends.

She talks about both the food and the moments that nourish her. Maybe that nourish us, too.

Shauna has built a strong support group of friends to whom she opens her home and, in turn, who open their homes to each other to celebrate, cook, hug, laugh, and listen. She reminds the reader of a simple truth:
What people are craving isn't perfection. People aren't longing to be impressed; they're longing to feel like they're home. If you create a space full of love and character and creativity and soul, they'll take off their shoes and curl up with gratitude and rest, no matter how small, no matter how undone, no matter how odd.

Yes.

That's what I found myself saying over and over while reading this book. Yes. Yes, that. Yes, I understand. Yes, I've been there, too.

I don't even know how to choose a favorite chapter. First it was the introduction (seriously, she sucks you in with her introductions), then it was "start where you are," until it was "on tea and pajamas," but then maybe "open the door," and then… well, really, any chapter called "love and enchiladas" has my attention.

And then, oh, and then just when you start drooling over her blueberry crisp or risotto or sweet potato fries with sriracha dipping sauce, she gives you the recipe- right there at the end of the chapter. How cool is that?

Breakfast Quinoa

I've already made the breakfast quinoa from "on tea and pajamas"- first following her recipe (yum!), then kicking up the leftovers in my own way by adding diced ham, green peppers, and pineapple. (What? Shauna said I could. She said the best way to cook is to follow a recipe once, then make it from memory, then make it your own.)

If you're like me, you'll appreciate her notes within the recipes that explain why she uses a particular ingredient over another or that you should serve bacon-wrapped dates "warm or at room temperature, but definitely not hot, unless you want to burn the roof of your mouth so badly you don't taste anything for days."

Helpful.

I could go on about this book for more time than you probably have right now. I took lots of notes, dog-eared pages, underlined passages. But really, all you need to know is that I laughed to myself while reading this book. My eyes welled with tears when she got brutally honest. I have talked about it far too much to my husband and my friend.

shauna1The thing about Shauna is that she is the kind of writer I want to be. Her books are the kind of books I want to write. The comfort I feel when I read her words is the comfort I can only hope to share with someone somewhere someday with mine.

She's that kind of writer.

Add this book (and Shauna's other books) to your list. Read, cook, enjoy.

In case you want more, here is a video of Shauna talking about Bread & Wine:

http://youtu.be/2PYdtHkWZvw

Find Shauna Niequist here:
Website: www.shaunaniequist.com
Bread & Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table with Recipes on Amazon



Disclaimer: I received the advanced reader's copy to review for free from the publisher. That doesn't affect my actual opinions written here in any way. I would have bought the book regardless and will be buying copies to give to people I love. I liked it that much.

Friday, April 5, 2013

A Necessarily Quiet Day

It's one of those necessarily quiet days. The kind of day where you feel like the world is a bit upside down. The kind where you're not sure you can coerce smiley conversations out of yourself.

So I honored it.

Instead of checking my phone while still in bed to see what emails had come in (because as a stay-at-home mom, really, what kind of dire messages would there be), and instead of rushing through my morning shower routine, and instead of crawling back into bed like I normally do after the 6:00 a.m. alarm (which was a seriously tempting option)... instead, I moved. Slowly.

I sat in the window seat overlooking the rain-soaked driveway. I read two chapters of a book that was approaching its climax (Blasphemy by Douglas Preston, if you're curious).

I put on sweatpants and my softest long-sleeve t-shirt and carried my book and the baby monitor downstairs and made some tea. I even put it in the pretty teapot and used a fancy cup and saucer. I lit a candle.

I sat in the kitchen dimly lit by only the morning light. I sipped tea, really tasting it. I read some more. I ate pecan twirls (those little swirled up dry pecan rolls that come six to a package- I love those).

This went on for almost an hour before the toddler stirred. And when I went to get him, I noticed something. I was feeling really good. Despite not having showered. Despite not wearing "real clothes" (which, let's face it, is normally just t-shirt or sweatshirt and jeans, anyway).

I continued honoring the slow process of the day. I read some more. I played outside with the toddler (technically in the minivan because he really has a thing for cars, but the windows were down with the breeze coming through so it was still technically outside). I opened windows to air out the house.

I didn't look at my phone at all- not to check email or weather or Facebook or Pinterest or... anything.

When it was time for the toddler's nap, I played with ducks.

duck photo

(See? I warned you there would be gratuitous duck photos.)

Then I showered and put on "real clothes" (i.e. ripped jeans and a polo shirt likely intended for someone 20 years younger than me). Then I got on my computer and typed this, after which I'll be logging off and going back to my book because it's intense.

It is after 3:00 p.m. and this is the first time I've touched my computer today. And aside from the above Instagramed (Instagramized?) photo, I haven't been on my phone either.

No technology = feeling good. Breakfast tea = feeling good. Outside = feeling good. Ducks = feeling good.

Hmmm... maybe I should restructure all of my days.

How are you feeling today?

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

When You Don't Have Anything to Do on a Friday Night So You Buy Ducks

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You know how sometimes you just need to get out of the house on a Friday night? But you have a toddler that you have to bring with you and a teenager to pick up from a friend's house in a couple hours. And you don't want to eat out again because that's what you always do when you find yourself in this situation. So you say to your husband, "Hey... why don't we go to the Tractor Supply store?"

What? Just me?

Anyway, you're thinking up grand plans for this year's garden and you wander the aisles collecting ideas and odd things like a plastic owl and a seed starter kit and ducks.

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What? Just me again? You people need to learn to live it up.

Well, that's what happened and that's why we now have two ducks living in a giant storage tub in our master bathroom.

Why are they in the bathroom? To keep them safe from the cat, of course. He was all a-purr when we brought home a chirping box.

The ducks have to stay under a heat lamp until their feathers come in (right now, they are still fluffy yellow), which gives us time to set up some sort of outdoor coop for them.

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In the meantime, we are playing with them several times a day. We've read that ducks imprint on people and we want them to get used to us.

And yes, we've named them. Squackers earned his name when he chirped nearly non-stop through the store and all the way home. Then when we pulled the ducklings out of the box, the other one climbed me and nipped at the button on my shirt. "I think his name is Buttons," my husband proclaimed. And so it was.

Now I introduce Squackers and Buttons to you. Expect gratuitous duck pictures.

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