Sunday, October 13, 2013

A Turtle and a Dolly

You might be looking at this photo thinking "A turtle and a dolly...what the &#%*??? Welcome to my Sunday morning.

A brief summation to get you up to speed: Epic storms all night in Austin. 11+ inches of rainfall. Waterfront living. Approximately 4 ft rise in water level. One lost turtle. Three determined strangers. Oh, and one dolly.

So this morning I spotted a turtle crossing the road. Well, not quite a main road, but very close and still a very busy driveway into the apartment complex next door. I pass him by (for simplicity's sake, I'll assume its a "he"), trying to convince myself that he'd find his way back to the water. Which in my estimation, is about 50 yards in the opposite direction. You know, let nature take its course and all that.

After about 5 minutes of shuffling around in my house, my curiosity got the best of me. I kept picturing that terrified looking turtle encountering a car driven by someone preoccupied with an incoming text message. I couldn't live with that on my conscience. Mission accepted, Mother Nature.

I grab my umbrella, walk next door and discover a couple afflicted with a similar case of curiosity. The dude (we introduced ourselves, but I'm terrible with names) was about to pick the turtle up. This seemed like a simple solution to our problem, however, we quickly discovered that: a) the turtle was quite a hefty creature and b) the turtle was actually an alligator snapping turtle who was very scared and very pissed to be so far from home. Crap.

After several minutes of trying to herd the turtle back to the water with our umbrellas - and seeing a snapping turtle actually snap - we determined that the poor thing would probably die of a heart attack before we escorted him even 5 feet. Nope, this wouldn't work...we needed something to carry him with. Like a dolly. The dude decides to check if the 7-11 across the street has one.

Now take just a second here to imagine yourself walking into 7-11 and asking the cashier if you can take their dolly so you can wheel a lost turtle back to its home. Yeah, that actually happened. And shockingly, he succeeded. He comes back, dolly in tow, the turtle hops back on, hitches a ride and wishes us well as he saunters back into his liquid world.

Not so much. It turns out that getting a large, angry snapping turtle on the small metal shelf of a dolly is no easy feat. We had him on for a second but when we tilted to push, the turtle would slide and get a limb caught, or he'd snap at us and get his head stuck under one of the bars. So pushing was out of the picture. This wasn't going to be so easy.

At this point we're all soaked, the couple starts losing steam and I sense that they are about to call it a day. I quickly suggest that if we can get the turtle fully on the dolly shelf, we could each take a side and carry it down to the water. And by some miracle, the turtle cooperated while we did exactly that. Staying far enough away that it couldn't snap its head and have a chunk of leg for breakfast, we carried the turtle and the dolly approximately 50 yards back down to the flooded riverbank.

There were a few more obstacles in its path and I did have to pull a post or two out of the ground (shhhh!) for it to swim around, but the turtle made it back home. We watched as he took a little breather before swimming away. I'd like to say it was a way of him tipping his hat before riding off into the sunset, but I'm retty sure our helping hands would still wind up with missing fingers if we got too close.

The dolly got returned (with more strange looks), I said goodbye to my fellow turtle whisperers and walked home in soggy shoes practicing my turtle call just in case I ever need it again. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Why not Rome?

I just read today that an 11-year old boy was able to sneak on a flight to Rome from Manchester. Can't say I've never wished to do the same thing. I wonder how many of us at one point have looked up in the sky and wished we were on a plane going anywhere?

Monday, May 14, 2012

On Foot and Frantic in Fort Lauderdale

"Fort Lauderdale has a metro system!", I excitedly exclaim to myself while googling my airport transit options. I had just returned from the Bahamas and needed to find a way from Miami Lakes to FLL to make my flight back to Austin. A taxi was going to run ~$70 one way, so I was thrilled with my recent discovery. Always a fan of public transportation, I accepted the challenge. Bus to train to plane...easy breezy. I've successfully navigated foreign cities, how hard could Florida be?

I should have known the travel gods were forsaking me when, 15 minutes into my adventure, I was unable to locate the bus stop. Seriously. I had Google-mapped it and had my phone navigation set, but still couldn't find the dang thing. "No worries Amy, minor setback", I try to convince myself. "Skip the bus and walk to the train, you've got this." Game on.

Well, about 1.5 hours later, I'm still sandals...carrying backpack...pulling roller approximately 90 degree full on Florida sunshine. I'm dangerously close to missing the airport train, I've got blisters on my feet and the cab company I've called to rescue me can't locate the random (locked) warehouse parking lot I've taken a much needed shade break at.

I hung my head in shame, cursing my stubborn self for putting myself in this position, and prepared to wave my white flag. Just then I looked up, and that's when I saw it. My oasis in the hot, dry, pedestrian unfriendly desert of Ft. Lauderdale...a mortuary. Yes, that's right, I said mortuary. And I couldn't have been happier. I mustered up my last bit of energy and made my way to it's lobby. Its glorious, air-conditioned lobby complete with water fountain and an address that a taxi could actually find. Embracing the irony that a mortuary was my saving grace, I quickly re-hydrated and waited anxiously for my cab.

Fast forward 45 minutes later - one train ride and one incredibly slow shuttle ride completed - I book it to the check-in desk with seconds to spare before my flight is closed. Literally seconds. I beg for mercy and am escorted through security (so this is what first class feels like) while the plane is being held at the gate for me. Murphy's Law in full effect, my bag has to be re-screened "because the computer randomly glitched". Totally frantic at this point, I grab my stuff, head full speed to my gate (a few toes may have been wheeled over - my apologies) and step onto the plane an instant before the door is secured. I sit down and contemplate the lesson in all of this. Next shoes!

Thursday, May 10, 2012


completely alone on a secluded beach,
only the sand flies to keep me occupied. not another soul.
the ocean waves talk to me. 
calming. calling.
white sand. turquoise clouds on the horizon. 
the sea is a brilliant mix of blues and greens I've never seen before. 
almost florescent.
the colors practically beg me to jump in and explore what lies beneath the surface. 
instead I sit. 
on the fluffy white sand. soft as a pillow. 
and take it all in.

Sunday, February 26, 2012