Brilliant Acts of Kindness

Kind people don’t get much attention. By its very nature kindness is other-focused in a way that avoids spotlights. Through the advent of social media, perhaps kind people are receiving more attention in viral videos and likes/shares, but kindness at its core doesn’t seek notice. It also doesn’t need it. Kindness goes along in its thoughtful way stopping long enough to add quality to someone else’s life. Kind people, then, are superninjas of awesome who have the strength to work magic for others without necessarily seeking anything for themselves.

I was perusing my newspaper and social media this morning and found two brilliant acts of kindness. First, a couple of retirees who love animals have created a retirement community for old cats that have been given up for adoption. I grinned as I read about how the couple built and ran their feline sanctuary. As a person with a mature cat, she’s 17 and still sassy, I gave a tip o’ the hat to their passion for caring for critters that others don’t want due to their age.

Kitty cat kindness was eclipsed by the case worker who surprised a little girl on her adoption day. The girl, a fan of Disney princesses, wore a princess costume to her adoption hearing. The case worker arranged for a host of people dressed in Disney princess attire to witness the event. Even the judge donned a Snow White costume. The viral video showed the girl waving to Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, and their respective Prince Charmings, as she waited for the judge to render the court order. Once rendered, the little one skipped over to her princesses in waiting to receive their hugs and good wishes.

I am aware that people will find this a tear-jerky, naïve bit of attention paid to what else has been going on in America and around the world. However, and this is a pretty hefty however, it serves us well to be reminded that we can behave selflessly. Paying attention to those who live their lives with dignity and grace and striving to do so ourselves make sense. I don’t have a Snow White costume, and two cats is my limit, but seeing others take time from their days add value to someone else is inspiring. I’d rather be inspired to be kind than be inspired to fear. Just saying.


Where Frogs Should Not Be

As a mini me growing up in the Midwest, the gentle croaking of frogs was one of my favorite sounds of summer. They were the perfect lullaby to the lazy days of a childhood spent outside getting muddy and rinsing off in the lake. I still love the sound of frogs croaking and can even name a few froggie calls from the comfort of my deck chair on the lanai. To my brain, the froggies live outside, and I live inside. Evidently, I have been somewhat misguided in that notion.

There have generally been herpetological critters hanging about my house on purpose: Florida anoles, frogs, and leopard geckos have all been included the care and maintenance of pets, sometimes at the same time. Spiffy, and what does that have to do with the blog, you might wonder. Well, this:

There’s a frog living in the pipes under our house, which comes to visit every once in a while via the toilet in the master bathroom. I am absolutely comfortable with the love bugs, palmetto bugs, fire ants, and alligator sightings of Florida, but I am extraordinarily not okay with something that peeps its head up out of my toilet to say hello.

The first time the froggy came to visit, I was in the kitchen when a bewildered husband came to me and invited me to check in the bathroom. I have not been a fan of potty show-and-tell since the children were toddlers, so I was a little less than pleased to accompany him to the bathroom. Once there, he quietly gestured for me to look at the toilet. No need for me to step in for a closer look, a big frog was peering over the edge of the commode. It was green, it was froggy, it croaked.

I very maturely squealed and hastened to my amphibian-loving daughter to get the thing out of the toilet. I wish I could say I stepped right on up, scooped it out and carried it to the retention pond by the house, but it wasn’t me. Nope, not it. I was holding onto my daughter’s t-shirt like she was the guardian protector of Amphia-land and I was a trespasser who wanted to go home. But wait: I was home. She and my husband made plans to invite the frog to leave on its own. The plan failed. It stared at us, and I swear it was defying us to do something about its presence in the house.

We were at something of a standstill until the frog did what frogs do: it hopped. It hopped out of the toilet and I hopped onto the bathroom counter, and my husband and daughter hopped to action. Lots of hopping, most of it not from the frog. I waited on the counter until husband and daughter caught the frog, escorted it outside and placed it near the retention pond so it could go hop and tell its friends about the idiots at our house.

Husband and daughter returned, laughed at me for still being on the counter, and then began to discuss how it could have ended up in the toilet in the first place. Whatever the reason, I began checking before using the bathroom. Good thing too, because it came back to visit today. Did it miss us? Does it get lost some kind of way? Is it a prince in disguise and all I have to do is kiss it? Absolutely not to the last; I know where it’s been.

It’s still there because while I am wearing my big girl pants today, I’m not wearing my frog-catching pith helmet. I did as any mature nature-loving person would do: I closed the door to the bathroom and it will stay that way until someone comes to remove the frog from my house.

My Cat Snicky

It’s a sunny Florida afternoon, and my cat Snicky is sitting outside with me acting as Great Hunter of the Lizards. Well, sort of. Mostly she’s acting as the Great Watcher of the Lizards. We’re out here together whiling away a lazy day because, even if she doesn’t know it, I know she’s dying. I took her to the vet today, who shook his head. I’m preparing myself and the rest of the family for the fact that we’re in pain management mode. She’s had 17 years with us as her humanpeople, and I can only hope we’ve served her well.

My husband found Snicky and her sister, Jonesy, hiding under some stone piles after their momma cat had been hit by a car. They were about six weeks old, give or take, according to the vet who checked them out. Once we brought them home, they were as essential as air – but with a lot more work. My daughter’s first act of sharing was to share her Happy Meals toys with Snicky, who really didn’t care; nevertheless the sharing occurred. Snicky would climb drapes, leap tall fridges in a single bound, and protect me from the lizards that I actually like. She would protect me from them anyway.

Now her leaping is limited to allowing me to pick her up so we can watch movies or read books together. Because she doesn’t groom herself any more, she’ll let me do it. Sometimes. If I bribe her with baby food (the vet said it was okay). She’s been a great pet, and I want her to be as comfortable as possible.

She’s still with us and could be for a little while more, so we’ll spend our time together as we always have. I knew today’s appointment was coming, and it was no surprise that we’re not discussing treatment any more. Knowing a thing is going to happen tends to make the Now that much more important. She’s the stuff of stardust, and she’ll return to the stars sooner than we would like, but we don’t get to choose. I’m going to follow Snicky’s lead: there are lizards to watch, and a patch of sun for us to relax together in.