Still alive.

The floodwaters are receding in our area and we’re still alive.  Aside from some minor outside damage and a door that battled more water than it was meant to we’re in really good shape compared to other people in our area (here’s a good link if you need help or want to give help) so we’re considering ourselves extremely lucky.

Of course, since most of the damage happened outside that also means a lot of animal displacement (which might explain the mountain lion on my street a few days ago) so we’ve been spending a lot of time sweeping doodle-bugs and the occasional frog outside, but this morning things got a little more intense when Victor and I were driving home after dropping Hailey at school and I saw something in the road.  Something that looked like a bunch of displaced ducklings that needed me to take them home with me so they could live in my bathtub.

LET ME PICK YOU UP.
LET ME HELP YOU.

I jumped out of the car to make sure they weren’t going to get run over and that’s when I remembered that I was still wearing my pajamas and no shoes and I was chasing ducklings down an active roadway while trying to convince them that I’d be their new mommy.

Then they ran away and I kept chasing them while Victor used the truck to block people from running over his stupid wife and some ducklings and that’s when I looked into the intersection and saw a distraught-looking mom with a shit-ton of other ducklings.

This duck mom = how I looked at DisneyLand.
This duck mom = how I looked at DisneyLand.

So I gave up on the bathtub companions and instead wrangled the stray babies toward the rest of the group.  Then I saw that a car was coming quick down the other lane that all the ducklings were running into so I stood in the middle of that road to direct traffic in my bare feet and pajamas as a dozen baby ducks moseyed lazily toward the lake.

RUNNING.
RUNNING!  WE’RE RUNNING!

So what I’m saying is that this morning I saved a dozen tiny lives before I’d even taken off my pajamas.  And that’s why I’m getting back into bed.  Because I deserve it.  And I’m already dressed for it.

I AM NAILING THIS DAY.

164 thoughts on “Still alive.

Read comments below or add one.

  1. You are now my duck hero, among other things. “Make way for ducklings” was one of my favorite books as a child.
    Glad to hear you are okay, the stories I’ve heard are pretty scary!

  2. Forgive me for this: That is just quackers!

    Ahem

    Jenny Lawson, Bloggess, Hero, Duck Wrangler

  3. Since I went bird watching at 6AM in my pajamas the other day simply because I heard two different migrating warblers in my tree before getting dressed for work, I can hardly judge you. Oh, I had at least pulled on a pair of shoes!

  4. just further proof of what an awesome person you are. Thanks for making me smile, I needed it :). That is something I always come here for, smiles and less hurt.

  5. I forgot to mention this, but several days ago you got a glowing review on the Facebook Bird Misidentification page. The discussion was about Beyonce.

  6. My co-workers and I saved ducks crossing the street yesterday too!! We’re heroes 🙂

  7. I’m a long-time lurker on your blog who is also a bird person, and when I saw these photos my first thought was WHAT THE SHIT KIND OF DUCKS ARE THOSE. After some Googling I have determined that they are in fact Egyptian Geese. And… now I am very confused.

    (Me too. Geese normally hate me. These were traveling incognito, I guess. ~ Jenny)

  8. This is why I love you and yeah I was really worried about you and everyone in the area with all this flooding.

  9. ducks are great and you are an animal hero BUT where are the photos of your heroic actions?

    (I had my phone and took the pictures of the ducklings as I was walking them across the street. Victor already wasn’t super pleased I was in the road. I suspect if I’d taken time to do a selfie while still in the road he would have run over me himself. ~ Jenny)

  10. You’re doing better than I did here in Oklahoma. Today I successfully avoided a turtle on the highway, but on Saturday while trying to rescue a snake off of the pool tarp, my cat decided to take over and he had a different idea of what to do with it. Poor snake never had a chance.

  11. Never mind that ducks are one of the best-equipped animals to survive a flood – maybe even enjoy it. I’m sure they appreciate the gesture. Or the sight of you in your pajamas, wrangling.

  12. Awww Jenny….wish I could say I had all MY ducks in a row like you do today! lol

  13. So very, very glad to hear all is well with you and yours – we’re in West Lake Hills here by Austin, and I know that things are mighty grim for some in your area. Thank you for posting, and thank you for saving ducklings, and generally being you. BTW – drove through Wall on the way home Sunday – standing water in the fields there.

  14. We have ducks that cross a road near my house and I am always screaming at my husband to stop for the ducks. I am super fun to have around lol

  15. You are awesome. I love to hear about your life adventures, and that there are other moms who bring their children to school in their pajamas. Bravo on duck saving.

    I’m glad that you’re safe and sound.

  16. Watch out, it’s a slippery slope. You start off with ducks in the tub and pretty soon you’ve got a chicken sleeping in your family room (http://www.andbythatimean.com/#!Well-this-is-embarrassing/cmbz/7E47962D-D4F3-41B4-9476-3AB9412BF5A3), a feral cat living in the ceiling (http://www.andbythatimean.com/#!KatDog-and-other-weekend-adventures/cmbz/A4388BC2-3813-4CAD-8B4E-953BDC3B63CB) and a horse eating in the kitchen (http://www.andbythatimean.com/#!”Sshhhh. Don’t tell Barbie.”/zoom/c4y5/image19fs). Saving fuzzy little babies is always worthwhile, though. Good job.

  17. When we lived in Austin years ago we rescued 2 lost baby ducklings from a storm/flash flood and took them home and raised them and they swam in my baby pool in the backyard with me. But they never learned to fly. And the neighbors dog ate them. On Easter morning. True Story.

  18. Animal displacement, no kidding. Goslings from Egypt. But you know, being a gooseherd is an actual vocation, so you are part of a proud tradition now.

  19. Bravo Jenny! I was the Regional Safety Director for a tanker company hauling gas and diesel. These are huge trucks here in Ontario – 80 feet long, two trailers, weighing in at 140,000 pounds (as much as two average bungalows) and having thirty (that’s right – 30) wheels on the ground, hauling about 15,000 US gallons of gas, One spring day one of our drivers was passing a park where there was a lake on the far side of the road. A mother duck and 8 baby ducklings decided to cross the road, so our driver stopped and blocked traffic (as you did) to allow the ducks to cross safely. Unfortunately once across the pavement, the curb was too high for the babies to climb and they kept trying and falling back into the roadway. Mama duck was encouraging them but could do nothing. So my driver took his camera, got out and set his hand half way up the curb. The babies jumped onto his hand and then onto the top of the curb and into the grass. He took pictures as this was going on because he knew no would believe him.It made the local papers when some bystanders also took pictures and sent them to the newspaper. It was quite striking -this huge tractor-trailer in the background as the driver knelt and helped these tiny fluffy babies , no bigger than a donut hole, get up on the curb. i insisted we give him a commendation for his file.

  20. Saving ducks is fine, geese on the other hand are total assholes….they will just STAND in the middle of the street like the avian thugs they are and DARE you to make them move.

  21. When we lived in Austin years ago, we rescued 2 lost baby ducks from a similar bout of storms and flash floods. We raised them and they swam in my baby pool in our backyard and I loved them. But they never learned to fly. And the neighbors dog ate them. On Easter morning. True story.

  22. You know, not everyone will agree with me, but I’m fairly envious of Victor. I’d sure like to live with you. I bet it’s never boring! Nice job, duck wrangler.

  23. That is an awesome story! We literally – as I was reading this blog, had a tiny hummingbird fly into our window. We wrapped him in a cloth and used a Q-tip to soak up the blood and thought he was a goner. He just started flapping his wings a few minutes ago and flew off! Happy stories today 🙂

  24. Nicely done, however I’ve had six of the little beggars in my dining room by accident and I only found the last of the tiny poop smeared duckling footprints when we moved a huge dresser whilst moving house in December last year – they ran in 5 years ago. Wrote about it here if you want a giggle – the Mum came back for them in the end. 🙂 http://traveltruth101.blogspot.co.uk/2011/07/from-archive.html

  25. So when you do get dressed, put on a cape and a shirt with an S in the middle of it. And that’s not for sh**head, like I mean for some people. It’s for SUPERB. Beautifully done:).

  26. Glad all is well. One of the reasons I knew I had to marry my husband was because he rescued a bunch of ducklings out of a storm drain one day at work. Sexy stuff, that duck wrangling. 😉

  27. Well, you’re lucky. I just got attacked by a stupid duck last week simply because I got near her precious ducklings. I’m pretty sure I would have lost an eye and possibly a couple of toes if I tried to chase them. Well, excuse me for running on the clearly marked path the way I’m supposed to, Mrs. Duck. This is a humans-only path, so we don’t disturb wildlife. Well, I guess it’s for dogs also. And ferrets. Some people walk ferrets, right?

    Well, anyhow, what I’m saying is that I must have a face that large birds love to hate. This was the third time I’ve been attacked by one. Either that, or they don’t like shoes.

  28. You’re a hero and didn’t even have to run in a burning building made out of bees!

  29. Ok, I need your image wearing a cape that says ‘Saving ducklings and taking naps’ on a tote. or a coffee mug. I’ll wait.

  30. What a great story, Jenny! Hopefully there will be more good stories than the tragic ones with all this flooding. Peace out, sista! 🙂

  31. OMG! I did that with goslings on a highway! Well, not in my pajamas and barefoot, but I was pretty pregnant at the time, so I think that equals out….

  32. We have a 3-goose posse in our local lake. They usually cross the road only at crosswalks. The drivers are very well-trained. I haven’t seen the geese since the flooding. 🙁 The drivers, however, are doing just fine.

  33. Is that the dad duck way ahead of the crowd? Is he scouting out a safe location or trying to get away from the squabbling wife and babies? Just curious…
    Good on you for helping! Was at my local coffee shop a little while ago and one of the workers there saw little baby ducklings following their momma – right over a grate. Called the Fire Dept and they some how plucked them all out! Yay firemen!

    (It is totally the dad duck. Or second mom. Or second dad, now that I think of it. Hard to tell with ducks. ~ Jenny)

  34. I love you! I have the same story, except I’ve done this at night, in the middle of nowhere, on a dark road, barefoot in my pajamas with a flannel shirt and no flash light, TWICE.

    The first time was when our horses got out and thought the best thing to do would be to run down the curvy highway towards a blind corner, in the middle of the night.

    The second time we had just moved two states away, and our cat escaped the minute we pulled into our new driveway and immediately ran out into the night and into the street.

    Both times, there I was, freaking out in the middle of the road in my jams, in the dark, with no light, waving my hands and hoping that I didn’t stop unsuspecting oncoming traffic by becoming a speed bump.

    I got the cars stopped both times, and we all lived, but my husband thought I was insane.

  35. Great blog. But where is a picture with you in your pajamas, herding? All I see is Ducklings!! Anyhow, good job saving all those tiny lives!

  36. Good job! I’m lucky I haven’t had to rescue anything out of the road in quite a while. I did rescue a limping dog that turned out to be named RK. And I rescued a dinner plate size alligator snapping turtle same road different place. And they lived happily ever after just like those ducks will.

  37. Hell yes, you deserve it. Thank you for saving the mamma and the babies and thanks to Victor for saving you!!!

  38. It’s probably a good thing they didn’t end up in your bathtub because I’m just envisioning that trip through your house and I can’t imagine a group of young wild birds would really understand or appreciate the subtle art that is creative taxidermy.

  39. Black bellied whistling ducks? My favorite. Thanks, Mama. Also, never know you were another Austinite. Rock on!

  40. All you need is a bathrobe styled as a cape, and you’re set! Good karma – lady, good karma.

  41. You are awesome. But… maybe throw a pair of flip flops in the car for emergencies?

  42. Thank you for living through this disaster. I’ve been worried about you. Now you should be inducted into the Duck Rescuer’s Hall of Fame, alongside those Louisiana firemen who rescued the ducklings out of the storm drain a while back…

  43. Glad to hear you’re staying dry. I hope you never have to find out whether Totes MaGoats floats!

  44. Yay, Jenny! Reason #438 of why I love you! I have two ducks that used to be ducklings and I would put them in the bathtub for a swim every day until they were old enough to live outside. They were so cute then! Not so much now, but at least their quacking is quiet and rather soothing.

  45. “So what I’m saying is that this morning I saved a dozen tiny lives before I’d even taken off my pajamas.” That’s good – you probably would have gotten in trouble if you had taken off your pajamas!

  46. I’ve never rescued baby ducks. Once I went to see if a baby squirrel was injured but it decided I was his mama and kept chasing me all over. I tried letting it chase me to where some trees were, but instead of running up them like a smart squirrel, it just kept chasing me back into a parking lot. I wasn’t sure if it would try cuddling me or biting me if it caught me.

    I eventually had to trick it (hid behind another car far away from my car), get in my car, and drive off. I felt horrible. I tried calling someone to get it but never heard about what happened to it. (I like to imagine that it found its mother and lived a long and happy squirrel-life.)

    And yes, I made a video of the baby squirrel chasing me: http://www.techydad.com/2010/10/abandonment-issues/

  47. I’d say you were totally dressed for the occasion. Don’t most superhero costumes look like pajamas anyway?

  48. Here in central London we have lots of Egyptian Geese and they are lovely, if noisy. But their numbers are increasing by 50 per cent a year. An ornithologist friend said to me, ‘They’re the next Canadas’ — meaning that in a few years we shall be overrun with them, as we are with Canada Geese. But I don’t mind.

  49. Please start sleeping in a cape, so that you are appropriately attired for spur of the moment rescue events such as this one.

  50. You need a super-hero cape for your pajamas to wear around the house. It will subtly remind Victor of your awesomeness! Raising a toast to you! Well done!

  51. Woah. Totally didn’t know “doodle-bug” was another term for what we call “sow bugs” or “pill bugs” here. Wonder if it’s regional or if doodle-bug is a recognized name across the lands!

  52. Woman, you rule. Be ever thankful that you have a partner in crazy and thank you forever for saving tiny lives in yer jammies. All love of the universe…

  53. I just hope you washed your feet before getting back into bed. Otherwise you’ll have to wash your sheets, & that is just a HASSLE!

  54. I’ve been reading your blog for years, so I’ve seen some of the various “pajama” outfits you have in your repertoire. I can only imagine you were wearing some kind of hooded~face~eating~bear~slanket sort of thing. I would have envisioned a onesie, but you said you were barefoot.

    Nevertheless, The Bloggess saves the day in whatever super hero outfit that was available at the time. Yay!

  55. Just awesome, & exactly the good news I needed to make me feel better. Thanks.

  56. Oh just remembered, that was just like Doctor Who (David Tennant), in The Christmas Invasion, where he saved the world in his pajamas. You rock Jenny!

  57. This looks like what we call “duckie daycare” at our pond. Some duck moms watch ALL the kiddies and other duck moms chill out. Then they switch, but by early evening every duck mom and kids are reunited and swimming in separate families.

  58. As someone else noted, these are Egyptian geese, not ducks. BUT I STILL APPLAUD YOUR LIFESAVERY EFFORTS.

  59. As always, Bloggess, you leave me in tears laughing, and warm my days. Take your well deserved rest, though ducklings in the bath tub would have been the preferred outcome.

  60. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I have been depressed about ducks since I saw a mom duck run over, and when I flipped a bitch to save the 6 babies she’d left behind, the car in front of me ran them down. The world needs more people like you and fewer like the driver of the red Prius that was apparently looking at their phone and missed seeing the mob of distraught babies.
    Signed, The sobbing Oregonian beating the grass in the ditch unsuccessfully looking for any surviving ducklings

  61. Now I want the pit bull that your first link directed me to on the ruse of “helping.” That guy is so cute!

  62. You are so fucking awesome!

    And in that last pick you sounded (to me) vaguely docentesque. What movie am I thinking of that I can’t remember? “And we’re walking…”

    So glad you are surviving. Saving lives while wearing pajamas = panache overload! (Thank you roundabout theatre: panache means having unique style, flair, and ****reckless courage****).

  63. Saving baby ducklings just gained you back at least 3 years in purgatory. Congrats! Tomorrow try to add a baby goat, bonus for llamas!

  64. Jenny,
    I don’t know if you’ll even see this but I’m in desperate need of just the sort of person you are. My brain doesn’t work right, it lies to me and my emotions get all crazy and it takes all my spoons just to get through a work day without screaming something inappropriate lately. I have doctors, both the pill type and the talkie type but I can’t see them for at least a month because I started a new job and don’t have time off. I have what they call “generalized mood disorder” which seems to mean they can’t fit me neatly into the depression box or the bipolar box or any of the anxiety boxes. I got so out of control tonight I screamed at my husband which scared my poor four year old baby. This mommy just can’t seem to get on an even keel and no one in my life really gets it. Nothing Infeel lasts very long and what I feel seems to switch so quickly I can’t keep up. “Emotionally tumultuous” is how I can best describe it. I don’t know what to do Jenny, I hate myself some days and dream about just running away because my brain decides my baby girl and husband would be better off without my crazy. But then I I hate myself more for thinking such things. I’m not in the dark place of depression, not truly. I’m just tired. I’m tired of maintaining control ALL DAY. I’m tired of being afraid of what’ll happen when I lose that control. I feel alone and useless and just…other. I don’t understand people, not really. I try to make friends and I copy what other people do to socialize but people just don’t make sense to me and I get so anxious I’m going to screw it all up that I end up avoiding people alltogether and that leaves me feeling lonely and isolated. I’m sorry for filling your page with all this but I needed to tell someone and I’ve been reading you for a long time and I guess I thought you might understand when no one else does. Even if you don’t understand could you lie and say you do and send me an internet hug? I really need a hug.

    (First of all, I do understand, totally. I have avoid avoidant personality disorder and it gives me a ton of the same issues you deal with. I constantly think the world would be better off without me. But logically I know it wouldn’t. I have to remind myself that my head is a liar and that fighting through it will make me stronger. Everyone feels like this to some extent. Everyone. We just feel it more deeply. What helps me is to read back the things I write and imagine my daughter saying them. Imagine her saying the world would be better without her and feel the utter disbelief that she could ever think that. That’s how the people you love feel about you. You are so important. We need misfits. It’s what our whole community is made of. You’re not alone. Sending you hugs. ~ Jenny)

  65. This makes me love you just a little bit more. That was a very kind thing to do.

    All before even getting dressed for the day!

    Maybe PJs are the new cape. 😀

  66. This rain has caused all the animals to seek shelter on the roads. I have had a turkey walk in front of my car and a huge rat ran out in front of me yesterday. Get off the road animals!! Happy to see the sun yesterday….ALL DAY! T:)

  67. Just wondering – what’s a doodlebug? Not sure we have those critters in VA….

  68. I know you’re familiar with Eddie Izzard who talked about the evil ducks that wouldn’t go on Noah’s ark. Those ducks you saw were leading you into the street in your pajamas because they’re EVIL.

  69. Just came back from Barnes and Noble Sacramento, where there are several copies of your book. As a Texas writer (and duck lover) I really think today’s top two posts deserve a wider audience–maybe submit a version to–I don’t know–that Texas magazine, or The New Yorker? As a short story by a Texan?

  70. You’re a woman after my own heart. I once parked my car in the middle of a 4-lane road to stop traffic and wrangle two stray dogs. My husband wasn’t even with me and he was mortified. 🙂

  71. I live on a river, but it’s a tiny river. I don’t think it would ever swell enough to flood my house. But, now that I’ve said that, it’s inevitable. Great. Now I have to move.

  72. Kim, you are not alone. Jenny, thank you for being brave enough to provide a place of refuge for those who share the struggle of a potpourri of mental health issues. God bless you both!

    The duck/goose (duck duck goose?) story made me very happy!

  73. Kim: you are not alone. Many, if not all of us here, really get it. And why it’s so hard and confusing and scary. Remember, Jenny is right: your head will lie and lie some more. I really believe in the power of waiting. Which is sort of like hanging in there, but less energetic. Waiting out those parts of you that are screaming at other people, saying awful things to yourself, to hurt yourself. Just wait. And wait some more. Then, keep practicing. Leave yourself some space inside, a gentle place, a calm place, sometimes a very tiny space; a space inside your self to wait out the storms. I’ve been practicing this kind of waiting, very actively at times, for over a decade. It really does work. Finding a quiet place inside and waiting. Sort of like a portable, personal bunker. Keep practicing waiting. Please.

  74. Kim, you are not alone. This is the home of the misfit toys…. And we belong. We matter. We are worthy, and beautiful. We are perfect in our imperfections. We are the imperfect, hear us roar! (or mumble) ((Hugs)) <3

  75. A bloggess has to get a fox, a duck and a duckling to safety. She can’t carry the fox and duck at the same time…oh, I hate logic puzzles!

  76. I had a similar experience! But less successful. Last year, my husband and I saw ducklings following their mommy across a very wide road near our house. They were so tiny that they were struggling to hop back up onto the curb when they were done crossing the street. Most of the ducklings were able to follow their mom up onto the curb, but one was too little, so it was stuck in the road, just trying to jump up and follow them, getting left behind. I jumped out of the car to help it… and it ran from me. So I ran after it yelling “I’m trying to help you!” I finally caught up to it (because my legs are much longer than a duckling’s) and picked it up and gently placed it on the grass over the curb behind it’s siblings. Then the little jerk JUMPED RIGHT BACK DOWN INTO THE STREET. He made me chase him AGAIN. And this time, to be safe, I really flung the little guy onto the lawn (so the suicidal duckling couldn’t stumble back onto the street). That was right about the same time cars were starting to build up behind us, so basically, instead of looking like a hero, I looked like a weirdo who throws ducklings across entire lawns.

  77. Kim, you are not alone. My head has told me stories like that numerous times. It told me the sooner I go away the less my kids will remember of me. It told me that this would be the right thing to do. It told me that the day I leave a new woman would walk in there and be all I never managed to be for my family, the perfect wife, the perfect mother.
    I told my hubby to lock me into the guest room overnight and keep the key until breakfast I didn’t trust myself not to listen to my sick brain. The next morning was better. I have found a doctor who in turn has found the right medication for me. I’m lucky that way and my brain has stopped the lies for now.

    Right now I know how absurd those lies are. That no matter how sick and “useless” I am, I’m the only REAL mother my kids will ever have, I’m the person who shoved them out my vag and no other woman, no matter how “perfect” can ever be for them what I am. And no matter how many times I fail my family, nothing can ever scar them more than me going away like that.

    Kim, talk to your kid. Explain that sometimes your head doesn’t work right and that’s why you scream at daddy for no good reason and that you do love daddy very much, even if you scream at him. Even a four-year-old is capable of understanding that and they will find your screaming and your mood swings less scary. It’s a part of who you are at the moment and your family loves you the way you are, the whole package.

    I wish you all the best for the future and I hope you will find something that works for you, be it medication, diet, magic or ground up unicorn mane!

  78. You are my hero. And in your pjs. A very brave woman. I won’t go out of my house in my pjs….:)

  79. ACHIEVEMENT UNLOCKED.
    You’re awesome.
    Well i might as well go back to bed, there’s no way I can beat that!

  80. The entire Hill Country has been so flooded. Sooooo many pets have been displaced by the storms. I am doing everything I can to share the photos on Facebook to help the little critters get back home!

  81. I like your coping things.

    And your saving baby ducklings.

    Glad you’re surviving the flood!!!

  82. Good on you. I have not had a lot of luck herding ducks, or saving the annual flood of ducklings from neighborhood cats. Just to warn you, if you herd them home to your bathtub, your cats will be all like, “What ducklings? I have no interest in them,” and yet if you look closely tomorrow, there will be fewer ducklings in the tub and the cats will have tiny feathers stuck to their lying whiskers.

  83. You are like the Doctor 🙂 …or are you the Doctor??? EVERYBODY LIVES!

    You are my hero, not only today!

  84. Longtime lurker, first-time commenter/hope this is ok to post here?
    I don’t know if you already know about The Icarus Project but I just found out about it and it immediately made me think of this post. A lot of their work involve giving people different tools (in addition to traditional mental health care) to describe their experiences and seek support.
    http://theicarusproject.net/
    They’re running an indiegogo right now (how I found out about them) – if anyone posting here finds their mission as inspiring as I do, I think they can use all the help they can get. (Again, apologies if this isn’t ok to post – FWIW, I’m not connected to the organization or know anyone who works there – I’m just a new AND HUGE fan).
    https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/help-icarus-chart-new-courses-to-wellness#/story

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