Posted by: Marie | February 17, 2012

(630) Runaway ducks

Post #630
[Private journal entry written on Saturday, May 28, 2011]

I’ve been busy processing everything we covered in our last therapy session . . .

In the session, when I got to that place of hopelessness, the desire to escape the pain through death came on strongly. I noticed that Edward didn’t really encourage me to talk about wanting to die. There have been times he has asked questions about me wanting to die, but often he doesn’t.

I’m very clear that I’m welcome to talk about wanting to die . . . he never discourages that or says anything to indicate that topic is not welcome. However, usually he doesn’t encourage me to say more than I need to say.

Maybe he doesn’t want me to give it extra energy . . . maybe he wants me to give it just enough energy to move it out of my body – and no more. That makes sense.

Anyway . . . on to lighter topics . . .

I thought summer was going to a very slow time for my business. But, I’m starting five new students this week. That’s good for my bottom line . . . but it might make it a challenge to get my summer “to do” list done . . . oh, well . . . I’ve had worse problems, LOL! After my many months of no employment back a few years ago, you’ll never hear a complaint from me about too much work!


The local Optimist Club held their first Annual Memorial Weekend Duck Race today. The idea of the race is for businesses and individuals to purchase the rights to a rubber duck or two (or more). All of the ducks are then put into an irrigation ditch at one bridge and then collected at a different bridge a mile or so down stream. The first ducks to arrive at the second bridge are declared the winners.

Businesses had the option of participating as a “sponsor” of the event for a $50 fee. Since the event was geared towards kids and there were only a handful of sponsors, and the sponsors’ logos were included on all of the event marketing material, it seemed like a great investment for my piano lessons business. So, I signed on as a sponsor.

As a sponsor, I was given a big rubber duck (approximately the size of a football) to decorate and enter into the “sponsors” race. I wasn’t really excited about personally decorating the duck, so I set up an “art area” in my studio. I covered my student study desk and the surrounding wall with newspaper, and I covered the carpet under the table and in the area around the desk with plastic.

Then I set out washable paint and glue and markers, along with a variety of foam cut-outs and brightly colored feathers and pom-poms onto the table. And, I set the duck on the table . . . and I let my students go to town. I gave them a week to collaboratively create a wonderful work of art.

I sent a photo of the duck to my mom and she said she would place her bet on our duck, LOL! I didn’t know if it would float, but I was sure it would win as the most creative and/or beautiful duck. I wondered what the chances would be that there would be a contest honoring those characteristics . . .

I contacted one of the organizers with my concern about putting the duck in the water . . . everything we used in the decorating was water-soluble (so the parents of my students wouldn’t get upset when the kids spilled paint on their school clothes). So, of course, everything would fall off when we put the duck in the water. I didn’t want to contaminate the ditch water or kill the fish . . .

She said that I wasn’t the only one with that concern – other sponsors had asked the same question. But, her husband came up with a great solution . . . our decorated duck would be kept on display while a surrogate duck (not decorated) would be put into the water. Perfect!

The race was guaranteed to be an adventure . . . none of the organizers had ever participated in a race such as this. So, they were guessing how things were going to work. The first problem they discovered a week before the race is that there was no water in the ditch – and no water was scheduled to be run in the ditch anytime soon.

Hmmmm . . .

So, they begged and pleaded with the ditch company, and the ditch company said they could run water from one reservoir to another one further downstream – they had enough space in the second reservoir to hold enough water for a 24-hour run.

Thank goodness they had that space . . . otherwise, running the water wouldn’t have been an option because dumping the water and allowing it to simply run downstream without recapturing it would have caused a major loss for the farmers in the area. Water is such a precious resource here (we live in a desert) that every drop is closely controlled and cherished. You don’t give it up once you have it in your possession.

Anyway, right on schedule, the water showed up yesterday afternoon and was running smoothly this morning. And, right on schedule, the organizers dumped about 250 small ducks and a handful of larger sponsor ducks in the water at the “start” bridge. Nobody knew how long it was going to take for the ducks to arrive at the “finish” bridge – it took about 45 minutes.

For 45 minutes, about a dozen of us hung over the edge of the “finish” bridge and watched . . . and watched . . . and watched . . . and sometime during the watching, the fireman who had been dispatched to be the official duck catcher (he even wore his “public appearance” gear) recognized a problem . . .

The long-handled nets from the local community swimming pool we were planning to use to catch the ducks – we were planning on hanging over the side of the bridge and reaching down into the water – didn’t have handles long enough to reach the water.

So, we started looking around for a solution . . . I grabbed my spade from the trunk of my car, someone else had some duct tape in their truck, and we taped my spade to the end of the net’s handle. Someone else found another shovel and we taped that shovel to the second net.

And that solution worked . . . at least it worked if really tall people with really long arms hung over the edge of the bridge as far as possible . . .

Fortunately, the firefighter was tall with long arms. We all looked around at each other to see who was the tallest (and had the longest arms) . . . and the “winner” was the mom of one of my students! So, she got pressed into service . . . she just laughed. “Whatever it takes!” she said.

About then, the ducks started arriving. A few showed up at first. They were pretty easy to catch. Then, the bulk of them showed up all at once. The firefighter and the mom were running back and forth on the bridge, trying to catch the runaway ducks . . . they would get a net-full, then they would quickly haul the net up over the edge of the bridge and onto the sidewalk. We “short people” would quickly dump the nets and the catchers would put their nets back in the water.

The poles were very, very long and were very hard to handle. The catchers had to be very careful to not hit passer-bys in the head as they were hurriedly pulling the nets up and over the bridge . . . we actually put a police officer in place to keep that from happening . . . it was quite the production!

Then, a city worker stayed on the downstream side of the “finish” bridge and chased the ducks that avoided capture. Since he had to capture them from the bank with a moderately long-handled pole, sometimes he had to leap and jump and balance on the edge . . . even that effort created quite a show!

But, we got all the ducks wrangled . . . or so we hope. And, we had a blast doing it! It was a fun adventure! (Oh, and, nope, my surrogate duck didn’t win the sponsors race and the decorated duck didn’t win any beauty contests . . . oh, well!)


  1. It sounds like it was a fun day

  2. Hey, Evan –

    It was fun to watch everyone figure out how to deal with all the unexpected stuff!

    – Marie

  3. Hi Marie, I notice you haven’t updated your blog in a while, Is everything okay? Catherine

    • Hi, Catherine –

      As you can see . . . I’m back!

      Things are going very well — I’ve been so incredibly busy that I had to take a break from blogging. However, I’ve been keeping up with my journaling, so I’ll post my journal entries as I can. I don’t like being this far behind, but that’s life, hah!

      Thank you so much for checking up on me. It means a lot to me!

      – Marie

  4. hi marie, so glad you are back and all is well with you!!!

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