A funny thing happened today…

Well, actually it wasn’t all that funny.
To be honest, it wasn’t funny at all.
But eventually I will find it funny.
Someday.
Just not today.

This morning (well, since it’s past midnight, technically yesterday…)

When I last woke up from a night’s sleep, I woke to darkness.
(btw, I hate being up before the sun.)
I woke to really cold temps. Like subzero. Like arctic blast. Like freeze-my-nostrils-shut cold.
(For those of you who live in the tropics, -22 degrees Fahrenheit is an experience you should have. Just sayin.)
I drove to Grand Forks, where I dropped off my dear Betty (my vehicle) to get an autostart installed.
Why did I not do this earlier? I mean, I live in North Dakota where it gets cold and I’ve had my car over 2 years.
Well, because it costs money and because I’m lazy/forgetful enough that I never got around to it.
So, towards the end of December, I got remote auto start.

Fear not, my Christmas present to myself this year is the joy of knowing that my car can start warming up without me having to bundle up, venture out into the cold, and must return indoors or wait in frigid temps until the engine is warm enough to safely drive away.
I have plans of enjoying my gift tomorrow. I have four Christmas Eve services, and I will savor being able to start the engine while shaking hands so that when I run from the building and onto the next, the heat should have kicked in.

But I digress from the funny part of my day.
I still cannot believe it happened.
Seriously, I have never experienced this before in my life.

I was walking my dog.
Because it is so cold, he is trained to do his business as quickly as possible so we can get back in the warm house.
We are so efficient that we leave the back door, follow the sidewalk to the church next door, and are usually back within a few minutes. 5 maximum.
(don’t worry, he gets his exercise by playing fetch indoors)

Tonight, I arrived from Grand Forks after dark. It was back to around -18 or so. Brisk air, so I knew we would not loiter outdoors.
We get to the south edge of the church. He stopped in the part of the grass where the snow isn’t so deep. I am on the other side of the sidewalk closer to the church.
While doing his thing, a giant bird swoops in and scares me and startles my poor doggie by thinking Ziggy might be a tasty meal.
I would have screamed, but instead, my scream was drawn inward (I did need to breathe first) and it was a weird noise that was emitted. But either my weird, strangled noise or my very presence startled it enough to fly off.
Probably a good thing I didn’t scream and startle the neighbors, now that I think about it.
Although they might want to know a giant bird of prey is in the area…

Anyway, so the bird swoops in and startles me.
Then poor Ziggy sprints towards me (standing a mere 5 feet away) after the bird takes back into flight (minus my Shih Tsu) and leaps into the snowbank.
Ziggy hates snowbanks.
Especially since snow is particularly cold on his paws.
But he jumps in and is shaking and just looking at me with eyes that are scared and shocked.
It broke my heart to see how my dog didn’t really know what to do when I went to pick him up because he was so startled.
I was shaking and trying to be reassuring to calm both our nerves.
He recovered faster than I did. Maybe because I know what could have happened.
We walked home (well, I walked and carried him) and went inside.

Not what I would have ever expected.
That was quite the experience to have.
Ziggy and I have walked that route hundreds of times at all times of day or night.
I never knew that the big birds would really get that close to buildings, let alone go after a 14-lb dog.
Five minutes today will forever alter my life and perception of a safe bubble that exists where I and my dog are safe to be out at night in town.

I know better now.
But I think my life would have been just fine without such an experience.

So now I keep trying to think of how to prevent this from happening again.
But already I’ve let my dog out on his tie-out leash tonight without me going outside to protect him.
He has his routine, and I guess I just have to trust that this was a one-time only experience.

Cause I have no need to be within a few feet of such a bird ever again.
No matter how great the story.

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