I have a painful bump on my head this morning.
Here at Paths of Hope we’ve installed security cameras overlooking the garden. On the first night, at one in the morning, the motion sensor triggered an alarm to my smartphone which in turn triggered me to get out of bed and check the property. I saw nothing in real time, but in the instant replay of the video I picked out the bandit bunny that has been decimating the plants. He eats way more than his share and has made necessary the addition of rabbit fencing to protect key plantings. Though I was wide awake and delighted to see the proof of my suspicions, I wisely refrained from waking Shawn to share the news. It would wait till daylight.
Gardening can be a contact sport, especially when the gardener head-butts the corner of the house. Why would I do such a thing? What result did I expect? Here’s the story.
Given a sunny January day with temperatures above fifty I decided to rework and renew a small garden bed beside the patio. Shawn will then have a blank canvas to fill with plants of her choice. This location has produced parsley, cherry tomatoes, a few carrots, and even some flowers. We left it unplanted last season as we worked on other plantings. Now it goes back into the lineup.
The process is straightforward. Shovel the soil into the wheelbarrow. Remove the old timbers (Note to self – I still need to remove the nails!). Measure and cut new timbers. Dig troughs to stabilize the timbers. Install the timbers. Add spikes. Gather stones. Level the soil. Clean up the mess.
On my knees, oblivious to the world around me, snuggled between the water barrel and the house, I wrestled the heavy timber into place and worked to level it. At 6’3” even getting into such a cramped position is a challenge without the added task of moving an eight foot timber.
Before I began working I had thoughtfully put the motion sensor on the security camera into sleep mode. I figured my presence would generate buckets of alarm notifications. What I did not know is that the alarm notifications would still be generated to the smartphone of my authorized user, Shawn. Across town at work her phone lit up with chimes and pings. And she told me later that grandson August was fascinated. He wanted to play with that phone.
Shawn showed him the camera where he could see Grandpa hard at work, and after he had tried multiple times to poke Grandpa she decided they should “call” me through the two-way speech mechanism of the camera. Thinking I had disabled the system while I enjoyed the garden renovation I knew none of this was transpiring.
The speaker on the security system blasted into my serenity, “Hi Grandpa!” Imagine working alone minding your own business when someone sneaks up behind you and yells, “Boo!” I may be past sixty, but I can still rise up rapidly when the flight or fight mode kicks in. And I did.
Straight up. Into the gutter spout that feeds the water barrel. Sensing that collision I jerked sideways to reduce the pain of contact. And my head ping-ponged into the corner of the house. I hopped around holding my head trying to motion to Shawn to stop yelling out the loudspeaker.
She thought I was dancing for August and would not stop talking to give my pleadings a chance to travel to her location. The security camera operates like a walkie-talkie, and one party must yield the floor before the second can speak. She parroted, “Can you hear me? Can you hear me?” The neighbors down the street can hear you, honey.
I exited the scene to locate my smartphone so I could text her.
This is now her second security system prank. She got me good the other day, too, when UPS delivered several packages. I was bent over retrieving them from the porch when the VOICE blasted from the front camera, “You’re doing a good job!”
Technological advancements astound me. The video quality from these cameras is incredible, and I can hear the water trickling into the pond in the background. We had a talk last night about using the security system for frivolity, but truthfully every relationship needs a heaping dose of frivolity. Next time the conversation will be two-way, and I can’t wait to hear August talking to me!