“Pay attention!””Look where you’re going!”
“Watch what you’re doing!

All good words to live by, right?  I’m sure you’ve heard or used the expressions above, maybe regularly.  They’re common sense.  But, I’ve had two recent examples of where paying attention to my surroundings has yielded some great results.

The Hanging Basket

Every summer, we typically buy a hanging basket as part of our annual flower routine.  We plant flowers in a few places around the house, as well as in some potted plants around the deck, and the hanging basket goes near the front porch.

On a recent camping trip, we decided to take the hanging basket with us.  I’ve seen other campers do this, and thought, why not give it a try?  It wasn’t a horrible experience but we could never find a really good spot for it, yet it did pretty well.  Except for after I got home and picked it up out of the camper to go return it to the front porch.  When the part that hangs from the hook snapped right off.

Up until then, everything had seemed normal, but this plastic piece came off and rendered it useless.  I carried the now hangless basket to the front porch and set it down. I told my wife about it and we debated on whether to go to the nearby nursery and see if they had one.  I figured it was probably a generic thing and probably not very expensive.  The biggest obstacle was for one of us to go out and do something about it, with there being a high probability that the basket would never hang again.

But for a quick glance.

I was cutting the grass a couple of days later, and as I was in the front yard, something laying along the side of the road caught my eye.  I don’t know what made me look, but some part of my brain registered to look again.  So I did.  I actually turned my mower off and went and looked.  In front of the neighbor’s house on the other side of the street one door down, in the spot where they normally place their trash for curbside pickup, was a plastic hanger for a hanging basket.  I was flabbergasted.  I picked it up, looked at it to see if it was damaged or had been run over.  It was fine.  I walked back across the street, and by unclipping the old one and re-connecting this one, our basket was once again hanging.

What are the chances?

The Bike Ride

Well, a few weeks later I found out what the chances were.

My wife and I picked a Saturday to take a long bike ride.  Our area has a pretty good trail system, and we enjoy taking long rides around the trails every so often.  This was our first time going on this long a ride this year, so we were pretty excited.  We decided to stop for lunch as well as at a park along the way, to make an adventure out of it for the kids.

As we were about three miles into the trip, we were on a part that was gravel and cut through a wooded area.  I’m pretty sure that this used to have a rail line running through, and once that was no longer needed, it was converted to a trail.

As I ride, I always look around.  I look in front of me, behind me, and even down at the ground.  It was during one of those glances that I saw something that made my brain tell my body to hit the brakes.  I did so and called ahead to my wife to stop.  She wasn’t sure if something was wrong, but before I could even answer, I had already gotten off my bike and put the kickstand back and started walking back.

It was a few steps behind the trailer that I confirmed what I thought I might have seen.  Money!

mb-twenty-201308It was folded up so I had no idea what it was.  I picked it up, unfolded it, and showed my wife that we were now TWENTY DOLLARS richer!

How awesome is that?

I scoped the area out to see if I could spot anything else, but there was nothing.

(Readers, I will disclose that I’m going to ignore any of you who claim to have lost money on that trail *grin*)

Had I found something else with it that would have provided an identity of who the money might have belonged to, I would have tried to track down the owner, but with just money, it became evident that we were now twenty dollars richer.  The money was covered in gravel dust so it wasn’t like it was just dropped, and there wasn’t even anybody behind or in front of us.

We’ll probably put the money toward our travel fund or something.

Again, just by paying attention to my surroundings, I spotted something that could have gone unnoticed.

Readers, have you ever spotted something that you might have otherwise missed had you not been paying attention or had your mind not somehow hollered ‘Stop’?  I’d love to hear your stories.