Looking out her sliding back door on at the beautiful summer day, laptop in front of her on the kitchen table, she marveled at how lucky she was to be able to work from home. She was just getting started on her second cup of coffee, when she heard a ruckus in the backyard. Scrabbling, splashing, and the sound of a duck quacking loudly. Bemused, she set down her cup and walked outside.
The first thing she saw was a female duck pacing back and forth on the pool deck, flapping its wings and quacking frantically. She saw it hop into her swimming pool, then splash back out again. Looking in the pool, she saw the reason. Nine fuzzy little ducklings were swimming near the edge.
The ducklings were tiny, too small to fly. Her in-ground pool had a concrete lip all around the edge, and try as they might, there was no way the little things could get out. The mother duck kept jumping in and out, quacking mightily, but that wasn't helping.
Looking around for a way to help, she spotted the large net she used for skimming leaves and debris off the surface of the water. Taking it off the wall, she rolled up her sleeves.
In her first effort, she scooped up three little ducklings. Smiling at her rescue, she started to gently move them toward their mother.
Before she could, they all hopped out of the net and back into the water.
Trying again, she scooped just two and started to move them. They both hopped back to join their brothers and sisters. They didn't understand that they were being rescued, they just wanted to stay with the others.
Eventually she realized that she had to scoop all of them up at once in order to keep them from jumping out again. This wasn't as easy as she had thought it would be! With the long pole, she tried to herd the nine milling ducklings into a net-sized cluster. Each time she had most of them bunched, one or two would swim away. Meanwhile, the mother duck kept quacking and splashing about, trying to keep her away from them.
After eons of trying, finally she somehow managed to scoop up all nine ducklings at once. Dripping with sweat, her hair disheveled, she carefully maneuvered the net over to their worried mother.
The relieved mother duck swept all the little ones out of the net with her wings and hustled them away from the pool, pausing only to shoot a threatening look back at her. She glared back. Ungrateful poultry.
The sudden quiet was surprising. She pushed her hair out of her eyes. She headed back inside to pick up her lukewarm coffee and resume her interrupted work. As she caught her breath, she wondered: what code she would use on today's timesheet for the past hour's work?