This post should really be called “The Isle of Toys Rejected by Spoiled Parrots.”
Patricia Sund put out a call for toys and perches- anything, broken, used, rejected, because:
I simply cannot thank you enough. This is one cause that is ripping me up. It’s bad. There’s birds who’s only perches are pvc and steel pipe with absolutely no toys. They had a fire not too long ago and it nearly wiped out the entire place. They now have a board of directors but they need help pretty badly.
So into the boxes I dove, knowing I’d find many things that had arrived all hopeful, ready to make some bird happy, but instead were sneered at and rejected. Even so, I was a little surprised at how much I found:
The Island of Shunned Swings
These, you see, are round. Round is entirely the wrong shape. Round is not to be tolerated. Oh, sure, our rope boings are twisted into spirals, but (apparently) that’s totally different.
The one on the left is a particular disappointment for me- it’s a snuggle ring, made of hundreds of bits of fleecy soft stuff to be rubbed on and preened and to keep you warm. Colorful and cute! I want one of those! But it seems that the birds do not, so into the box it goes.
Next we come to the terribly sad
These toys were once beloved, including the once favorite of favorites- the caterpillars! But now that we are big birds and are familiar with every joint on their little bodies, we are no longer amused. Familiarity, they say, breeds contempt. Once you can take down a toy in under 15 seconds, you can no longer respect it, so off to find less informed owners they go.
Here we find the
Reef of Repudiation.
These toys were ones that “everybody” loves. ALL birds love to shred coconut husks! They can’t wait to work those bits of wood out of the metal bars! If the love taking apart the caterpillars, these ball puzzles will be a hit!
Our last stop on our tour of the Islands is Mama’s
Shoals of Shame.
I must confess that the birds aren’t the only ones who’ve misbehaved. Once upon a time I was filled with one of those ideas I get- “I need a PROJECT! I know, I can MAKE the birds’ toys- I’ll save money, have fun, use only the materials they like, it’ll be great!”
Yeah. Not so much.
You can’t really tell the size of the bowl from the picture (though you can see I haven’t dusted this week- sorry!), but it’s big enough to hold 5 lbs of meatballs on those rare occasions when I cook something other than birdie bread.
If you have anything (including money, of course) you’d like to donate, please contact Patricia through her site and she’ll get you in contact with the shelter.
So now it’s off to the post office to send these to the rescue birds to hopefully make their holidays just a little brighter. As I go, I’ll be humming because while I’ve been writing the stupid song has gotten lodged in my brain:
At least once a year, Charlie starts going through beach withdrawal and we must get down and sit by the water before he starts getting the shakes.
I’m really not much of a beach person, and this year less than most, because there’s so much going but I knew that if I didn’t go he’d be so miserable there’d be no living with him. And of course, it was subject to ‘trip bloat.’ “We’ll go overnight” became 2 nights, and soon 3 while my friends wanted to pop me upside the head for whining about “having” to go to Florida.
You can go ahead and hit me now. I totally understand.
I have turned into someone I don’t recognize. Allow me to
quote mock the old me, a mere 45 days ago:
If I don’t do something about planning this wedding, Charlie will kill me if my sister doesn’t get me first. Though the venue and date are now set at least…which happened just yesterday. I know, I know, I’m a bad bride, but this should not come as a surprise to anyone who knows me, really. It’s hard for me to worry about those kinds of things. It’ll happen, it’ll be fine, it’ll be a party, and that’s that.
Honestly, the idea was that simple- although I should’ve seen the signs. Originally it was going to be dinner with the family at Commander’s, but it had grown to renting out a local haunt for an evening. It’s a strange little place with a good vibe and a lovely courtyard. The food’s decent, they weren’t going to charge us a venue fee, and the price was fantastic. It was going to be simple.
Done and done…except that I’ve discovered that having a wedding is like having a tube of toothpaste pierced by a thousand needles. Once you announce you’re getting married it starts oozing out of the pinpricks- the money hole, the friendship hole, the money hole, the tradition hole, the money hole, etc… and we all know you can’t put toothpaste back in the tube, so the pile of goop just grows and grows.
Now I realize that I must’ve accidentally purchased the extra-large economy size of Wedding brand ® dentifrice, which lurks on store shelves, hunting unsuspecting women to capture and transport back to its corporate headquarters on Brideworld.
Previously, the two ladies who jumped in to help me navigate the savage unknown of this alien plant were dragging info out of me. These are actual (I swear) examples:
Q: What are your colors going to be?
Q: Okay, well we can take the colors from the flowers, then. What are your flowers going to be?
Q: What do you want me to wear?
A (pause for thought): Well, not shorts. (in fairness, this was back when it was in the park.)
Clearly, I am not equipped to do this, and even a little proud of that fact, truth be told. This was never something I dreamt of as a little girl- the dress, the princess thing, the public validation of something private etc.
Still, we were doing this, and there were protocols to be followed, so I was getting the Save The Date cards (seriously. me. doing save the date cards. sigh.) together to start mailing when my sister reminded me that the venue hadn’t sent the final confirmation, which would be an excellent thing to have before we start telling people to buy plane tix, etc, so Charlie and I stopped over at the restaurant for a drink and to pick it up. The owner told us that “he’s just juggling so many balls right now it slipped his mind” and “could you sent me another email to remind me?” and my very favorite: “I’ve also been working days as a carpenter to get some money coming in.”
Pride, meet the stairs.
That was a little over a week ago. Since then I have:
- Panicked. Repeatedly.
- Called/visited/googled 3 dozen alternative sites
- Hyperventilated at the prices.
- Attended a bridal expo
- Signed up for 3 different wedding websites
- Begged friends for help, and through them…
- …found only place in town that costs less than one kidney per attendee
- Discovered they had exactly 2 dates available for the entire spring, one of which is while we’ll be gone on our honeymoon.
- Snatched that one remaining date like the life raft that it was, and counted ourselves lucky to only be paying 2.5x the original cost to get it…even though it’s Mardi Gras week, and a whole month earlier than we’d planned.
- Realized that the venue upgrade turned it from an easygoing lower case ‘w’ to upper case ‘W’edding and I was going to have to really get serious.
- Bought an economy size bottle of Jack Daniels and a case of Coke (REAL Coke, dammit, not diet, even though I am, like every bride everywhere, working out like a fiend).
And this is where I find myself now. Deadly serious about things like flowers, colors, knicknacks and dresses with actual, shocking interest that borders on obsession. Shooting out rapid fire emails: “Will this go with that?” “Do we need these other things?” “What about those useless gee-gaws? Will people expect them?” (Bonus bridal hint: etsy.com is your friend here. Stuff that doesn’t look like it was plucked from a store shelf. Handmade, gorgeous stuff for cheap.)
Periodically I try to grab the remnants of the me that was. I stand on the surface of this new planet and look fondly back at earth, reminding myself that really, it’s just a party for friends. The venue is beautiful all by itself- any decoration is just lagniappe. The menu is wonderful, the bar is open. If I only get as far as hiring a band and an officiant, we’ll muddle through. Everything else will take care of itself. Our friends are not the sort of people who will snigger if we don’t have the $300 silver etched cake servers.
Cake? OMG. Cake! Who are we going to get to do the cake? What colors? What flavor? How many layers? Who’s going to cut it? Did you know that some bakeries charge as much as a dollar a SLICE to CUT the cake for you? Why? Isn’t that stupid? It’s a cake! Or is it really stupid after all? Maybe there’s some mystical property of wedding cake that makes it impossible to cut unless you’ve earned some kind of certification??
And so…zzzoooooop! Just like that Brideworld has sucked me back in.
Bianca decided to get frisky, inspired by the refilling of the bird feeders after they sat empty for about a year and a half. I’d stopped taking care of them because, and this might sound like a Capt. Obvious moment, but…they just ate it. It’s not their eating that’s a problem, but the piggishness of it- dozens of little boring dirt-colored birds, gorging themselves, emptying the feeder every single day and periodically being picked off by one of the cats when they got too fat to be fast.
A few things have changed- now we have some jays and cardinals around, which makes for a more interesting viewing experience for my seed-purchasing dollar, but also, and maybe more importantly, the cats are older and more sedentary, so I don’t feel guilty, as if I’m stuffing them like mini-turkeys.
But Bianca decided she wanted to relive her kittenhood and started searching for a vantage point. He’s a bit of a porker herself these days, and the birds saw her coming a mile off. She happened upon the brilliant idea of climbing the trellis, I suppose with the plan that she’d drop on them from above.
This greatly alarmed the dogs:
(please forgive the messy yard- I was moving things around and creating obstacles to impede her lumbering charges at the feeder)
In the Garden District…
Last year I missed this event, and honestly, I would have again this year if not for a friend who was dead set on going. So down to the French Quarter we went, along with 5,000 people who’d gotten up before 7 on a sweltering July Saturday for the privilege of being beaten on by plastic bat wielding roller derby girls.
Clearly, the New Orleans participants have rather different concerns than their brethren in Pamplona. While a cocktail might not be the wisest choice before having to zigzag in front of a ton of hurtling bovine, the runners here weren’t so concerned about sobriety. Nearby bars were doing a brisk business in sangria, bloody marys and beer while the Rolling Elvi and lovely girls in bull helmets were arriving on the scene. A big blue bull mascot was doing a rather…uh…interesting dance that highlighted his uncastrated state.
I happened to catch the eye of a woman in running attire. Clearly a tourist and not used to such things at such hours, she’d pulled up short and was walking cautiously up to the crowd, so I smiled and waved her over to join everyone, but she stayed back on the sidewalk, beckoning me over instead. I’m not sure why I thought an explanation would convince her we weren’t nuts, but I did my best. She took the information in, considering.
“You know,” she said after a long, thoughtful pause, “we couldn’t do this in New York. Too aggressive. Someone would bring a real bat, the runners would fight back. People would get hurt for real.” She looked at the size of the crowd and the few cops scattered around. “You really don’t think that’ll happen here?”
I laughed. “No way, and besides- these are roller derby girls! They can kick the asses of pretty much anybody here.” She didn’t quite seem to know how to take that, so I added, “It’s too mellow, everybody’s just out for a good time, no worries.”
A group of men dragged their wagon past us, a huge cooler barely wedged inside. A random Elvi sauntered up to them, had a beer planted in his hand and, raising a toast to the donation, he wandered back to his scooter.
“Yeah,” she said. “If you’d all just take it easy on the drink and the fried food, you people would live forever.”
Somebody fell into the cop at the corner, and he took it in stride. They took a picture with him, and life went on. “You have some great policemen here,” she said.
That one made my eyebrows go up- it’s not a phrase one often hears here(shirt on Bourbon St reads: “NOPD: Not Our Problem, Dude.”), and coming from a middle aged black lady it seemed somewhat surreal, but she was completely sincere.
“Very good with people,” she said, nodding. “I’ve been watching them dealing with drunken idiots, and I don’t know how they do it. They’re always in control, friendly, personable. I’ve been amazed.”
“Um, yeah. They have a lot of practice, I guess- we have a lot of festivals and parades, so they really are the best at crowd control. Absolutely.”
By then things were ready to get underway and my new friend scooted out of the way and onto a sidestreet. The “bulls” were getting their instructions- runners would be sent out in a steady stream and every 45 seconds or so an airhorn would blow, signalling the release of a half dozen bulls.
And so it was:
Running with go cups, true, but hey. Sure, maybe we could be the longest lived people on Earth, but if you take away our food and our drink, maybe you take away the magic.
In the end, maybe it’s best not to tamper with the delicate formula, and just let New Orleans be New Orleans.
I finally got around to moving the boy’s perch into the kitchen- it hadn’t been any kind of priority because they haven’t shown any interest in it whatsoever, but I spent a bunch of money on this thing and I’m determined to get them interested.
He did finally manage it. And, although these were taken about a month and a half ago and he’s had plenty of time to explore the exciting options the perch offers him (everything moves! jingles! twirlly fun!) he still prefers the stupid hanger.
He seems just like a kid who prefers the box to the toy inside. Sigh.
Well, that’s the birds’ interpretation, anyway.
The yearly vet visit is a little different for the birds than the dogs. Puppies get leashed, widdle a little on the doc’s floor and get over it. They know there’s a treat at the end and the bonus of a car ride, so they go along with the program without much fuss.
Birds? Oh boy. Typically Jack’s the troublemaker, but he went without much of a production. Pratchett led me on a not-so-merry, squawking, growling, 20 minute long miserable chase around the kitchen. You would have thought I was trying to kill him.
Never heard a CAG growl? Oh, how you’ve been missing out…
I think Linda Blair took acting lessons from these birds, and Pratch did it for several hours straight.
So he had to be toweled twice in one day, once just to get him in the crate, once for his exam, and it was not pretty. I thought the wing clip was going to give him a heart attack, and let’s not even talk about the nail clipping…
Note that Jack is way over in his crate, trying to see what the hell could be so different over in Pratchett’s world to cause all that noise…
The whole time all I could think about what the prediction of a “very active” hurricane season and what a barrel of laughs it’ll be if we actually have to evacuate with our own growling, freaked out and above all LOUD parrot soundtrack.