Pre-work week routine

This post will be published at 9 a.m. Monday morning. I wrote it while resting for a moment, cockatoo on my chest, cat leaning into my belly and budgies still swirling overhead.

A lot of my weekend is spent doing laundry and cleaning house. I do laundry every day because we don’t have a dryer and I have to hang my wash on my heated drying rack.

And if the mood swings, I do some meal planning and food prep. I haven’t dealt with lunches yet, but I did make some fruit and yogurt parfaits.

At some point every Sunday I put whatever clean laundry away and choose five outfits for the week and line them up on the left side of my closet.

My entire wardrobe is tucked away in that closet. The things that hang on the right and behind my outfits on the left I have some organizational cubbies and crates. One crate for various t-shirts and tank tops and thin sweatshirts. Another for pants. My cubbies… I believe I have five: underwear/bras, socks/hose, gym clothes, pajamas and other bulky things.

When I run out of room, I purge. That can be hard but it’s also a good exercise in not hanging on to things you don’t wear.

My stepmom got me three new dresses for Christmas. My favorite one ripped in the washer. I was very upset as she usually buys clothes from stores like Macy’s or Dunkelberger’s. I was hoping she hadn’t spent too much money.

Turns out those dresses were from JC Penney as were some blouses that didn’t hold up well.

It reminds me of a recent interview I heard with the author of Second Hand. He was talking about how their is no real second hand trade left in the United States anymore because we buy such poorly made, cheap crap.

Nala shenanigans and meal planning

For those who enjoy Nala’s shenanigans… She insisted on trying to steal my coffee. See her here: Coffee thief.

And we do still have the cats. Including big, dumb Oz.

Periodically I put her back in my room, but she kept calling me due to her fear of the budgies. So Nala watched me unload & reload the dishwasher, have breakfast and make extra parfaits, do two loads of wash, hang wash, let the roomba vacuum the kitchen and then I washed the kitchen floor.

As for meals this week, the menu includes:

  • A nice chunk of ham I got at the grocery outlet for $1. Probably with boxed Mac and cheese.
  • Veggie burgers or regular burgers
  • Spaghetti, either that black bean spaghetti I got at Marshall’s or Green Giant lentil rotini I got on sale at Target
  • A prepared salmon and vegetable salad I also got cheap at Grocery Outlet
  • And “Greek night” with a lentil salad and a white bean salad from Lidl and some mighty fine looking mixed olives I got at Grocery Outlet for 77 cents.

And this little naughty cockatoo refuses to vacate the drying rack, probably because it’s heated.

Now my daughter and I are off to bake cookies.

Sunday morning babbling

Nala is chattering away on my chest as I recline in bed with a cup of coffee at 7:30 a.m. The wind howls and rain patters sporadically. It’s freakishly warm for an East Coast winter morning. The budgies fly and play freely as Saturday and Sunday are free bird days.

We got up at 6:30. Nala once again plucked a feather and squealed when I didn’t come get her as soon as I woke. I don’t know if it’s out of fear, hearing a rustle in the dark and not knowing if it is me, a cat or an unknown predator or if she’s a brat and wants my immediate attention.

Life with birds. Speaking of life with birds, I notice that people with larger birds often have a bird room and bedtime rituals so the birds can sleep undisturbed. I wonder if I will eventually move Nala so she can get her rest undisturbed. I need to start putting her to bed around 6:30 since I’m an early riser. My evening routines need to change.

This morning, I had planned on opening Nala’s cage and going down to make coffee and feed the cats. Nala jumped on my hand and decided to come for the ride. I didn’t even offer.

But she’s a moody little Goffin and refused to do anything but sit on my shoulder and bite at me if I tried to move her. (I was offering her her morning tea which she wanted, but she wanted to drink it from my shoulder. I tried to ignore her, and leave her on my shoulder but then she would fly off my shoulder and stand in front of the cat. Luckily, she did this with Oz who has no idea what she is and merely sees her as something over which he displays jealousy versus Opie who clearly sees her as dinner.)

I was trying to be patient but then she starting picking apart the shoulder seam of one of my favorite work-appropriate dresses so I put her back in her cage. She didn’t like that. I have tiny bloody beak nips on my fingers now, but once she saw I was putting her in her cage she settled.

Five minutes later I came back to my room with my coffee and fresh romaine and fruit for everyone. I opened Nala’s cage door, put her fruit in, and let her hang out on her cage while I gave the budgies their romaine.

Then she rejoined me. Much less moody now. And she said two more phrases this morning. One almost sounded like a greeting and another that seemed like “hi, Nala.” She said it when I slipped out of the room to use the bathroom. If my attempt at reading the context is correct, it seemed like she was requesting to come with me.

Nala met some new people yesterday. She met my neighbor, mother of the Maltese/Yorky mix who visits here and spends her vacations with me. Nala didn’t know what to make of such a strange dog but she did like my neighbor’s very pretty nails and jewelry. I hope Nala learns to trust my neighbor as she is one potential caretaker should Nala need a sitter.

Then Nala met my dad and stepmom. Nala jumped right on my dad’s shoulder. Immediate connection. She refused to come down. My stepmom reached out and asked Nala to step up but Nala wasn’t interested. My stepmom had a cockatoo thirty years ago so I wondered how she would react to them. I have never seen an animal or a person not take to my dad.

I also bought Nala a new toy and treats. She liked neither.

On a personal level, I did a five-minute workout yesterday three sets of 10, shoulder press, with a 15-pound dumbbell on each arm. I’m still lazy but at least I did something.

My weight though is up three pounds but I know that is because my only meal was at Applebee’s. I invited my dad and his wife to join the teenager and I at Applebee’s because I received this email:

I love food. I love real food. I love fancy food. I love plain food. But I also love junk food. And for some reason I kept dreaming of boneless wings all week. And the teenager loves shrimp.

And while Applebee’s is not fine dining… I wanted company and I hadn’t seen my dad since Christmas. We all got the all-you-can-eat. Here’s the part I didn’t know; it’s mix-and-match. So you can get either boneless wings OR double crunch shrimp OR riblets AND get a different one every time.

I ate two plates of wings. So there’s soooooooooooo much sodium in my body right now.

I’ve spent an hour drafting this. I need to sort out laundry, wash the floors and hopefully get to the gym today. I did some grocery shopping last night. Spent $40 at the Grocery Outlet and hope to do my meal plan for this week.

It’s going to be another stressful one.

Stream of consciousness: real talk

It’s almost 8:30 on a Saturday morning. This post will probably be babble, but I have a feeling it might resonate in a “real life” way. Like let’s not talk about Facebook perfect lives or fun on YouTube.

This is life with a teenager, a stressful job, three cats, three budgies and a Goffins cockatoo.

This is life. I have had the divorce papers in my possession for months but I just don’t want to sit down, fill them out, and file them. Not because I want to save my marriage but because it’s one more thing to do. It sometimes feels like my choices boil down to “file for divorce” or “do the dishes.” Neither situation will resolve without me taking the lead.

I can’t even articulate the chaos swirling around my head right now, let alone the chaos in it.

I have two parakeets flying around my head. One still timidly standing in his cage singing, not ready to come out. Wink, the blue budgie, has decided to eat the molding above my bedroom door (luckily not the visible side but the top) and fling chunks to the floor.

The big dumb cat raced into my room to sleep on my bed, and he looks just as perplexed as Nala does that critters are flying over head.

I did learn parrots can be potty trained. If you’re interested in that: Parront Tip: Potty Training. I also learned parrots need a lot of sleep. I should probably move my supper time to 6:30 or 7 so I can spend time with her and then put her to bed before I eat.

Today, I crawled out of bed at 6:30ish. In part, because Nala already knows when I get up for work and plucked a feather and screeched. The night before I had a bout of insomnia, not sure if it was hormones, work-stress or home stress but I only got five hours sleep. So getting seven hours last night felt magnificent.

Nala pooped on me right away, and all I had on was a t-shirt and underpants. We went to make coffee, feed the cats, and I made her tea. She pooped on me again. Time for a clean t-shirt.

I stepped on the scale and saw that I am almost back to my pre-holiday weight. I’m happy with that. I’m in a comfortable range. Now I just need to get back into routine with my weights.

I read one page of Zazi in the Metro (which I bought more than a month ago). The book club meeting is Friday. So much for that new social activity.

Booboo keeps investigating Nala. Speaking of Nala, between her and the kitten (whom the teenager now firmly believes is a boy) I think I have to cancel the trip to DC I was planning next weekend. I’m really disappointed. I know the teen can stay home and care for the pets. But it’s too soon for me to leave Nala. And I can’t take her to be boarded because that’s where I got her and she’ll think she’s been abandoned.

And I also noticed she’s not banded. Most birds are registered and have a band on their ankle. Nala does not.

Nala is plucking again

When I got home from work today, I changed my clothes and retrieved my bird. From the look of her chest, she’d be plucking.

I brought her downstairs, as is now my habit, keeping her on my shoulder as I do chores. Like laundry. Here we are in the basement. She thinks my hood is a kangaroo pouch.

I read somewhere that if your bird tries to steal your coffee, you can try to fool them with a cup of tea. Herbal tea. So I made Nala some blueberry tea and it kept her very occupied while I made dinner.

Watch Nala and her tea here: Nala and her tea

It really feels like the perfect plan. I come home, release her from her cage and reward her for her patience with a cup of tea.

And dinner. Oh, Dinner! The teenager and I had butternut squash apple bisque soup and boxed gourmet Velveeta style Mac-and-cheese. I gave Nala a couple of noodles and her own taste of soup.

After dinner she helped me do more chores. Then I sat down on my bed and started to cuddle her. She started plucking and made herself cry. Then she made herself bleed.

Is she overstimulated? Is she plucking to try and guarantee my attention? Does she know being back in my room means the night is winding down and she’ll have to go in her cage?

It makes me so sad. I know I have to be patient. I know she has been “left” and that she couldn’t prosper in a store. But it’s like the birdy version of being a cutter.

(The hydrogen peroxide wasn’t for her but for me. I fell down the stairs Monday.)

Maybe her skin is itchy. Or dry. Maybe it’s just habit. Hopefully it will improve.

So I bought her a bird sweatshirt.

Now I don’t know how on God’s green earth I’m going to get a cockatoo that bites into a sweater.

But I gotta try something.

Did that bird just scream “Mommy”?

Similar to my Roomba, cockatoos share a lot of traits with toddlers. They are cute, can be needy, can learn adorable behaviors that keep you from killing them, are cuddly and can throw tantrums.

I knew all this going in.

And I also knew Nala bites and that Nala doesn’t like to step up.

Nala seems to have trust issues.

The first day I had her, I had to towel her (gently) to get her in her cage and I never covered her head. That way she could see what I was doing.

The second day, she bit me twice while I put her in her cage at night but I didn’t have to towel her.

And she’s starting to step up. Now she runs right up my shoulder. Which is still not truly stepping up. But she will reach out and take my hand and stand on it.

She has also discovered that I often leave the room after I ask her to step up and if she doesn’t step up, she doesn’t get to come.

First night I had her, I had to cover her cage to get her to settle. Last night, she went to sleep before I even turned the lights out. Now something startled her awake, but when I turned out the light she didn’t make a peep.

But the one thing I am wondering, she doesn’t scream when left alone but she will periodically call out. And I think she’s saying, “Mommy.”

Maybe I’m crazy.

But has this bird been looking for a maternal type?

See what you think, check out this YouTube video:

“Mommy?”

Welcome, Nala.

I went to visit Nala at the bird store on Emmaus Avenue, Bird Mania. She’s a almost four-year-old Goffin cockatoo.

I pet her for an hour in the store. I know the clerks wanted me to take her home, they and my daughter both think this bird has taken a liking to me.

But I left without her. All of the cages they had were smaller than the ones I have for the parakeets. And I hate the idea of having a bigger bird in a smaller cage than my budgies. But I also can’t afford an aviary.

I also can’t afford a $600 bird.

A $600 bird that will live for the rest of my life.

A bird whose species is prone to temper tantrums.

So I left.

I left and went to Petco nearby and they had even smaller, flimsier cages. And all their budgie cages were tall instead of long. Budgies like you go as high as they can and then they fly horizontally. They don’t go up and down.

I thought they might have a nice budgie cage and I could put Nala in the big flight cage.

They didn’t.

And I went back to Bird Mania and pestered the workers with questions and statements.

And I came home with Nala.

I have had my budgies for a year. I fear this is too much bird for me. I could have spent that money on a new MacBook so I can work from home when it snows. (Honestly, I don’t want a computer. I just don’t. If the office has a laptop I can bring home I’d be fine with that but I don’t need a fancy computer.)

But I bought the bird.

Nala and the parakeets