Saturday Animal Adventures, part 1: Deliveries

My volunteer efforts these days focus on animals instead of people, primarily as a foster family for Feline Urban Rescue and Rehab. You can visit their website here: http://www.felineurbanrescueandrehab.org.

We have fostered three litters of kittens in the last nine months, all named after various pantheons of gods: The Greek Pride, The Roman Pride and The Norse Pride.

At 10 a.m. this morning, which is rather early when you get to bed at 2 a.m. after clocking out of work at midnight, teenager #1 and I had an appointment to meet a fellow FURR volunteer at the Petco where Mars and Minerva are in residence awaiting FURRever homes. Today, we wanted to reunite Jupiter with his siblings.

Crating Jupiter did not go as easily as anticipated, the teenager couldn’t find her shoes, we forgot Jupiter’s folder and we missed some of the turns for the store. But we arrived and now the Roman Pride is together again, except for Vesta who is now known as Paisley in her new home.

Jupiter reuniting with siblings, video here.

We left Petco, and retrieved the missing folder. But before returning to Petco we had to catch the baby birds as I was transporting them down to Bird Mania so they could be tamed and potentially sold.

That was a process, moving four baby birds to a separate cage. But teenager #1 managed to do it.

We took the folder to Petco, grabbed some coffee at Wawa, and headed to the bird store. The staff at Bird Mania scooped the baby budgies like cats on the hunt, trimmed their claws and clipped their flight feathers.

On the way back, we got a phone call from FURR that someone was interested in meeting Hermes at the adoption Saturday event at Petsmart on Rte. 248 in lower Nazareth. Our Hermes?

I had to ask because Hermes is an absolute love and a character, the last remaining “kitten” of our Greek Pride litter that we brought home August 1, 2020. He loves to be in the middle of the action, loves to play, loves to sit two-to-three feet away, but will not tolerate being touched by human hands.

You see, he was very sickly as a kitten and received a lot of medicine. Medicine is delivered by human hands.

Oh, and Hermes is the matriarch of all our other fosters. He turns one any day now and has mentored every other kitten we have had.

And this potential adopter thought maybe we could bring him over for a meet-and-greet and that maybe he could go home with them.

I said I would gladly arrange a visit for the future but their was no way we could crate him today. This is Hermes’ adoption page: Adopt Hermes.

Hermes is a very entertaining cat, and would be the perfect for someone who just wants a pet who interacts versus one that cuddles.

So, last but not least, I anticipate a part two to this entry as we are scheduled to acquire a new foster later today, one with special needs that make her very suitable for this house. More on that when it happens…

Ironing out the anxieties

Today’s blog post will ramble through my everyday activities as they often do, but I will also attempt to show how attitude, reaching out and communication can overcome life’s anxieties.

First thing this morning I saw a post from my new-ish internet friend Fausta advertising her one day free seminar on Zoom covering Mindful Self-Compassion.

We were on our way out the door first thing this morning, teenager #1 and I, to take our kitty cat osteosarcoma survivor, Opie, to a new vet, Canyon River Run, to have the lump on his neck checked.

Although in the pandemic era, we only met the vet tech, teenager #1 and I were very pleased with their service and demeanors. The prices were reasonable, too. They even called my former vet’s office (Wright’s Veterinary in Bethlehem) when I didn’t have Opie’s most up to date shots.

The vet reported that in her opinion the lump of his neck is not cancer as it is clearly in the skin and not deeper. I have to follow up because the verbal report relayed to me said it would need to be surgically removed but I don’t know if it would be a cosmetic one or a diagnostic tool to confirm her opinion.

That was the first of several anxieties addressed.

On a side note, I tried the cold brew at Wendy’s. It was quite delightful. Strong but not too bitter.

I also contacted Bird Mania, the establishment where I acquired Nala, to sow them our new photos. (They approved, Joan.) I hope to take my four baby budgies to them tomorrow as they should be young enough to hand tame and rehome.

My bird overpopulation is another anxiety addressed. Though catching and surrendering my chicks is another.

The teenagers had some issues last night, some of which remind me of college roommate situations. We shall work it all out, but since the vet took longer than I anticipated and I worked a 10-hour shift last night, my phone battery was down to 15% as the conversations continued throughout the night. I’m glad we all started a conversation about it as that’s really the only way we can initiate a solution.

Before all this started, on my first of several 10-minute breaks last night, I used my pick Chromebook to request a late start next week for Fausta’s seminar. That’s when I also noticed one of my supervisors had sent me an email requesting my presence for a chat.

Later that night. New anxiety. In several of my previous work environments, meetings never meant anything positive.

My final break came. My meeting with the leaders was 10:15 p.m. Break was 10 to 10:10 p.m. I wasn’t sure what to do with that five minutes. So, me being me, I returned to QC and folded one more fix before leaving my table at 10:15.

It turns out that my “chat” was to check in about how I’d been doing split between QC and pick. And to announce that as of Monday, they would test changing my basic schedule to move between pick and QC in a regular fashion, starting the “morning” (I assume this means the first half of my shift as we start at 3:30 p.m.) in pick and moving to QC later.

We talked a bit about numbers and strategies and once again, as I have mentioned to other leaders, I reiterated that I know I will never be the fastest though I know I will grow more efficient. I try to make up for my lack of speed and natural dexterity by being dependable and flexible and finding ways to work smarter. I also pointed out that while I haven’t hit the best metrics, my metrics are consistent.

“Can we clone you?” one leader asked.

Finally, I bought some clothes at the Stitch Fix Employee Store. I wasn’t going to visit the store this time around, but in the end my issue with ill-fitting and disappearing clothes urged me onward.

The store has been open almost two weeks so there is not much left. And some of the things I most wanted weren’t available. I wanted jeans as I’m still not thin enough to fit in my size four wardrobe from the pre-Corona days but the hand-me-down size eights are getting too baggy.

I also wanted nice t-shirts. Everything I own appears to be sleeveless or shapeless.

As Joan the photographer reported when she got her first Stitch Fix box, the Democracy Jeans are comfortable but the zippers-for-pretty get caught on everything. These are beige camo, not a print I wanted. I didn’t want a print at all. They are skinny cut, not my favorite cut either. And they are too long for me, which makes them very wrinkled.

The Michael Stars top is amazing, fits great, looks very feminine and so comfortable. And I feared it would be too big.

Finally, the yoga top/lazy woman’s sports bra thing from Free People movement actually holds everything in like a sports bra but looks really cute. It retails for $30 which is insane. But I’m a forty-something woman who is very surprised this skimpy top works for me.

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

Our Animal-ventures: Finding Dogs and Nala

My daughter is still obsessive-compulsive about the new Cats movie. Since she lost a field mouse in her room last night, I suggested maybe she clean today.

Somehow I told her that if she got her room clean I would gladly take her to Cats again. Even though I would rather go to the dentist.

But that’s how much I want her room clean.

And so far she’s done five or six loads of laundry, found a pile of dishes and probably emptied the vacuum cleaner more times than she can count.

And she’s filled two 30 gallon trash bags.

I may be spending tomorrow at Cats.

My morning

I spent my morning picking up a little, hanging out with the budgies and watching the roomba vacuum.

Then I spent about 90 minutes working on my budget through April and paying bills.

I have been contemplating buying a computer so I can work from home this winter when it snows.

But it’s just so hard with the price of Apple products on the rise. I need to research some refurbs.

I thought maybe it would be fun to visit a bird store. So I googled that. Bird Mania on Emmaus Avenue.

Double Click Computers

Our first stop was Double Click Computers between Bethlehem and Nazareth. They were once the only Apple service people in the Lehigh Valley. Then the Apple Store moved in at the Lehigh Valley Mall.

My first computer was a PowerBook 165 in 1994. I’ve never owned anything but Macs. I’ve had the first Mac Mini prone to overheating. I had a Performa. I had iBooks, MacBooks, and MacBook Airs. Even the one shaped like a toilet seat. I had a G4. I had a tower with a built-in Zip drive.

I feel like I’ve had all the Mac products. I had the first Time Capsule, which also overheated. Though I never had an iMac. Or did I? I might have had a hand-me-down.

So it was fun to consider buying the new MacBook Pro. But the $1400 price tag scared me.

But they had dogs. 3 dogs.

They were a lot of fun and apparently they keep children from banging on the computer keyboards.

Next, the birds.

Bird Mania

Most of the birds we saw were sold or boarding.

There was a boarding macaw that was very adamant about screaming. And an African Grey that talked quietly. Another bird that said “whatever.” Several that shook. I don’t know whether it was anxiety or fear. A lot of singing and a lot of squawking.

I saw a green bird named Beetle and an African Grey named Dorian and thought “wait a minute.” I was at Three Birds Coffee House and Beetle and Dorian were on vacation.

“Excuse me,” I asked the staff, “are these birds from Easton?”

Sure enough, I had found where the birds were vacationing. Maybe next time the owners can let me watch them.

I wanted to see cockatiels.

But a cockatoo made a move on me.

Nala

Her name is Nala. Her feathers were a tad matted, and she had plucked herself in some spots. She kept reaching through the cage.

So the teen wanted to see if we could handle her. As in pet her.

The staff warned me that she always seemed pleasant but she wouldn’t “step up” and she bites.

But she agreed to let us try.

Nala came out and sat on her cage door and kept trying to bite me and wouldn’t “step up.” But she let me pet her and play with her. And scratch her head and under her wings.

But she kept biting me.

The teenager refused to touch her.

I noticed she had lovely orange cheeks and orange under her crown feathers.

But I had to say goodbye.

The staff person said they had a boy who was a bird whisperer and he couldn’t get anywhere with her. I took that as my solace and my consolation. Then the staff member added, “but she really seems to like you.”

Wow.

My family had a cockatoo, probably 30 years ago. So I know how demanding and needy they are. And expensive. So I asked, “how much are cockatoos going for these days?”

“Because she’s older and bites, she’s $600.”

Sorry, Nala. I’m a single mom.

The staff member gets a towel to corner her. They start this dance around all the cages. I feel terrible. I step close. Nala now will “step up.” And she perches on my shoulder.

Look at her.

So I pet her more and try to kneel by her cage. She gets on the door. Refuses to go in. And plucks out one of her white and orange chest feathers as if to say, “you can’t leave me.”

Heartbroken.

Dinner at Taco Bell

We ended up at Taco Bell. And the teenager made this funky but delicious concoction of two parts Diet Pepsi and one part Mango iced tea.

  • She had normal tacos but I ordered all my items from the value menu. I started with the spicy potato taco ($1) because it sounded intriguing, then the Frito and beef burrito ($1) because that just sounded weird, and a bean and cheese and rice burrito ($1) for protein.
  • Fritos in my burrito.
  • The spicy potato taco was really tasty. I bet it would be amazing with eggs.
  • The Friti burrito gave the soft taco just the right amount of crunch.