State of the menagerie

Author’s note: this post was originally posted last week but somehow got unpublished and republished in the wrong order.

Let’s start with the kitten…

Mistofelees is still on our sun porch. The teenager has her room 100% clean and ready to accept the new member of the household though she and the teen have not worked out an agreement for when she will sign her lease.

The two have been playing, footage of which can be seen here: Playing Kitten

Some of our other neighbors are feeding her braver siblings and hope to catch them because they know of a potential home.

And then there is Naughty Nala. She was mad at me from the time I got home from work yesterday until I came home today. Refusing to step up, refusing to come out of her cage, biting me if I went near.

But today she seemed to forgive me for going to work. She stepped up beautifully and snuggled like a sweetheart chattering away.

She stood on the dishwasher while I made dinner and while we ate. To reward her, we fed her sweet potato fries which she loved. Video here: Nala is a Sweet Potato Girl (that’s a pun, referring to Tori Amos’ Cornflake Girl.)

If you don’t know the song, let me take you back to my college days: Cornflake Girl

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.

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

The Lonely Kitten

Our house is probably the biggest menagerie in the neighborhood.

Budgies…

Cats…

And dogs that stop by and hang out even when they don’t belong to us, even on Christmas morning.

So a few months ago, this cute gray cat starting hanging out under my neighbor’s porch. My neighbor borrowed a trap, and she and my daughter tried to catch it. They failed.

Though my teen did catch a possum.

The cat seemed to disappear so we hoped it had found a home.

But oh no. Early last week in the bitter cold and snow, three kittens appeared. All dark gray with big brown eyes.

Momma seems to roam the neighborhood and when she’s gone, the kittens wander. So my daughter feeds them and brings them water. But she can’t catch them.

As soon as Momma returns, they all return to under the porch.

But now the shyest of the kittens seems to be the only one left. Have the braver kittens gone with Momma?

He just sits in the bushes and cries.

I want to bring the poor baby home.

The lonely kitten (if we catch it, its name shall be Mistoffelees.)