What's that white stuff in my eye
Gee I'm glad that cows don't fly
Birdy, birdy in the sky.
We have had birds as pets in my family for generations. I fell in love with Nemo (my African Grey) the day I found him at the mall. His big baby eyes just spoke to me, and I visited him for weeks before I raped and pillaged our savings account (without telling the Unit *shudders at the memory of THAT conversation*) to buy both him and his cage. He was four months old at the time.
He is a constant source of humor in our home. His first words to me every day are "Good morning." (His favorite phrase next to "Booger." "Good morning" translates variously as "Let me out of this fooking cage" or "Give me some peanuts, bitch, before I dump out this fabulous looking bowl of fruits and veggies that you lovingly chopped up for me" or "Dammit, womyn! Leave that computer alone and PICK ME UP!"-I can tell which he means by the TONE he uses.) If I stretch, he lets out my "RAWR" at the same time I do. I pull a tissue, he blows his beak as I blow my nose (in that everso not ladylike way I have). As we leave the house, he hollers "Be careful!" And he loves to be petted just like a dog or cat does-he sits on my lap and gets a good thirty minute head and body rub every evening, and if I say "Give me some wing" he lifts his wings up so I can love up his birdy pits. Now, before you run out and buy yourself a bird, here is a little of the downside.
African Greys with proper care and diet will live about 75 years. Imagine having an eighteen month old child for the REST OF YOUR LIFE. Also, my kids grew up resenting the birds as they got a lot of our attention, so we know they don't want us to leave them the birds in the case of our unfortunate demise. About a year ago, Nemo decided he was hot, I guess, and plucked out every single feather on his chest from his neck to his toes. Imagine my horror to wake up and find my beloved snuggly bird looking like something you buy in the poultry department all nice and pink wrapped in plastic. We had an avian vet check him and she found no evidence of malnutrition, mites or anything else to explain it. This was around the time that Alex finally got approved for SSI, so we decided that for this and many other reasons that I would "retire". I had been frustrated for several years that I was working so hard and it just seemed like no one else was, and I was beginning to resent friends whom I truly loved. It was time.
Ladies, I know you think you want to retire. Let me tell you how I've spent the last hour. "My glamourous life" if you will:
The unit has been gone for 57 days, so I have to make this place look like I haven't been sitting on my ass for the last month as he has no idea what I actually do with my time. Granted, I do go through the occasional FlyLady channeling and things sparkle for awhile, but birds produce a lot of dust, and lets just say that thanks to blogging/reading blogs, I need a shovel to predust with. In an effort to make the place presentable, one of the final things I do before the last mopout is take the bird cages outside and hose them out good. I really need a presssure washer for this. My birds shit cement. I don't really understand this, because I know what goes into them-fresh fruits and veggies every day, pellets and the occasional (yeah, right) peanut. Most of the 'ploop' as we call it is not a problem-with enough water pressure and patience, it washes right off. But almost invariably, on about 5-10 bars, there are these little curled up green turds that refuse to wash away. I hit them with the water jet from every possible angle, and all I succeed at is watching them whiz from one end of the bar to the other and spin around like something in a pinball machine does when you hit it when it's lit. They just refuse to dissolve like a good turd should, dammit. After about twenty minutes of watching them bang into each other without even a hint at breakage, I was reduced to grabbing a steak knife from the kitchen (henceforth to be known as my TURDCHOPPER-and NO, it is not allowed back in my house) and sawing and whacking them into little pieces to get them to come off of the cage. Don't you wish you were ME???