Monday, January 10, 2005

Wild Kingdom

After spending Sunday with my friend Kathy, I arrived home to my empty house. Cleo greeted me as I came in the door, but Mike has been gone on a trip since last Monday. I thought it would cheer me up to build a fire.

I went out the back door to get wood. I found that the back porch was covered in ice cream. I had set a container out to thaw so that I could dump the ice cream down the drain and then throw away the container. A week later, the ice cream had evidently melted and the local wildlife had gotten into it. I stepped around the puddle and continued to the gate, leading to the side yard. Somehow, the latch had become jammed shut and I couldn’t open it. I went back in the kitchen door, trying to avoid the ice cream mess.

I walked through the house and out the front door, closing only the glassed door behind me, and got the wood from the side yard. When I opened the glassed door to come in, the cat ran outside. I set the wood down and chased her. After catching her, I carried her in, and shut the door.

I carried the wood to the fireplace and began to prepare it. After some experimenting, I figured out how to open the flue (Mike did this last time). There were ashes from our Christmas Day fire to clean out. I stepped into the sunroom to grab a plastic bag. On my way back in, I noticed a drop of white goo on the floor. I figured that I had tracked in some of the ice cream, but was still puzzled, because it was not on the path I would have taken from the kitchen to the front door.

As I cleaned out the ashes, the cat stepped into the fireplace to explore. I chased her out. Then, I went to the basement for some kindling (cardboard). I soon had a lovely fire going and sat down to program the VCR to record the season premiere of 24 for Mike. I had just completed this task when I heard a crash within the house. I figured it was Ms. Cleo, and got up to clean up the mess.

She was not on the first floor. I climbed the stairs to the bedroom. It was a wreck. The blanket that hangs on the end of our bed was on the floor and one of our hanging lamps was no longer hanging. The lamps have a beaded edge and hang only 18 inches or so from the top of our bedside tables. I had figured that the cat would someday decide that they were irresistible toys. I rehung the lamp and went to find my kitty and ask her why she was being so naughty – running away outside, climbing in the fireplace, and pulling on my lamp.

Cleo was crouched in a corner, beneath a table and more hanging lamps. I thought that she was contemplating attacking those as well. I walked over to her, squatted down, and began petting and talking to her. Then, I realized that she wasn’t stalking the lamps at all. There was a bird in the corner.

I’m not sure what happened next. I think she sprang, the bird flew, and I froze in shock. The bird landed on the top of the curtain rod, above my closet. At this point, I put my gender to shame and started screaming. This seemed to excite the cat even more. She jumped onto the dresser next to the closet, slid on the runner, and upset my knickknacks. The bird disappeared.

Normally, I would have been amused in a situation like this. Or I would have been matter-of-fact and taken action. Instead, I could only think of how there was no one here to help me and that I would soon have bird guts all over my bedroom. After a few moments of hopelessly muttering “what the f**k” to myself, over and over, I realized that I had to help myself.

I picked up the cat, took her downstairs, and shut the door. I opened the upstairs window. My plan was to turn off the lights and shoo the bird towards the window. They will fly towards the light. I went to the other window, to shut the shades, and noticed that there was bird poop on my headboard. I started looking for the bird. It wasn’t in my bed (thank God!). I had last seen it near the closet, so I headed back over there. It was no longer on the curtain rod. I picked up the curtain, and the bird hopped out of its folds and onto the closet floor. It didn’t look too lively. I grabbed my garbage can and, surprisingly, easily corralled it. The only problem was that my garbage can is collapsible, and the bottom is only a flap. It fell in, leaving the bird in a tube. I grabbed a cushion and capped it. I needed something better to move it in.

I searched my bedroom for a container, and instead found bird blood splattered on the wall and feathers everywhere. Oh, the horror! I moved to the first floor. Ironically, I have a birdcage collection, but none of them were suitable for this situation. Finally, I found a small wicker basket in the basement. I easily replaced the tube/cushion cage with the basket. I then slid a clipboard beneath the basket and carried my cargo downstairs. I went out the back door, through the ice cream again, and dumped the bird out on the deck. It just looked at me. I suppose it was exhausted from the chase and blood loss.

I took my Fantastik, rubber gloves, and paper towels upstairs to clean up the poop and blood. As I cleaned, I wondered, “Where the hell did the bird come from?” It had to have been in the house a while, because the “ice cream” I had found on the first floor was actually bird poop. Cleo did not have a bird in her mouth when I brought her back after her escape. I found no holes in the attic closet. All the windows and doors were shut. It couldn’t have come in the flue, unless it came in, pooped on the floor, and then flew upstairs, all in the 5 seconds or so I spent getting a bag from the sunroom. I think I would have noticed if it had come in when I opened a door to enter or exit. I’m confounded.

From the way Cleo chases her feather whip, I knew she would heartily enjoy playing with a bird or mouse. I am afraid that unless I find out how the bird got in, I will have more uninvited guests. Next time, I may not find them until Cleo is done torturing them. A little blood and crap is nothing compared to picking up the pieces of a disemboweled bird or mouse. How in the world did that bird get in my house?


Blogger Ilona said...

Birds often come down the chimney-I've had a couple of experiences with that- and more-maybe I'll blog on it:)

I'm late with responding to my comments ( I guess I don't expect them enough) but came to your blog to tell you that I think you will probably have a fine garden come spring-once the soil dries out enough. It eventually will. When things are more the normal wet-as opposed to this present wet- you can check whether your yard has proper drainage.
Can I laugh about the ice cream? Or does tea and sympathy work better?

2:02 PM  

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