My cats are not birders. They catch mice and voles and moles galore, which they eat with great relish, but they hardly ever go after birds.
We have bird feeders all over our land. To be sure they’re safe and ensure our “peaceable kingdom,” we surrounded each bird feeder with a good size perimeter of cat proof fencing that goes all the way round the bushes so the birds can feed without having to worry about the cats.
The cats can see the birds but can’t get close. It’s rare they even try to catch them. They catch about one a year and whenever they do, we immediately and authoritatively take the bird away and make such strongly discouraging faces and guilt-inducing comments that they don’t try it again for another year. They seem to remember how disapproving we were for an entire year, then they forget, catch one and we run through the routine again.
Anyway, for the most part we have a pretty nice everyone-loves-everyone situation going on here and that’s the way we like it.
This past week I had the flu and was down for the count. Today I had a doctor’s appt. for a checkup to make sure I was getting better. (I am)
I slept late, then ran a bath, laid my clothes out, poured tea in my travel mug and set it by the door to be ready. I had five minutes to bathe, put on my clothes and walk out the door. No problem.
Just before I stepped into the tub I called my husband, Joseph, to tell him I was leaving in a few minutes and would probably be home just before him, but in case I wasn’t, that I was at the doctor’s. He asked how I was and I said slow-moving but not so bad.
I stepped into the tub and settled into five minutes of restful relaxation.
Because I’ve had the flu for the past five days, I haven’t done a speck of work. Joseph, bless his heart, has washed every dish and done all the cleaning and I haven’t even raised a finger to fold a dishcloth. I napped, made tea, napped, read awhile, napped, had a bowl of soup and then went to bed for the night. My job was to rest and recoup my energy.
Continuing on with my respite, I had been relaxing in the tub for about about three minutes when I heard GREAT RUCKUS and SCREECHING in the kitchen. I jumped out of the tub and ran dripping wet into the kitchen where my black kitty Otie was proud-as-punch crouched with an overflowing mouthful of very alive, very upset bird. To his surprise and dismay, instead of praising him for being a good hunter — which I always do when he brings in mice and voles — I pried open his jaws.
The good-sized bird, amidst loud complaints, immediately and indignantly scuttered over to the closest thing to hide behind, our tabby Danny, who had been watching a few feet away.
Being suddenly rushed by a flailing, sputtering, epithet-shouting bird completely unnerved Danny. The bird ran behind his foot and he picked his foot up. The bird ran behind his other foot and Danny picked up that one. He’d never played this game before, “Bird Hides Under Me,” and it wasn’t one he seemed to like.
I grabbed both cats and tossed them outside as the bird flew into the mudroom and behind the dryer.
Still naked and dripping wet (albeit now festooned with small downy black feathers), I yanked the thick rug away from the front of the washer and dryer and pulled the very heavy washer away from the wall. I ran into the kitchen, got a flashlight out of the drawer and shined it into the cobwebbed darkness behind the washer in time to see a very dusty bird scurry behind the dryer.
So I dragged the dryer away from the wall, grabbed an oversized library book from my returns pile and stuffed it between the washer and dryer to make a wall the bird couldn’t jump over. That was my theory because of course the bird jumped over it soon as I made a grab for him.
Then he ran behind the cluster of plants that sit next to the glass windowed front door. I reached into the mitten basket and slipped on a pair of hot pink gloves so the bird wouldn’t bite me when I caught him.
Being midmorning two days before Christmas, I imagined this was surely the day and time my local UPS, FedEx, post office and neighborhood carolers were certain to show up and see me, wet, naked and feather-festooned, wearing hot pink gloves, doing an improvisational leaping and grabbing dance in front of the glass door and picture windows.
I dragged the planters into the kitchen doorway and after a few feints and parries, somehow managed to gather up the complaining but certainly unhurt squawking bird.
Since he’d achieved air height at numerous times during his in-house adventure, I knew he was okay. I put on my bathrobe and ran him outside to the cat-proof bird-fenced enclosure around one of our bird feeders. He immediately flew into a bush and started straightening out his feathers.
I dashed inside, toweled off what was still wet or befeathered, tossed my clothes on, grabbed the truck keys and my tea and headed off to my doctor appointment. Amazingly enough, I was only five minutes late.
I didn’t have time to put the rooms back together before I left.
Joseph walked into the house to find heavy appliances and large planters in unexpected places, big puddles of water scattered about the kitchen and mudroom, a tubful of standing water, and my pink gloves and some black downy feathers on top of a damp bath towel on the floor in front of the picture window.
Most curiously, he found the big library book he’d finished reading last night squeezed in between the back of the washer and dryer. Much as he tried, he couldn’t imagine any story for this scenario that made a lick of sense.
When he called on the cellphone I realized I probably should have mentioned it to him so he was more prepared. I told him about saving the bird which pleased him. Then I told him while I was looking behind the dryer and washer, I noticed how much dust there was there and would he mind vacuuming before he put everything back.
Which he did. By the time I got home, everything was back the way it looked five minutes before I left.
I also realized that after five days of nary lifting a finger because of illness, I probably blew my cover.
All week he’d been nurturing his pale, flu-ridden wife who did nothing but slept and drank tea and sniffed into tissues. Then he left to go to work.
Soon as he left, his doe-eyed, hanky-waving wife turned into Wonder Woman who woke up with a whompin’ case of Cabin Fever, tossed around a few appliances to work off her wound up energy and clambered out the door to go save the world, leaving chaos in her wake.
Makes it hard to look at him tonight and say I’m feeling a bit weak to do the dishes.