JUST ONE OF THOSE DAYS – Marilyn Armstrong

JUST ONE OF THOSE DAYS

Today is Charlie Austin’s Memorial Service. It’s in Dorchester, so we will be gone much if not most of the day. It’s just been that kind of week. We’re out of here in about half an hour and I’m not sure when we will be home again, so if I don’t get to you, tomorrow will be another day.

The weather has truly skewered us. All week it has been lovely, but today — when we have a long haul into Boston — it’s raining and cold. Driving will be slow and I’m already shivering.

If I don’t catch anyone today, tomorrow I hope I can catch up. I have to admit, I seem to be falling further and further behind. It’s possible I will never catch up!

We’ve been out of the house pretty much every day … and there’s not enough time to get everything done. Apologies to all!

Hugs my friends on this gray, wet, day.

THE RACKET

Racket had gotten out of his cage. Nothing unusual about that, except that usually when I let him loose, I’d make sure to put away anything I cared about to avoid having Racket destroy it. It was  futile but I felt obliged to try.

Racket, as his name implied, was a charming, noisy Sulpher-Crested Cockatoo. He was the perfect example of why cockatoo owners invented stainless steel perches.

Racket could reduce anything made of hardwood to splinters in seconds — not unlike Duke the Dogge. I sometimes wonder if Duke is a doggish reincarnation of Racket. But I digress.

Racket had gone to work on the sofa not long ago. Not the upholstery because the upholstery wasn’t a sufficient challenge for him. He had gone all out to redo its carved wood frame, perhaps with the intent of correcting the original artist’s errors. It was an old sofa and by the time Racket was finished refinishing it, it was much, much older.

The arm of the sofa nearest his cage was a pile of wood chips and splinters. No evidence of the original design remained. Having completed his work on the sofa, he had refocused his efforts towards acquiring wisdom. He began ingesting the Encyclopedia Britannica, one volume at a time. At this time, he was about half-way through the project. I could see that he’d had a busy morning and had consumed two more volumes.

There wasn’t much I could do about it. I had no where else to put the books. The flat was tiny and there was no storage space. Racket couldn’t spend all his time in a cage. Parrots need freedom, at least an hour or two a day. They are smart birds and need to interact with the world, with people. The need to explore and have fun. Racket was doing what cockatoos do — tearing apart everything on which he could lay his beak.

I wasn’t sure who’d let him out that morning. Probably one of the kids. Or maybe the latch wasn’t properly closed. Regardless, he couldn’t stay out all day. I had to go to work and no sane parrot owner would leave their bird loose, unsupervised with no one at home. Or at least no one sane would leave this parrot unsupervised.

I shuddered at the thought of how much damage he could do given an entire day to wreak havoc. It was time to put him back into his house.

“Come on, sweetie,” I cooed. “Time to go home. Mommy’s got to go to work.”

“CAWWWWWWW! SQUAWK!! ACK-ACK-ACK!” (No M’am, I have other plans) he said. Ah, such melodious tones!

He was a tame bird, bad habits notwithstanding and would stand on my hand, nibble on my ears. So far he hadn’t taken it into his head to remove my ears, though he had tried to rip an earring out.  But tame and obedient are in no way synonymous. He knew I wanted him back in his cage and he clearly didn’t want to go. I needed a proper bribe or he could easily elude me for hours.

“Come along, baby,” I continued, sotto voce. “Mommy needs to go to work and she doesn’t have all day to hunt wild birdies.”

I offered him my arm and teased him with a piece of watermelon in my other hand. He was ever so fond of fruit. Finally, after trying his birdy best to get the fruit without having to climb up on the arm, he gave in and climbed aboard. Quick as a wink, he was back in his cage, a squishy piece of red fruit dangling from his beak.

I pondered how much worse this would have been if I not have been able to get him in hand. As I left for the office, I could hear his wild cackle. What a bird!

MEANWHILE, BACK AT THE RANCH …

A gray day in Uxbridge, Massachusetts. It’s cold, damp, sunless. Nothing to do. Not even something to bark at. The humans are drinking coffee and doing stuff on their computers. Nothin’ to do in this burgh.

Bonnie watches and waits.

Bonnie watches and waits.

Every now and again, Gibbs — our very special agent — goes out to patrol the yard. Barks a few times to make sure his presence is known. Bonnie watches from the window. Since Gibbs moved in, she sees no reason to go on patrol. That’s clearly his job. But in the evening, when the barks fill the air from far and wide, Bonnie is out there, communicating on the doggish network. Getting the news of the day, passing along any juicy gossip she may have. She expects Gibbs to come too. She gives him a short bark, and he leaps to his feet. When Bonnie says “jump,” Gibbs doesn’t even ask “how high.” He just jumps.

Bonnie agrees with Johnny Rocco: "I'll never have enough!"

Bonnie agrees with Johnny Rocco: “I’ll never have enough!”

We think of a day like this as peaceful. I guess for the dawgz, it’s boring. No squirrels to chase, though now that I’ve repaired Squeaky Squirrel and he is back in action, mauling him is always an option. I had to do some serious stitching with super strong button thread. I also un-stuffed his tail and removed the second squeaker from it to make eviscerating squirrel less tempting. So far, so good. Squirrel is still in the game.

Garry cradles a newly sutured squirrel, but fears for his future.

Garry cradles a newly sutured squirrel, but fears for his future.

Missing an ear and oddly misshapen where I was forced to suture sections of him to other sections that were never meant to be sewn together. I look like that under my clothing too. When they had to put me back together, they had the same problem, so they stitched whatever they had to whatever else they had.

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My abdomen looks as if I was mauled by a wild animal. I tell them I was taken by a lion while we were on safari in Botswana. Why not? It’s a lot much more entertaining than the truth and a lot simpler to explain. When they ask for details, I tell them “It all happened so fast. Once he had me in his jaws, it was just a blur.” That usually ends the conversation.

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So it’s quiet on the home front. We are all inside. There’s coffee to drink, sandwich makings, and a decent steak for dinner.

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A little bit boring, but only if you are a dog. For the humans, days like this are the best part of life.

INTERIOR | DAILY POST

OLD NUMBER 2 – THE FIRE TRUCK WHO SERVED

PORTRAIT OF A RETIRED FIRE TRUCK


Old Number 2 was one of the long-serving fire trucks in our town. Almost 20 years ago, she was replaced, but no one could bear to scrap her, so she was put out to pasture … literally. Her rusting hulk stands in the empty field across from the post office — where she remains, even today, though now because the rust has started to win the battle, she is fenced off for safety’s sake.



OLD NUMBER TWO FIRE ENGINE

A Photo a Week Challenge | Ruins

LOOKING UP AND UPPER

I was not at my computer yesterday. Those who know me may be shocked, but I was actually out having some long-deferred family fun. Gasp! SHE HAS A FAMILY? Yes, she does. They live rather far away, but every once in a while, when the moon turns blue and the stars align in a unique configuration … we meet!

But – I digress.

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The subject of this challenge is “Look Up.”I have a new little photo toy, an 18 degree fish eye body cap for my Olympus … and was intent on using it. It was also (apparently) intent on being used, so in this pictures, the camera is looking up at me, while I am looking down at the camera. Which was, unbeknownst to me, taking my picture.

I’m not sure why I find it so funny, but I do.

And, more purposefully …

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https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/look-up/

I participate in WordPress' Weekly Photo Challenge 2016

I participate in WordPress’ Weekly Photo Challenge 2016

WORD PRESS WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE | LOOK UP

NO COMING BACK

“What do you mean, you’re fracking here! In the valley? Why?” I asked.

I was horrified. Ever since “fracking” became the latest, greatest trend in assaulting the earth, I have been sure it was going to do serious harm. How can anyone believe drilling through earth’s bedrock is okay? Could be safe or sane?

What about hidden, previously dormant fault lines? Or not so dormant fault lines. The aquifer and who knows what else? And about those nukes?

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The utility companies are telling the government they can’t supply enough power if they aren’t allowed to drill and drill deep into the earth. Drill down to and through the supporting stone, the spine of the planet. And … oh, by the way, they also said: “We’ll pass the costs on to consumers.”

Naturally. You are going to destroy my world and make me pay for it.

The valley already has the highest number per capita of nuclear generating plants of any region in the country. You don’t see the nukes because they hide behind trees and fences. Big fences with barbed wire on top. Not the kind of fencing you expect to see in a park. So when you do see it, you know. There’s a nuke back there. One of many. When the mills moved south, the nukes moved in. Can’t leave that river idle, can you?

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Now, they’re going to do a little “harmless fracking.” Right next door to all those nuclear plants. What could possibly go wrong?

This would be the first time, but it wouldn’t be the last. Well, on second thought, maybe it will be the last. Some mistakes are final. Irrevocable.

From some disasters, there’s no coming back. 

OPENING LINE| THE DAILY POST DISCOVER CHALLENGE

OPEN THE DOOR … AND COME ON IN

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It’s my favorite Judy Collins song. Not because it’s her best ever, though it’s very good, but because I was in a very bad place when the song came out and it comforted me. I listened to it and along with some good friends and time, emerged into life again.

When we went to see her in concert in Boston last year, she sang it to close the concert. Obviously, I’m not the only fan who loves it.

I hope this will brighten your day, too!

OPEN | DAILY POST