Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Tiny Miracles

I was mostly joking in my last post when I stated the rules for handling of wild/dead animals at our house. I should have known better. Lydia came to me yesterday with huge eyes and a plea for me to come right away to the deck. She had found a tiny bird sitting at our back door. It was obviously not in good shape, laying on it's side and having a very hard time breathing. My first thought was that this was a little gift from our friend Jolly the Neighborhood Cat. (Who decided we serve the best vittles and has become a permanent fixture in the back yard.) We crouched around the bird and everyone took turns sort of poking it before I finished my assessment and decided the least we could do was bring it inside to die a warm and comfortable death. It was, after all, cold and rainy outside and I've seen what Jolly does to the squirrels, I couldn't let her finish off this dear little bird.

Despite my horrific allergies, I've spent a lot of time with animals in my life. Many people are surprised to hear this because I am allergic to everything under the sun, but it wasn't always this way. There was a time when I slept with my cat and let my dog lick my arm affectionately. These days if a dog licks me I break out in blisters and cats anywhere near my face, clothing or house will swell my airways shut faster than you can shake a stick at a snake. But I also have a huge soft spot for all things nonverbal and fuzzy. So I scooped the little sucker up and put it in a little bucket with a little dish towel and we set it in a corner of the sun room so that it could be near plants and the sun, should it choose to show it's face.

I also have a pretty good knowledge of animal husbandry and veterinary techniques thanks to my Dad who didn't really use the vet for much more than things that were illegal for him to do himself. Because of this I know that birds are extremely fragile and rarely ever recover from an injury or illness this severe. You can't really feed them anything very easily, they dehydrate faster than a thimble of dew on the Sahara and they are so delicate and jumpy it's hard to house or administer to them at all. Still, I wanted it to be comfortable in it's last few hours.

I explained this to the kids as we scrubbed up for lunch. I told them that it was probably going to die and that at least we gave it a nice bed and yes, they could see it in heaven when they died too some day (far, far, far in the future!) All three kids were a bit teary eyed and begged to say a prayer for the little bird along with their grilled cheese sandwiches. I gave in, we prayed for the bird and our food then ate and ran off to our other commitments for the day.

When we got home just after 6pm that night Maggie was the first to remember the birdie and run to check on it. She started screaming and crying. I thought, "oh crap, I've really screwed up this time. Baby girl saw dead little bird."

I raced up stairs to comfort her and dispose of the little body, when to my surprise I found Maggie over an "empty tomb". The bucket was on the ground, and the birdie was no where to be seen. Upon closer inspection of the bucket I saw that there was some healthy looking bird droppings on the little bed, however so my heart started to perk up. (More on discerning healthy vs. unhealthy bird droppings in another post... maybe.) A bird who can poop and leave the box is probably a bird that is going to make it.

Sure enough, the little bugger was hiding under the kitchen table. We had a little chase around the house before I cornered it and returned it to the bucket, with a lid this time. We added some soft wet rice grains and some bird seed (unwittingly donated by Bob the cranky parakeet) and the kids prayed again for the little sucker and we waited out the night. It was too cold and way too rainy and heart breaking to think of turning it lose in the dark that night.

I thought for sure it would be dead in the morning. I think I've turned into a bit of a pessimist over the past year. Disappointments in life will do that to a person. I still kept that happy little feeling from seeing the "empty tomb" though. It was heart warming to see my kids cheering and grinning because their birdie prayers had been answered. And I was surprise the little guy had made it as far as he had from where he had been. Still, my goal was to make it to the kitchen before the kids to soften the blow should there be one to soften.

Luckily, there wasn't. The bird was snuggled down with his bits around him just like he owned the place. He seemed very alert and aware and the weather had let up a bit so we decided to let him go. After all, wild animals take much better care of themselves than we can, except in very specific circumstances.

We set the bucket outside, took a few pictures and then lifted the lid. Everyone cheered as he hopped out and then flew about four feet to land by the fire pit. Enter Jolly the Neighborhood Cat. Introduce five screaming children and one frantic mother in her pj's and no shoes.


The screaming was probably heard all the way into Johnston County and luckily it was enough to cause Jolly the mighty huntress a moment of pause just long enough for our little birdie to escape to higher, more dense ground.

It was quite a bit of drama for our house in a short period of time. It could have turned out much, much worse, at several different points. (Imagine not finding the bird in the house until you could smell it.. ugh!!) But I re-learned a valuable lesson from the whole thing. Just because something bad is the most likely outcome doesn't mean that's the outcome that will happen. And never, never, never doubt the power of a child's prayer. Especially when it's three children bent on the same sweet desire.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Laziest Mom on Earth

I haven't blogged since October because I've been in a funk. (Uh oh.. true confession time!!) It's probably the first time in my life I've ever wished the holidays would just hurry up and get done. I lost my Christmas lights and didn't really care about getting anything for Christmas (two things I'm usually a fanatic about - my Christmas list and the lights - I know.. it's childish.) I did try to make sure the kids had a good Christmas, however. I tried to make sure they got equal doses of The Spirit and Retail. However, next year, as I say every year, we will have much more Spirit and much less Retail.

Now! For 2011!!

Since January came along I've had a little change of heart. We found out that we are expecting baby #4 and consequently decided to simplify our lives in a major, MAJOR way. In doing so, I have taken on several large projects. (Laugh it up... I know, I know.) Said projects will make my life easier, more manageable and keep me from thinking about vomiting every five minutes or what I should eat in between those five minutes while I'm pregnant. Mostly the projects involve organizing the house and fixing up things a bit. (New windows!!! yah!!!) But there's more than that.

I've built furniture, sewed clothes, thrown out loads of garbage (IE old toys and stuff my kids will never, ever miss!), fixed things, painted things and rooms and made good use of Craig's List in order to get rid of and update our furniture and electronics. I've also spent plenty of time on FaceBook being snarky and posting big ol' - Look How Cool I Am!! - photos and plans. Etc. It's been fun. But then the compliments start rolling in.

You are so amazing!!! I can't believe all you've done TODAY! Holy cow! How do you know how to use a jig saw!? What the heck is a jig saw?! Where do you get your energy?! You are my inspiration! I wish I was as cool a mom as you are! Etc. Etc. Etc.

While I love to share the things I'm excited about, and I blush gratefully at my friend's admiration, this kind of sweet praise makes me self-conscious. It also makes me think.. holy cow.. my friends don't know me at all!

So! In an effort to seem less ambitious than I have made myself seem to be I would like to confess a few things.

1. I never mop my floors. Unless there is a stickiness involved, it is a rule. I never mop my floors.

2. I don't do windows. Unless I absolutely need to see a bird or flower or child on the other side of one. They stay messy.

3. I don't' clean the bathrooms. My husband cleans the bathrooms and is teaching the kids to help. (He's a saint! Especially now when even if I had to clean them I couldn't.)

4. My kids routinely do the dishes for me. Yes, they are too young to reach the sink, but I see it as a character building exercise.

5. I've all but given up baking and cooking in favor of cold cereal and lunch meat. The kids are thrilled about this decision. It's a win win.

6. I hate doing laundry and wouldn't do it except for the fact that I keep running out of underwear and I really, really love my washer and dryer.

7. When I do the laundry I sort mostly by person so that I can throw their clothes in the wash, then to dry, then in their basket and then in their room where they can deal with them as they see fit. Which brings me to number eight...

8. My bedroom is messier than my kid's rooms. Even with all of their toys, mine is messier.

9. I have already broken my new years resolution to shower more. In fact, I think I've showered less this year, so far than I did January last year. I'm disgusting and I'm the first one to admit it. But when you spend all day in the shed or the school room where your kids are begging you to have it be "jammie day!!" what's the point?

10. My preferred method of filing is a pile on the floor. Can't miss the pile so I never lose my stuff!

There you have it folks! So the "amazing" things I post on FaceBook are pretty much the ONLY things I do worth posting. My motto is that my house looks this way to make you feel better about your house! It's a pretty good motto I think, especially since I really love my house and my family and I think we've settled into a nice little groove. Especially the part where my husband and son do the bathrooms.

But please don't get me wrong, it's not that I don't love things to be clean. Cleanliness is next to Godliness! I adore a clean house! I love going to my friend's houses where everything is spotless and in it's place! It's a happy feeling to be clean. It's just that I have a very, very hard time with things that have to be done over and over again, generally in the same fashion, only to be undone in a few hours and the process repeated. I really just hate it. And this pretty much covers all of the above ten items.

However, I do NOT like to wear shoes in the house and I hate grit on my bare feet so I do sweep and vacuum. (There! I'm not a complete domestic loss!) Also, I did study microbiology and we will never cross the line into filth. Our goal is sanitary. No dead animals in the house, wash your hands after you show mommy that wild/dead animal you found and we do wash the chicken poop off the eggs before we give them to the neighbors. That said, I've discovered that you can be sanitary with out things being picture perfect and here we are!

Anyway, this little post was just, as I said before, to make you feel better if, by chance, you don't know what a jig saw is or how to build your own outhouse. I bet you know how to sort laundry and I bet you lovingly iron your son's Sunday shirt. (Did I mention that I gave up ironing many, many years ago?) Please look to your strengths and celebrate them on FaceBook with me. I'm pretty good with a hammer and nails and that makes me happy. What are you good at?

Lots of love,
(no longer in a funk)

p.s. Being pregnant has nothing to do with any of this. Sad, I know. It's like this all the time! Maybe a tad bit amplified, but only a tad :)