Life in Queen Medb's Castle
Saturday, June 28, 2003
 

Addiction


I've gotten hooked on this site, One Word. Ever since I found it, I've went as soon as I log on, ready for the new word. What a great concept!
 

Bedtime Reading


The Butterfly just finished Third Grade. Now, it's not that I don't have faith in her teachers, it's just that I like to have all my bases covered. I want to be sure she gets a good education, and even more importantly, I want to be sure she understands what she's being taught.

We work with her on her multiplication tables every time she's over here--trying to make it fun and more easy to understand. We make sure she has educational games (Name That State is one of her favorites), nature magazines (Ranger Rick is really good), word games, puzzle books (if you haven't seen the I Spy books, you really need too--the three of us fight over new ones) and other fiction books that make learning fun and not just schoolwork.

Since her Daddy and I both love history and literature (my major and incomplete minor, in that order), and since we're interested in totally different periods of history and types of literature, we're able to show her enthusiasm of such things and teach her by example as well as by books.

Bad thing is, we're neither one very good in math. I can do Algebra and Trig, but I can't add without a calculator. Go figger. So, anyway, we're trying to help her NOW, so that when it gets above our head she might not need our help as much. Get her grounded, you know.

Even though she's nine, we still nearly always read something outloud to her, before she settles down to read in bed. It's sort of a bonding time, as well as a bit of a wind down for her. Usually it's Stoney doing funny voices with the Man in the Yellow Hat or other of her favorites, but sometimes the Step-Mama jumps in with something new like Briar Rabbit or Lewis Carrol poems.

Recently, I ordered What Your Third Grader Needs To Know. It's full of poems, stories, history, math, etc, that should be covered in the third grade. We thought that we could review this summer, make sure she's ready for fourth grade in the fall. Just covering our bases, you know.

Of course, her bedtime stories will be a lot more unusual as a result of this new book.

Tonight, I read her Roman history--Romulus and Remus, the spread of the early Roman Empire, the importance of rivers and coastland, and how that even Christ was under Roman rule. She loved it and can't wait for more tomorrow. My BA in history may pay off after all!


 

Saturday Morning Chess


Stoney and the Butterfly played a game of chess again this morning. She's getting pretty good, but he still beats her--to her chagrin.



I didn't get off so lucky. I had to play Fun Funky Fingernails. I won two out of three, though.


 

The Butterfly says. . .


Our nine-year-old Butterfly never ceases to make me laugh.

Yesterday, as she and I sat in road construction (surprise!) on 1-640, she was asking me about the sign that said there was a $500 fine for speeding in a construction zone. I explained that you get a "ticket" and have to pay a fine when you do something bad but not bad enough to go to jail.

"Oh. . . Daddy got a ticket once. For speeding!"

"Yup," I replied, "that he did."

"He was going A HUNDERD!"

"No, honey, he wasn't going that fast. But he was certainly speeding."

She heaved a big sigh, and said, "Oh, so he was pulling my tail again, huh?"

I did not crack up. I did not point out that it's "pulling her leg". I just said, "Yes, I am afraid he was. . . again."

Poor little Butterfly. She's got a hard life, what with him always pulling her tail. She comes to me often and says, "Is Daddy telling me the truth or is he teasing me?"

Sometimes, I tell her the truth. Like when he told her that trees move through the grass like a shark does water. The tree trunk part, he told her, is like the fin of the shark. I told her that one wasn't QUITE true.

But, there are times, when it's just too good to pass up. When I just can't tell her the truth. When I have to pull her tail too.

For example, when she asks how long til we get there. He'll tell her 17 hours. She'll turn to me and ask if that's the truth. "No, honey, just ignore your Daddy" I'll say, "it'll only take 11 hours."

Poor little Butterfly!
Friday, June 27, 2003
 

Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Pigeon Forge


The Butterfly spent the night with my Mom, aunt and Whistlebritches last night and the did the Water Park thing today. The plan was for me to meet them in the middle of the Retail Shoppers Paradise, Pigeon Forge, TN, where they were staying, and have a late lunch, pick up the Butterfly and head back to town.

Now this Retail Shoppers Paradise is my Hades. I hate the place. I don't care for shopping like that anyway, but the crowds and the traffic. . . ARGH! Bad thing is, I have to travel through that traffic every other week to pick up our Butterfly.

Now, if there were no traffic (which happens between January 29 and February 10, between the hours of 9a-10a) it would take, at most, 20 minutes to get to her school in the adjoining town. It normally takes me about 40 minutes. Going by that same gage--the miracle of no traffic--it should take me about 35 minutes to get to Pigeon Forge. I spent well over an hour working my way up there. I had enough time to paint my nails at stoplights! Man, I hate that drive. And there are really no shortcuts. It's just bumper to bumper Tourists out to shop for a bargain.

I ask you, why would you drive for hours to save a few dollars in a place that's shoulder to shoulder with a million other people? I'd rather have another tosillectomy. Shoot, I'd rather have another hysterectomy. Heck, I'd rather have one of each at the same time! I hate Pigeon Forge.

Was I going somewhere with this? Other than venting my spleen at Pigeon Forge, that is. . .

Oh yeah, a funny thing happened on my way to pick her up this afternoon.

I was trying to make the best of the trip, had a great cd with AC/DC and Pink Floyd and John Fogerty and had it cranked as loud as I could stand it. Just when I was about to reach the getting-ouyt-of-the-car-and-pistol-whipping-every-car-hood-I-could-get-to-before-the-light-changed stage, I noticed a neat bumper sticker on the local truck up ahead of me. It was a Confederate Battle Flag with a picture of Jeff Davis right smack dab in the middle.

Now, I'm no bigot. And I'm not prejudiced against or for any race, creed, ya ya ya. . . I just happen to be a Southern Lady, proud of my heritage. And Pro State's Rights. I have a Bonnie Blue bumper sticker, myself, just to prove that point. So, naturally, I was interested in the Jeff Davis sticker.

Today it was cool enough today I had the window open instead of running the air (plus, I was about to joke to death on the nail polish fumes). Bumper Sticker Man's window's where down too. Now, I've never met a stranger, so when I pulled up beside Bumper Sticker Man at the next red light, I said hey cool Jeff Davis bumper sticker. The traffic lights in the Sevierville area are long enough to accommodate a lengthy discussion, during which time he expressed great surprise that I knew who Jeff Davis was and admired my Bonnie Blue and we discussed States Rights and secession and probably would've gotten on to Damn Yankees, had the light not turned green.

Is there a point to this story? Well, I'm not sure. You decide.
 

Hmmm. . . that's odd


Funny, but the raw, broken eggs are still in the yard. I would've figgered that the Coon would've eaten 'em last night.

Wonder why? Maybe he's dead from penicillin overdose after eating those moldy onion bagels. Maybe he's become such a gourmand, used to eating such epicurean delights as rotten mangos and spoiled rotisserie chicken that raw eggs were beneath his notice.

Either way, he didn't eat them and now I'm gonna have to clean them up. Tomorrow.

No, I am NOT lazy. I just figgered I'd give him another chance, that's all.
 

Mispoofs


Before I go back to bed, there's something I need to take care of. . . .

My husband is still going on and on about how mispoof is not a word. I've pointed out to him the numerous occasions in which I have appropriately used said word, but he acts like I'm making it up. So, Stoney, I present to you the official Dictionary Definition of mispoof. *clears throat*

mispoof: n. a grave or serious mistake, usually resulting in irreversable consequences
v. to make a mispoof


See, I told you. Hmmmph. So there.
 

Exhaustapated


We're stumbling around here like the undead this morning, just zombiefied from last night. I got up to make Stoney's coffee while he was in the shower and after he got out of the shower, realized that I had forgot to turn it on. He wanted the left over pizza for breakfast, so I put it in the oven and forgot about it til I was trying to figger out what that funny smell was. Luckily the coffee did get brewed before he died from withdrawal and the pizza was still edible--for him anyway.

I'm pouring Frapacino down my gullet, but it'd take an IV of straight espresso to jolt me into wakefulness. So, I'm not going to fight it. . . after Stoney leaves for work, I'm going back to my nest and sleep the sleep of the (just-had-a-kiddie-party-and-so-I-deserve-a-lot-more-sleep) just, before I make anymore mispoofs.
Thursday, June 26, 2003
 

Photos



What a clown!

Here's Stoney taking the lead in the Egg and Spoon Race. I was still holding my own, but when he started walking like a Tin Soldier, it was all over for me. It's hard to laugh with a spoon in my mouth! Guess I made a mispoof agreeing to race him, shoulda known he'd cheat!


This shows all the kids in the bean bag toss. Stoney's showing his First-Place winning stance here.


 

Lost AGAIN!


No, not at Scrabble. Much worse.
At the party tonight, we had an egg and spoon race. Peer pressure dictated that Stoney and I race against each other for the entertainment of the adults and, I LOST! Can you believe it?! It's partly because he got me tickled do his Tin Soldier walk, but still. . .

Oh, and he got a first place ribbon in the bean bag toss and is pleased as Punch, over that. See, we had an odd number of kids, so for the team events, my Man was the eighth kid. He was wonderful! His partner for the three-legged race was the smallest little girl there. Oh boy was it funny. Then, he and the Butterfly were partners in the water balloon toss, but were out of the running pretty early on. We also had a glider throw and though he didn't compete officially, his glider throwing abilities were amazing!

It seemed that a good time was had by all, and there was only one fight and one set of skint knees and no mispoofs at all, so it seems pretty successful to me too. I feel certain that good memories were made.

The Butterfly went to spend the night at the hotel with my Mom, aunt and Whistlebritches and the silence is so beautiful after nearly three hours of chatter and laughter. If she's feeling okay tomorrow, they'll go to the Water Park. If not, they'll come play here for a while. She seems to be all chipper tonight, though, so she should be fine. Maybe she'll run off all her energy before she comes home.

But, I bet my Mom will fill her up with lots of chocolate and sugar, just to spite me! Not that I don't deserve it. . . I was a rather energetic child myself. Still am.

On another note. . .Bet the Coon'll be happy tonight--we've got a yard full of raw eggs!
 

Step-Mamma Plans a Party


Tonight is the Butterfly's early 4th of July party and she's sick. At least not so sick her Mamma's keeping her at home, but still sick. Funny, when Stoney and I had a birthday party for her, she got sick then, too. It was all touch and go for a while whether we could even have her for the weekend, that time. This time, she's not too sick to come, and hopefully not too sick to have a party, but may be too sick to do the other special things we have planned. I won't know til this afternoon, when I go pick her up, and maybe she'll be feeling better by then.

My Mom and aunt and little cousin ("Whistlebritches" who is the Butterfly's age) are coming in from N.C. today for the party and want her to spend the night with them in a hotel and go to a Water Park tomorrow and act like wild injuns all day. They'll both be insufferable to live with if Melon Head is too sick. And the kids'll be upset too!

I've put a lot of work into this party. I like Melon Head, in fact, I love her, and I want to give her things. Memories. I want her to be full of fun memories. To know that being a kid is fun. To know that it's a-okay with her Daddy and I if she gets dirty or makes a mess or giggles all the time or talks a mile a minute or needs help with her homework. I want her to know that it's GOOD to be a kid. I've got great kid memories. I want her's to be even better.

Hence, the Party.

Her birthday party was an unmitigated success, despite the fact that certain adult attendees were, as usual, in a snit with me. We had a pinata and bingo and pin-the-tail and lots of goodies. It was all SpongeBob, down to the cupcakes I made and decorated. I was nervous, stressed and worried, but it turned out good in the end. It was all worth it.

Tonight we've got lots of goodies again, all patriotic--sunglasses, beachballs, bubbles, pencils, notebooks and the like. I spent a mere $36 and got enough patriotic goodies to overfill 12 goodie bags! I've got some games planned--three-legged race, spoon/egg race, bean bag toss, that kind of thing. And some chips and ice cream sandwiches and individually bottled Kool Aid. I'm still a little anxious about it, granted, but given my 1 success for 1 party track record, I'm going to take Stoney's advice and assume the best.

So *deep breath* I guess I'm ready. Let's party.

If I'm still alive and sane tomorrow, I'll let you know how it goes.

Ooops. I just got back from picking up Melon Head and noticed I never did post this. So, I'll post it now with this happy news. She is MUCH better. Back to her old self, talking 2.7 miles per minute and bouncing up and down with excitement. There'll be partying tonight and Water Parking tomorrow.

Once again, I'm graced with good fortune. The party will be a success. I know it now.

Of course, my sanity is still on the line. . . seven kids between 7 and 12 running amuck in my yard. . . As I said a few paragraphs ago, if I'm still alive and sane tomorrow, I'll let you know how it goes.
Tuesday, June 24, 2003
 

Quoting from Stoney


"Yep, I just took Medb for another game of Scrabble! That's two in a row, in spite of her tricks... and she has more tricks than an Iraqi General in front of an inspection team. I know she's over there cooking up some outrageous tale, so don't believe it for a minute."


Outrageous tale my elbow Stoney! It's nothing but the truth. He forbade the use of a perfectly legitimate word, mispoof, and therefore I lost by about 20 points!

Come on, it's an every day word, as familiar in our mouths as household words. Sheesh, everybody makes mispoofs. Why, I mispoofed just yesterday! Stoney's all the time mispoofing. I mispoof, you mispoof, we all mispoof.

That's nearly as bad as yesterday when he wouldn't let me use rubish, said it has two b's. I go along with him, when he gets like this, but geez. . . He just really can't be trusted to play scrabble.

*mutters* Twice in a row. He beat me twice in a row!
 

Skeeters


I hate skeeters nearly as much as I hate ants. They're just a fraction of a point below.

Last year Stoney and I accidently sponsered the births of about a million, when we left water in Melon Head's pool over a prolonged period of time. I don't know what we did this year, but they're eatin' me alive!

I stepped outside for about ten minutes, during which time I killed the four that actually I saw on my legs. I just finished counting and I've got FIFTEEN (and I'm not lying!) swollen-up red skeeter bites on my legs.

Of course, if I could just learn to harness the power of skeeters, train them like flying poisonous monkeys, we'd never have to worry about Yankee Tourists again in my neck of the woods!
 

Me and My Daddy



I’m a Daddy’s girl, always have been, and I ain’t in the least bit ashamed of it. After all, I’m Southern, right? Therefore, I am Daddy’s girl. And, being Daddy’s girl, there’s a lot of things he taught me that I took as Gospel truth--things that he never had to actually say, I just figgered it out from watching him.

Here are a few examples of things I knew, and still know, from my Daddy.
-I knew that nobody was ever gonna break in and hurt me, cause Daddy had big guns and a bigger temper.
-I knew there was nothing that could break that Daddy couldn’t cuss into working right.
-I knew that Republicans were nearly always right.
-I knew that Democrats were nearly always wrong.
-I knew that going to college was a requirement, not an option.
-I knew he always had a knife in his pocket to sharpen my pencil.
-I knew that he was the best pool player ever.
-I knew that it was a Good Thing for a woman to have a gun and carried mine with pride.
-I knew that his fish stories were true.
-I knew that the only fishing is done for trout.
-I knew that catch-and-release fisherman have more fun.
-I knew that channellocks, duct tape and a hammer could fix about anything.
-I knew that when his eyes gleamed in that certain way, he was telling me a big fib and it was bound to be funny.


However, there were a few things that I learned from my Daddy, that I was shocked to discover that not everyone knew. I mean, I knew that Duke was the only team in college basketball that anyone could like, I‘d seen that from my Daddy. Duke first, then Chapel Hill, then any other ACC team. If you were out of ACC teams, well, basketball season was over. Imagine how I felt when I met people in high school that liked other teams. I was completely taken aback!

The same went for NASCAR racing. I knew, from my Daddy, that the only drivers to like were the drivers of Fords. The Dale Earnhart fanaticism stunned me when I first glimpsed it, also in high school. But, he didn’t drive a Ford. . . . what were people thinking?

I also knew that ABC news was the only news to watch. I couldn’t believe it when I heard classmates discuss what other stations said on the news. Didn’t they know that ABC was the only news station?

Yes, it’s amazing how much a girl can learn from her Daddy, without him ever coming right out and saying it. I’m still a Duke fan today. Never got much into NASCAR, but I couldn’t live with myself if I pulled for someone my Daddy didn’t like. Which is why I stopped watching it when Jeff Gordon quit driving a Ford. He was the last of the cute fellas driving Fords that weren’t young enough to be my step-son. And, if I watch the news, it's ABC.

Then there are the things I just picked up wrong, flat misunderstood, and have made a fool out of myself in my adult life over them. The two I know about now, are Repallas and Case knives. There may be others I just haven’t found out about yet. But Repallas and Case knives. . . Sheesh!

It’s like this--my Daddy’s a huge fisherman and he always used Repallas. You know, those little lures that look like fish. Repallas. That’s what they’re called. I was in my early twenties before I discovered that Repalla was a BRAND NAME, not THE name of the lures.

Same went for Case knives, only I was 28 for this discovery. Daddy always carried a Case knife. “Go get my Case knife off the dresser for me,” he’d say, on summer afternoons when we were outside in pocket-less shorts and I needed a pencil sharpened. Case knife. That’s what those little pocket knives were called. Two years ago, on the way toward Pigeon Forge, I saw a huge billboard advertising Smoky Mtn Knife Works and a Case brand knife. I was stunned. All these years I’d been calling all pocket knives “Case knives”.

But in both of these examples, how was I supposed to know? That’s all I’d heard. Repalla was the only brand he used, Case was the only brand he carried, I had no clue that others existed. There’s no telling what else I know of only by it’s brand name.

What? What’s that? Capitalize channellocks? Why? Oh no, don’t tell me. . . Not another brand name!

Monday, June 23, 2003
 

Lookin' Green


I don't feel so good. . .I've been sick at my tummy for about a week now. I finally put two and three together and got five (or should that be six?) and asked Stoney if he's trying to poison me. He said no, but if I should suddenly up and die, would somebody mention this suspicion to the Authority Figures, please?
 

Stoney vs. The Dryer


He's downstairs right now, trying to fix the dryer. I offered my invaluable aid, but realized that cheerfulness is not an asset for dryer repair.

I've come back upstairs to hide. It's frightening down there.

And now, I hear all kinds of noises. Loud ones. Scary ones. I don't know who's winning, but I know where I'm staying!
 

Angry. Determined. Proud.


Yup, that's me. Especially today. I got madder today than I think I ever have. Sure, I say that from time to time "I'm madder'n I've ever been," and every time I say it, I mean it at that moment. It just so happens that I get even anger at a later date. But today beat 'em all. I truly think I'll never reach this apex of anger again.

No, it wasn't Stoney. He's only hurt my feelings a few times, but he's never really made me mad. Believe it or not, in our over two years together, we've yet to have a fight. Now, I didn't say we've never disagreed. I said we've never fought. We disagree daily. That's no big deal, cause we don't act like adults and pout and hold grudges. We act like children, tell what we think, get it over and go on loving each other. Big difference. Don't take peoples advice to act like an adult over things. Big mistake.

Darn it, I've missed my thought train again.

Oh, it wasn't Stoney that made me angry. If I wasn't a true Southern Lady I'd dish the whole thing, tell it for the world to see, but it wouldn't be proper.

Okay, so that's a lie. I would tell you ALL about it, regardless of my Southern Ladylikeness, only it remotely involves the Butterfly and there's no way I'd ever say anything publicly that could hurt her later. And, that folks, is how a REAL step-Mamma feels about her young. I'd protect Melon Head as valiantly as I would Stoney, no holds barred. So, I'm only going to vent privately to my Mom and Stoney. They'll never tell on me.

Anyway, as I was saying, I reached that "I've never been madder" point today and made some pretty determined statements about what I would and would not do if I only could, as a result of the anger. Funny thing is, if I make big I NEVER WILL statements, even in the heat of anger, I actually keep them. I'm that darn prideful. (Just ask Stoney about me and his favorite private organization.) I'll puff up like a toad frog and not do it. Which is why I just wished today. What I wanted to say I'd do would end me up in prison and what I wanted to say I'd never do. . .well, I never do it anyway, so it would've been a moot point.

Bet you're thinking, possessing the temperament for that kind of pride and anger, it's no wonder my brother in law and I clash! And that is part of it. After he sort of took a shot at my husband, I said I'd never forgive him and I really haven't. But that actually doesn't have any thing to do with he says I don't like him. I may not ever forgive him, but that doesn't mean I don't like him. But I digress. The point is, I said I would never forgive that and I never will.

Nearly two decades ago, when I was in high school, I was a huge soccer fan. I attended absolutely every home game and nearly every away game my freshman year. Then I changed schools and started watching that soccer team. One day, early in the soccer season, my new high school played my old high school. I hated my old high school and 99.9999989% of the people in it, so I naturally took the opportunity to go talk to them and show them how cool I was in my new school, yelling and screaming for my new school all the while. Next day one of my soccer-playing friends announced that he and the rest of the team were offended that I had sat with the other school and cheered on that team. I gave him a full, large slice of my mind, explained his ignorance and then stated I'd never attend another soccer game that he or any other of the team members played. I never did. Yup, I am that darn prideful.

What does this have to do with today's anger? Nothing really. I was just wishing I could say "I'll never" over this situation. But I can't. Cause I'd have to. What? I'm not making sense? I know and nevermind. I just had to vent.
 

Waste Disposal


Trash pickup. . .it's a wonderful thing!

We live out in the county and my cheapskate husband had always figgered it was much more financially prudent to drive the trash to the dump, instead of paying for trash pickup. The thought of paying someone to pick up his trash just went against his every grain. As we were just married, I acquiesced. Granted, it's not THAT far to the dump, 'bout ten minutes, so I could sort of see his point.

Until I was wading through tens upon tens of full trashbags, trying to get in and out of the house.

Stoney says I make more trash than anyone he's ever known. I say I just throw things away, UNLIKE HIM. You should see our basement. You should see our attic. Stoney is a pack rat in a man's body. He keeps EVERYTHING. I don't. Hence, what was to him, the abnormal amount of trash production just piling up waiting to go to the dump.

Stoney doesn't have the world's best memory and never remembered to take the trash to the dump on his way to work. I was always, yes always, running late for work and never had time to take the trash on my way to work.

And, of course, when we DID remember at other times of day, the stupid dump was closed. Once we drove around for miles looking for another place to unload our trash, after missing the dump by a few minutes.

Then, of course, there were the lines. We didn't like to go on a Saturday, because the lines were so long--way out in the road--that the wait was intolerable. Which is why we always tried to take it on week days, when we could remember, or when they were opened. Which brings me back, full circle, to the point I was making about wading through tens upon tens of full trashbags trying to get in and out of the house. It was pretty icky.

I endured for about a year. Then one day, while at work, I secretly placed a call to the Waste Disposal Service. I jotted down all the information, prices, days, and exactly how much trash they would pick up weekly, and went home armed.

At the right moment, I told him that I felt unfulfilled, that my life was incomplete, that I would like to get trash pickup. I pointed out that the price, compared to each bag of trash, was relatively low. I also mentioned that they would take ALL of our trash at ONE time--no questions asked! Then I alluded to all the time we'd be able to spend at home because we didn't have to go back and forth to the trash dump.

I needn't have bothered. He was all for it from the beginning! Apparently he, too had gotten pretty tired of the trash buildup, and then decided money was (for once) no object.

So, we got trash pickup. And man is it great. They come, to my HOUSE, take all my yucky stuff away and all I have to do is put it in a big trashcan that they provide! How great is that? Well, it's great, but it gets even better.

There's an old washing machine in the basement that we finally cleared a path to on Saturday. I called the Waste Disposal Service lady today and guess what?! If we push it to the side of the road, they'll take it away! Just like that. POOF. It's gone! No more old washing machine. Wow.

Isn't trash pickup just the greatest?!

Sunday, June 22, 2003
 

My Fella



Captain Wentworth

This is my Fella, Captain Wentworth. He's seven years old, and we've been together for the last six. He's been my constant companion and the brightener of my day from the very start. If I told you how smart he is and some of the ways he shows it, you wouldn't believe me. Stoney didn't either, until he started living with Captain, too. Now, they're great buddies and Captain has Stoney well trained in understanding him. And Stoney'll swear, too, that Captain's the smartest, funniest and most interesting animal he's ever known.

No matter what time Stoney uncovers Captain, Captain will stay quiet, barely cheeping until he hears me get out of bed. And even if I'm taking an afternoon nap, Captain will stop singing until I get up. He doesn't pay the same respect to Stoney, of course that could be because it's rare for Stoney to sleep while Captain's awake. I know, you think I'm being silly.

Captain has a few strong opinions and some definite ideas about the way things should be. And he'll make a big deal about these opinions and ideas. Once you know him, it's easy to understand his moods and how he wants things done. Since I started working with autistic children, I've been able to recognize that he has a bit of avian autism. Sure, you're laughing at me, but it's true. Don't vary from his routine. . . you'll regret it.

At night, Captain always has to have the last word. We'll cover up his house, cut out the lights and go to bed. After we get quiet, he'll have his last say of the day, chirping and carrying on for several minutes. If we make the mistake of talking after he's given the goodnight speech, he has to do it again. And with a very shrill, annoyed tone. If we're not too loud, just making a little noise, he'll give a "hrack" kind of noise, telling us to shut up. No, I'm not making this up or reading too much into what he does. It's the truth!

Probably the funniest thing about Captain and I is that he thinks I'm his mate. The vet says that it's a common thing for birds to bond very closely with their owners--so closely that the bird thinks HE'S the owner and the person the subordinate creature. It's that way with us.

Captain is convinced that he takes care of me and that I am answerable to him. He would prove this with every male that walked into my home. One of the things male parakeets do for their mates is to regurgitate and feed the mate. Captain, when he felt threatened by a male human, would perch on my shoulder and regurgitate, in an attempt to demonstrate his position.

He did NOT like Stoney to begin with--and I mean LONG before Stoney and I were ever more than friends. The moment he'd walk into my apartment, Captain would start puking. Gave Stoney a real complex for a while. I didn't think of Stoney as anything more than a friend, so I never felt the need to explain to him that Captain felt threatened by his presence. Guess Captain was smarter'n we were, cause he KNEW!

Once he got used to Stoney, they became friends. Well, Stoney became another of Captain's subordinates, living only to serve Captain and make sure his routine did not become disrupted. Captain will yell "hep!" when he drops a toy off of his house onto the floor. He's got Stoney so well trained that he'll leap up from wherever he is and run to get the toy for Captain. It's REALLY funny.

However friendly they became, Captain has never forgot that he's my mate, not Stoney. Stoney had to go away for three months with the Guard. Captain acted genuinely glad to see Stoney when he came home on leave, but then came the day Stoney came home for good. I guess that Captain had not expected Stoney to move back in with us, because when the boxes and suitcases came into the house and he realized that Stoney was back to stay, he had a fit. A prolonged puking fit, reminding Stoney of who was the master of the house. It took Captain DAYS to get over it. The blow to Stoney's pride was pretty severe, too.

I know that those of you who have never had a bird, and definitely those of you who aren't "animal" people will think I'm crazy. That's all right. I may be crazy but I have the best two mates around.

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