Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Somewhere over the random

Tuesday?! It's Tuesday? Has that been going on all day long? I attributed all of the joy I was experiencing to the whole Monday thing. Interesting. Taco Tuesday dinner solidified my understanding of where we were at in the week. Feeling revived after the fiesta, I decided to dust myself off and make an effort to make something resembling progress with the little bit of daylight left.

The rain was trying to keep itself out of my way, and I spotted a beautiful double rainbow. I had to follow it, giddy with excitement over what I might find.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Lawn ornament

I can't believe how many weeks went by with no Fridays. I wonder who stole them all? No doubt the most concerning part of the ordeal was the lack of my posts in your lives. Hopefully you were able to sleep at night without knowing what I was up to.
I've been keeping a pretty vigilant eye on things around here. Don't let my pose fool you, as I could be up and defending my lawn in seconds...if I wanted to. Maybe we just have some differing opinions on what threats are? Bunnies eating flowers is not an issue for me, as I don't particularly like the taste of petunias. Plus, must I remind her of how much I do enjoy Rabbit Raisinettes? Basically, I have claimed whatever parts of this yard that interest me, and I am not sorry if one of her brand new planters fell into that category. She probably should have peed on it if it was so important.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Just a touch of [creepy] random

Here we are again, trying to keep up with the random at the very least. (Foz would like to add that he is not pleased. I would like to add that, in addition to peeing on the floor daily, he doesn't know what day of the week it is...like ever!) I admit, it took something pretty worthwhile to get me to put aside my laundry folding and ebay auction checking. Where to begin?! Let's just start right at the top...
Sadly that shelf tag was there to confirm my fear of what this item was. "Emoji Poop Jelly Fishy"? Oh. Hell. No. Too far emoji, TOO FAR! It really swims? "Poo!" A "pet"? Make it stop!!!!! Just what is the lifelike movement for a pile of poop? This whole thing is more that a "lil' fishy". I need something to calm me down and find my happy place.
CREEPY MONKEYS OF A CERAMIC VARIETY?!?! No wisps of lifelike hair? And here I thought that was the creepy feature. Nope. For $245 I will come hold your packets of sugar, brew the coffee, stir it AND make you some breakfast to go with. I just can't even! That little one is having horribly devious thoughts, I can just tell. I'll be rocking in the corner if you need me.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Well gifted random

How do you respond when someone asks you what you want for a special occasion of the gift giving kind? Do you keep a mental list handy just in case, or do you buy yourself the stuff you want for fear nobody will ask, or worse, you will forget what that awesome idea was? I have had awkward moments where inquiring minds did not like the gift suggestion I provided...for something I wanted and/or needed. Can we at least agree that it is difficult to be put on the spot, trying to find a delicate balance between being helpful and seeming greedy?

Maybe sometimes you open a gift that is something so fantastic and unique that there was no possible way you could have known you wanted it - like who knew it existed?! My friend Misty (yeah, I won't bother to link to her blog since it is pretty dusty over there, and you might get hit by a tumbleweed) sent me things like my "World's Okayest Mom" mug and a poop emoji hat. I was unaware of such treasures before they were in my hands.

Recently my aunt bestowed me with some glorious finds that were not only artifacts I did not know one could attain, I was not even positive at first what they were, so stunned was I. Creepy monkeys would have been too obvious, so she widened her search to another part of the animal kingdom for this...
...this, well THIS. A sly eyed pig in a fancy hat with various places to put various things. Are you stumped? Or better still, are you about to tell me how your family had one of these that they put on the table for holidays and every time you served, um, something? Luckily there was a tag, but I am not completely satisfied with the information it provided...
...because what goes in those other two spots?! Toothpicks are my best guess.

Oh, but she was not done, this wizardess of gifting. She had not fully shown me how well she truly knew me, until these were presented...
How would I EVER have known to ask for eggplant headed salt and pepper shakers with creepily drawn sad eyes? I did not even realize the void that was in my life before this pair found their home on my kitchen windowsill.

So the next time someone asks you for a gift idea, tell them to just find something they think is you! Don't forget to come show me what you get! I hope whatever it is brings you as much joy as these items have truly brought me. (Still cracking up every time I look at the eggplants, as I just got them the other day, so the novelty hasn't worn off yet.)

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Good Things come in Threes (or is that bad things?)

This is the final installment of the 2010 Barn Swallow Chronicles. Here we will discover the beginning of the efforts to truly foil the birds' plans.

For the Birds...Part 3: My Other Husband
I admit, I was feeling a little full of myself for the fabulous anti-barn swallow measures I had taken. I decided to proceed to the front door that following morning to admire my handiwork. THAT is when I saw the shoddy workmanship of the person who replaced ONE piece of cardboard. The cardboard pretty much lined the ledge...providing a nice smooth nesting surface!
I spent a moment trying to find a logical explanation for what I was seeing. Maybe the cardboard was put up at an angle, but the birds used all of their might to stomp it back down to a ninety degree angle. THEN I noticed that 2x4, and how it is on top of the cardboard...no way the birds managed that on their own! The birds are clearly paying my husband rent on our porch, and he is doing his best to be a good landlord!

With steam pouring out of my ears, I demanded to know why the cardboard was replaced in this manner. I was told that it was temporary, and he had no idea they would start to rebuild so quickly. Temporary? Like the useless wire from three years ago? Or the birdie balance beams? Those birds would be disappointed to know that their rebuilding efforts were questioned like that!

On my way to work, I realized there was only one person who might understand my dismay. Let's call her my other husband...the one who understands. That is what so many of us women need...those friends who truly empathize with our plight and have the time/interest/energy to listen to/put up with/help us. I went to this friend's house last week to perform my husbandly duty of helping her to move a ginormous chair up the basement stairs. Now for a man and wife, the moment when we got the chair and ourselves lodged in a stairway with two bottom steps missing could've been the makings for a heated exchange and one really lousy evening. However, we laughed ourselves silly, knowing we'd figure out something, and then have a snack--hooray!

Anyway, back to the birds...this is what I came home to after work that day...

You guess which husband did it!

p.s. It's been four days, and there are no birds, and no poop....just a delightful sound of bugs "tinging" off the tinfoil at night, if I leave the porch light on.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Part two of the recurring theme

In order to help you pace yourself, I should have mentioned that this is/was a three part series. (Apparently I had more free time back in 2010.)

For the birds...Part Two: Their Unlikely Ally
Well, the birds proved to be as insane over this situation as I was becoming. They did stay away from the recyclable plastic forest I was trying to create. However, they started doing a balance beam routine on the pieces of wood that once held them at bay. Here we see the swallow doing an inspection before flinging any more mud in that general direction...
And here you can see less than a full day's work...
I am sure you appreciate the fact that I am sparing you the visual of their bathroom renovations...ugh! I can see these charmers right from the chair I sit in when I am on the computer, and get the full picture every time I open the front door. I neglected to mention that they sleep up on that ledge (nest or not) at night...and do not fly away when we come and go. It's a little creepy to me because I can't see them when I am coming in until I am already on the porch...with them.

Now every now and then, I like to pretend that I am in charge of the inside of the house, and Mister Weedwacker's domain is anything outside. I might as well go all in and pretend I am a pretty princess in a posh castle with a moat to keep me safe, and legions of people catering to my every whim...not because they are in my employ...just because they love me so, and wish for my happiness. Well, these birds are outside (thank goodness), so I wanted them to not be my problem to solve. Mister did what he thought was his part, and took the nests down a few times...um, okay, but that didn't solve the problem. His strategy each year seems to be, try one thing then stop (regardless of what kind of, if any, results are achieved).

I was starting to think he may LIKE the birds. We used to be avid cardinal, nut-hatch and chickadee fans and feeders at our previous home. I was wondering if his fondness for those days of feathered friends was making him latch onto the wrong crowd. How else to explain why he wasn't doing more? A friend tried to explain to me that it just wasn't his priority, like it was mine. OK, but I could not understand how ceasing to have a bird poop cluttered front porch was a "back burner" type of an item. Why weren't we forming our own team, drawing up blueprints, making a PLAN! I was chatting with neighbors about the birds and they were full of suggestions, offering to cut wood. I knew these folks were under no obligation whatsoever to invest any time, energy or manual labor in assisting me. And once again, this was the Weedwacker's domain, ergo his obligation.

This is where my fuzzy logic often comes into play. I obviously am the only one living here who operates under the impression that we all have job descriptions. I'm not sure who I believe conducts our performance reviews, but I'll be happy to tell you how everyone is doing! Fuzzy logic might be better than when logic completely escapes me and I decide that even if it is not Weedwacker's priority to deal with the poopsters, he should be doing it because of how much it upsets me (mmm-hmmm, back to my castle fantasy perhaps). For better, for worse, richer, or poor, her priorities are your priorities...oops, did I dream that?

Finally I decided that I would just feel better if I just dealt with the situation...made it go away. Maybe I'd even feel a sense of accomplishment. I didn't want to leave the house because the kids were out playing, so I had to do the MacGyver-what's in the garage that I could use? The birds appeared to be off on some mission, so the timing was great. First I gathered up a few more water bottles (with no sense of how wide our porch is). Then I hauled a five inch by eight foot plank up the ladder, and placed it on the ledge. I took it down when I realized our children's safety was important to me. Then I grabbed a cross-country ski (the look on my daughter's face told me I was losing my mind). I found a couple of 2x4s and some cardboard in the garage, and realized THIS was going to be the answer (at least for that day). I wedged the pieces up on the ledge at an angle, as the key is to take away their flat surfaces. Now all the while, I was on the phone with my dear friend (obviously a dear friend, because who else would stay on the line, calmly telling me to flap the cardboard, while I was screaming that the birds came back and were flying at me?). She stayed on the line with me until I had all of the available cardboard in place. (This was in exchange for the times I have stayed on the line with her to keep her company when she has to put away laundry or empty the dishwasher.)

One piece of the cardboard fell, and I did NOT have the energy to get the ladder back out, so I asked Mister Bird-friend to put it back up, and mentioned that it might need a tack. There were several of other pieces in place, so I thought it would've been insulting to give any further directions as to how to replace it. My friend tells me all the time that we have to put the dots pretty close together for our husbands (do not be offended ALL men...I think she literally means our two husbands, for the most part). Well, for once I felt I really put the dots close together, so I didn't give the porch another glance that evening...phew!

**Marianne, I laughed when I saw your comment on yesterday's post because you were the only commenter back in 2010. Your comment on this post's original airing stood alone as well!  ;)

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

More Recurring Than Random

I really was going to write a fresh new post today. The topic? Barn swallows! (Cue collective groan.) I started to think about how some of you readers had better things to do back in 2010 when I started occupying this space, and might have missed out on the debut of my adventures with barn swallows. Instead of being all wordy, wordy, and then linking to something with more words that may take up more time than you have to spend right now on such drivel fascinating nature exploits, I am going to repost the original trilogy! 

For the Birds...Part One: Don't Mess With Crazy

This current event topic of my life has evolved at such a rapid pace, that I did not keep up with it here in blog-land. I think it is a tale worth telling...the story arc, the battle between good and evil, inner conflict, and of course...a hero. I don't anticipate anything else exciting happening in the next few days, so this will be a three part tale...

Have you ever met a barn swallow? They don't give a bad first impression, but don't let that fool you. About five years ago, we allowed a charming couple to build their fabulous mud nest on our porch...fascinating to watch...all mud (I'll continue to look for a photo, from way back when we were still enchanted enough to take photos for pleasure). After the babes flew we took the nest down-sayonara. That's the way the bird thing worked as far as we knew-at least that's what the robins had told us. Imagine our surprise when they rebuilt, and we took down, and they rebuilt, we took down, etc.

Subsequent seasons brought ruder relatives of theirs who must've been told about our palatial porch, complete with ledge for growing families. These birds are what I will call swoopers, in that they use a diving technique to show their feelings of bitterness towards anyone who intrudes on them. By intruding I mean things like, opening MY door to MY house, walking to my front door. They move up to the gutter along the roof of the porch and squawk about us until we take cover.

Another key feature of these birds is their damn near toxic poop. I had a scrub brush that was merely nicking the top layer off the concrete. I also used a power washer aimed right at the stuff from about two feet away...still a spot. So they live along the top inside ledge of the porch, and use the edge of the porch floor as their commode...the whole length of the porch.

This season, I decided to start early, and sprung into action at the first sight of the enemies. I looked up at the ledge where ghosts of failed efforts past stood...the wire that was too low and they built on top of it...the pieces of wood that did not quite span the entire length of the porch, leaving two corners with as good as a "for sale" sign on them...the memory of one of those inflatable creepy eye scare the birds away things (THAT was attractive...and useless!) It was time to get creative. I could see my husband in the window as I hauled out the ladder and climbed up with my inflatable ball and some empty water bottles, oh and masking tape (I know duct tape is really the answer, but I didn't have any!). A temporary fix as I needed to buy a little time (it's amazing how fast two birds can use their beaks to carry mud to build a foundation).

As to not actually be how I spent my weekend, I chose last Friday afternoon to borrow a power washer and get to work. I got the nest remnants down from the one corner, and got as much of their industrial strength poop off the porch. THEN, I showed these bird I meant business by crafting one corner out of water bottles. The other corner (well I forgot their was another corner, so that didn't get cleaned out as well) got my brink of insanity treatment as featured below...

I mean, come on, who's going to mess with a Mr. Crab sand sifter with two half-pint water bottles working back-up (the masking tape adds a certain pizazz as well). More importantly, who is going to mess with the person who thought this was a good idea. My hope was to let these barn swallows know that they were dealing with a touch of crazy lady. When I told my army neighbor my logic, he confirmed that the army knows that you just leave crazy alone--it's unpredictable. I then took bets with the children as to whether or not this plan would work. They were pessimistic, as you probably are, knowing there are two more parts coming to this story!