Monday, February 16, 2009

Sarah is a Momma Again!

As you know, a while back I got a pet. I remember being very unsure if I should or not, and then Megan and Jenn W talked me into it. What started off as a nice lunch turned into them taking me to the pet store where I bought little Babies. I was surprised at how smart he was, and even more surprised at how much personality a bird has. I would spend hours watching his antics and laughing at the weird, random, things he does. It wasn't long before we became best friends. Probably the best thing I have ever done is get a pet bird, so several months later I decided that it just made sense to get another one.

I was cautious about getting another bird though because I live in an apartment, and noise is a concern. I've heard how Babies will reply loudly to other birds he hears outside (or on TV), so I was a little worried that two cockatiels in the same apartment might play off of each other and turn out to be infinitely louder than just one.

Despite my fears about noise, I always thought that Babies' life would be enriched by having another cockatiel around. They are social animals, and although I try to be around as much as I can, it isn't always possible. Even if I am home, I cannot always pay him attention because of work. I decided that I was reluctant to get my first bird and it turned out great, so I should just get over my reluctance to get a second. I found I began checking out pet stores for another little feathery companion.

The pet store I bougt Babies from is Petcetera. I do not like the condition of the cockatiels they have. They have ratty tails, and the birds are antisocial. Their water looks disgusting and the cages are dirty. Some people might think that you should buy your pet from a place that takes better care of them, but whenever I am in that store I find I want to rescue those birds. It was no exception when I was there on the weekend. I visited them on Thursday night, and again on Saturday afternoon.

Saturday afternoon I saw they had the same three birds as on Thursday. They had two friendly looking pearl cockatiels in a cage together, and above them was a small little grey cockatiel sitting on a perch all alone in his cage. The pearls had very frayed and short tails, but otherwise they looked beautiful. They both seemed to be very happy, and they were grooming each other. The grey cockatiel looked angry.

I asked the girl at the cash register how much the pearls were, and she told me. They were $109 each. I told her I wanted to get one. She said she'd be with me in a moment.

I walked back over to the birds and I watched the two pearls grooming each other. I couldn't tell which one was cuter, but I started to feel guilty about splitting up the pair. When the girl showed up she asked which one I wanted, so I picked the bigger one hoping he was male. (I love cockatiels, but I don't want little baby ones running around).

She had a flattened box in her hands and was trying to open it back up and tape it so it could hold a bird. To break the silence I pointed to the grey one in the top cage and said, "Last time I was here there was a sign up saying this guy was already sold."

She incorrectly called him a female and said, "Yeah, she was sold, and then they returned her. She's had it rough. She had a cage buddy for months and then we sold him and she was all alone. Then we sold her and they took her home, got her wings clipped, then brought her back because they didn't want a female. She's been depressed ever since." Then she opened up the bottom cage and said, "Which of these two do you want?"

I just felt bad for this poor grey bird. I found myself saying, "I changed my mind. I want this guy instead." Before I knew it I was at home with my new bird. I named him "Buddies".

I opened the box and tried to release him into the big cage, but he was refusing to leave. Babies looked very interested and came right over. When Buddies finally came out Babies went over and stood next to him, it seemed like they were already best friends.

The first picture of Buddies

Babies (left) and Buddies (right) eating lunch

Buddies (left) and Babies (right) goofing around

Buddies enjoying his first shower

Monday, February 02, 2009

Find the Smell

A few days ago I made a mistake. I didn't even discover my mistake for 3 or 4 days, and when I finally did, I felt sickened by it. It was the kind of mistake that makes me seem airheaded and lazy and slobby all at the same time.

What makes me feel airheaded is that I couldn't even remember what I had bought from the grocery store. When I shop, I just get a few items at a time. I usually only get enough food to last a half a week and I rarely walk out of the store with any more than 2-3 bags of food. A few days ago was no exception, yet I couldn't seem to remember what I had bought.

It normally wouldn't matter if I could remember or not, but in this case it sure did. While I was shopping I remember considering buying some pork chops. I had been craving pork chops a few days earlier, but once they were in my hands I no longer did. I remember assessing my future pork-cravings potential before moving on. When I got home with the groceries I was putting everything away, and I didn't notice any pork chops. I paused over it, but despite that I could remember my internal debate over them, I really couldn't remember what I had decided - so I assumed I just didn't buy them. That was my mistake.

The problem was further complicated because I was lazy. When I was unpacking I put the fridge stuff in the fridge, and the freezer stuff in the freezer. I had cupboard stuff too but I was too lazy to put them in the cupboard. Instead I just dropped the bag onto the floor near the microwave, somewhat near the cupboard - and that is where it stayed for a few days.

A couple days later I came home and smelled an odd smell. It was sort of sweet, yet sour. I sniffed around for a bit, but could not determine the source. I decided that it must be from a neighbouring apartment. Before long I became accustomed to the smell and didn't give it another thought. I often smell things that nobody else can smell (except my sister), so I wasn't too concerned.

The next day when I came home the odd smell was back. It was less sweet, and more sour. Again I tried to find the origin, but it was just too faint to pin it down. I figured it was maybe coming from the dishes in the sink or the garbage underneath. I sniffed them and while it certainly wasn't a good smell, it didn't seem like the same smell. I did the dishes and took out the garbage, and I hoped I had removed the source. Still, despite cleaning the kitchen, I opted not to put that bag of cupboard stuff into the cupboard. Oh I saw it there, but like I said, I'm lazy. So I left it there.

The next day was Saturday, and I was out most of the day. I didn't get home until around 2:30am. I opened the door to discover the smell was still sticking around, and it was worse. It was still far from a stench. If I had to guess, I would say that this was the first day anyone with normal smelling ability could have detected it. Still, for a smell-o-phobe like me, it was a little distressing. Not only was it offensive, but I just couldn't think of what was causing it. It was late though, and I was too tired and too hungry to search for the source again. I just wanted a snack and my bed. I put a couple pizza pops on a plate and stuck them in the microwave.

Being as tired as I was, I didn't stand while I waited for the pizza pops to cook. I knelt next to the counter in front of the microwave such that the bag of cupboard stuff was right at my knees. I realized the smell was stronger in that position. I looked inside the bag and among the cans of tuna and boxes of macaroni was another bag. It was wrapped around itself and around its contents. Without thinking I picked that bag up by the handles so that gravity unwrapped it, then I held it to my nose. It was a good thing I was already kneeling because had I been standing I might have fallen over. That bag contained only 1 item - a package of gray, slimy-looking, rancid pork chops!

It was like opening a Pandora's Box of stink. That bag had done a good job of containing everything, but once I opened it and jostled everything about, my apartment smelled like a slaughterhouse. I quickly ran that bag straight out to the garbage. Even outside in the cold air I could still smell it, like it had attached itself to the insides of my nose.

As I was trying to recover from the olfactory assault I got mad at myself. If I wasn't so airheaded that I couldn't remember what I had bought 15 minutes earlier then I would have looked specifically for the pork chops and put them in the freezer. If I hadn't been so lazy that I couldn't put everything away I would have found them by accident and put them in the freezer. If I hadn't been such a slob that I thought it reasonable that dirty dishes were responsible for the smell, I might have at least searched harder and taken the chops out before they got so completely rotten. It was a good lesson I thought. I learned something over this all.

Of course a couple days later, sitting here at the computer writing this, if I look over at the microwave I will see that the bag of cupboard stuff is still sitting there on the floor below it...