Last week when Fred was in Crooked Acres with me, we were sitting on the couch playing Scrabble (you envy our exciting life, DO NOT DENY IT)(also, apparently Fred wins Scrabble when we play, but only because I LET him. Shhh, don’t tell him!) and it was windy and blustery out, and we kept hearing the sounds of a bird cheeping.

Mister Boogers disapproves of Scrabble.

“Harbl” was mine, “Hef” was Fred’s. Nicknames and internet lingo are A-OK by our rules. We’re thinking of playing a game with the rule “It’s not a word, but it totally sounds like it should be!” next time.

“I think there’s a bird in the chimney,” Fred said, and went over to peer up the chimney.

“Oh, don’t be ridiculous*,” I said. “There’s not a bird in the chimney. The roof guy put a cap on the chimney!”

Fred peered up the chimney some more, and I p’shawed again and told him to get back on the couch to finish the game of Scrabble.

He left Crooked Acres around 8, and the weather kept getting windier, and some time around 11, as I was watching some show or another on iTunes, I became aware that the chirping, squawking bird noises from the chimney were getting more insistent. I ignored the sounds for a while and then huffed with annoyance, put down the laptop and went to get a flashlight.

I noted, right before I laid down on my back in the fireplace with my face under the opening to the chimney, that there seemed to be quite a lot of bird poop on the floor of the fireplace. I peered up the chimney, flashing the flashlight around the chimney, and then suddenly, toward the top of the chimney, something flapped wildly and squawked, and I screamed and levitated across the room, landing in the opposite corner, surrounded by freaked-out cats.

Once I’d calmed down a bit, I grabbed my cell phone and called Fred, to report that there was something flapping around in the chimney, and what should I do?

Fred very much appreciated being awakened (NOT) and after a minute, I came up with my own solution, apologized for waking him up, and went upstairs, where I grabbed a set of sheets from out of the closet in his bedroom, which I brought downstairs and stuffed in the hole leading to the chimney.

Assured that no birds would come flying down the chimney and peck my eyes out while I was sleeping, I went to bed.

Investigator Toms searches for the bird.

The next morning, I pulled the sheets out and looked to see if the bird was still up there. It was, and it squawked and flapped when the light from the flashlight hit it, and again I screamed and levitated across the room, followed by an amazing number of cats.

It’s just disconcerting to have something with a sharp little beak squawking and flapping about not far from your face.

I called Fred. “I think that bird’s stuck in the chimney,” I said.

“Let me call the chimney guys and see if they can come out and let it out,” he said.

Ten minutes later, he called back. “They said they’ll be out ‘sometime,’” he reported.

“That’s what they said? ‘Sometime’?” I said.

“Yes, the lady at the office said she’d call the guy and he’d be out sometime.”

“Well, that’s HELPFUL,” I said, and because it was a day I needed to go to Madison and do some laundry, I did that, figuring that if they needed me at the house, it’d only take me 20 minutes to get there.

That evening, I reported to Fred that the bird was still there.

Next morning, same thing.

Fred called the chimney guys, and discovered that in the past day the phone number had been disconnected, with no forwarding number.

“They went out of business to avoid you!” I teased Fred.

A while later he called me back to tell me that he’d called the guys who’d trimmed our trees a few months ago, and they said that they’d send someone out to free the bird.

I puttered around the house for a while longer, then decided to double-check and be sure the bird was still up there.

And it was gone. Figures, doesn’t it?

At least I realized it in time to get Fred to cancel the guy who was coming out.

I’m still a little curious to know how the bird got through the cap and into the chimney, let alone back out.

*You can already see where this is going, can’t you?

* * *

I am a gal who loves her mail. I order stuff through the mail (well, over the internet, but it arrives in the mail), I subscribe to ten thousand magazines, and I’m always interested in what the mailperson is bringing me.

One thing that confirms to me that this house was meant to be ours is that the mail lady comes by between 9 and 10 in the morning. Every other place I’ve lived in Alabama, the mailperson hasn’t come around until late in the afternoon, and I hate waiting all day to get my mail.

It’s an illness, I tell ya.

Anyway, here in the country a package is being delivered via the post office – one that won’t fit in the mailbox – the mail lady pulls into the driveway and honks her horn. If you’re home, you go running out to get your mail; if you’re not, she leaves it by your front door.

One day last week I wasn’t dressed yet, was lounging on the couch reading (I’m doing a lot of reading since I moved to Crooked Acres – because there’s no internet, I guess) when she pulled into the driveway and honked her horn. I flew up off the couch, ran into the bedroom, and pulled some clothes on over my nightgown. By the time I made it back to the front door, she was walking across the porch.

“Hi!” she said, and handed over my pile o’ mail.

“Hi,” I said, knowing I looked like a dork with a calf-length Big Dog nightgown hanging out under a tshirt and over a pair of gray cotton pants.

“I’m always worried about coming to the door,” she said, darting a look at the cat house to the side of the door. “I’m always worried about… dogs.”

Because I thought she was talking in general terms, I smiled understandingly and wished her a good day. It wasn’t until about half an hour later that I realized she wasn’t concerned about dogs in general on her daily mail rounds – she was concerned that we had a dog, and she didn’t want to be bitten.

She thought the cat house was a dog house.

Which makes me wonder if that’s why no one ever knocks on the door, because they think we’ve got a vicious dog. I assumed that people in the area understood that we’re cat people, that they’d seen the cats on the porch, seen me feed the cats, heard Fred standing on the front porch and calling “KittyKittyKitty!” in his falsetto.

I guess the people in the area aren’t as fascinated by us as we are.



2006: No entry.
2005: No entry.

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