The bird, the partner, the dog, the Fed Ex lady, coffee…
My cockatiel, Bingo, lives in a huge “condo” cage with every toy and snack and luxury a bird could want. But she begins to shriek as soon as daylight hits the windows, her nocturnal sleeping clock disengaged by sunshine. My usual groggy reprimands, like, “Bingo, hush” and “Bingo, shut up!” and “Goddamn it, Bingo!” don’t help. But you know, i just always hope i won’t have to get up. She wants out of her cage so she can perch on my shoulder, leave lots of poopie on my shirt, bitch at me to scratch her head, then bitch that I’m not doing it right, then jump down and pull all the cigarette butts from the ashtray and drop them in the floor along with paper clips, my lighter, and that pill I’m supposed to take each morning. Then she must punch the edges of all paper products with her beak, and eat all the pencil lead, (if there’s any to be had), try to climb on my coffee cup for a drink, to which i say “It’s hot” and she tests the side of the cup with her tongue just to check my story…
So forgive me, if I’m not too keen on getting her out of the cage.
But the shrieking. Lord God in heaven.
The only thing I’ve found that cures it (aside from avian homicide, or the free-for-all i just described) is to take her from the cage and put her in a dark closet or the other bathroom. The darkness makes her think it’s time to go to sleep. And i have some peace so that i can go back to bed for a few more hours… I do that, and return to bed.
Just after slipping into dreamland, Giz, my mixed breed dog (the guess is half spaniel, half chihuahua) climbs up to the bed and starts to invade my personal space. Meaning, he walks up the length of my body and lies down on my chest. And whines. I ask if he has to go out- and i get that excited keening sound as he catapults himself off me, leaving another series of toenail scratches on my skin. I get up and go to the door, avoiding the dido movements all around me as he revs up for the trip outside. Another phobia, though, is of wet grass. So he goes to the edge of the walk, and squats about 3 inches away from the grass…on the concrete. I call to him sharply, and his flow stops as he darts back down the walk. “Oh no, you’re not coming inside until you go–” I have to drag him toward the grass, but he still won’t go.
So i go back inside and get my shoes and leash, and return, snapping the leash on his collar, and walking out into the wet grass, calling him. He finally goes, but not after a sniffing trek through the grass and back around to the pine bark–an acceptable compromise so that i can go back to bed finally. My partner is awake, and there begins some witty banter, at my expense, the details of which escape me. Finally, i just said “Stop aggravating me–i want to go to sleep.” We do. A few minutes later, Giz starts making that awful sucking, “sick” noise in his throat that always wakes me up; a precursor to some ugly warm mess on the rug that i have to clean up. I rushed over and called his name, as if to scold him for this thing he could not control. He darted out from under his little sleeping tent, and i had to coax him to me so that i could drag him into the bathroom…i had to drag him since he doesn’t like tile or linoleum floors. Another of the mysterious traumas he must have suffered before i adopted him from the Humane Society…. Now both children are in separate bathrooms. I set about cleaning up the mess. Done with the cleaning, my allergic rhinitis sneezing fit arrives on schedule. I have one or two every morning, but only after i am up and around, so now i’m looking for Puff’s Plus with aloe. I have to get up and go to the bathroom to blow. I grab a peanut butter bone for Giz to let him know he’s not really in trouble just because he made another bile stain on the carpet…he holds the bone in his mouth, stares at me uncertainly, moving toward the open door. I tell him it’s okay, he can go.
I know i won’t be going back to sleep now, so my first impulse is to make coffee, but both sides of the sink and both counters are full of dirty dishes. I unload the dishwasher, fill the carafe and then discover there aren’t enough fresh beans in the grinder. Well, i love fresh ground coffee beans…and besides, that’s the only way I’ll get coffee out of them, aside from eating them whole, which i prefer not to do. So i have to grind some. I hate the noise- and maybe my partner will too (since said partner is still asleep) So then I’m sitting down with my beloved coffee and checking my email when Fed Ex knocks- Giz goes crazy barking and whining as always. He is traumatized by knocks on the door, too…The package is for my partner who is still in bed. I toss it on her legs and go to my office, where i close the door and hope to get this written.
And how was YOUR morning?