Over the weekend, the Luna household grew by two. And no, we didn’t have twins. Those days are long over. Unless we find a kid growing in our garden like Jennifer Garner did in that movie a few years ago, we have all the kids we’re going to. Instead, we acquired birds – a set of them, to be exact…although they don’t exactly match up, in appearance or attitude.
To be honest, I don’t know how it happened.
We have severe animal dander allergies going on in our family, so dogs are out of the question (yes…even the doodle-poodle-kaboodles). Cats have never been a consideration, because…well, let’s all just agree that they’re snobs, by and large. And there’s already a tortoise cruising around in the backyard in addition to the neighborhood rabbits, so very little can be added to that domain without upsetting the Marlin Perkins-ness of it. And thusly, one bird was agreed upon as an additional pet, after considerable begging from the eldest Lunaling, and promises that the bird she had in mind would be: a) quiet; b) tidy; and c) quiet and tidy. Arrangements were made for the bird to be picked up on Easter Sunday, fitting in light of all the bird symbolism in the holiday. Sure, it was a parakeet and not a chick, but close enough. Feathers, wings, claws and beak. Boom.
Bird on Sunday: that was the plan.
So on Saturday, when I heard squawking and screeching that couldn’t be attributed to my children, I wondered how we’d gotten both the delivery day and the answer b. from above so very wrong, so very quickly. When I came downstairs to overreact to the noise pollution, I found a bird ALREADY SITTING IN MY HOUSE.
And it wasn’t a parakeet.
As it turned out, we agreed to birdsit for some friends who were in the process of moving. Bird Harboring: that’s new activity to us. And the sounds were sort of the opposite of the not-bird-sounds that we’ve become accustomed to in our house, what with not having noisy birds living in it and all.
Okay, I agreed. Birdsitting isn’t so bad. At least we’ll only have one bird once this one goes home.
And then, at an excruciatingly glacial pace, the truth was revealed.
But, but, but…it isn’t Sunday yet! I argued, if only in my head. And one bird is not TWO birds! And this bird is twice as big as a parakeet, and it already makes noises that I don’t like!
I looked a bit closer, just to see what this potentially permanent houseguest was all about. And that damn thing hypnotized me, with its cutesy-wootsey cocked head and its ink-drop eyes and gurgly croaking sounds (those, I can deal with) and the way it tried to untie knots from its Robinson Crusoe playhouse toy thing. So sweet…so smart.
And so, it’s not Sunday anymore. And we have two birds instead of none.
Math: you’re an asshole, and I hate you.
The birds, though? They’re turning out to be okay. The bigger one is a conure, which to me is still just a big parakeet. The littler one is a parakeet, which to me is just a little conure…I’m no ornithologist, and I probably won’t start being one now. But they sure are pretty: the conure looks like he dove head-first into a pool full of sunset; the parakeet looks like he rolled around a mid-day sky while it was still wet on the canvas.
Those enchanting little bastards have made me all poetic and shit.
As I write this early in the morning, the big one hasn’t started screeching yet. The little one is burbling upstairs. I feel like I’m in a park, without having to take the trouble of going outside. Best part? There’s no poop to shovel, and I have kids to play zookeeper and clean out the cages.
Looks like birds are the new Luna family dog.
And now: a shameless plug for my books. Joe Vampire and JV: The Afterlife have all-new covers that match up with the short story JV: Night Falls. Fresh new face; same foul mouth. Check it out!