In light of numerous thefts from our place in recent weeks, the pressure has been on for us to get a dog. Instead, I got a bird.
This, as Faithful Reader knows, is in addition to the cat, that is THE CAT – the playboy cat who, by the way has been seen only once in the last six days – and our rabbits, three of them now, and various butterflies that Liz catches and manages to keep alive, some of the time, in various confined areas, but not for long when THE CAT is around.
I know it’s not that much. You can’t really, really call yourself a serious pet owner of any of substance without a dog of one sort or another.
Can we have a dog? Please? The kids have asked in unison. We should get a dog, my wife chimes in. Just in case you want a dog, my neighbour added, emailing photos of black labs for sale in Kampala.
It’s all the more insufferable, for them I suppose, knowing, as some of you do, that I rescued an entire litter of puppies some weeks ago from certain doom, and gave every one of them away.
But I know dogs. I’ve had them. And I know the care they need. And we are, after all, back in Canada for four months a year which would make it all tricky. More so, there is the issue of THE CAT, who told me in no uncertain terms that he would raise holy fury if a dog ever comes. So, for now, I got the bird.
Actually, the bird came to us. Two of them, in fact.
Men don’t tend to be involved in these sorts of things, says my obstetrician wife. Regardless, Pa hangs around quite a bit, and was there this morning with Ma at the nest that is now built, of all places, on an outside screen that covers a window of a small room we use for music and exercise.
This is the room where, on the elliptical, I normally play Handel’s Concerti Grossi Op. 3 as loud as possible to help me in both mind and body while I read first thing in the morning.
But, you know, just like you need to get ready for a new addition to the family by, say, painting the baby’s room yellow or whatever, I have prepared for these birds and I now listen to Handel just privately through ear buds that run to my Ipod in my pocket.
There is still a bit of noise, my grunting or whatever you want to call it when I reach around 25 minutes of elipticalling, and Ma, the bird with yellow on her breast, does seem to notice this when she looks in through the screen and window with some alarm, not realizing her beak is just inches from my face.
My wife says Ma doesn’t really know what she’s done, that she can’t really see in the window, that she has no idea that she’s built her nest just outside all this activity.
On the other hand, maybe she knew exactly what she was doing, wants me to play Handel as usual through the boom-box for the benefit of her soon-to-be-born offspring, and maybe she is simply quite content, with Pa, to hang out here as long as possible because she likes the early morning company.
And so I have started to, you know, talk to these birds. Just a bit. ‘Just watch out for THE CAT,’ I say.