Saturday, June 19, 2010

plucking again

Red-feather-2Image by wherepineswhisper via Flickr

This is one of my old feathers.
Mom used to save them.

She said I was so pretty, and my feathers were so "sweet"--what a strange thing to say; you'd think it'd be the other way around, like sweet me, pretty feathers, but whatever--that she couldn't bear to throw them away. They don't keep well, though; they fade with time and get spotty. She figured that out eventually, so she doesn't save them any more.

I would not make a good hat, for which I and my tribe are eternally grateful.

When I first moved in with Mom and Dad, they made a big effort to help me stop plucking. They bought me a bigger cage. They put in lots of chewable, rippable, shreddable toys. They changed my diet. They put an additive in my water, an herbal thing to help calm me down a little. And it seemed to be working: The first summer, I had grown out all my chest feathers and was even getting some flight feathers! You can see from my profile pic at the top of this blog how good I was looking. Mom and Dad said they thought I'd be flying by the end of summer!

But then I started pulling again. I really don't know why. Sometimes I would sit up at night and pull dozens of little down feathers off my chest, and when Mom would get up in the morning, there would be a whole little cloud of them on the floor below my swing. I haven't done that in a long time. Whenever I get agitated, though, like if I'm hungry and want my food dish topped off, or if I'm on my cage and want to go into the kitchen, or if Dad leaves the room (he's my favorite!), or if I'm on my play perch and I want to go back to my cage, I'll gnaw on my wing feathers.

After a while, Mom kind of gave up. She figured it was a habit like nail-biting (which I also do) that has just got really ingrained, and that I'd either eventually stop, or I wouldn't. She's mounting another full-frontal assault now, though, because recently I've been looking the worst that I ever have. She says she's bound and determined--she uses that phrase a lot, although it seems kind of redundant to me--to help me grow my feathers back out this summer. They'd been feeding me other stuff, but she's transitioning me back to my Harrison's this week. She's re-ordering the sedative stuff, which you can also mist a bird with, and says she's going to mist me every day even if she has to chase me all over my cage to do it. And that could be quite the chase, seeing as it's a double-macaw, and I only want to be misted when I decide I want to be misted.

She also says she's going to try harder to shower me twice a week, although she doesn't have a lot of control over that. I'm choosy about when I'll take a shower, too, just like with the misting, but I enjoy them when I deign to let Mom take me in with her. Her showerhead died last week, so Dad bought us a new one that has a special Mist setting just for me and I'm actually looking forward to trying it out this weekend.

Finally, Mom's been talking to me about the whole thing. She's been trying to explain the advantages of full feathering. She's also been trying to address what she calls my existential anxiety (although I think the correct word really is angst, I haven't said anything to her about it: I know I dis her a lot, but I don't want to show off here). She keeps telling me this is my forever home, that I'm not going to have to move again when I'm 20, or ever.

She could be on to something there: Maybe that was worrying me a little bit. Maybe I did have the idea that you live with one flock for ten years, then move, then live with strange new people for ten years, move again, and so on. It was certainly an issue with Bane, and when Mom had that same talk with her, it seemed to help a lot. So I'm willing to have it as many times as it takes. Maybe it will help me, too.

Éminence Grise of the Wood household

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Sunday, June 13, 2010

Memo to the AGP

To: The AGP
From: Management
Subject: Diet/Nutrition

You, my dear, are supposed to be gaining weight. The dog, on the other hand, is supposed to be losing weight. If you keep throwing your food on the floor, and she keeps eating it, this will not happen.

So, like, do you mind? Stop feeding her!  

And eat already!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Confusion Reigns

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA - MAY 23:  An Honour Guard ...Image by Getty Images via @daylife
Mom got my hatchday and my adoption day conflated in her calendar. As a result, my Dad sang "Happy Hatch Day" to me on my adoption day and gave me 13 kisses plus one to grow on, while they both forgot all about my adoption day until it was over with. Which, in a way, is ok since dates on a calendar don't mean much to me. Although I might have liked a gift or two. I heard them discussing that, and the consensus was that I already have so much stuff that they couldn't think of anything else I needed. I already get great treats, and I have extra toys and perches to rotate periodically. And I tend to agree with that assessment, although that stainless steel swing with the bells that Mom's had her eye on for just years might have been nice. Oh, well. Maybe Christmas.
More important to me is this whole issue of showers. I've only had one all week because Mom's back went out on her on Monday and it's hard enough for her to get her own.
And porch-sitting. It's rained every day this week, starting with the Memorial Day weekend, so I have not been out on the porch at all.
Mom says Memorial Day is to honor soldiers who have died. Since I don't know what a soldier is, that wasn't a very helpful explanation. I do know that Mom was home for three days in a row instead of the usual two, and that's something I can get behind because means lots of out-of-cage time for me.
Mom was getting better, and said she'd take me out today, but now her back is bothering her again, and Dad is at work, so I don't know. I just don't know.
At least they've got their dates straight now. I came home to live with them on the 2nd, and turned 10 two days later.
Éminence Grise of the Wood Household
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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

In Which Bane Gets a Bath

Japanese Macaques (Macaca fuscata). Jigokudani...Image via Wikipedia
Sponsored by bathing Japanese Macacques.

Mom's been saying that Bane was getting stinky, and she's been threatening to bathe her. But today she came home from work to find muddy paw-prints all over the front rooms of the house--not to mention, Bane jumped up on her as soon as she came through the door and left muddy paw-prints all over the front of Mom!

We went out on the deck for some sun before dinner, and when Mom and Bane were making kissy-face, Mom noticed that even Bane's whiskers were coated in mud! She had mud in her eyes, for crying out loud. She gets this way digging for chipmunks, by the way. Bane, I mean, not Mom.

So straightaway after dinner, into the bathroom they went. Mom tried to comb out all the burrs Bane had collected in her fur this spring, and then into the tub they went. And yes, Mom goes in with her! It's quite a production, you can hear it all over the house, as Bane weighs 60 pounds and does not like baths. Funny thing, that--I like showers. But Bane is hard to drag into the tub, and then is constantly struggling to get out, which Mom says makes her front end damn difficult to get clean. But she likes the toweling part afterward, whereas I hate to be toweled! Mom bought me my own little gray towel, trying to make me think it was my momma or some such thing, like I'm gonna fall for that.

But anyways, after the bath Mom and Bane come out front and loll around on the floor doing "towel massage". Bane moans with pleasure, and Mom talks baby talk to her, and even though I'm with Dad, who I like better anyway, I get jealous.

Mom says the whole process is back-breaking, and she just wants to take her Sleepy Tea and go to bed. But as I said, washing the dog is a production. There are two loads of laundry to do now, what with the clothes that got muddy and the bathroom rug and all the towels it takes to get such a hairy dog dry!

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Sunday, May 9, 2010

In which I get in trouble--twice!

The IQ test is scored so that the mean score i...Image via Wikipedia

Sponsored by Gaussian Curves.

Now that I'm getting used to having my old cage outside, I'm really liking sitting out on the deck with Mom. In fact, I like it so much that I refused to come in on Wednesday evening when it was time for her to go over to her friend's for Scrabble. I finally did, but not until after I'd made her late, Dad had removed my food and water dishes and my perch, and my parronts had got in an argument about it.

Mom wouldn't leave for Scrabble with me outside, because she said it wasn't safe, and Dad wouldn't come sit out with me because he said it was too hot. He also said that if he sat out with me until I agreed to come in, then that was letting me win (true enough). Mom said that for a 180-lb man with a college degree--and a double-major, to boot--and a 25-year career in public service to get into a power struggle with a bird that weighs less than 16 ounces and has about the same number of IQ points (I beg your pardon!) was ridiculous. He wanted to towel me, and Mom said no, that's for emergencies. And so on and so forth, until finally he agreed to watch me and she left.

I'm still mad about that IQ crack.  I don't fully understand a lot of what they said, like, what is a double major? but I know when I've been insulted. That bit was not only uncalled for, it's not true. I'm at least as smart as the average human toddler.

Anyways, Mom said she wasn't taking me out any more when she has anywhere she absolutely, positively has to be before dark. Like now: It's a perfectly beautiful Sunday morning but here I am stuck inside because Mom has meditation class this afternoon.

I'd say I'm sorry, but I'm not. I like it out there: I'm in dappled sunlight, I'm in kind of a corner so my cage isn't exposed on all sides, I've got a perch and a swing, food and water, some of my old plastic toys, and all the neighborhood birds for entertainment.

She took me out again yesterday, after she got home, and we sat while she meditated and Dad worked in the yard. I went in when she asked me to, but not until the second time, and I didn't really want to. It was simply hours until dark, plus Dad was still outside and quite naturally I prefer to be with him. But Mom thought it was too cool for us both, so in we went. She left me on top of my cage, though, and when I sit on the doors I can see through the sliding glass out to the deck and the back yard. And I could see Dad.

So eventually I decided I would climb down and go outside on my own. I don't know why Mom got so exercised about that: I said "Goodbye" on my way down. Except of course I don't know how to say that, so I stopped right by her head where she was reading in her favorite chair and said "Hello". I meant goodbye, so she should have known.

Unfortunately, once I was on the floor, I couldn't see Dad any more, because the dining room table was blocking my view. And because he had stopped working and was having something to drink, I couldn't hear him, either. I didn't dare call, as I was on the ground, so to speak, and wouldn't want to advertise to all the predators that I was available for a snack, now would I? So I got kind of mixed up and started walking around in circles on the kitchen linoleum between the bird room and the back deck, trying to figure out what to do next.

Mom said later that she heard my nails on the floor behind her, but thought it was the dog. She asked if I was ok, except of course she meant the dog, because the dog never paces like that. She even called me once, except of course she was calling the dog, so I didn't go back over to the bird room. She finally turned around and saw me down there and boy did she blow her lid!

She came over and tried to get me to step up for her, but I wouldn't at first because I really didn't believe her when she said she'd take me to see Dad. But finally I did, and she did, and I got to sit outside again on my t-perch for a few minutes. I couldn't really sit with Dad because he just reeked of gasoline and oil from using the lawnmower, though, and what's worse, when she picked me up, Mom discovered that my nails really need trimming.

So now I 'm on restriction and I'm going to have to go to the vets this week. Urgh. Mom says she's not going to let me sit on top of my cage any more when Dad's outside, and they're going to have to buy one of those pet doors that has an electronic key for Bane's collar. Mom doesn't think I can, but Dad's afraid I might get out through the pet door one day. So neither one of my parronts is too happy with me right now. Mom fussed at Larry a bit, too, asking him why he didn't say something. But Larry's a good little chap in his own way, and I know he would never rat me out like that.

From the proverbial dog house,
Riley, Éminence Grise
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Sunday, May 2, 2010

Mourning Dove , Zenaida macroura, hand-colored...Image via Wikipedia

The big news this week is that my Dad moved my old cage--a custom job from Panama that he bought from a coworker back when I first moved to this house--outdoors! It's on the back deck now, where My Mom and I like to sit. I can sit out now and see more, because I'm not up under the deck umbrella, which means I can also get more direct sun. I still get shade from the trees in the yard, and now I don't have to worry about hawks!

We've tried it twice already this weekend, and will probably go out again today before the thunderstorms move in. It's better (less boring) than just sitting out on my t-perch because Mom hung my old swing in it, and Dad put a perch in there, and it has my old ceramic food/water dishes, too.

The Mourning Doves are calling now, and in the last couple of days I've started making my dove call sound, too. Unfortunately it's getting hot enough Mom had to close the windows and start the air conditioner this morning, which means I'll only be able to hear the other birds now if I'm outside. Mom and Larry say they'll really missing that, too. And like now, the wind is blowing, and we can't hear it. Unnatural, that.

It's also too bad we have to close the windows and run the air because for the first time in a while the humidity in my room has been over 60%, which is good of course for Larry, too. Now it will drop. Mom runs a humidifier in here all the time but it's not enough to do any good.

Éminence Grise
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