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My life is so weird. This isn’t a problem, mind you. I wouldn’t want it any other way. I might get bored.

I owe my friends James & Dalia big time since they dogsat Ruby the whole time we were gone on our cross country trip. So, among the things I offered to do in return, I agreed to water their plants while they are on vacation. Today, I went over planning to do a quick circuit of the house and give all of the plants a drink. Only, I didn’t end up making a quick tour of the house with a watering can in hand.

Why, you might ask, was watering the plants a big ol’ hairy deal?

Well, because I had to evacuate a couple of invading starlings and then clean up after their marauding.

Somehow, and I don’t know how, two starlings infiltrated my friends’ house, destroyed a couple of tomatoes that had been ripening in a basket, flung tomato seeds all over the kitchen, and pooped all over hell and creation. What should have been a 15 minute visit to water the plants turned into an hour and a half of chasing birds, then swabbing down the house down to eliminate tomato goo and bird poo.

Being as I am down a working arm right now, the pursuit and capture of the birds was a clumsy spectacle, and really, the second bird I only caught because it knocked itself silly on a window and I grabbed it while it lay, stunned, on the sofa. The first bird had the presence of mind to make it over to the screen door and flutter against the screen until I could open the door and shoo it out.

After the house was shed of wildlife, I tried to find out where the little blighters had come from, but I couldn’t identify a point of entry. I took away a blanket, several dishcloths and napkins, and some soft toys that had been pooped on and put them in the wash, then filled up a bucket of hot water and dish soap and did my best to eliminate all traces of tomato spatters and bird droppings. I think the house is all clear, but I am going to go back tomorrow with a fresh eye and do one more sweep. Of all the things to come home to!

Ah well, it could be worse. When I was a senior in high school, my mom went out to California because her grandmother was very ill, and while she was gone, my sister, Dad, and I were holding down the fort at home. We were all doing very well, actually, as far as keeping the place sanitary and keeping ourselves well fed. Everything was going smoothly up until the day before Mom was slated to return, when our chimney caught on fire.

We’d had a few loads of lousy firewood that burned really smokey, and apparently there was a pretty bad build-up of creosote in the chimney, and that night we had a good, hot fire burning in the woodstove. Back then, my folks’ house was heated by a woodstove (badly I might add). We had to call the fire department, of course, and we ended up with a smokey house, the basement was all swamped out with water, and the whole place was colder than a witch’s tits in a brass brassiere, since the woodstove was the sole source of heat and we couldn’t have a fire until the chimney was cleaned and re-lined. That sucked.

Cleaning up a little bird poop is no biggie compared to the smoke-and-flood mitigation all-nighter we pulled after that incident.

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