Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Occupation

On the day, that cannot be too far in the offing, that I lose my mind entirely, I'm likely to take out all the pigeons with me. Fair warning to the avian world. Yes, Fwup the, at least, 48th still does his very best to taunt me into madness. Fwup is a pigeon, an entirely deranged pigeon, named thus because the sound he/she/they make in flight sounds remarkably like "fwup, fwup, fwup".

"Oh ho! The neighbor's got a gun." My husband chortled.

Now this is normally bad news, you will agree. An armed neighbor running about the area is a sign of badness to come, no doubt. Only the neighbor had with him only an air rifle, and the good news was that my sanity had held out longer than his. He strode into the middle of the street, and took aim at a group of about thirty pigeons.

"Oh crap," I said ineloquently, "we can't just let him start shooting them."

The war has been long. We've purchased every bird dissuading product known to man at this point. To the extent that my UPS driver finally decided that I was worth meeting by the time we ordered a wooden hawk.

"Bird problem?" He asked, laughing as he handed over a package with the words The Hunter emblazoned right next to a picture of a truly goofy looking faux-hawk.

I allowed that, indeed, we were somewhat plagued by pigeons.

"You and everyone else here," the driver lingered for a moment, "everyone around here orders this stuff. What gives?"

I explained that our problem was that in this particular suburb, there are no outdoor cats. It's a rule and it's actually a very good rule, as we aren't far from the foothills and have various predators that frequent the area, mostly from the sky. One wonders why they eschew the freaking pigeons, but the pigeons thrive in what is, to them, a haven.

They weren't fooled by the Faux-Hawk, by the way. All of my gutters have a sticky substance adhered to them, guaranteed to make it uncomfortable for birds to roost. They apparently step over the sticky stuff. At this point I'd have to live in a giant ball of adherent goo to persuade them to zark off, and all that would really do is send them flapping to the neighbors, which is precisely what happened when we called the pest control company. They flew an entire twenty feet away, and expressed their outrage with a chorus of coos that was actually worse than the nesting.

We live in occupied territory, and the neighbor had cracked first. He stood in the middle of the street, staging his resistance. Before I could make up my mind as to how to delicately approach the subject, my neighbor was joined by people from the adjoining houses, lining up to take a shot. Relieved to see that all they were doing was firing above the heads of the pigeons, in a desperate plea for some peace and quiet, I joined my husband in laughing. One man pivoted and aimed at the top of our house. We waved.

We've all lost large chunks of our sanity to Fwup and Friends. The air was filled with the sound of outraged pigeons departing, but they would be back, oh yes, they would be back. I am somewhat resigned to my fate, but on the inevitable day that I go berserk? I'm likely to be out there shaking a fist at the sky, too.

Also, my fridge pulled a Lazarus when the repair technician came. "I can't find anything wrong with it."

It sits empty, with a cup of water in the freezer, frozen solid. Mocking me with its functionality.

So, amidst fridges that rise from the grave, and neighbors reaching the end of their tethers, I was particularly heartened to see that Kyle, a lovely man over at Out Left had nominated me for something called a Kreativ Blogger award.

At this point, I must apologize to Kathryn, who nominated me a while back, but as I didn't realize I was meant to do anything with it? I failed to do anything other than say, "Thank You." My apologies for being remiss. Here is what I am to do, and since I think it is is a fun way to share some creative, and funny blogs you may, or may not know about, I'm not letting down the team this time!

Plus, it takes my mind off the infernal cooing. Here is what I am to do. I'm to tell you something about the person who nominated me:

Kyle is one of the most dedicated liberals I've ever found. His blog does a fantastic roundup of every liberal news piece imaginable. He links to and discusses all issues dear to liberal hearts (which is only one of the reasons I think he's great) and he's a champion of both Marriage Equality, and Gay rights the world over. He's also a friend to animals, a supporter of animal rights, and a champion of the environment.

Yes, yes, I'm a liberal. I'm assuming that is generally apparent, but if by some chance you didn't know? Now you do.

The other thing I get to do is nominate seven blogs in my own turn, with a brief description of why these people are so very worth your time, if by some chance you haven't discovered them. Then I am to let them know, and finally tell you seven things about myself you may not know. Let's wing our way towards this, shall we?

The B in Subtle is one of the blogs I follow, and with good reason. B is a gifted writer, with a gentle spirit and a good sense of humor. She's in Canada, a single mother who adores her young son, and you will too through her writing. She's also a very good photographer, and I was very lucky the day I stumbled across her.

This is is Frances' blog called Fairy Lanterns. I'm always in awe of people who create visual arts. I can't draw a convincing stick figure, but Frances brings a magical world to life with her tremendous talents. Honestly, you'll remember what it is like to be a child, believing all things beautiful are possible through her gifts.

I pause here to mention that I had a friend recently tease me, "Are you collecting Canadians? If so, what do you plan to do with them?" I'm enjoying them mightily, that's what.

This is ds at Third Storey Window. It's very clear that ds has a tremendous love of books, and language. Do you remember the best read you ever experienced? Where you couldn't put down a book until sleep forced you to do so? Then you slept only long enough to be able to have the energy to finish that book? ds will make you remember that feeling. Almost everyone I know loves words, and language, but ds makes me remember exactly why that is.

I'm always finding that I admire the ability to create tremendously. Most things are beyond my personal talents, and sewing is one of them. Jennifer at Pasquali Rumpus could likely sew a getaway car if you're ever in need of one. She's also a dab hand with a camera. Beyond all that? A lovely person.

I just found this blog last week, Life in the Expat Lane. Have you ever felt a yen to leave your country of origin, and experience life elsewhere, but your life circumstances didn't support that? If that's the case, this blog will take you around the world, from a seated position at your computer. I spent time with Armenian Bees last week, thanks to this blogger. She makes the world both larger, and more inclusive, at once.

This is Cricket, from Cricket and Porcupine. Again, another person who possesses the gift of creating visual art, but also writes exceptionally well. I'm hoping like mad that Cricket doesn't share Sol's penchant for roasting anyone who nominates him for a blog award of any kind, but I've got a suit of armor at the ready, just in case. Cricket's got a rare sense of humor, and deep ties to faith. I'm not religious myself, but Faith is one of Cricket's favorite subjects. The kindness, decency and love that is meant to be at the center of a belief system is something he focuses upon. I have a thing about valuing kindness, in case you've never noticed, and Cricket does but has that lovely, sharp sense of humor to go with it.

Amy, from Miscellany is quite simply one of my favorite people in the blogosphere. We encountered each other early on in my time in the blogs, and as Anne of Green Gables would say, we are kindred spirits. What makes that remarkable, and one of the neater things about blogs and the internet in general, is that Amy and I are at different stages of our lives. She's welcomed her first grandchild, I'm still trying to get my one child through college. Yet a difference in age makes no difference when there is that spark of recognition between people. I told my husband not long after we started conversing in comment sections that she's a person who if I knew her in life, we'd probably never stop talking about all manner of things. Not being present in each other's lives hasn't actually proved a barrier to that.

Finally, this is Gary from Gary's Third Pottery Blog. He's wonderfully nuts, and will take you on adventures with George, a sock monkey with an outrageous accent. He's also an insanely talented potter (I hope that's the correct term). Yet another person who spends his days creating, and sharing the results.

Now, what next? Seven things about me that you may not know:

1. I'm from the East Coast but don't have an East Coast accent. The reason for this is my mother is from the UK, my father was a Southerner. Really, it's something of a miracle I can speak in an understandable fashion at all. Every now and then I'll say a particular word and it will come out with a decided tang of places I've never lived.

2. If you have any plants, for heavens sake, don't ask me to house sit for you. Just being in my general vicinity seems to discourage them from living.

3. My cat has no name. Actually, he has about 300 of them. We call him a huge variety of things, often ending with "McGee". Such as "Tearing Down the House, Insane McGee. We meet again."

4. I frequently make a declaration of resignation from cooking altogether. My husband and son are quite used to it. Every few months I'll announce that I'm done cooking for a while, and it's sandwiches aplenty during those times. It was the only way I could combat the fact that whereas everyone in this house eats, I'm the only one who cooks well. Rather than be turned permanently into the chief cook and bottle washer, I have embraced the work stoppage. My husband and son support me in this.

5. When I was much younger, I would have described myself as conservative. This has solely to do with the fact that I'm uncomfortable in low-cut tops.

6. My husband almost never calls me by my name. We call each other nicknames for the most part. It always sounds odd to me when he uses my first name, and I once told him, "Stop that. You'll make me think you're having an affair."

7. There's an icon associated with this and I'll be over here losing large amounts of hair as I try to copy the darned thing. Wish me luck.

I also need to let anyone I nominated know that they have been nominated which I will do when I am done swearing at the icon. This could take time. (I eventually did conquer, but I had to switch from my relatively new Mac, to my PC to get it done, go figure)


The Bug said...

I'm fascinated with the pigeon problem - but only from this distance. If I lived there? I would be building little pigeon sized electric chairs (and I oppose the death penalty!).

I'll have to go check out the blogs you mentioned. Lord knows I need to add more blogs to my blogroll (this was said a bit sarcastically because I follow too many blogs as it is - but who's to say how many is really too many?).

I'm going to reveal a semi-private matter between Dr. M and me. We call each other Bob. It's short for sweetiemabob. Isn't that just too precious? When we use each other's given names we have the same reaction as you - who are you talking to?

Miss Footloose said...

Thank you so much for mentioning me on your blog and for the award! Yes, I've shopped, cooked, mothered my way around the world.

Pigeons! Great story, reminded me of my pigeon infestation in Ghana, West Africa. Became aware of them because I so loved hearing them in the morning as I woke up.

Then realized they'd even been nesting under the garage roof. Hadn't actually noticed the mess so much because, well, I had people. People who cleaned and washed and watered all around!

Finally same people decided better chase off the beasts. Got rid of the nest and who knows what else they did. Having people is nice ;)

Land of shimp said...

Like you I'm anti-death penalty, Bug and I'd join you in the teeny little electric chair construction. Every now and then, as I sit here typing, I'll look up and through the slats of the plantation shutters, be confronted by a staring bird eye. I'll say something decidedly rude, and often profane, and continue on with my day.

It's a routine, I tell you. A bit like having a cup of coffee, but far more likely to get loud.

My husband calls me "Woo", Bug. I call him "Yam". We are insane, but at least we found each other. I like the "Bob" tag too, by the way.

Well Miss F., I'm so glad it pleased you. People do indeed sound nice, I must get some of those. In the meantime, there is alcohol and the occasional pillow over the head, incoherent shouting fests, I've even been glimpsed running at them, hollering.

Yes, must look into "people".

Nancy said...

Loved the pigeon story. I have always liked them, but I've not had them roosting on my windowsills. Congrats on the award, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading all about you. I cracked up at the no-cooking, as I often do the same thing. We call it "every man for himself night."

I want to thank you for your well written comments on my blog from time to time. I love reading them. You are always thoughtful and interesting. I'm so glad to have found your blog.

Now I'm off to visit your awardees!

Tabor said...

You sound very stressed but in that humorous British way that is so entertaining. You have a gift for writing with a warm feeling. You sound like a great neighbor and I do NOT envy you your pigeons. They are as bad as geese in a park!

Hilary said...

Good luck with the pigeons. I don't envy you. And congrats on the award - well deserved. That was a cool bunch of bloggers, you mentioned. I'm a regular reader of a few of them.

Gary's third pottery blog said...

Thank you. :)
Hogs and kisses and all the rest, glad to know ya!

Kyle said...

Alane that was grand! Number one and six are hilarious. still laughing. I think I knew about your cat, because of a recent post. Sorry about the plants. Maybe that's a new superpower!

the b in subtle said...

how very hitchcockian, really, Alane! i have a robin who nests above my side door to whom i'm always grateful for not shitting on my head each time i leave the house.

thank you THANK YOU for nominating me for this kreativ award. how lovely of you and i will hope to catch up and do what is expected... hopefully by the weekend. ;)

the b in subtle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
the b in subtle said...

p.s. 'kay Alane, i stayed up late and got myself through it - you are mentioned and thanked, once again, sweetheart. hope you're slumbering as i head up to bed myself now...

Cricket said...

Hi Shimp (Alane?) -

Thank you for your kind words about me and my writing. I appreciate it, especially coming from someone whose own writing I enjoy so much.

I assume you have gathered I am not going to roast you. I will confine my attention in that direction to a chicken I have marinating at the moment. Which reminds me...

For want of outdoor cats, perhaps you might consider cutting out the middleman, as it were. Roast pigeon is quite tasty. The Joy of Cooking supplies several other recipes as well. It would seem this could be a fine meal for an enjoyable neighborhood block party.

That is, if your area is clean enough. I certainly wouldn't consider eating any of our city-bred pigeons. Still, for the price of some bird-shot and a nice red wine, quiet could be yours. Just a thought. Salmi of Fwup, anyone?

You could always call it "squab", if that helps.

I am going to make my best attempt to complete your Kreativ assignment. I may need to enlist some help. Most of the blogs I read are already kreativ enough. And someone just tagged Cabo, too. Oy.

I spent quite a while browsing recently and found all manner of things out there: techie sites, family pics, whiny little girls, arts & crafts, porn (!). Yikes. Not so much what I was looking for. I'll look into it some more.

And your tagging me precludes my tagging you, which would have been an obvious choice. Anyway, I'll work on it.

I will inform Porcupine about all this after his evening whiskey, the which improves his general mood substantially.

Thank you once more. Respectfully Yours,


DUTA said...

I don't know of private people in my area complaining of pigeons, but I know pigeons are a big problem for the Electricity and Communication companies as they harm the wire lines, and of course they present great danger in the aviation field.

Land of shimp said...

Hey Nancy, the pigeons are mostly just a hilarious accompaniment to life for me. I've mentioned the shutters in my office, and every now and then I won't be able to get anything done because I can't just be at peace with all their freaking noise. So I'll throw up the shutters, and they'll scatter for a few minutes.

Lather. Rinse. Repeat. I'm sure sooner or later I'll be there, throwing up the shutters, mad glint in my eye, only to catch by surprise my neighbor, or someone in her house, who will only see a small, pale, strained looking woman with the beginnings of a facial tick, repeatedly appearing in the window like some hobgoblin. But that hasn't happened yet.

I love your blog, Nancy, and it is always my pleasure to comment. I'm very glad that it's enjoyable for you too :-)

Thanks for visiting the people I tagged. Most of the people here found there way here through one of three sources: Jo, you, and Hilary. Sometimes in a six degrees of separation sort of way, but those are generally the source. Thanks to you three, I end up with really cool, neat people. So I owe you, Jo, and Hilary my thanks. Thank you.

Tabor, thank you :-) I really hope I am a good neighbor. I think that's an important thing to be. My friends swear that it's hard to take me seriously when I'm stressed because most stress just seems to render me rather goofy. I think what's hilarious about the pigeons is that I lived in Denver for years, and years, and never had this problem. It is a problem unique to this subdivision, and those feathered fiends are remarkably crafty, for critters with brains the size of pistachios.

You know the one thing I had trouble keeping a sense of humor about? It's pretty telling because I barely said a thing about it: The fact that my husband unplugged the malfunctioning fridge, and when the tech plugged it back in? It worked.

Oh....GAH!!!! ACK! HAVE MERCY! It's not a computerized fridge, there is no earthly reason it should have, or could have done that...and yet it did.

But that eventually became funny when I realized I'd said, "I realize this is not your fault..." "Don't get me wrong, this is no way your fault..." "From your perspective that fridge is working, I understand that. This is not your fault." and variations thereof at least a dozen times to the repairman. At that point I realized, "Whoa. It's a fridge. It's just a fridge. It will break again, and to prevent our losses, we just need to pitch it. Thems the breaks." and move on....because I was clearly going to lose my mind with every other scenario.

Hilary, thank you :-) See above on why it is that you would follow several of those great bloggers already. I "met" a few of them through you. Heck, I met Kyle through Jo's blog.

That's Yyyyyoooouuuuuu, Gary :-) Glad it pleased you. I love your blog, not only do you create beautiful things, you have a good sense of humor. Plus, a recipe for burritos that involved tater tots and George's accent? It was like a surrealist film festival. Love it.

Oh Kyle, can you imagine the cape and outfit I'd have to wear? Hehehe! "We need some form of lycra that will convey...withering." You probably did know that about my bizarre cat, and his teflon coating when it comes to names. I'm also glad it made you laugh. Thank you again for tagging me in the first place.

Land of shimp said...

"i'm always grateful for not shitting on my head each time i leave the house. "

That made me laugh like a fool, b in subtle! Remember to be thankful for the little things, eh? Or to give thanks for things not sucking quite as much as they very well could! At our old house we had nesting Robins. I much prefer them to pigeons. They had personality, for one thing. There was Hard Working Robin (who had to make a fuss every time he caught a worm, and since he was so hard working? Lot of fuss, daily) and then there was the Great Rotundo, who never seemed to stir from our fence, but was as fat as could be. The list goes on.

Pigeons all have the same personality. "Coo coo? Coo coo? Coo Coo? What?"

YOu didn't need to stay up late, but I am so delighted you were pleased, by the way :-)

Cricket, my name is Alane, and you're welcome to call me by that. Do you know, I actually didn't tag Cabo specifically because I assumed anyone I'd tag would immediately have him come to mind also? Thank you very much for the kind words. I've been enjoying you since the first time I caught sight of your icon, and then your words just added to that delight, over and over.

If I would allow Rob to do it, I am so sure he would happily go all Ninja Squab Hunter on the neighborhood, skulking about, reigning death from above, below, and to the sides.

But he's stuck with me, and I have repeatedly stopped short of having them killed. The pest control guys were so frustrated with me because it really is a simple matter or laying down some nasty deterrents..but I don't want the blasted things to suffer unduly (they do not extend to me the same courtesy, clearly) and since poison is the only approved way to get rid of them?

That's fraught with peril, and not just from the standpoint of the pigeons. I'm against the slow, painful death method for anything, but I am not going to risk someone's dog getting poisoned by a pigeon corpse.

In other words? Yeah, I'm a complete weenie, and he's stuck with me. They don't quite drive me that nuts.

In fact, mostly the pigeons now sit atop the houses, because EVERYONE here has the sticky stuff and the pointy things in their eaves. My neighbor's house is a ranch-style, you see...and our pointy things weren't the right pointy things. I truly pity any roofers that ever have to work in this area, by the way. Gads, that would be horrible.

Duta, we've talked pigeons before (because they are the bane of my ...sanity) and I remember that! We aren't on a flight path where the pigeons are endangering planes made me think of something...oh heaven help the golfers!

The ninth hole must be nearly obscured by...well...never mind ;-)

Amy said...

Alane, I do want to sincerely thank you for the award. And it was very enjoyable to go look at the other recipients. When I return from Portland late next week, I'll catch up on all the bloggy doings; in the meantime, I'm going to be a ga ga 'grammy' to the Elliot!

Pauline said...

Thanks for the tips on blogs to explore - it's great fun finding new places to read!

As for the pigeons - I'll trade you for the squirrels haunting my house...

Suldog said...

First - and again - you are one funny lady.

Second, Cricket is a good friend of mine. However, even if he wasn't, I'd still admire his writing. Great choice!

Third - and finally - I love pigeons. I'm in a decided minority group, of course, but that's the way it is. If you can find some way to send them to my neighborhood, I'd enjoy them. There are hardly any here.

ds said...

You had me at "fwup" and now I am crying, I have laughed so hard. I sincerely hope that you do not have to resort to living in a house composed of "adherent goo." Such a way with words you have, zark will become a permanent part of my vocabulary.
Wonderful, wonderful story.

Congratulations!! You truly deserve this award. Anyone who can make being held hostage by pigeons sound funny and not Hitchcockian is beyond "kreativ". Well done!
Thank you for considering the window; I am touched and honored, though it may take a while for me to respond. Now to visit your other nominees, some of whom blow me away too!
Thanks again.

Land of shimp said...

Amy, you're quite welcome, and I hope you have a wonderful time with the small and charming Mr. E.! He's probably getting set to teeth if he hasn't begun yet. Don't worry, he's handsome enough to carry off the accompanying drooling! Have fun :-)

Pauline, I think Amy would see my pigeons, and your squirrels, and raise you a Vole or seven ;-) Yes, squirrels are maddening things, and apparently, all are named Sparky according to an old neighbor of mine.

We used to have dogs, terriers who loved to race along our old fence line, chasing the squirrels. Sadly, they've gone on to their doggie reward. However, there was the day, famed in song and story (in doglore you understand) when one of our Scotties caught one. That, that was the!

I've never seen a happier dog. Sparky, on the other hand, had seen better ones.

Sol, thank you very much sir, and back at you. Minus the "lady" part, which sounds rather odd, doesn't it?

Cricket is marvelous, I agree.

Thirdly, marvelous! I know where to ship them if they will ever consent to getting in the box. I fear they will not consent, though. Just a feeling I have. Feathered fiends. I actually don't mind pigeons, I just wish there were fewer of them, and that they would occasionally mute themselves. Oh, and stop pooping like crazy.

Perhaps I'm not really that fond of pigeons.

ds, I'm so glad I made you laugh :-) That pleases me tremendously, and thank you for letting me know. Please don't feel you need to do anything with the award, if you'd rather not. I just like your blog, and this was one way to let you know.

By the way, I must give credit where credit is due: "zark" is a wonderful word, and it comes to us via the genius that is Douglas Adams :-)

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