Sometimes, old houses are for the birds.
Naturally, I am prepared to give you a “for instance” to support my thesis.
A couple weeks ago, during Middle Tennessee’s version of snowmageddon, I decided, as there was no leaving the house, I might as well get busy on at least one of the chores I had been avoiding.
So, I gathered together the supplies I needed to finish painting the kitchen. I believe I mentioned that I really dislike the prep-work required for most painting projects in our house. Between taking down the numerous decorations, to cleaning and patching the walls—I just get tired thinking about it.
The actual doing is much worse! If I had a dime for each time I told myself “there, that was the last time I’ll need that caulk,” I’d have enough money to pay someone else to do this chore for me.
If there is one plus to this whole ordeal, however, it has to be the fact that I have now got some mean caulking skills! I can lay a bead of caulk like a boss.
Okay, back to the birds.
So, there I was on day four of my “little” painting project, the end was in sight and I was wrapping-up the second coat on the wainscotting, when I thought I heard someone tapping on the door to our storage area. I had my headphones on listening to my audio book (All the Kings Men by Robert Penn Warren, a resident of Clarksville, TN) so I wasn’t sure if I had actually heard it. I kept painting—knowing full-well that I had heard something and that something was going to take me away from the project at hand.
I knew that the “something” was going to be a critter—not one that we had purposefully invited into the house—therefore, I decided to go investigate via the other access door to the storage area. When I arrived in the playroom (yeah—my youngest is 18 . . .) and turned toward the door in question, I saw our cat, Roxy, anxiously listening at said door. Any hope of having been “hearing things” completely dissolved.
I decided nothing else would do and I would have to open the door to see. Roxy thought this was a great idea and volunteered for a reconnoiter mission. While the door was briefly open—I counted two birds—and quickly shouted for some assistance from my eldest.
I proceeded to explain the situation to her, so we could develop a plan of attack, but she kind of got stuck back at the part where I mentioned that her cat was trapped with the birds. I believe her exact words were, “Mom?!? WHAT?!?! That’s two against one!!!”
Consequently, you can imagine my reticence at updating the report the next time I opened the door to find that we actually had three birds.
Quickly, we began to formulate our plan—the first iteration involved a hockey mask and my youngest daughter’s boyfriend (at the time, he was sitting on our sofa downstairs and yet unaware of our little dilemma). Then we remembered, we don’t own a hockey mask.
But we do have a fencing mask—oh, hellstotheyeah—much better.
I swear it wasn’t part of my plan, but as her cat was in there with the killer Starlings, my eldest volunteered for the mission. (She is actually the one who originally rescued Roxy from a life on the street—or roof, as was the case; she had a habit of rescuing this kitty.)
If this had happened last year, it would have been as simple as walking in and opening the window—wave your hands around a little and watch them fly out. However, since we had replaced all of the windows in this part of the house and made sure they all were fitted with screens, matters were complicated.
So we headed downstairs for a a quick lesson on how to remove screens (one of those details missing from the lives of children raised in old houses), then she dressed for battle.
She grabbed an ADU shirt belonging to her ex-boyfriend (naturally not caring if it was subjected to bird excrement—hoping, in fact . . . just a little), her bother’s fencing mask and a pair of my gloves.
It was a matter of minutes before she was reporting successfully banishing two of the little darlings, so I dared a peak in to see if Roxy had moved closer to door, which she had—so had, unfortunately, the third Starling.
I don’t know how it happened, but my ninja-like reflexes allowed the cat to escape, but caught the dang bird as he was passing through the door. That’s right—I had a bird caught in between the door and the jam. I was applying just enough pressure to keep it from flying into the house—kicking myself for not closing the door to the playroom. I felt horrible!
I called downstairs to my other daughter and her boyfriend for help. I told them to bring a box to help catch the bird. They both came running, but daughter held back—wanting to be part of the action, but deathly afraid that the bird would come flying at her.
Boyfriend positioned the box in front of the gasping bird and we prepared to allow the door to open and the bird to escape (hopefully into the box) when daughter #1 announces from the other side of the door that ANOTHER bird had flown into the storage room and was by the door! So, we wait for her to corral that bird and encourage it back outside, but by the time we got the “go ahead” our poor creature had breathed its last.
I felt awful. Then I remembered how a flock of Starlings had swooped in on our recently refreshed bird feeders and decimated the supply which I had hoped would last until the following day.
I got over it.