I stayed home from work today because I feel crappy and worn out. But it's a good thing I asked for a substitute teacher on Thursday, because today I had to take Decibel the parrot to the vet.
Two years ago, Decibel had a disagreement with a squirrel on the small matter of ownership of the seed in Decibel's cage. Both parrot and squirrel emerged with injuries. Decibel injured her wing and needed $2000 + in vet care to shore her up.
So the other night when I saw blood on the floor beside Decibel's cage (and no cats with feathers in their mouths), I called the vet promptly. We got an appointment the next day.
It's a balmy 28 degrees out there with a stiff wind and some snow flurries. Just the day for a tropical bird to take an outing! Bundle up, Decibel!
When Decibel was a chick, she was real cool with standing on my hand and riding around on my shoulder. Then along came The Heir, and Decibel probably hit maturity, and Decibel started biting like a fiend. Just the other night she got me on the thumb, and OOOO WEEE! Felt like I'd shoved my digit in a hornets' nest.
To get Decibel into a pet carrier requires grabbing her with a bath towel. When she sees the towel coming, she knows what's about to happen and reacts accordingly. It's a merry chase sometimes, with much shredding of fabric and any unlucky fingers that peek out. Today was no different, except the destination wasn't the bathtub where she's showered. It was the vet.
Decibel's vet loves her to death. It's sickening. "Kissy kissy, birdy birdy, oh, LOOK at you Decibel! You look so GOOD! How's my sweetie?"
No chance of alienation of affection, though, because while the vet is cooing like a turtledove, she's also checking out Decibel's old injuries. This process elicits crabby, loud squawks from birdy birdy.
Long story short, Decibel's okay. She's got some anti-inflammatory medicine for good measure. She's back in her sunny spot, nursing her wounded pride and her sore wing.
Having returned Decibel to home and hearth, I turned my attention to the Xmas tree, which looked like it had spent the season out in some harsh desert, rather than my living room. Next year will be my last and final Xmas tree. These Jersey trees are cut before Halloween and shipped across the country, and they're dry as bones when we set them up.
Anyway, it's not terribly taxing to remove ornaments and lights, remove the tree from the stand, and place it at the curb for mulching by the borough of Snobville. Nor is it much of a chore to sweep up the ten pounds of needles shed in the process of removal.
But you'd have thought I was committing a cardinal sin.
My indoor cat, Gamma, had bonded with this tree. He saw this dry, prickly piece of foliage as his own personal forest. Shed needles be damned, Gamma had staked out a space in the corner behind the tree, from which he imagined the life of a rugged outdoors cat.
Finally, with one last piercing glance, he turned his back on me and gave in to his sorrows.
I've never owned a cat that didn't go outside. But I got Gamma from a shelter. He had always been an indoor cat, and frankly, he's a ten-pound sniveling wretch, afraid of his own shadow. The one time he did get out, he hid under broken glass, cowed to silence by the threats of the local outdoor feline community.
All in all, the only happy pet here at Chateau Johnson today is Beta, and judging by the way she's walking, her old arthritic joints aren't feeling up to snuff either.
It's hard out there for a pet.