Friday, April 25, 2008

Of letters and feathery things.

Our canary, Izzy, is currently alive and well ( that is the sound of heartfelt and vehement knocking on wood that you hear).

In face, the avian vet (thanks for suggesting that fosterabba, he was worth every penny of the $72 exam) says that he is actually quite a big and robust canary.

The vet also figures that he probably won't drop dead just from being exposed to me.
(This is good to hear because I was, you know, beginning to wonder.)

Our air quality report ($140) came back and we rated as average for fungus and bacteria - most of it probably brought into the house from the outside ---- but since I ran out and bought a true hepa filter air cleaner ($120), I'm going to darn well believe it has improved.

Bird lady has been kept up to date and is calmer. Yay!

AAAAANNNNDDDDD, screechin in on the heels of that fun stuff ---- in other news....we just received a package of letters and cards from Birthmom.

Our first ever direct-ish contact with her.
Between just you and I?
It freaks me out.

She calls them her angels, our youngest daugher is her princess, she wants them to write to her and to send them pictures...and she wants to see them in less than a month and I don't want her to be in their lives that fast and that intensely and......I sound a little resentful and whiny don't I?

Probably, because I am, a little.

Birth Grandma gave me a heads up that the mail was coming and I sent a three page letter and pictures off to the government office that deals with this....
now I will send off another short one with better pictures...

and try and deal with the fall out, obvious and not so obvious that is shaken loose for my youngest two.

Having contact is the RIGHT thing.
It is the only thing - as long as the kids are not at any kind of actual physical risk - and I don't think they will be...

but oh, I wish I could protect them and me and us and...

I'm a little afraid, because I feel like, especially with our youngest, that we are so tenuous so much of the time...we are just beginning to really connect...

Big, calming breath in.
I'll spend a few minutes getting over myself (hah! or years) and go and make dinner.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

For the birds...

Currently we have:

2 dead canaries buried in the front garden


1 live canary in the house


1 very unhappy,elderly bird woman who wants the live canary back now so that we don't "kill another one of her birds"


four children who are attached to the only bird that was robust enough to live and are afraid that if he goes back he will die and that don't want him to go back anyway because they are attached to him. (His name is Izzy by the way.)


two very painful phonecalls with a fair share of spiteful recriminations and tears thrown in


now I will be calling an air quality inspection place to come and moniter our air quality and send the results to her to try and mollify her


one woman who would cheerfully pack up the sweet little bird who is still alive and drop everything in the bird woman's lap and not look back except for the aforementioned four children


their eight fear filled eyes that are watching my every move

and the moral is, and of course there is a moral -
don't get animals from a possible animal hoarder, and if you ignore your inner warning bells about it, then be prepared to deal with the consequences which may be even bigger than...
dead pets, heartbroken children but may also include -

not attending your camera club because bird lady is a member


make your running club awkward because one of your running friends is how you met the bird lady in the first place


feeling like throwing up,

a lot.

Monday, April 7, 2008

after the weekend

Morning, before the kids are up and things are....a little better here than the last time I posted.

Then, it was nearly midnight and I was hunched over my laptop at the top of the stairs, trying to make sense of how two tiny creatures in MY care had died and how I was going to deal with that fall out with my kids.

I don't think I had yet realized that I had to deal with my own feelings about it all and I really did.

For better or for worse, I am a care giver and no matter what else has happened in my life I have clung to the belief that I am the best I can be when it comes to doing that and that by now, I'm pretty good at it - at least when it comes to pets.

Complacency can really bite you in the butt in a very HARD way.

I should have done the research on Canaries first, before they ever crossed the lintel into the house.

I should not have expected the research I had done on finches and the experience we did have with a cockatiel and the information provided by the hobby breeder lady who gave them to us to be enough to go on.
From everything I have learned in the past day, through that research that I should have done in the best guess is that the poor little critters keeled over from stress. That the same conditions that they lived in at the Bird Lady's house just didn't work for them here.
At her house, they all live in small cages, usually with more than one bird to a cage and although that works for her, it is highly unusual for it to work for most canaries because other than in the breeding season, they are highly territorial birds and they don't want to be near each other.

The last and final canary, the one that was brought over only two days after the first male actually doing very, very well. He is thrilled to have his own, big cage and sings and sings and sings and is the very freaking picture of unstressed health - eating well, drinking well and flitting and twittering and generally charming the heck out of the household.

About my littlest girl.
Sometimes she is better, there are times, minutes even where she forgets to be a princess made of solid ice. It is just the run up to her birthday is sooooooooooooooooooooooooooo excruciatingly difficult for her and therefore on every other person around her.

There are times when I am horrified to say that I don't like her, even a little bit.

I LOVE her but oh, I don't like her. She is not at all likeable, except of course in front of other people.

If my husband did not see and recognize that she is crazy making and manipulative - I would likely go nuts because every other adult sees this adorable, cute little person that I am lucky to have.

It is hard to have a kid that you don't like, that you sometimes, briefly wish had never become your problem, because you just don't feel like you are making any headway.

It makes you take hard looks at parts of yourself you just never want to see.

But maybe this crisis of a weekend was a good turning point for her.
Saturday, she was unbelievably quiet and restrained and Sunday, she was very much like a normal kid would be.

Maybe it is because her birthday is tomorrow and we are nearly over that terrible time.

Maybe it won't last.
Maybe it will.

Thanks for all your kind comments. They helped.
A lot.

Friday, April 4, 2008

without wings

Tough day here.

At shortly before 3pm, I loaded my two youngest into the van to take them to the park and take pictures and play. My cel phone rang before I could pull away from our front curb and I could hear my oldest daughter's panicky voice talking about her pet bird having just fallen off her perch and was dead.

This is the second bird in as many weeks.

We are a bit shattered and in no small part because we just don't know WHY.

Four weeks ago we got a pair of canaries for my oldest daughter, two weeks and a hundred and thirty dollars in emergency vet bills later, the male died. We couldn't figure out why. We went over everything again and again.

The lady who gave us the pair, brought over another little male a few days later and gave us detailed instructions on helping the new pair - and she went over everything that might have caused a problem too - there was nothing any of us could figure out.

They were kept clean, they had fresh water and food everyday, they were covered at night, they were warm enough, had fresh veggies, played them classical music....

My poor girl.
She is so devastated.
She had just been sitting and watching them for an hour or so, when the little female gave an odd sound, fluttered her wings and fell to the bottom of the cage dead.

Now we have one.
I want to send him back to the Bird Lady he came from, I am so fearful he will die too.

Normally, I would say we are good with pets. We love them, we don't stint on their care, they are a huge part of our lives but right now I feel a little like we have been cursed.

It was made even more awful by my youngest daughter, who can not stand to have attention given to anyone else much of the time and now, as we lead up to her birthday she is barely holding together emotionally. She struggled desperately to make the drama all about her.
And I am already sick to death of her because she is caught up in making sure I don't go anywhere without her and if I do she makes everyone else (particularly her siblings) suffer till I come back. She stares at me and follows me constantly except when we are out at a social function and then she acts like I don't exist. I must be under her control at all times and I must prove over and over again that I won't leave but she is going to do everything in her power to make me miserable so I will leave.

And we lowered her ADHD med dosage so she is far more unfocused and impulsive, because she wasn't sleeping hardly at all and looked like a zombie for the last few weeks.

Her bio brother is taking his cue from her and they are winding each other up into high pitched, frenzied giggling behaviours that go on and on and have no point or meaning.

Oh and our guinea pig has cancer.
Seven years old, which is like incredibly freaking old for a gpig.
BTW, a vet checkup, xray and antibiotics for a guinea pig, that is 270 bucks that was Wednesday.


Same old, same old - just really intense right now.

Did I mention that I am training for a 50k run.
Because I am nuts?
But if I don't train for it, I think I will go nuts that much faster?

Not all bad, not by a long shot.

Just tired, and sad and tired, and rubbed raw and tired and overwhelmed by a world where little birds die for no apparent reason, little girls are left behind by their Moms and don't/can't even begin to process it.