The Saga Continues….

Rocket-man notes that I have been on edge lately. Remember, he’s über Mensa smart!   He doesn’t have a PhD. for nothing folks!

Aside from concern and angst over my aging parents and uncertainty about a plethora of things, what could possibly make me feel edgier than usual?  Perhaps it’s because I gave up all cheese for Lent?

OK…well maybe this no cheese thing is affecting my mood just a wee bit but in all honesty I’d say it’s because of that $@#!-ing bird!

Yes, indeed…. unfortunately the saga of Mr. Harold Headbanger, the Northern Red Cardinal,  continues.

Folks, he is still alive….and who would have thunk it so after hours upon hours of head-butting the windows for over a month now.  More importantly, The Poodle is still alive!  Quite honestly for a moment, if you would have asked me yesterday, I would have told you he’s hanging on to life by a thread.  Point in fact: I was just nodding off to a lovely afternoon siesta… when ….yes…you guessed it!  And no, I was not a picture of loveliness for a few minutes.  My salvation (and The Poodle’s) was espresso and a chocolate biscotti.

To maintain a shred of sanity I was forced to ship The Poodle off to doggie day care for extra play days last week just so that I could have a respite from a day of barking.  I vented to my California friend, Miss Lou, just the other day.  She is The Poodle’s biggest fan (after Rocket-man and me naturally).  Miss Lou, is partially responsible for bringing this bundle of four-legged joy into our lives; without her, it quite possibly never would have happened.

I am eternally grateful….but…..

“The barking is making me stir crazy, “ I tell Miss Lou.  “I’m ready to ship The Poodle to China!”   Miss Lou is quite sympathetic and she is just as amazed as I that this bird’s behavior has continued on for so long.  She lets me vent which I appreciated enormously; unloading is often all that is needed to calm the storms within.

Note:  A window dressing does not deter a stupid Cardinal!

Note: A window dressing does not deter a stupid Cardinal!

So….A week ago I had leaned a large garden rake against one of the windows in an effort to deter Harold’s head-butting behavior to that particular window.  I even affixed a metal lawn ornament of flowers to the rake to add additional confusion for the bird.  For two entire days Harold didn’t touch that window so I thought I had won that battle at least.   “Not so fast,” the damned bird seemed to say.   Sunday at precisely 6:15 a.m. while Rocket-man and I were perusing through the Sunday paper, Mr. Harold Headbanger was up and at ‘em, this time going around the rake propped up against the window.

“I’m baa-aack!”  says Harold.

Simply amazing!   The Poodle immediately started barking..a lot…which of course compelled me to follow with a couple of expletives.  It’s too early in the morning to start this barking nonsense!  I haven’t even finished my first cup of espresso!

Not a calm (nor spiritual) start to a Sunday to be sure.

“There’s got to be a way to get rid of this **&^@#! bird,” I yell.

I can pull the shades down on the eight windows in the family room/kitchen area but I can’t do anything about the large window area that spans the second floor (I don’t have a ladder that will reach that window).  This appears to be Harold’s favorite area.  Sigh…..

My head is starting to pound  (far too early for that!).  I need to get out of the house and away from this bird….

Fortunately it’s a gloriously beautiful morning.  So I grab my iPod and ear buds and with one command, “Go Car,” The Poodle leaps with knowing joy to run to the car.  He LOVES car outings.  We head down the hill and minutes later we are parked and ready for our 7-mile walk on the local “green-way” path that cuts through the Robert Trent Jones golf course.

The sun is shining and after months of bitter cold it is finally warm enough to need only a light jacket.  I’m thoroughly enjoying a fast walk with The Poodle while listening to a Mozart playlist when we come upon a group of twenty or so people all dressed in camouflage hunting type attire.

Pulling my ear buds out I stop to ask a well-coiffed woman with terrific leather boots (they must be Italian, I gush…and “yes, they are” she replies) about the group of people gathered about with their dogs.  I learn that the group is from a local hunting club.  Members are training their young dogs in the art of “Retrieval 101.”

The Poodle and I stand, a good distance away from the group, to observe for a few minutes.   I watch mesmerized as a fellow behind a camouflage duck blind throws a duck toy out into a marshy area.  Then another fellow some distance away in the opposite direction instructs his dog to sit and stay before yet another fellow shoots a bb-gun into the air.  The dog is then instructed to “Go…Fetch.”  And he does so brilliantly; shooting off from his master’s side like a rocket, running at lightening speed, then slowing to sniff around for a moment or two until he finds the duck toy, retrieves it, and returns straight away back to the feet of his master.

Cool….I’m thinking …maybe this would be good training for The Poodle.  After all, he needs a new activity, other than barking at a stupid Cardinal all day long.   I look down at my boy.  What was I thinking?  The poor dear was already lost with fear just over the pop sound of a BB gun!   With his tail between his legs he’s pulling me vigorously in the opposite direction.  His eyes say it all; “Get me the hell out of here, please!”   Of course I quickly comply.  I don’t want my baby traumatized.

Now If only he  could agree to stop barking for me.  That would be sheer bliss.

The saga continues…

Stupid Bird, Part 2

So one of dearest friends (I’ll call her “Cookie” for now)… ever steadfast in our years of friendship …has offered her shoulder (and counsel) during my Cardinal crisis.  Cookie whole-heartedly sympathizes with my predicament (and worries too, I imagine, over the poodle’s welfare since the barking has gotten mighty annoying and has turned me into a Purple Minion at times).  As for the latter, Cookie should fear not; no harm will ever come to my beloved poodle although the poodle probably thinks otherwise.  Point in fact:  Ask the poodle about the volume on the house sound system.  Currently Rachmaninoff is blaring on the radio. Even the floor is vibrating.  I figure if the music is loud enough, the poodle won’t hear Harold.  The fact that poodle may go deaf is but a hazard of war.

Anyhow. Cookie agrees that Mr. Harold Headbanger’s behavior falls under the “seriously malfunctioned” category and she is just as perplexed at Harold’s dogged persistence as I am.  OK…I still believe Harold is just plain stupid!  But Cookie also brings up a point that until now totally escaped me:  Cardinals mate for life.

I’d forgotten about this fine point.

I read this line in an email Cookie sent me earlier today.  I’m reading it rather hurriedly in fact as I’m walking into the gym.  As I read her Cardinals mate for life statement I think for a moment…

and this is relevant to my situation how?

Until I read on:  “If his life-mate has perished he may be so distraught that he sees only to defend the memory of her.”  She goes on to suggest that this behavior might never end….

Oh my!

Not only that, but she contends with hundreds of Cardinals in her beautiful yard.

Wowza!  She is my hero.

I must admit the whole mate-for-life bit is rather touching.  Cookie has opened my eyes to the potential beauty of this Cardinal drama.   It has definitely pulled on my heart-strings!  But perhaps another scenario could be at play here:  Perhaps his beloved mate did not perish. Perhaps its simply a case of unrequited love because the smart object of Harold’s affection realizes from her perch from afar that Harold isn’t mate-for-life material.  Lovey-dovey, Cardinal smooches and songs aside, I’m with the smart female.  I’m betting she spied him for a day from a distance and upon watching him head-butt the window for the better part of a day said:  That’s one seriously disturbed dude.  I think I’ll move on to another party in town.

In the meantime, Cookie has generously provided a few more suggestions, all of which I will try because If indeed Harold’s soul-mate perished at the claws of a hawk or due to our unusually cold winter, then I’m afraid drastic measures will be called for, although I’ll admit I have no idea what those might be.  Truthfully, I’m not ready to go to jail for murder in the first degree of a Northern Red Cardinal (apparently it’s against the law to shoot them…damn).  Still,  I shudder to think about the possibility of hundreds of Cardinals:  so Cookie, I may need you to help with my temporary insanity case!

And why did Alfred Hitchcock just pop into my mind?  Yikes!

Time for a date with the yoga mat and some deep breathing!