bunt sign

Monday, April 23, 2001

This is the frantic email I sent to my cousin Sherry in Iowa last night, a more detailed version of a note to my notify list:

Just when I was getting used to a nest of starlings living in my attic. . .

Well, not *used* to it, exactly, but I learned to live with the noise during the day, because I knew that as soon as the babies were old enough they'd move out. It's that way with birds.

Just when I got used to having them in my house, something larger and noisier has moved in. I'm afraid (although I don't know) that a raccoon or possum has eaten the baby birds and taken over their nesting area. I've heard a skritch-skritching all afternoon.

It's driving me nuts. Literally. I mean I'm a crazy person. I pound on the wall and shout obscenities at it. Every time I hear a scratching sound, I jump up and start pounding. It's made my hand sore, and I think I've started making a hole in the wall as well.

This is the first day of this, so I don't know if it'll keep up. If so I'll have to let the landlord know, but I don't know if he'll do anything about it. He pretty much ignores me and has never followed through on the things he promised when I moved in. I'm the one who has to pay to have the dangerous weeds cut down, so I guess it's up to me to find someone to clean out the attic and close up the ducts.

I'm just a little distraught with all this. I haven't slept all weekend, and now I'm so worked up that even if it gets quiet I doubt I'll sleep tonight. I hate having to deal with this kind of stuff.

Plus, the weed guy never showed up last week as promised, so I'll have to call him again. And the garbage company didn't empty my yard waste container Friday the way they're supposed to, so I'll have to call them. This week has started out so lousy that I might just decide to bash my head against the wall instead of my fist.

Other than that, everything's just dandy.

It was a bad night. I was up several times, but the last scratching I heard from my unwelcome visitor was at 4:30 this morning. And, with the sun, came the screeching of the baby starlings, not eaten up by the big bad wolf at all. (Oooh, I scared myself.)

I wasn't sure what to do. I handled my other problems. The yard waste container was emptied, and the yard got mowed. Then when the scratching started again about 4:15 pm, I called and left a message for the landlord. I'm sure I sounded pathetic, but no more than I felt.

Funny, once I dropped the problem in someone else's lap, I didn't feel so distraught about it. I found I could live with the noise, knowing that my landlord was going to deal with it. I think the biggest problem I had last night was not wanting to admit that I'd have to make a complaint call. I'm over that now.

He was here within a half hour of my call. He asked what I wanted done, and I told him I didn't care, as long as he took care of it. So he rousted the "babies" out of the nest. One of them flew away, but one of them wouldn't budge, so he sealed it into the wall. Obviously, they were big enough to be making the racket that kept me up all night. And I'll probably have one more sleepless night before it gets completely quiet.

Yes, I feel guilty. I'm a party to this, even though it wasn't what I had in mind. But I'm not in a position to tell the landlord what to do. I said I wanted it to stop, and it will. If I hadn't been so strung out by the noise and the lack of sleep that resulted, I would have just waited until the birds were gone. I'm just glad there was (or will be) only one casualty, even if it is a lousy starling.

I was hoarse today from yelling, and my hand was sore from pounding on the wall, but I managed to get through the day and get some real work done. I'm proud of myself for not collapsing halfway through.

The mower guy called this morning and said he'd send his man some time after two this afternoon. It was almost four by the time he got here, and I walked him through the yard, pointing out the obstacles. There are decorative rocks that aren't really decorative but can't be moved. There's a mound that was once a compost heap, and a pair of wooden structures embedded in the ground behind it.

It was late in the day and he'd been working in the sun for a long time by the time he got here, but he did a thorough job. He told me he doesn't usually spend as much time on this kind of job, but he liked my yard and wanted to make it look as good as he could manage.

And it does look better. With natural mulch (because I am not raking up the cuttings). He went way beyond the area that his boss and I talked about, and I felt so good about it that I gave him a big tip.

late afternoon, after the mowing

He was here so long that it was almost too late for me to go out and do anything myself. But I couldn't resist. A sunny day, with rather less wind than we've had lately, was too much for me to resist. Besides, there was a lot less to do now, and the weeds in the garden looked that much worse with the yard beyond looking so neat.

On a much happier wildlife-related note. . .

A goldfinch saw a hummingbird at the feeder this afternoon and couldn't resist. It landed on the feeder, chasing the smaller bird away, but it couldn't figure out how to get its big old beak into the little tiny hole. It looked confused for a second, then flew off.

Mom and I went to see Bridget Jones's Diary yesterday. She liked it more than I did. I was annoyed by the secondary characters, especially her trio of obnoxious friends. I did love her parents, though, and Renee Zellweger was as wonderful as everyone says in the title role. Her casting was almost the reason I didn't see the movie, but the rave reviews changed my mind, and I'm glad.

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Latest recommendations:

Tamar, Visions and Revisions, April 22, Life Changes. A wonderful, uplifting entry for a couple of reasons.

Happy journalversary, Jen!

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