Wednesday, May 13, 2009


We've been meaning to take down the old wooden birdhouse that has been attracting a lot of bird activity in our backyard. At least the evidence of ubiquitous bird dropping was giving us the indication that there were lots of feathered friends frequenting the box hanging on the exterior of the chimney.

Yesterday, Air Boss was showing a landscaper the scope of work that needed to be done on our backyard. As I followed the guys, I noticed a small pink thing on the edge of our patio. The pink thing was MOVING.

"Funny, I didn't know that little frogs started out pink," I had thought to myself. Then I saw the pitiful flap of a small tiny wing. It was a bird that was no more than a day old and it was trying desperately to move somewhere.

I don't recall if I shrieked (which wouldn't be totally out of character for me when I'm faced with some hurt animal) or casually called out (which would have been my hopeful reaction) to Air Boss to come and help the bird out.

We figured he must have fallen out of the birdhouse. How he survived a ten foot drop was nothing short of a miracle but then we noticed the bag of top soil in the corner. That probably broke his fall (and perhaps some fragile bones).

Air Boss got a ladder, took the birdhouse down, and the landscaper pried off the roof of the little house to see if there was a nest inside. Lo and behold - Pinky had two siblings.

We didn't know if the mother bird was still caring for her chicks but the wooden house was carefully placed back near the chimney (not quite so high this time) with a newly crafted ledge on the slope of the chimney. Should Pinky decide to bungee jump (without the bungee or wings with feathers), hopefully the ledge would prevent him from tumbling down to the ground.

This morning I went out to check on the bird family. This time, I recall quite clearly that I let out a shriek. I nearly stepped on a quite dead Pinky. His little featherless body was smashed with some bird juice surrounding his tiny body. The ledge apparently didn't work.

I went back into the house, slid the patio door closed, and closed the blinds. Yup - that was sure going to take care of the carcass on the ground. I claimed to a surprised Air Boss, "I don't want Lolli to see it and get freaked out."

"Aren't you going to clean it up?" he asked. No waay. No siree.

I never made it to the birdhouse to check on the other birds until later on in the afternoon (after Air Boss had graciously cleaned up the aftermath). Pinky's siblings were fine and as a matter of fact, another bird had hatched. They were all alive and moving. The two older ones were opening their mouths for food. Sorry. No worms in our parched backyard.

Pinky's younger sibling was even tinier, pinker, and scrawnier than him [after posting this link, I've taken a second look at the photo . . . I believe there are four surviving birds].

Needless to say, we believe that momma bird shoved Pinky out of the house in his injured state where he fell to his death. Survival of the fittest? Don't know.

But what I do know is that I'll be very careful to look where I step tomorrow morning when I check on the chicks tomorrow morning.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Blackhawk, meet Blackbird

After searching the internet for used car deals, we've finally made the purchase and have now graduated from a "one-car family" to a more normal (at least for this area) "two-car family."  Wow - I feel like I'm back in high school with a newly minted driver's license and permission from the 'rents to drive the family station wagon.  It definitely feels good to have a sedan and not feel like I have to burn through 2 gallons of gas to get 'Shroom to and from school (actually with our minivan, nicknamed Blackhawk, it's realistically just under 1.5 gallons to drop off and pick up 'Shroom at school each day).

The whole car buying thing off Craigslist was a bit scary.  I believe that you gotta know your stuff or else be willing to suffer potential fall-out from being scammed.  To make a long story short, we had thought we were purchasing a car from a private seller.  The 2005 Honda Accord looked to be in fairly good condition with perhaps average mileage for LA (but I would consider it high for New England driving).  Even the mechanic said it was a nice car in great condition.

Well, as Air Boss went inside what I thought was the seller's home office to take care of the business transaction, the kids and I sat in the Blackhawk and waited in the parking lot of the apartment complex.  A few minutes later, an older gentleman claiming to be the owner of the very vehicle Air Boss was paying cash to purchase was trying to sell the car to another family (they had just walked off the street into the parking lot).

"What is going on?!" I had thought as I suspiciously watched the used car dealer charade.  Apparently the owner/seller/dealer knew something about the car because he knew the mileage and the make/model/year of the vehicle.  I stepped out of my car and simply said, "I think someone is buying that car."

The owner/seller/dealer/who-knows-who-he-is then took the family to another car on the other side of Blackhawk and proceeded to sell them ANOTHER car.  I took a quick scan of the cars in the lot and realized that our Blackhawk was perhaps the only car not for sale.  And, the building no longer looked like an apartment complex as I saw two Lexus RX300 pull into the lot (both of which had the bright neon yellow numbers on the front windshield).

Huh.  We've been duped.

So much for figuring we were buying it from a private owner.  I phoned Air Boss who was probably at that time forking over $K's to the first owner/seller/dealer/whomever inside.  We later find out that the guy's line of business is an importer/exporter of luxury vehicles to Korea.  Hmmm . . .

In the end, we bought the car (which incidentally is almost identical in color to Blackhawk, hence the name Blackbird).  It's still too early to know for sure if we've been scammed or bought a lemon.  At least we didn't fall for this scam:

"The transaction will be closed only through a 3rd party because this way we will both be protected. My time is limited due to my job in the army so I decided to use a service from PayPay which will serve as our 3rd escrow party in this transaction. To begin the transaction I'll need your full name and shipping address, I will forward the details of our transaction to PayPay and then you will receive an invoice from them. The car will be shipped insured to your location with DAS and you will have 5 days for inspection, I will pay for shipping."

Who would have "thunk" buying a used car could be so scary?

A traitor amongst us....

new Angels fan
Originally uploaded by radioflyer007
Yup - with this photo as proof, 'Shroom has publicly declared his defection over to the "dark side" (which is also ironically called the Angels).

We drove out to Anaheim to purchase tickets for the Sox/Angels game in a couple of weeks. For several weeks now, 'Shroom has shown he is not one to cave to peer pressure, parental threats, or anything else of the like. He has staunchly taken his position and is now a lone Angels fan living in Red Sox Nation (i.e. our house).

Now let's just hope for the sake of harmony in the household, he remains a Celtics fan . . .