It all started when I moved into my tree top level condo with my two cats, Norm and Cliff. I felt guilty that they couldn’t go outside — not that they went outside before, but they could look into the yard — so I started buying bird food to put out on my formidable balcony. I thought if the cats could watch the birds outside the glass doors, it would give them something to do.
At first, the birds didn’t find the food. I heaped it onto a bright pink plate, but nobody came around.
Gradually though, a few at a time, I started seeing — I don’t know, sparrows? finches? what am I, an ornithologist? — out there feeding. And the cats saw them too. I opened the glass balcony doors first thing every morning so they could watch through the screen, staring intently for hours.
A cardinal and a male and female blue jay started coming around (they were pretty easy to ID). Wow!
Then, the cats started waking me up early, not to eat, but because they wanted the door open. That worked until it started getting cold.
And the birds. The birds started coming in droves, 15 or 20 at a time. They go through 2 or 3 plates of food every day. When the food is gone, the birds screech until I feed them. I’m afraid they are going to start dive bombing the glass. I ran out of bird seed one day and made an emergency trip to Whole Foods to buy more. I’m pretty sure it was organic, and I’m positive it was expensive!
Now, it’s Job Lot bird food in bulk. If they birds aren’t screeching for 3 meals a day, the cats are making weird whale-like “clicks” when the birds show up.
At this point, I’m starting to be afraid the birds are going get so fat they won’t be able to fly.
And of course it had to happen.
I went out to feed the birds last weekend and got locked out — stranded in my back hallway that connects to the balcony. Not to worry though, I had a key lock-box installed outside after the last time I got locked out.
So in my (summer) robe and bunny slippers I went downstairs to retrieve the keys. Only to find that the construction workers installing new windows next door had piled their very heavy equipment in the very narrow space between the houses, around where the lock box is “hidden.” I struggled, I pulled, I grunted, but nothing moved. It’s 7 am on a weekend. Nobody is around and the workers aren’t coming. I’m cold.
Luckily, my phone was in my robe pocket. With a sigh, I called the number of the locksmith which, from the last time, was already programmed into my phone. I discretely loitered (or so I tell myself) at the side of my house until he came 30 minutes later. Then psst — over here — I waved him to the side door. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t the first time he’s seen a woman locked out in her robe. He didn’t seem at all surprised. It took him only about 20 seconds to open my door.
I just wanted to feed the birds. Increasingly, my monetary investment could send them to college.
Great, now I’m not only a potentially weird cat lady, but a weird bird lady too…