Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The story 'bout the robin

Different versions of this story have been floating around, so I might as well set the record straight.

It was the first night after returning from the hospital, and Anne-Marie could only get comfortable in the recliner. I slept on the couch for two hours at a time between giving the prescribed doses of five different medications. I finally fell into a deep sleep sometime between three and four in the morning.

At exactly 5:00 AM I awoke to this: CHEEEEP!!! Whap! There was a robin flying around our living room. Our cat, Sydney, caught a bird, carried it through her "kitty door" in the wee hours, and then came to show us her prize.

(This may easily be considered natural cat-like behavior to many people reading this. I would agree if our cat was not a complete and total slug. After 13 hours straight laying asleep in the same position, I usually like to take her pulse.)

I woke up just enough to be dangerous. The bird was flying around the ceiling above Anne-Marie as I tried to intercept it. Sydney thought this made the game much more fun as she ran around the recliner waiting for it to come back down.

I realized that the bird was wounded about the time that it landed head down in the magazine rack. When I went to retrieve it, it jumped up and flew across the room to the kitchen window. Oh great! This thing was gonna bleed on our curtains!

When the robin slumped down into a pathetic heap on the windowsill, I formulated a plan to save our window treatments. First, I threw Sydney outside so she would be out of the way. Then, I went to the laundry closet and put on the (size extra-small) cleaning gloves and grabbed the laundry basket.

I returned to the kitchen holding the basket, and crept slowly toward the bird being careful not to allow it to see my movement. When I made it to the center of the kitchen floor, I lunged at the bird and flipped the basket over its head before it could hobble away. I threw the upside down basket to the floor. The bird fell off of the counter with the basket (leaving surprises along the way).

I scooted the basket along the kitchen floor. The robin attempted to peck me through the squares of the basket on several occasions. I avoided the attacks by deftly moving my hands away from the targeted grids. There was no obvious way to get the bird outside that I could see, so I opened the door and slid the upturned basket in front of it. Then, I slammed the door as hard as I could.

I can hardly imagine what the 5:30 AM jogger must have thought as the door of our house flew wide open, then launched a laundry basket and cartwheeling bird down our front walk. I guess I'll never know.

Anybody wanna cat?


  1. I'm sure you didn't find that situation very humurous at the time (or even now), but I'm sitting at my desk at work dying laughing. The visual of seeing someone running around the house attempting to catch a crazy bird is just something you don't hear about every day (or in a lifetime).

    I hope Anne-Marie's recovery is going as well as possible.


  2. Not funny. Not funny at all.

    OK. I can't stop laughing about it--even if it was me!

  3. It may not have been funny at the time but the mental picture of you chasing a wounded bird around with a laundry basket just about kills me. It is unfortunate you didn't tape it for all of us to enjoy.


    P.S. Extra small cleaning gloves? That must have been fun.

  4. Poor Eli! Was this before or after you "got" to clean up Sydneys barf?!!!! What a HOOT! Jen

  5. That is a HOOT!! POoR Anne-Marie, did she sleep through this entire ordeal?! Seriously, Eli, you have such a way of telling a story. I'm dying here.

  6. Eli, I think you have missed your calling as a humor writer. Sounds like a short story for the Reader's Digest, (if you have to have a cat, you might as well make some money off it..) or at the very least Dave Barry's column.

    As a former cat owner myself, I feel your pain. We called our cat a "true sportsman". He was a catch and release kinda guy. We also experienced not only the fun of trying to cast out that fowl bird, with the addition of a madly cavorting, barking dog, but also were presented on several occasions with live rodents and snakes. In each case as we released them back into the wild the stunned expression on the cat's face that we were destroying his hard day's work, was priceless.
    Finally we wised up and got a screen for the window he formerly used as an entrance. Problem solved!