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Am I still sewing? I’m still sewing. I’ve lost exact count, but I’m right around 300 masks or so at the moment. We’ve done five bulk donations and I’ve sent masks all over the country to friends and family and pretty soon I’m going to learn how to make masks for the dogs. (That’s not true. They’ve barely survived the indignity of winter sweaters; I wouldn’t subject them to masks.) I have twice now been offered money for 100 masks and 1) I am still sort of terrible at this, my sewing is a little, uh, free-form, plus 2) the whole idea was to donate, so the first time I turned it down flat and the second time I asked about the money (hey, I’m not making any money right now, is all I’m saying) and it was a big corporation but the offer was… astoundingly low. So. A-donating I shall go, until the fabric runs out or the machine breaks.

I’m also doing a predictable amount of stress baking, by which I mean there are aaaaaaaaalways some sort of cookies/bars/donuts/cakes/muffins/etc. on the kitchen counter, so when you see me emerge from quarantine weighing 600 pounds, just know I did it for the kids. Yeah. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it. (They remain tiny rubberband-width wisps of human beings, of course. Damn them and their youngster metabolisms!)

Despite the relative dearth of activity around here, I do have three small stories for you today.

First, it’s not quite two months ago that I first tried my hand at grooming the dogs my own damn self, and although it went okay, I didn’t go as short as the groomer does, mostly because I was being cautious and nervous. As a result, even though a professional groom will last them about 3 months, both dogs are already looking a tad bit homeless, which meant it was time to saddle up with the clippers again. I did Licorice yesterday and honestly I think this time I hit my stride. That or she’s just so cute it really doesn’t matter, but c’mon, she looks good, right?

No joke, I gathered up all her fur in a grocery bag when I was done, and the bag ended up bigger than she is. I don’t quite understand how that works, physics-wise, but it’s true. She is tiny and trim except for her ridiculous floofy ears and tail, and I am super proud of myself. (Also, note how gray she is. What a ridiculous old lady she is becoming.)

Today I have to groom Duncan. Duncan (a.k.a. our favorite Lhasa Asshole) bit me the last time I tried to brush a snarl out of his face. So. Here I am writing instead of grooming Duncan. Haha. Ha. (Help.) I’m sure it’ll be fine. Once I work up the nerve.

Second, right after I last wrote, Chickadee turned 22. Quarantine birthdays are mostly disappointing, I think, plus at 22 it’s possible she’s realized that it’s all downhill in terms of hoopla after you pass 21, but whatever. We did our best to make it a fun day for her. Not a lot worked, but at least I managed one surprise that thrilled her, and that was that it’s been five years since the birthday of the rainbow dachshund Converse—which have since then been loved absolutely to death—and although I’m sure she would’ve loved an identical pair, there are none to be found, so she had to settle for a pair of genuine Pride Converse with rainbow lightning bolts and rainbow soles. They’re sold out everywhere and I maybe acquired them a looong time ago and kept it for a surprise, so she was stoked over her new shoes, at least.

Second and a half (ha), we’ve been sheltering in place for, what, not quite two months? Tying together both the dog-grooming and the rainbow shoes is that in this time that feels interminable but really hasn’t been that long, I have cut Chickadee’s hair three times and dyed it once. At this point she has a dark blue pixie and short of shaving her head (don’t tempt her; she’s done it before) there’s nothing left to be done, so I hope she’s happy with it. (She says she is.) (The pixie is really her Look but for both high school and college graduations she grew her hair quite long, for reasons which I’m not sure are even clear to her. After this last cut I said to her “There you are!” because I don’t think I’d realized—as she inched her way shorter and shorter after the last grow-out—how much I missed her signature short hair.)

Third, I’m going to attempt vegetable gardening again this year, even though my track record with the thieving squirrels drove me out of the veggie business several years ago. Also I’ve since done things like bought hanging flower baskets for the front porch and then just left them there after the flowers died, so clearly I’ve learned a lot in my time away from gardening. (I have not.) But the flower baskets in front are important because a few weeks ago it seemed like there were constantly a couple of birds hopping around in one of them, and I commented to Otto that it would be funny if they decided to nest in there. AND THEN THEY DID. So suddenly there were baby birds in my hanging flower pot and it was like I’d PLANNED to leave those dead flowers there as a gift to nature.

Very little makes me as happy as baby birds. I don’t know why.

And then yesterday we had some mulch delivered and while one of the workers was walking around outside (not wearing a mask! I should’ve given him one!) he managed to bump the planter and it fell down, which I’m sure he thought was no big deal because it was obviously an empty planter of dead flowers, except I happened to be sitting in the front room when it happened and I saw it all in slow motion and I started yelling “OH NO OH NO OH NOOOOOO” and went running outside like a crazy person, babbling about babies and practically sobbing, so in conclusion we can never order mulch again. No, wait. In conclusion, baby birds are pretty resilient, and I ran around scooping them up while this poor dude apologized profusely, and I got them all back in the nest and hung the pot back up and then waited by the window like a war widow until the mother bird returned to check on her babies. They seem to be fine. The mom was suspicious for a few minutes but then went right back to barfing up food for them, so I guess it’s okay.

Did I sneak outside and take the planter down to check on them again this morning? I did. The babies were all nestled together and, more importantly, all alive. How far must that tumble to the concrete feel like for a tiny, fuzzy newborn bird? How are they all still alive? Let’s just call it the small miracle I didn’t know I needed until it happened.

18 Responses to “Rainbow redux”

  1. 1
    Liz Durham April 25, 2020 at 12:36 pm #

    Oh! Baby birds! 💕

  2. 2
    StephLove April 25, 2020 at 3:03 pm #

    Happy belated to C. Quarantine birthdays are hard. My youngest turned 14 in late March. By that point schools were closed here but there wasn’t a stay-at-home directive yet, so we had a one-guest-at-a-time party on the porch that ranged over most of the day. My eldest turns 19 in a little over a week and my birthday’s about a week after that. I’m just hoping we’re out of this by my wife’s birthday (in November).

    I’m sorry work has dried up for you. I’m a work-at-home writer, too, but in my niche (health writing), there’s still demand.

    We get mourning doves nesting on our porch frequently. About half the time it results in baby birds. This wasn’t one of those years. Too bad. New life would have been cheering.

  3. 3
    Julie April 25, 2020 at 4:17 pm #

    Happy birthday to our April 18 birthday twin! Yes, quarantine birthdays are lacking, and our main gift took its own sweet time arriving from across the pond, but being able to celebrate in person was pretty great.
    Love my mask…you’re a pandemic hero!

  4. 4
    Monica April 25, 2020 at 8:47 pm #

    Just don’t “get” having any kind of dog who has to be groomed! Perhaps you could write a blog post about this – who gets a dog that requires grooming, (actually how does any dog get to the point where they “require” grooming) , versus those of us who just get dogs who don’t need grooming! I’ve never even cut my dogs toenails! Actually as I’m typing this I realize that my kids require much less overall… Maintenance?… Than your kids Seem to… They’ve never had any life-threatening diseases, or have had to take time off of life- although They both had IEP’s in high school they kind of came through it fine ! I am a single mom by choice so I’ve never had anyone but me involved in their lives, including financially, but hey they both seem to have made It through high school – one is now a junior (COVID who knows!) and other a deans list college sophomore – kind of normally…You know living in dorms and coming home in the summers and getting regular old jobs…Maybe it’s all related? Kids and pet-wise?

    • 4.1
      Mir April 25, 2020 at 8:56 pm #

      Re: pets, two of the four of us are allergic to dog fur/dander, and dogs with hair are hypoallergenic or nearly so. We are not allergic to them. But they do require regular haircuts.

      As for your kids being lower maintenance than mine… um, congratulations? I really don’t know how to respond to that.

      • Becky April 26, 2020 at 11:37 pm #

        Ignore, ignore, ignore! All pets and children are wonderful (in doses) and not available for comparison. Some people need a chill pill. Thanks for your mask work. My niece is a nurse and my sister in the Public Health Dept. so I know your efforts help.

    • 4.2
      Chickadee April 25, 2020 at 9:04 pm #

      I mean I moved out and lived independently and graduated college summa cum laude (early, even) so I would say that I turned out just fine? Maybe seek validation for your good fortune somewhere else ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    • 4.3
      Niki April 25, 2020 at 9:43 pm #

      So Monica what you’re saying is that you (or your kids) somehow deserve some sort of award for them not being stricken with a life-threatening disease (which strikes randomly – it’s not like we choose these for ourselves or our kids)? Or that somehow your stellar parenting/dog parenting style is what has kept your children healthy and on the right track on life? Get real, lady! First, you’ve got no say in whatever dice get rolled for your kids – it’s more like Oprah throwing those out: “You get OCD! You get rheumatoid arthritis! You get ADHD! You get Bipolar Depression! You get some crazy thing that we will see 6 doctors for and it will take 5 years and several thousand dollars to get a diagnosis for!” As for your children making the “right” path through school and jobs and the deans list – good for them, but don’t be so sure that has much to do with your parenting. It’s just as much nature as it is nurture. I’ve got two kids, raised in much the same manner. Both about the same place on the gifted scale, one a bit more driven than the other. Not-So-driven kid wandered her way through college in 7 years. She got there eventually, and now is so driven in her career it terrifies me. Driven kid? Had health and mental health issues starting in middle school. Never affected grades or school. Graduated, went to a top college, stricken with life altering disease in Senior year, continued school and two jobs, graduated with top marks so they could go to one of their dream grad schools. Still suffers medical condition which makes life so difficulty yet us 2/3 of the way through. Truth is, life is never fair, and it’s rare that anyone gets the perfect parents to deal with their mess. At least one of mine did, and for sure Mir’s two did. I’m really not so sure about yours, but I guess we won’t know until something goes wrong.

    • 4.4
      Dawn April 26, 2020 at 1:08 am #

      Did you strain anything patting yourself on the back there, Monica?

      You are obviously not a regular reader or you would know what amazing young adults Mir and Otto have raised, so why the rudeness? Is it fulfilling to pick on strangers’ children for health conditions they didn’t ask for? Does it make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside when you insult another mother’s parenting? Is this how you want your kids to treat others who’ve had different life challenges than they have?

      Maybe get a real hobby. Learn a new skill (like compassion!). Binge some free Netflix. Call your kids. Trim your dog’s nails.

    • 4.5
      The Other Leanne April 26, 2020 at 11:00 am #

      I’m guessing your dog stinks and has skin issues if you never groom it. I’ve had a number of dogs over the years, short-haired, long-coat, large, small, indoor, outdoor, you name it: Poodles, Doberman, Lab, Shepherd, Spaniels, HUSKIES; and every one of them needed and benefitted from periodic grooming. It’s part of good animal stewardship to care for the skin, ears, glands, and coat, and to remove any number of potential irritants, allergens, and parasites. Unless you are daily exercising your dog on abrasive surfaces, their nails will need trimming. Without it, you risk unnatural curvatures that can be uncomfortable/painful for your dog.
      I don’t think your children/pets are problem-free, but that you are willingly oblivious to the problems they have.

  5. 5
    Meghann April 25, 2020 at 9:24 pm #

    HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY CHICKIE! I met you one time, many moons ago. I brought my youngest with me, and you were voluntold by your mom to keep her occupied. Lol.

    That was just a preface to say this person that lives in your computer (phone?) is so proud of you, and all you’ve survived and overcome. That future’s looking kind of bright!

  6. 6
    Kendra April 26, 2020 at 3:51 am #

    Happy Birthday Chickie! Wow you are awesome Mir so many masks made and donated! Sorry you have a Monica being a boob here. Clearly she probably part of the population who is protesting to go get a haircut and doesn’t give a rat’s behind who she infects!

  7. 7
    Claire Bingham April 26, 2020 at 5:46 am #

    @Monica Weird flex but okay…
    Why even read this blog then, I mean if everything with you is problem free?

    • 7.1
      Anonymom April 27, 2020 at 9:42 am #

      Congratulations Chickie! As a fellow likely EDS patient (I didn’t pay for the testing but I have most of the signs)– no, our parents didn’t give us this disease!

  8. 8
    Mel April 26, 2020 at 11:09 pm #

    To answer the first question you actually asked in your weird humble-braggy insulting comment: First off, not everyone “gets a dog”. Sometimes, a friend needs a home for their dog because they are being forced to move and can’t take them. Sometimes you just connect hard-core with them at the shelter. Sometimes a friend or family member dies and if you didn’t take their animal, they would go to a shelter or be abandoned. HOWEVER, even if someone seeks out, researches and “gets a dog” that requires more grooming than average, they could have many reasons. We have a rescue Shih Tzu, and he requires grooming every 6-8 weeks and limited-ingredient food, but he doesn’t irritate my partners allergies, hardly sheds at all, and even his semi-specialty food costs us much less per month than most larger dogs just because he eats less of it. Most importantly, we wanted a companion animal that could DO things WITH us. He goes with us to run errands, to visit friends and family, and is always allowed into hotels etc. when we travel. He also weighs under 15 pounds, so he can literally be picked up out of a dangerous situation and is easy to carry when necessary.

    As for the rest, if you feel that you and yours are so superior to everyone else (obviously due to your perfect choices and flawless parenting), I wish you luck in life. You’re going to need it.

  9. 9
    Adelaide Dupont April 28, 2020 at 7:22 am #

    Tale of two hairs:

    In 1995 I had my hair quite long and more often than not tied up – it was to my shoulders and beyond when it was loose.

    2001: the hair was short and it had grown a little bit long. For most of 2002 I had my hair short and clipped.

    These pixie haircuts/bobs are all right.

    Chickadee: realised you are a contemporary of someone who will have a birthday in a fortnight.

  10. 10
    Karen April 30, 2020 at 8:47 am #

    Nice save!!

  11. 11
    Derpson May 6, 2020 at 9:31 am #

    Your dog looks gorgeous and happy. :) Good job! Here’s hoping the second time with Duncan will go much more smoothly.

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