Saturday, February 28, 2009

Escape Artist

My daughter Angie called me a few evenings ago, very upset.

I know I have mentioned Makamae, my feathered grandchild, in previous posts, but in case he doesn't ring a bell, Maka is Angie's cockatoo, or crested parrot, white with light blue rings around his eyes, and a happy sweet nature. He is adorable, and I love him, and he loves me too. He is over a year old now and very smart. He talks, and has a few favorite phrases, his name, and "I love you" and "Good night" when he wants to go to bed. I would be devastated if anything happened to him.

Maka is not Angie's only bird. She has also since adopted two cockatiels, Little Man and Cocos. I love them too, but this post isn't about them.

Both Angie and her husband Marty work, so during the weekdays the birds are in their cages, where Angie supplies them with lots of new toys to keep them busy. They have large cages. We call Maka's cage a condo, because it is actually two large cages put together. He has lots of room to play and not get into trouble. Little Man and Cocos have a separate large cage they share, placed so all can see each other. This way they keep each other company.

Maka, being a parrot, has incredible dexterity. His bird feet are more like hands, and he can manipulate his large beak extremely well also. He loves to play and pull stuff apart, and needs to do this actually. If unhappy or bored, parrots will resort to pulling out their own feathers if nothing else is available.

About a month ago, Maka managed to get out of his cage. He figured out how to open one of the small doors where his food dish is placed. This is very difficult because he would have to swing open a latch on the outside of the cage while simultaneously pushing open the door.

Besides the damage Maka could accomplish in a small time to the house, he could also kill himself. Angie solved the problem (she thought) by heavily taping the latch to the cage so the latch could not swing. We thought this would be enough.

Two days ago our escape artist managed to remove the tape. (No tape showed on the inside of the cage, so he must have spent hours working it loose.) Marty was the first to discover the crime scene, as he called it. When he walked into the house, Maka was nowhere to be seen. Eventually Marty found Maka upstairs in the computer room. Maka is not allowed to touch the computer, or the expensive computer pen (for obvious reasons). He has coveted the pen for a while now. Fortunately, Angie put the pen away in a drawer, so instead Maka went after the electronic mouse, another costly item.

His path of destruction included removing the extension cord from the television set downstairs, then precisely removing the plug from the cord. He also did some minor damage to the t.v. itself. Again, the t.v. set is an item he is not allowed to play with. He also found the tape gun Angie used to tape the cage shut, and removed all the rubber from the handle. The tape gun will still work, just won't be as comfortable.

And last, but not least, he flew onto the stove and removed one of the knobs that turns on the gas. The angels must have been watching, because he didn't turn on the flames and catch fire, or burn down the house.

So, he managed not to electrocute himself, not to burn himself, and not to burn down the house. I'm sure he had a lot of fun while it lasted, but he won't be getting out again. Marty and Angie spent the evening at the hardware store buying locks and chains that we hope will keep our little Houdini safe.

I stopped over yesterday to check on Maka (just in case) but he was playing with his toys, totally unaware of the scare he gave us all.

Visit my website to read a FREE EXCERPT of my mystery romantic-suspense novel, Her Last Letter

Books are available online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and can be ordered through most bookstores.

Technorati Tags:
, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Technorati, Social Networking, and Skiing

I'm trying something new in order to let people know about my novel. I'm not sure how it works, or if it will work for me, but I'm told it will help drive traffic to my blog (and therefore my novel). It's called Technorati, and you basically tag words in your blog that represent the message in your blog, and these words somehow wind up on the net. The site I used also brings news of your blog to social networking sites, which again I know nothing about, but they appear to be widely used and helpful also.

It doesn't take much to do this, so I'll try putting these tags on each of my blogs and see if anything happens. I've already tagged the last three I've written. You'll be able to see my efforts at the end of this blog once I complete it.

On the home front, I've gone skiing up north, and it was incredibly cold the whole time. I didn't race this first race weekend, which upset me a lot, but I was changing health plans and the current one had not verified (at least to my satisfaction) that I was covered. I am normally extremely cautious, and probably shouldn't even have been skiing, but I did. I looked at the odds and decided that since I hadn't hurt myself skiing for many years, the odds were in my favor. I would never advise anyone to do this though.

I used my new race skis, but turned the settings down so they'd release easily if I needed them to. I just had to watch out for out of control skiers so I wouldn't get nailed. The new skis were great. I can always tell if they will work for me in the first few turns. The Fischers I bought were extremely easy to handle, and I liked them immensely. They are a bit heavier than my old skis, but I knew that. With my last pair I tried something different, and bought a youth model ski. They are built as well as an adult ski, I think, but you have to be a lightweight to use them. I just fit the requirement, and it saved me money, but I wasn't sure if I wanted another pair. I'll see how I do in the races this year and that will let me know what to buy in the future.

I'll let you know how it goes.

Hope you're having a decent winter.

Visit my website to read a FREE EXCERPT of my mystery romantic-suspense novel, Her Last Letter.

Books are available online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and can be ordered through most bookstores.