Honestly, I Blame Birds for This Particular Poe-Tastrophe

Well helllllllooo, kitty cats (man, I miss me some Brandi Glanville. Hopefully those BV ladies will be back on Bravo soon).

Let’s jump right back into this blogging thing, shall we? Should we start with a sad little story of a not-at-all young girl and her lost keys? Well, technically, they were not lost, per se. They just weren’t safely ensconced in her little grubby hands like they should have been.

And so we come to the latest edition of “Poe-tastrophes: Lessons for Supposed Grown Ups.”

At least I was fully clothed.

Last Wednesday, I came home, laced up my shoes and went for a nice little run. My forever travelling partner XFE was out of town for work again, so I ran a nice leisurely sweat-flecked three miles. On my way into the house after my run, I noticed that XFE’s black car was parked under a tree and covered in little bird souvenirs.

As I’ve mentioned here before, I am part of a dynamic two person car washing team that practices its’ skills every weekend, so I have a very vested interest in minimizing the workload ie: keeping bird crap off the damn car.

I went inside, took a shower and came back downstairs to go out and move the car, grabbing my cell phone just in case XFE called. I moved the vehicle and tried to get back in the house, only to discover that I had locked myself out with nothing but the car keys and my phone. (Since I don’t really drive, I do not keep the ginormous key fob on my key ring with the house key. In fact, my key ring, which I carry every day, only has the one house key on it.)

Now, obviously, this is not the first time I’ve ever locked myself out of a house. Far from it. I used to do it all the time at our old place, which is why I had a key in a tiny Ziploc bag hidden under a rock in our backyard. I would just squeeze into the narrow passage behind our house, retrieve the key and unlock the back door and no one would even know about my blunder. Including XFE.

However, this is the first time I’ve locked myself out of the new house. I had no similar system set up as of yet.

I ran through my (admittedly limited) options: smash a window (probably in the back of the house) and reach in and unlock the door. But the idea of gashed wrists kept me from pursuing this one.

I could just go to a friend’s house and drink wine and feel sorry for myself. I have three such friends that live near me. But that didn’t really seem like it would solve the whole not-having-a-key problem. Plus, Petunia might die if she had to skip a meal.

The only person I knew with an extra key to our house is our maid, Elizabeth. I immediately called her and demanded to know if she was in the vicinity. Her English is a bit limited, but I quickly surmised that she did not spend her evenings hanging around Old Town hoping to come to my rescue. Nor was she eager to leave her own family and come hang out on the stoop with me.

So, I had her text me the address and tried to drive over to her place. I used my supposedly-smart phone to get directions, and learned that this mere 15 mile journey would involve I-95 South, I-95 West, I-495 West, VA 236 and I think a few I-395s thrown in for good measure. All to go what is approximately 15 miles.

Now, as I mentioned, I really don’t ever drive. I ride the metro. Or, I read my magazine while XFE drives us to wherever it is we’re going. And I had no idea how to get to Fairfax. I mean, I kinda know where it is on a map in relation to Old Town, but I couldn’t tell you for the life of me how to get there.

I tried three different times to navigate my way to Fairfax and failed completely. I was so determined to figure this stupid driving thing out all on my own. Every time I’d retrace my steps and end up back near the start, I would talk myself into giving it just one more try. It suddenly had become vitally important to my self-worth that I conquer this seemingly mundane little project.

Eventually, about an hour in, I finally did find myself on the correct road towards Fairfax. I was soon detoured to a semi-familiar road near my house, at which point, I gave up and called XFE crying. He suggested I just call a locksmith. About 45 minutes (and $225) later, a very nice young Soviet-bloc accented man came and opened my front door.

Dude, I feel your pain.

It was actually pretty interesting how the locksmith did it. Apparently, we have quite a good lock that can’t actually be picked, so he inserted these two small inflatable plastic pillows in our door jamb and pumped them up. Then he used a very scary looking crowbar-type thing to jimmy the lock. It literally took him seconds and caused no damage whatsoever to the door jamb.

He complimented me on our house, wrote up the bill, took my credit card information, told me about their frequent user program (the next time I lock myself out of my house, they take $20 off the bill!) and left me to a sleepless night as I fretted about just how easy it was for the locksmith to get into my house. I literally didn’t sleep a wink. Instead, I spent a lot of time thinking about my bruised self esteem and places to scatter extra keys (ie: my neighborhood friends’ houses.)


BREAKING: Cats and Birds Are Not Friends

There is a rumble brewing the animal advocacy jungle, pitting claw against beak.

This poor cat is being attacked by a flock of birds.

It started with a very mundane and not terribly enlightening study from the University of Georgia (paid for, I’m sure, by U.S. taxpayers) which found that outdoor cats in the ALT are straight-up, cold-blooded, gangsta thug killas. Particularly when it comes to lizards and frogs.

“Results indicate that a minority of roaming cats in Athens (44%) were witnessed stalking or chasing prey; and 30% captured wildlife. Reptiles, mammals and invertebrates constitute the majority of suburban prey. Hunting cats captured an average of 2 items during seven days of roaming. About 41% of the prey were lizards, snakes and frogs; mammals such as chipmunks and voles accounted for 25%; and birds only 12%.”

OK, so only 30% of the 55 participating Georgia cats were actually gangsta-killas. But I personally have seen Petunia attack a bowl of Meow Mix and let me tell you, it is chilling. Nothing gets out alive. There are remnants (kibble crumbs) all over the place. It’s carnage, I tell you. Absolute carnage.

Sharpening her claws for an attack. Or, rather, just sitting on her scratching box.

I’m actually afraid to sleep around her, which is why I make sure I’m hugging her tightly to me when we sleep together at night.

So based on my own research (call me Dr. Obvious), I’d like a government grant now, please and thank you very much. It costs a lot of money to keep Petunia in kibble. And I’d like to buy one of those tiny cameras to put around her neck like those other kitties have.

By the way,  that University of Georgia website? Pretty lame. I think even thePoeLog is more technologically advanced. You guys have partnered with National Geographic on this CritterCam thing (does anyone else smell a NatGeo reality show out of all this footage?). You can go ahead and hire some student from the computer department to build you a better-looking website. You could even pay him in pizza, Mountain Dew and Clearasil.

Or you can pay them with this.

Anyway, so of course, with all these startling statistics of a whole 5 birds being killed over the course of a year by cats, the folks over at the American Bird Conservancy got their feathers all ruffled. And, seriously stretched the numbers.

“If we extrapolate the results of this study across the country and include feral cats, we find that cats are likely killing more than 4 billion animals per year, including at least 500 million birds. Cat predation is one of the reasons why one in three American bird species are in decline,” said Dr. George Fenwick, President of American Bird Conservancy, the only organization exclusively conserving birds throughout the Americas.

How do we get from 5 birds per year to 500 million? I mean, I know its math, which I don’t trust anyway, but seriously?? Also, I know a lot of people let their cats outside, but are there really enough cat thugs running around out there to kill 4 BILLION animals. I think I would notice 4 BILLION animals being left dead in the streets.

The bird group also pointed out, for no apparent reason, that feral cats kill pregnant ladies.

“Most feral cats (between 62 and 80 percent) tested positive for toxoplasmosis (a disease with serious implications for pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems).”

So pregnant ladies, take note: don’t eat cat. It will kill you.

You can however pose with one if they match your outfit.

Then, the crazy cat-lady crew over at Alley Cat Allies (which I donate to each year. Because I’m a crazy cat lady), got all in a hizzy and issued this press release:

“Alley Cat Allies, the only national advocacy organization dedicated to the protection and humane treatment of cats, today criticized the American Bird Conservancy for grossly misinterpreting new research being done at the University of Georgia and using it to support misleading claims that cats are one of the main reasons for bird species decline.

“The American Bird Conservancy’s propaganda is just more of the same–spreading fictions about outdoor cats and making wild ‘extrapolations’ about their imagined impact on other species,” said Becky Robinson, president of Alley Cat Allies. “They’ve used unpublished data to fuel their extremist agenda of killing cats. But there just isn’t evidence that shows cats have any negative impact on bird populations.

Robinson noted that the American Bird Conservancy’s campaign to eradicate cats is shortsighted and ineffective. “Killing one species to save another can never be the answer,” she said. “People are interested in humane approaches for cats, and it’s time that everyone in the animal-loving community acknowledges that.”

And then Becky snapped her fingers in the air in a Z formation and flounced off, her cat-t-shirt billowing behind her.

Stuff that might ACTUALLY be killing birds:

OK, you’ll notice I couldn’t find an actual link for that last one, but come on. The Olympics are lame. They could use the spicing up.

To sum up: Birds are definitely under attack. But they aren’t in danger from the Petunia’s of the world. However, they should be safe and avoid the Olympics.