Friday, October 7, 2016

The Voices in my Head

I spent 10 days at my cousin's house pet sitting for her and to be honest I thought I was losing my mind.

Every once in a while I'd hear voices, very quiet, but still someone was talking. I couldn't make out what they were saying but I could most definitely hear them.

The first time it happened I started watching Shit Bird to see if it was him mumbling under his breath but he wasn't.

I shrugged it off to noisy neighbors but one night I heard the voices so I walked outside and couldn't hear them anymore.


The tv was off, the computer was off, and it wasn't the neighbors or the bird.

I tried to put it out of my mind but seriously, hearing voices was really starting to freak me out. I've met people who hear voices but they've either been wearing a tin foil hat or just let out of a psych ward.

I really started paying attention and noticed that it only happened inside her house.

Is the house haunted? I didn't get any bad vibes from the house and the voices weren't menacing or scary, in fact they didn't even sound like what I would assume ghostly voices sound like.

But I was definitely hearing them and by about the 5th day I was hoping they were ghosts because if they weren't I was undeniably having a mental health issue.

People have called me crazy for years but this was WAY past that.

And then, on my last day there, I was straightening the house and saw this.

Somehow while I was messing with the tv remote the first day I got there, I turned the radio on. It was on talk radio and turned down real low.

You have no idea the relief I felt.

I can deal with crazy but voices in my head? That's a whole different level!

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Ten Days with a Parrot

I have spent the past week pet/house sitting for my cousin, the Pie Lady. I call her that because she makes the best pie I've ever tasted.

The pet sitting part of the deal involves Nala


And Sinbad

Nala and Meara are the sweetest dogs and absolutely no problem to take care of.

Sinbad is a completely different story.

Sinbad belongs to my cousin's husband, the Mullet Master and he adores that bird.

The Pie Lady hates him and she calls him “S*#t Bird”

I've never spent any time around Sinbad but I was told that he will bite everyone but the Mullet Master and that he throws his food at the dogs when he's done eating.

That all sounded ok to me – I wasn't going to pet him and I'd pull his food out when he started throwing it so bird sitting shouldn't be too hard.

With the exception of getting his food and water bowls in and out of the cage.

The slide where his bowl is has to have a carabiner on it because he knows how to open the cage. But taking the carabiner off so you can take his bowl in and out is a problem because he might bite you in the process.

So you have to give him a pecan on the other side of his cage and while he's eating that you can open and close the cage.

Not a problem BUT this knowledge didn't prepare me for the noise this bird makes.

I spent the first half hour I was here looking for whatever was beeping only to realize it was him.

And beeping is far from all he does. He says “Hush Meara” a lot even though she doesn't bark much, He talks to himself real quiet and then goes “Ha ha ha” out loud, screams “Liar” anytime a certain political candidate comes on the television, rings his bell whenever you open the door, mimics the microwave and ambulances, roars like a lion, and overall makes one hell of a racket.

The first two days I thought the noises he makes were hysterical but by day five it wasn't so funny any more.

Neither was the fact that he does indeed throw his food at the dogs when he's done eating. As soon as he starts that you have to take his food bowl out or he'll make a big mess.

Because of that you have to feed him before you go anywhere and take the food out when he's done so he can't throw it everywhere while you're gone.

All was going well until Thursday night.

He started throwing his food on the floor so I gave him a pecan to distract him while I took his bowl out. As soon as the door was open he threw the half eaten pecan on the floor and bum rushed the door.

I managed to get it shut just as he got there but then he started pushing on the lock and pecking at my fingers.

I couldn't get the carabiner onto the latch because every time I tried, he tried to bite me. At the same time he's pushing on the door so I've got his food bowl up against the door, holding it closed but have no idea how I'm going to get the 'biner back on.

The last thing I wanted was him loose in the house.

I grabbed the sheet that goes over his cage at night and threw it over the cage thinking that would distract him long enough for me to get the cage locked but that seemed to really make him mad so then he was pecking at the sheet AND pecking at me.

I couldn't get to the phone to call my dad to come up and help me and couldn't lock the cage but I was determined he wasn't getting loose so I stood there with the bowl holding the door shut and trying frantically to clip the 'biner on.

I started trying to reason with the bird, telling him that other birds would love to have a pecan for a treat but he just looked at me with what I can only assume was contempt.

I jiggled the sheet which distracted him just long enough for me to clip the door shut.

Whew! It took 10 minutes but the cage was secure.

I went to bed with him still pecking at the sheet but pretty sure he'd be over it by morning and we could go back to our normal routine.

The next morning I got up, took the sheet off his cage, handed him his pecan so I could put his food bowl back in and change his water but he did it again.

Tossed that pecan on the floor and came after me with a vengeance.

Dad was coming to pick me up so when he got here I told him I needed help with the bird and then told him why.

“What do you want me to do? I'm not getting bit!”

We both stood there looking at the bird trying to figure out what to do and I decided that if Dad held a pecan in a pair of tongs he could distract the bird long enough for me to get his food in and change his water.

Sinbad tried yanking the pecan out of the tongs but Dad wouldn't let go and of course the pecan crumbled.

Dad tried to put the tongs between my hand and bird and the bird tried to destroy the tongs with his beak.

If you're wondering why there are dents in your tongs Pie Lady, there you go.

I finally got his food inside the cage but Dad and I were leaving so I had to leave the food in there while we were gone.

It is amazing how far across the room that bird can throw his food because when I got back there was bird food everywhere.

I handed him his pecan and he sat on that side of the cage, happily eating it – like he's supposed to - while I got the food bowl out.

It took quite a while to clean that mess up.

I can't tell you how bad I wanted to open the cage and the front door and wave goodbye as he flew away but I love the Mullet Master and he loves his bird so I resisted the urge.

I've started giving him banana chips instead of pecans and for now that's working but who knows how long it will last.

I'm beginning to suffer from bird psychosis and frankly my desire to let the bird fly away is starting to overcome my love for the Mullet Master.

Thank goodness the Pie Lady will be home tomorrow. She might call him S*#t Bird but he will forever be known to me as “That Damn Bird.”

Thursday, September 29, 2016

USS Alabama Memorial Park

Recently my Dad suggested we go over and explore the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park and since it's been years since I've been so I immediately agreed.

So on Sunday we grabbed the Oldest Island Boy and my nephews, Zig and Zag, and off we went.

The USS Alabama saw 37 months of active duty during WWII” participating in campaigns in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Known as the “Mighty A” she never suffered any casualties or damage from enemy fire.

After the war she retired to Puget Sound, where she sat unused for 15 years.

In 1962 the US Navy announced that the cost of maintaining the war fleet was too high and that they were going to scrap the Mighty A, as well as many other war ships.

The State of Alabama began a campaign to bring the Mighty A home. School children raised almost $100,000 in change and a corporate fundraising campaign raised the rest.

Bringing her from Puget Sound to Mobile Bay is, to date, the longest non-military ton/mile tow in history.

Seeing her as you cross the causeway into Mobile she looks huge but until you've explored her from bow to stern you don't realize just how massive this ship is.

The first thing the boys wanted to do was go as far down into the ship as possible so down we went.

I can tell you that the men who served on this ship did not need to exercise because the- amount of stair/ladder climbing and walking to get from one place to another is better than any workout you can imagine.

It was amazing to see everything on the ship – which is basically a floating city.

There was a dentist, barber shop, tailor, bakery, ice cream shop, infirmary, surgical suite, post office, brig, and just about anything else you can think of.

At one point we passed an isolation chamber for the sick and Zag asked why they would need to be isolated when there was already a good sized infirmary.

The Oldest looked at him and said “obviously you've never had Norovirus because if everyone on this ship got that stuff they wouldn't be able to function – at all!”

Which is true. A virus like that one spreading throughout the ship would totally disable the entire boat.

I wish I'd taken more pictures but I was enjoying wandering around the ship and hanging out with the boys and my dad so my camera stayed in my pocket for most of the day.

After exploring the ship for a few hours we had lunch in the Galley - which, by the way, has an amazing chicken salad sandwich.

And then were off to explore the USS Drum, America's oldest WWII submarine still in existence.

The sub is 311 feet long and only 27 feet wide and is credited with sinking 15 enemy ships during the war.

I cannot imagine how those men managed to live in such tight quarters without going stir crazy.

The USS Drum also serves as a memorial to the 52 submarines and their crews that never returned home.

We also spent some time wandering through the aircraft hangar that houses many types of aircraft and some of the vehicles used in all of the wars America has fought.

At one point we were standing in front of a restored truck and my Dad mentioned that it sure did look different from the one we spent so much time crawling under on Eglin Reservation.

I walked around to look at the sign and was amazed to see that we were looking at a Deuce and a Half.

The difference between this one and the one on the Reservation is amazing.

We had so much fun and even though we were there all day we are determined to go back because there was still so much to see.

A day at the Battleship Memorial Park is definitely a day well spent so if you're ever in that area make time to visit the park. You won't be disappointed.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Cry Me a River or Burn that Mutha Down

In the past few months it seems like I've been mentally hit by Mack truck after Mack truck. No matter how bad things seemed to be each day, tomorrow would bring worse.
Just when I'd think I hit rock bottom I'd start falling again.

I'm not going to spend an hour crying you a river but let's just say that 2016 has been the hardest year of my life.

I know that God has carried me through these past months because there is no way I've survived all of this on my own. It's been a very dark time and even when I could see no light at all I knew in my heart that God was there for me and that I would, eventually, come out the other side.

And I have. I'm bloody and bruised but I have survived.

They say God never gives you more than you can handle but for a while I was positive he had me confused with someone else.

We've had some major problems within our family that have been devastating and then, to top it all off, our business has gone under.

I've heard that money is the root of all evil but I'll tell you right now – NO money is probably worse.

So I've spent the past months being a warrior on some days and hiding under my bed on others.

I hate to admit it (because I hate being a coward) but it was the Island King who stepped up, took control and has put us on the path to a new and better life.

We're working hard every day to solve the problems with the kids and our marriage and he has chosen a new career – which I will tell you about soon.

Because of the problems we've been having my creative side withered and I haven't been able to write one single word.

Lately, as things have started to improve I've felt some of that creativity coming back but it wasn't until last night that my creativity bloomed and here I am.

The Island King and I haven't been sleeping much lately and last night we were pacing the floor, talking and planning this new chapter in our lives when we decided we wanted to get out of the house for a while.

It didn't matter that it was 2am, we were wide awake and decided to go park in a local parking lot, and catch some Pokemon. Needing to decompress some, it sounded like a good idea so we grabbed Buddy the Beagle and off we went.

Now I've never been a Disco fan but the Island King is. So as we were sitting there the song Disco Inferno came on.

He turned the radio up as loud as it would go and then proceeded to sing at the top of his lungs.

For the first time in months I laughed until I cried.

And as I was watching him I gained a new strength that I didn't know I possessed.

I had been sad and depressed over the mess our life had become but after last night I got the first good night's sleep I've had in months and woke up with a new perspective.

I'm no longer looking back and wallowing in regret. We're building a new and better life and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that we will succeed. We will fix what's broken and move forward as a family. I'm done hiding under the bed and am now strong enough to slay every dragon who steps into our path.

Being a die hard rock n roll fan I would never have believed that God would speak to me through a disco song but he did.

And I listened.

As for everything bad in the past – well we're just gonna “burn that mutha down”