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I have a morning routine that I like to follow religiously. I get up, I yawn, I go to the washroom, I get my cup of personality (some people refer to this as coffee, I like to think of it as a life-saving elixir) and I sit outside on my deck to breathe in the fresh air and centre myself for the chaos that will inevitably follow with two preteens in the house.

There are mornings I can't do this. Three mornings a week. Three whole mornings when my routine is shattered because my daughter decided to join the school volleyball team which is coached by the anti-christ. (Albeit, a fairly young muscular, if-you-squint-he's-kinda-hawt type of demon.)

This anti-christ insists on scheduling morning practices at 7 freaking a.m. Which means I have to drag my arse out of my bed at an ungodly hour, before even the sun rises to squire my bundle of love as she bounces around in the back seat and chatters as only a fresh faced youngster can and bite my tongue until it bleeds to ensure I don't rip her face off from my crankiness. All before I can have the first sips of my morning elixir.

To say I dread these mornings would be a wee understatement. I'd rather have my pretty private parts chewed off by a rabid wild animal than get behind the wheel of my car before I'm fully awake and centered. Damn. If only I had thought about this reality before deciding to live my life out in the boondocks of Alberta. It would be much easier if I we lived in town and I could just yell at her to wake her sorry butt up and walk herself to practice.

I never was one for forethought and planning.

Earlier this week was one such joyous morning. I was cranky because I forgot to set the coffee maker the night before and didn't have time to brew a fresh pot before having to drive Fric to practice. I was tired, cranky and not fully awake. How safe is that? A grouchy, sleepy redneck behind the wheel of a speeding vehicle. Good times.

After dropping her off I went home and headed straight to the coffee pot. As I waited for my magical elixir to brew and inhaled the sweet intoxicating aroma of coffee, I walked over to the pantry to give Nixon, The World's Greatest Dog, EVER, a morning treat. While in the pantry I spied the bag of bird seed and reminded myself to fill my bird's seed dish.

This is normally a chore I pass to my children; not because I am lazy, but because I am scared of my lovebirds, Abe and Lester. They are angry little fackers who take great delight in biting off hunks of skin as you try and wrangle their food and water dishes out of their cage. They hop around the bottom of their cage and cackle at you maniacally while they peck at your fingers looking to draw blood.

Yet, despite this annoying blood-thirsty habit they have developed, I love my birds. They soothe my soul with their birdy tweets and sweet preening. I can overlook their vampire tendencies because they are so darned pretty.

Reaching into their cage, I braced myself for the onslaught of carnivorous bird beaks on my bare hand. Except there was none. Weird. That's when I opened my eyes fully and realized something was wrong. Horribly wrong.

My beloved Abe and Lester were dead, on the bottom of their cage, snuggled so it looked like they were eating out of an overturned food dish.

I immediately started to hyperventilate. Dear lawd, I hadn't even had my coffee yet and here I was in the middle of a morning tragedy. I didn't know what to do, so I backed away from the cage, shaking, and headed for my coffee pot.

Caffeine cures all ails, including the shocking surprise of discovering your beloved pets dead in their cage first thing in the morning.

I don't know why they died. Trying to fight back the tears, I did the only thing I could think of. I called my darling husband.


"Where are you?" I half-croaked, half-whispered.

"What's the matter?" he immediately asked, knowing by the tone of my voice something was very wrong.

"Abe and Lester are DEAD!" I gasped as the shock finally broke and the waterworks began.

"Oh honey, I'm so sorry. I know you loved those birds."

I sniffed, somewhat mollified to have my grief acknowledged. "When are you coming home?"

"I'm on my way home now, actually, love. I should be home shortly."

"Good," I replied. "You can dispose of their bodies."

"No f*cking way, love. They're your birds."

I blinked, not expecting this answer from a man who has been known to dispose of deceased pets for neighbours and friends. "What do you mean? You always take care of the dead things around here."

"I love you Tanis, but I'm not touching dead birds. They could be diseased." And with that, the image of my manly husband morphed into a sissy little pansy, scared of a couple of tiny rotting birds.

"I can't do it!!!" I wailed. "Don't make me do this, Boo. You are supposed to wear the pants in our marriage." (Nothing like playing on his testosterone to force him to do something. Heh.)

"Just toss them in a garbage bag and put them outside," he reasoned.

"No. I am just going to cover the cage with a sheet until you get home," I declared. "And if you don't take care of my birds I'm not above blogging about what a weeny my husband is. There are other daddy bloggers out there who would totally do this for me. Daddy bloggers who love me. Don't make me trade you in for one of them."

Silence. "Wow, you are just EVIL this morning."

"I'm in mourning. And the caffeine hasn't kicked in yet," I explained.

With that he sighed and I knew my tactics had worked. Heh. Sometimes it pays to know someone so well you can play them like a fiddle. (Just kidding Boo!)

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Goodbye sweet Abe and Lester. How I loved you.

A bit later, Boo walked into the house and wandered over to see the remains of my sweet Abe and Lester.

"Hmm. I wonder what happened. They were fine last night," he murmured.

"I knowwwww," I half cried, half hiccuped.

"Weird." Taking his finger, he poked at them to see if they were playing opossum. They weren't. "Yep, they're dead."

Thanks Sherlock. I hadn't figured that one out for myself.

"I wonder what they would taste like?" he grinned and started laughing when I gasped horrifically and smacked his arm.

"That's disgusting! And so mean! Don't worry Abe and Lester, I'd never eat you," I assured my birdie corpses.

I stood by silently, as Boo took the cage outside and lovingly stuffed the birds into a bag to go bury out by a pear tree I had planted earlier this spring. I watched him dig a hole and place them in it and when he started tossing dirt on my precious birdie babies, I had to look away.

Poor Abe and Lester. I'm sorry you died, my sweets. But I'm glad you flew to heaven together. And I'm kinda relieved you won't take small chunks of my skin out anymore with your vicious curved beaks, I thought to myself.

Boo came back in and washed his hands and hugged me. "I'm really sorry love," he murmured as he kissed the top of my head. I nodded and buried myself deep into his embrace, trying to block out the image of my gruesome discovery from earlier that morning.

"I know what will cheer you up," he offered. "I'll take you out for supper tonight and we can celebrate Abe and Lester and the joy they brought to our house as they shit and chirped and scattered bird seed all over my floor." (A little passive aggressive I thought, but hey, he was offering to wine and dine me, so why not?"

"What are you in the mood for?" I asked, half hoping he would name my favorite Vietnamese restaurant.

Boo looked at me and grinned a wicked grin and said, "Well suddenly, I'm in the mood for chicken wings."

And that bugger my loving husband did have chicken wings later that night. Every time he took a bite he'd grin and say, "Oh Lester, you taste so good. Abe, I didn't know you were so tasty."

Let's just say the man did not get laid.

And I'm currently in the hunt for a replacement model. Not just for the birds. But for my birdbrained boy as well.

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Reader Comments (57)

I have never met your husband (that I know of), but have to say that I like his sense of humor.

Sorry to hear about your birds. I have a cockatiel that I have had since he was a chick (he turned 15 yrs this year) and can imagine how bummed you are.

I will be sure to raise a chicken wing

September 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDaddy Joe

Argh! I goofed on my html tag and the end of my comment got cut off. I meant to say that I would raise a glass tonight. :)

September 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDaddy Joe

They probably taste like chicken... everything else does.

I do have to say that while birds, imho, are rarely good for much, parakeets do tend to be FABULOUS for removing wallpaper off walls. Just set their cage next to the wall and peck-peck-peck, it'll all be gone in no time.

September 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterUndomestic Diva

Boo is one twisted mofo!

September 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJessie

It just figures you had blood-thirsty love birds. And a hilarious husband with a downright scary sense of humor.

No, really, I'm sorry your birds died. :o( Before your coffee. Because that's the real tragedy here.

September 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRhea

I'm really sorry about the birds. You and Boo need to get Colleen Power's newest CD and listen to "Dead Bird in the Garbage" - exactly the same dynamic! Lyrics here: www.colleenpower.com/rejects_lyrics.htm but the real thing is better :)

September 26, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterhanne

Sorry about the birdies, they were very pretty.

I had to snicker at your hubby, I share his sense of humor.

September 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJenn

Oh, I'm sorry about your birds. It's hard to lose beloved pets. I am glad your husband came through and properly disposed of them for you. And I'm glad you weren't too cheesed off at him for all the wisecracks.

I hope you consider getting a new set of lovebirds when you are ready for them. They are such beautiful birds.

Feel beetter.

September 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterTrish

Geez! "Feel better" ... not "beetter" ... can't type worth a darn today.

September 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterTrish

I'm sorry about your birds. (And the fact that you have to have your daughter to volleyball practice at the un-godly hour of 7AM because that sh*t is unbelievable. Who can play volleyball at that time of day?)

Also, you make me laugh, very hard, but, please go get a carbon monoxide detector. If both your birds died together, you may have a leak in your furnace. (My whole family was once saved by the untimely death of a hamster. And no, I'm not making that up.) (Thanks for the laugh, though.)

September 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLawmommy

A little West Nile never hurt anyone.

September 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterWhit

ok, Ms. Tanis... understandable, with out knowing it, i think, you did the right thing...... by covering up the cage/sarcophagus with a cloth cover ( i hope the bunting was black in colour) you had a small wake service for your two birds...then your beaux "boo" came home and finished the job as the undertaker...i hope there was a proper benediction, in Latin no less... you also mentioned caffeine cures all, well, alcohol does too...(it does not solve the problem, but it feels good)

question 1... Abe and Lester??? two boys in a little cage... no female action??? well then, the two just up and committed suicide, a tontine; instead of degrading each other sexually, (unless "Abe" and "Lester" were lovers, hence a Shakespearian love Tragedy of Canadian proportions...)...a good lawyer can hold you responsible...

question 2... what are your 'spawn' going to think of you when they log onto this web sight and read your maternal sentiments...sxchitte, they just might say something like, "gee, it's amazing she did not sell us to the Moors..." or... "ok, well now i as a parent have a good starting point from (Tanis) when i have kids, thanks mom"... (i understand it is a literary record of their formative years) :-)

September 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterCapt jeff

Tanis, so sorry about your birds. (They kinda freak me out, but I know what it means to be attached to a pet, so you have my sympathies.) I've been reading your blog awhile and never commented, but I had to let you know how much you cracked me up with this particular tale! I really enjoy your writing, and always feel a spark of hope when my trusty, google reader tells me you've been busy ;-)

September 26, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterbikerchick

And as my heart swooned at the possibility of being a boy toy, I read Boo's response and realized, I would've said the same things. But I would've taken care of the avian carcasses without telling you to do it.

And then I would make you chicken wings.

September 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterWill

If you had taken them to the Vietnamese restaurant, I am sure they could have whipped them up into something tasty.

Probably given you a 20 percent off for one dinner to boot!

Just saying........

September 26, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterlarrylily

I'm really sorry about your birds but that was a f*cking fantasticly hysterical story. My morning sucked - but not anymore. :)

September 26, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterkris

If they both died at the same time its highly likely to be enviromental, get everything checked, it could be carbon monoxide, birds are the first to go when somethings wrong in the air

September 26, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterjenny


He ate CHICKEN WINGS! And MOCKED your beloved birdies?!?!

That's rough.

Good thing you killed his lawnmower a few months ago.

September 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterErin

Aww shoot, that's no good. My husband would do the same crap to me though. I wish I could have animals lower on the food chain than our cat...she will kill and attempt to eat anything she can. Bleh.

September 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJolene

Ack!! I'm so sorry about your birds, but absolutely get your appliances checked out and a carbon monoxide detector. Could you have a gas leak? Have you cleaned the oven lately? I've heard that fumes from that can be deadly to birds.

September 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKrista

Wings! That's too funny. Funny enough to forgo one night of passion in my book. Thanks for the story, but I am sorry for the loss of your birds.

And listen to Jenny. Get a carbon monoxide detector just to be on the safe side.

September 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJim

While I am horribly sorry about your sweet birdies, I cannot say that you have my pity for your morning hours.

I have 3 teenagers. I live in an urban county in Virginia. A county ruled by the true demons of the earth. Demons that decided many years ago that teenagers should be ON THE BUS AT 6 effin:20 AM. School starts at 7. Since the 4 of us share the bathroom, that requres a wake up time of 5 effin AM. So no, no pity from me.

Terribly sorry about your lovely birdies though.

September 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDebs3

I'm sorry about Abe and Lester, they were super cute. My mom is a huge Lovebird fan and I can tell you why they were mean and tried to bite you, should you decide to get another bird.

Lovebirds are notoriously territorial. You need to get one that was hand fed and never from a generic pet store because they don't have time to hand feed properly. Also, you can only have one at a time. If you have two then they'll only love each other and won't want anythign to do with you. We had one that was so sweet it'd ride on our shoulder and take a bath in our hands.

September 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterCasey

Gosh, you can even make a sad story funny!
And I can see why you and Boo are so happy together. You both have wicked senses of humor.

September 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDonna, aka Yellow Jeep Blonde

Both of them died simultaneously? That's really weird. Did someone poison them?

Sorry to hear about them - I hate losing a pet.

September 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAvitable

I've heard that overheating an empty non-stick pan will off gasses that can kill birds. Were Abe and Lester in the kitchen?

September 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAZ

That sounds like what my husband would do!

September 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnnabelle@Christian Momma

Wow - losing both at once really stinks...and I'm sorry to hear about it. I am, however selfishly, glad you're able to write an amusing story after such a bummer of an event.

September 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterBill

Poor birdies! I'm sorry, T. Your husband, tho, is hilarious.

September 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterBecky

Aw, poor things. And poor Tanis - I'm sorry you lost your birdies. You and boo are funny, though.

(and as the daughter of a fireman, I have to second or fourth or whatever it is now to get things checked out - carbon monoxide can kill you guys, too, in large enough quantity - /assvice).

September 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterFishyGirl

yeah, one of the first signs that 'something is amiss in the air ' is birds die...fall right out of the sky... when that happens, we were taught (Iraq-1990) to "Don for Gas"...

we need your writings for our sanity... and waiting to check out your chest on the net!!! :-> piercings and all...

September 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterCapt jeff


Sorry your birds are dead.

September 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterBackpackingDad

bad boo,bad bad boo

rest in peace, Abe and Lester

September 26, 2008 | Unregistered Commentertony

I'm so sorry about your tweeters. And by tweeters I mean birds, not the boobies you like to talk about so much. I'm glad you were able to take your husband's humor with a grain of salt. That says a lot about the two of you. But on a really serious note, as other people have commented, get your house checked, and quickly. The first thing I thought of was the old canary in a coal mine thing. Hope all is well.

September 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterFancy

God, I'm sorry sweets. I would totally take care of them for you and I'm not a daddy blogger. (Although I would also totally read a post about your boobs over an internet giveaway ANY DAY)


September 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLoralee

Awww I'm sorry, Tanis. I know you'll miss all that pecking. Sometimes it's the only action you can get.
The last time there was a carcass, I had to do it. It's the hazard of having a husband that works out of town who won't tell the boss he has to leave, drive 3 hours home and take the damn thing out of the house.
It was a rat.
It was gross.
And I doubt it tasted like chicken.

September 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer McKenzie

Aww. I'm sorry about your birds.

September 26, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterzandor

Getting the house checked is a good suggestion. But having said that, I have always heard that two lovebirds in the same cage will always go at the same time. It's just something in the makeup of lovebirds in particular that makes that happen.

September 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterTrish

Do you cook with teflon pans? Can be dangerous to birs in certain situations.


September 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle

So sorry you lost your birds.

I hope you are able the find non-bitey ones next time.

September 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterEllyn

Birds freak me the frack out. I think they know it, too, because they are forever flying into my sliding glass door. Once or twice, I could understand. More than that, I'm starting to think they're out to get me.

Sorry about this experience. Glad Boo came through for you. Tool Man would have put that bag down in the garage, got side-tracked, and a week later it would have been an entirely different experience. Boo is good people.

holy crap on a crutch - volleyball at 7 am? no amount of hawtness can redeem that.

i totally understand the coffee thing - mine is programmable, and i have a coffee mug with sugar and milk in the fridge too - 'cause i need it to function.

and i'm sorry about your birdies. i had fischers lovebirds as a kid, i know how sweet they are, when they aren't trying to kill you... but definitely get a carbon monoxide detector. sad as it is if abe and lester died from it, better them than you.

September 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterEricka

Sorry about your birdies. I haven't had a pet for all of my adult life just because I'm afraid of losing them. I'm a wuss.

September 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterChristina

Though I feel for you, I can't help but grin.

I'm sorry. This was more funny than tragic!

September 27, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMahwash

Oh, you are a better woman than I am. I am such a hypochondriac that I would've immediately assumed the house was filled with toxic air and that everyone must evacuate immediately!

September 27, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMomo Fali

Awwww honey, I am so sorry! I too am wondering why they died TOGETHER, hmmm... Maybe they were like the old long time married couples that when one dies the other soon follows from being heart broken. They WERE love birds! So sad. Bad Boo on the chicken wings! Reminds me of my hubby.

September 27, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterO'Neal

PS - Was their cage near the kitchen? I learned that the fumes emitted from Teflon coated pans can kill small birds like that, so we got rid of our Sally Bird. Well, not just that, she was an evil little bitch and hated the boy child and chased him from room to room.

September 27, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterO'Neal

I'm so sorry about your birdies. What a terrible thing to realize before coffee!

September 27, 2008 | Unregistered Commentertutugirl1345

Losing the birds sucks. Weird how they went together, I'd check out what people have said about carbon monoxide.

And you want early in the morning? Wait until they are in high school. I was APPALLED when I found out daughter had to catch the bus at 6:38 in the morning for high school and promptly forbid her to join any clubs or teams that involved being at school for zero hour. Ever. After school stuff, no problem.

September 27, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKaty

Boo you are hilarious. However, I'm sorry T about your loss.

September 27, 2008 | Unregistered Commenteramandashea17

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