While Jamie and Dave are freeflying with their students in Moab, Utah, I am packing up my apartment so I can hitch a ride to Orlando with them on their way back. They are going to be on the road for two years starting in December, and I am going to be staying at their house while they’re gone. This is going to be the start of some big changes for me and the flock.
For the past five years, following my divorce, I have been living in a very small apartment – one small bedroom, a bath, and a living room/dining room/kitchen combo, about 550 sq. ft of space. Joining me was my 14 year old cat, Chaz, (who just recently died from complications following minor dental surgery-I am heart sick over his loss), and my five parrots.
I had been looking for a larger place in November of 2008, just about when retailers were starting to panic about the downturn in the economy, and my position at my job was cut. Since taking on more expense, including the military macaw that I was preparing to re-home, was no longer feasible or practical when I had no income, I decided to stay put. I found another job at a lower rate of pay and felt lucky to have a job at all.
Several months ago, Jamie emailed me about their plans and asked me if I was interested in moving to Orlando. I thought about it for a couple of days, and decided it was the perfect opportunity to make some much needed changes. With a bird room and outdoor aviaries at my disposal for two years, not to mention a LOT more space, I will be able to work with my birds in ways that have been impossible over the past five years.
Most importantly, I will be able to separate them and dote on them individually without another species being nearby to voice their objections. The cockatoos have no patience for the wants of the smaller birds. The smaller birds think that the cockatoos are too needy. They don’t see eye to eye on many issues.
So I’m packing, packing, packing – throwing away anything that is not absolutely necessary or that has no serious sentimental value. I have moved enough times to know that I have three stages in my packing process. I am currently in stage 2. Stage 1 is the when I throw out all of the things that I should never have been keeping in the first place. This is the stage that has me wondering why I have been saving that box of unused checks for a bank account that was closed over ten years ago. In stage 2, I separate the absolutely must keep items from the I kinda still want this pile. A lot of talking to myself goes on in this stage. Stage 3 is when the actual packing takes place. It is also when I inevitably throw out everything in the I kinda still want this pile that I didn’t have the courage to throw out in stage 2.
I suspect that in the end, I will be taking many more birds belongings than human ones. It is hard to imagine how these tiny little creatures have accumulated so much. I’m wondering if they have been ordering things on line while I’m at work. I am getting so excited for moving day!
Author Patty Jourgensen specializes in avian health, behavior and nutrition and has been working with and caring for rescue birds since 1987.