We had to clean our overstuffed house to show it to an appraiser today so we can refinance with a lower interest rate. Anyone who knows me knows how thrilled I am to tidy up. Cleaning the family room and maybe the kitchen for dinner guests is one thing. But...every corner and closet of every room...well, you know. So I paced myself perfectly. It took four days of focused dirty work to get to this point; one o'clock this afternoon - the hour of no return. So I was down to scrubbing the master bathroom and the family room, which was not that bad (so I left it for last), then a final vacuum sweep of the first floor. Whew! I am tired just remembering it! Anyway, I'm in my pj's at 11:30 am (because I want to shower AFTER I get all sweaty cleaning, and I started at 5 am, when normal people are still wearing pjs) and I'm halfway through sorting through the stuff on the bathroom counter when I go out to the kitchen to put away some clean dishcloths. As I pass through the family room I hear the flutter of wings, a whoosh of air, and a crash bang against one of the bay windows by the kitchen table. Once again I am visited by a pigeon, which has made his/her way down the chimney, out the fireplace and into the house. Sheesh, Mr/Ms Pigeon, could you have found a better time to visit? I have encountered many a pigeon this way, as our house sits in a lovely hollow full of trees and our chimney is the highest point. I am quite sure these are adolescent pigeons because #1: they egg each other on to head for the chimney, like the high dive for us humans ..."Come on Bert, you chicken!" and they head up to that way high chimney (I realize it is not really THAT high for birds). Then they sit on the edge of the chimney cap and pull faces, or tuck their wings under their wing-pits and strut around the edge until they fall in. And #2: they must be adolescents because they cannot see beyond their own beaks!
Usually I can whisper the birds to head to the open deck door, one whisper at a time, my soft reassuring voice guiding them to go toward the BIG light. All pigeons, I know this from experience, have the natural instinct to GO TOWARD THE LIGHT. The only problem is the glass gets in the way. So this pigeon on this busy and stressful morning, is the most un-whisperable stubborn creature ever to leave its sooty wing marks on our ceiling! Feathers are flying, droppings are...well, dropping. I am edgy because I have timed this morning and this was not in the plan and the dang bird just keeps slamming into the windows! Finally I stop whispering and I start yelling, the same strategy I used to try on my own adolescents. Same results, too. I try boxes and blankets and broom sticks. The dang thing even sat on the top of the back deck door and refused to look down 1/2 and inch to see it could simply fly out to his/her own personal freedom. I would have mused about the symbolism of it all; the trapped creature, the perceived enemy who is actually just trying to help, the irony of eyes fixed on the light beyond the glass when the open air is only inches away. Instead I called Libby to complain. "I can come down after I go list this house, she said" but I did not need her to fix it, I just needed her to hear me complain.
Well, ok, I did need her to fix it. So I am chasing this bird around the house in my blue pj's and the clock is ticking and the bathroom is only half cleaned and in walks Libby, who is not into whispering herself! I slide the vacuum over the floors so fast it cannot possibly suck up anything while Lib works on the winged intruder. Finally, after hearing various crashes and slam bangs, Libby declares she has liberated the bird! She runs off to do her real estate work and I head back to the bathroom, my face red as a freshly steamed summer beet. I hide the stache of unattended bathroom counter items in a basket and cover them with a towel, turn on the shower, slip out of my pjs, and THE DOORBELL RINGS! The appraiser is early! By the time I get to her there is no hiding the fact that I have had to exert more energy than I ever do in purposeful exercise just to get the place in the state where all I have to say is "Oh dear, please excuse the mess. I've just been so busy." At least the bird was gone before she came.