Monday, January 31, 2011

The Best Snowstorm Story I've Got



When we lived in Brooklyn in the mid 90s, we had two parakeets: Guido and Rudy. Although a parakeet and not a parrot, Rudy could talk and it was pretty hilarious. He'd say things like "Lemme out, goddamit!" and "Beam me up, Scotty!". If one of us had a bad cold we'd suddenly hear Rudy "coughing".

One fateful morning we approached the cage and Rudy was puffed up like a big snowball (this isn't the snow-part of the story. Bear with me.) Below him lay Guido, dead as a doornail. Emma, age 9, was devastated (but at least she didn't have to spend the night with the corpse like Rudy had). She put Guido in a little box, took him out to the backyard of our brownstone and buried him. Then she sent him a postcard, addressed to "Quido, Heaven." (She could never pronouce "Guido". Some Italian SHE is!)

A few months later, Rudy was acting strange. My husband Tony took him out of the cage and instead of flying around, he walked on the kitchen table like someone failing a sobriety test. Seeing his distress, Tony cradled him and the bird died in his hand. Very sad. Emma, of course, wanted to bury Rudy right next to Guido, but this was 1994 and there was about 3 feet of snow in the yard. What to do...what to do...

Tony got some plastic wrap and wound it around the stiff little body of Rudy, and put him in the freezer to keep him preserved. Every time the snow was about to melt, we got slammed with another storm. We knew that Rudy's burial would have to be postponed until Spring.

In May, I found out I was pregnant and we made plans to move from Brooklyn to Connecticut in July, to be closer to my job.

A few weeks after the move, I bolted upright in bed one night and yelled: "RUDY!!!!" Yep...we had moved out of that house leaving a Rudy-sicle in the freezer for the new tenants. After the initial horror, we could not stop laughing. (And now I imagine this is a story another family tells as well!)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Six Weird Things

A blog post from 2006, pertinent because of #4. I have not collected these in a long time, but now I can add one to the list: Jared Lee Loughner.

My blog buddy Metro Dad posted a meme called "Six Weird Things About Me That I Haven't Blogged About Before". Since I'm pretty uninspired in the writing department these days (work is sucking my brains out), I figured this is an easy one to keep you entertained:



1. I have been struck by lightning.
Yes, I really have been. I was about 22 years old, sitting in my apartment watching an electrical storm. I sat on the window sill with my hip against the metal casement window, and my foot on the radiator. Perfectly grounded. The next thing I knew, it felt like someone had thrown a rock through the window and I did air time across the room. I was shaking and crying and had a nice big burn on my thigh. I know now that I should have been checked out for neurological damage, but I didn't know it then. Being struck can lead to all kinds of things like depression and anxiety, both of which I have. Who knew?

2. I cannot stand beans of any kind.
Can't even be in the same room as a bean. This is really because my father tortured me with them as a child...the classic "eat them cold for breakfast the next morning" scenario. Baked beans, kidney beans, and worst of all...lima beans. Not the green ones, the white "cannelini"variety. The pivotal incident happened when I was about five. That night at dinner he told me that I didn't have to eat my lima beans. I could not believe my good fortune! Too good to be true! Indeed...when it was time for dessert, I got a big bowl of vanilla ice cream -- riddled with my previously discarded beans. I had to eat the entire thing until I gagged. (My mother recently told me that the intention was to get me to like beans by 'disguising' them. Uh huh.) I can barely write this paragraph without vomiting.

3. I am named as Inventor on an International Patent application.
I developed a web-based application for the multi-billion dollar company I work for, at a point in time when the type of work I do was rarely managed by computers, let alone web-based applications. The patent was for a "method of doing business" and I wrote the document myself (our patent attorney didn't understand enough about what the system was). The patent has been pending since 1999, but since other companies have since developed similar systems, we are no longer pursuing it.


4. I collect newspaper clippings about murderers and serial killers whose names contain either "Wayne" or "Lee".
You would not believe how many there are! AND... one extensive study of serial killers was conducted by Wayne State University. You cannot make this stuff up.

5. I never test drive cars before I buy them.
I know, it makes no sense. But at this point in my life it's tradition. (The same rule does not apply to husbands, although I can't say the test-drive has helped me anyway.)

6. I have an irrational fear of bees.
I have never been stung, but I worked as a research assistant one summer to an allergist who was doing a report on bee sting deaths in the US over a 10 year period. No conclusions could be drawn. Some people, like beekeepers, had been stung a million times...then, BAM. Dead. Others had never been stung before. First time, BAM. Dead. Some knew they were allergic and were being treated. Didn't matter. Some dropped dead, some went into anaphylactic shock, one was in a coma for 30 days, one had complete internal hemmhoraging. While other 16 year old girls were working at the supermarket that summer, I was transcribing accounts of doom and gloom and having a recurring nightmare about getting a box of bees in the mail. Twilight Zone, I think.