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Hello, Hello, Hello!

Smile...!

I pull the car up to the curb in front of our home, and get out.  Walking up the sidewalk, I know she’s watching me.  As I reach the porch, I can see her through the window… her mouth is moving, but I can't hear her yet.  I open the door and step inside to her greeting.

           “Heh-LO!”

                       “He-llooooooo,” I say back, half chuckling.  It’s impossible not to be amused by her.

            “How are YOU?” she probes.

                       “Oh-KAY!” I reply, because I am now.

She chews on her ankle a little.  She’s excited.  She has so much energy she hardly knows what to do with herself.

            “It’s been a long day, sweetie,” I tell her.  “I’ll be right back.”

I set my keys and bag down on the front entry table, and go back to my room to change clothes.

            “
HEY!!” she yells from the other room. 

I say nothing.  I can appreciate that at least it’s a word, which is better than screaming, but I don’t want to encourage the decibel level.  I wait.  A few seconds pass.  I’m in the bathroom now. 

            “Hi!” she calls, sweetly this time.  I grin.

                      “Hi!” I answer.

           “Hi there!” she exclaims.  I repeat.

           “Hey there!” she sings.  I respond in kind.  This goes on for a few more choruses, echoing each other back and forth, until I return to the front room where she’s waiting.

The phone rings.

            “Hello?” she asks.  I snicker. 

            “It’s not for YOU,” I tell her.  I look at the caller ID.  Not for me, either.  I let it go.

            “Luv luv?”  I query. 

She puts her head down.  I skritch the top of it.  I pull her favorite treat in the world from my pocket.  Her eyes widen.  She takes it from me gently, and devours it politely, mumbling something with her mouth full that resembles two syllables.

            “You’re welcome,” I acknowledge.

She puts her foot in the air. 

            “Step up?” she begs.  She hasn’t seen anyone all day.

I give her my hand, and she takes it, closing her eyes and laying her head on my shoulder as I stroke the back of her neck. 

            “I love you,” she whispers, her face buried somewhere in my chest.

                       “I love you too, Crimson,” I assure her, kissing the top of her head. 

            “Okay,” she sighs.  She kisses my cheek, and I put her back on her perch.

 ***** 

There’s something truly remarkable about coming home to a pet who says hello and inquires about your day when you arrive. 

Pets are amazing.  I’ve had cats all my life.  There have been times in my life that they kept me sane.  Those were times I lived alone, and if I hadn’t had their love to sustain me, to quietly purr in my lap when I needed tenderness, I don’t know what I would have done.

But now I live in an insane household.  Besides me, there are two cats, two dogs (who comprise more than 200 pounds between them, and tear through the house like King Kong and Godzilla destroying Tokyo), two humans, and, oh, of course, the bird.

And, oh, my, wow, that bird...

I often ask my housemate, “How did we ever entertain ourselves before we got her?”

When he passes through downtown from his parking space to his office (where they regularly spend their days together) walking with her on his shoulder, she is frequently met with stunned passersby, giving themselves rubberneck whiplash from the sudden double-take as they spin around in awe. 

Invariably, they all seem to say the same thing.  She has learned this is the appropriate response to meeting unknown parties on the street, so, she’s come to preemptively issue the standard greeting as a newcomer approaches her in this fashion.  Leaning out from his shoulder, she looks directly at the stranger as only a bird can, with a pinpoint stare that bores right through them, and loudly declares,

            “
Hi, Bird!” which is usually met with riotous laughter.

The first sound she learned in our house, after the dog’s name, was my laugh.  She can imitate it perfectly.  I can never laugh without having her repeat it, which, ironically enough, generally makes me laugh more. 

She has two laughs... mine, and her own. 

When she breaks out MY laugh, it’s either because she’s parroting me, or because she’s grown accustomed to what gets me going, and jumps in before I can get started.  She's very astute that way.

Then, there are the quiet conversations she has with herself.  She acts out both sides of at least a 2-person dialogue, muttering in one tone and murmuring in another - nonsensical gibberish that only she understands.  The best part is when she cracks herself up.  HER laugh sounds like
Ernie from Sesame Street.  It’s impossible to hear without giggling.

What’s most eye-opening to me is the way her regular mockery of my amusement has called my attention to HOW MUCH I laugh.  I don’t think I had any idea before I met her how often I really let loose.

*****

I don’t live a sheltered life... not by any stretch of the imagination.  And I haven’t had a cloistered past, not by anyone’s standards.  Don’t ask me to compare notes on personal tragedies... it’s not a competition that benefits anyone involved. 

What matters is not that I’ve experienced struggles, or that I face challenges on a daily basis.  I’m no different than anyone else in this respect.  What matters is that I greet these struggles and challenges with levity and a keen (if not slightly twisted) sense of humor, defying them to darken my path.

I live with an eccentric, unruly, irreverent, capricious, idiosyncratic adult human male.  He’s a magician, a clown, a juggler, a fire-spinner, a roller-skater, a contra dancer, a heavy metal enthusiast, a rock-climber, a geocacher, a robotics warrior, a martial artist, an American Ninja, a yoga devotee, a business owner, an uber geek, a systems guru, a code Jedi, a web wizard, a modern cowboy, an evil genius, a mad scientist, a visionary, a dreamer, a doer, a devoted father, a doting daddy, an
attentive companion, an animal activist, generally goofy, occasionally a bit odd, and sometimes, just a little hard for the rest of the world to get.  But he's my best friend in the world.

There’ve been times when friends and family have wondered what draws me to him.

I think about Jessica Rabbit’s answer to the question of why she stayed with Roger.

Why?  Because he makes me laugh.



This is my family.  This is my life.  It may not be perfect, it's certainly a bit chaotic, if not at times maniacal, and lord knows it sure isn't simple... but it makes me smile, and that makes everything easier.  No, life isn't easy... but it's fun, and I love it.  And that’s good enough to get us by.



LJ Idol | Season 6 • Week 3 - Topic: SMILE
This post has been brought to you through an association with the online writing community forum, LJ Idol.
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Comments

( 90 comments — Leave a comment )
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impoetry
Nov. 4th, 2009 06:19 am (UTC)
Yay!
After your bird comment I read somewhere today I was kind of tipped off by someone saying hello to you AND then chewing its' ankle.

Very well done!
karmasoup
Nov. 4th, 2009 06:26 am (UTC)
Thank you. Yes... I figured that would be a giveaway to anyone who's ever been around exotic birds, but, to anyone else who caught it, it might just be a head-scratcher, until the light bulb goes off. This is actually based on a conversation that took place with her this afternoon, but, it could have been nearly any day. It's a pretty standard routine we have between us.
(no subject) - impoetry - Nov. 4th, 2009 06:29 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - karmasoup - Nov. 4th, 2009 06:32 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - impoetry - Nov. 4th, 2009 06:37 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - karmasoup - Nov. 4th, 2009 06:55 am (UTC) - Expand
mstrobel
Nov. 4th, 2009 08:21 am (UTC)
Oh I loved the video! :)

You had me from the start ... but REALLY had me at "She chews on her ankle a little" ! From there on in I was dying to know, who??
karmasoup
Nov. 4th, 2009 04:16 pm (UTC)
Yeah... I figured that one might throw some folks for a loop. Thanks for watching!
kiwiria
Nov. 4th, 2009 11:02 am (UTC)
Lovely :)
karmasoup
Nov. 4th, 2009 04:22 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
(Deleted comment)
karmasoup
Nov. 4th, 2009 04:20 pm (UTC)
This would have been a much different post if that was me and my dog or my cat talking that way... I'd probably be posting either from the next broadcast of nightly news, or the loony bin! ;)

That reminds me of a story I read in a parenting humor feed:

One day the first grade teacher was reading the story of the three little pigs to her class. She came to the part of the story where the first little pig was trying to accumulate the building materials for his home.

She read: "...And so the pig went up to the man with the wheelbarrow full of straw and said, 'Pardon me sir, but may I have some of that straw to build my house?'"

The teacher paused, then asked the class: "And what do you think that man said?"

One little boy raised his hand and said: "I think he probably said, 'Holy Shit! A talking pig!'"

The teacher was unable to teach for the next ten minutes.
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - karmasoup - Nov. 4th, 2009 04:32 pm (UTC) - Expand
kittenboo
Nov. 4th, 2009 02:29 pm (UTC)
nice, this entry really gives some insight into you and your family :)
karmasoup
Nov. 4th, 2009 04:21 pm (UTC)
Scary, huh?
rejeneration
Nov. 4th, 2009 04:31 pm (UTC)
OHHH! I want your birdy. ((=
karmasoup
Nov. 4th, 2009 04:43 pm (UTC)
Isn't she great? She's actually not technically mine... she belongs to my housemate, who made an agreement with his daughter before he got her that she would have one of her grandchildren care for the bird (she's 7 now), but, she's pretty much adopted us all as her family.
brand0new0day
Nov. 4th, 2009 08:14 pm (UTC)
I was wondering if it was maybe a dog that you were personifying at first but a bird is so much more interesting! I wish I had a bird! Great entry. :)
karmasoup
Nov. 4th, 2009 09:13 pm (UTC)
Nope, no talking dogs in my life! This was not an imaginary conversation in my head... she said all that, and more! Thanks for checking it out. ;)
shadowwolf13
Nov. 5th, 2009 04:26 am (UTC)
This is awesome! :D
karmasoup
Nov. 5th, 2009 05:22 am (UTC)
Glad you liked it!
pixiebelle
Nov. 5th, 2009 09:17 am (UTC)
Love this entry :) Animals are amazing. I would love to have a bird, especially one that talks back to me!

I love how my dog and cat greet me when I come home. I can only imagine what it would be like if they could speak to me!
karmasoup
Nov. 5th, 2009 09:12 pm (UTC)
It's really something! Don't get me wrong, I still very much love my dogs and my cats who can't talk, and we have a very special relationship, but, Crimson is only 7 years old, and already has a vocabulary of over 200 words... it's amazing when she chooses to use them. A lot of them, like those you saw mentioned here, she actually understands well enough to use correctly. She also sings (usually at the top of her lungs!) in the shower. Yeah, she's a true joy. I'm so happy she's in our lives.
libra_dragon
Nov. 5th, 2009 03:23 pm (UTC)
This was great:) and made me think about how my cat and my recently passed cat keep/kept me entertained and made me smile.

Good job!
karmasoup
Nov. 5th, 2009 09:16 pm (UTC)
I'm so sorry for your loss... I lost a cat a just under 6 months ago, and I'm still not over it. I know you're not supposed to have favorites, but of all the pets I've ever owned and lost, this one hurt the most. He was only 11. He never didn't want to be held, no matter what else was going on around him. He spent MOST of his life purring, from the moment I held him in my arms for the first time, until the day he was gone. I'll be glad when I can get to the point when thinking of him makes me smile, instead of tearing up because he's gone.
(Deleted comment)
karmasoup
Nov. 5th, 2009 09:41 pm (UTC)
Thanks! She's a handful!
sherriola
Nov. 5th, 2009 08:55 pm (UTC)
Grin. love that! love your crazy household with all your animals. and love your bird!
karmasoup
Nov. 5th, 2009 09:48 pm (UTC)
Aren't they nuts? Did you see in the video how the dogs had completely stripped all the cushions on the couch, and thrown them on the floor, like a tornado whipped through? You'd think they thought they were championship wrestlers, or something, and needed mats to throw down on! Yeah, they're a hoot!
edith_jones
Nov. 6th, 2009 12:32 am (UTC)
I'm frightened of parrots and large birds of that sort so I don't know their habits, so you certainly did leave me wondering what kind of pet would be capable of talking and chewing its ankle....or whether you had an exceedingly odd child. This entry genuinely made me smile, and even laugh out loud. Thanks for that!
Allie.
karmasoup
Nov. 6th, 2009 02:10 am (UTC)
Yeah, it would pretty much take a bird person to have caught that particular characteristic. For everyone else, I was guessing it would just create a bit of confusion, followed by a sudden a-ha moment at the reveal.

I'm sorry you're frightened of birds... I hope that wasn't due to a bird-related trauma. Ours has truly brought joy into our lives.

I'm glad you were able to enjoy this either way, and thanks for watching!
(no subject) - edith_jones - Nov. 6th, 2009 03:36 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - karmasoup - Nov. 6th, 2009 04:15 am (UTC) - Expand
hightekvagabond
Nov. 6th, 2009 02:34 am (UTC)

HI BIRD!

karmasoup
Nov. 6th, 2009 04:21 am (UTC)
Yeah, THAT'S the look!
onda_bianca
Nov. 6th, 2009 03:56 am (UTC)
Interesting! I wasn't expecting it to be a bird!
karmasoup
Nov. 6th, 2009 04:17 am (UTC)
Aheheh... I gotchya, then, didn't I?
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