Monday, October 1, 2012

Total Bust

I work with more than 200 budgies.  Budgies = parakeets.  The zoo got the budgies to fill the aviary in the new walk-through Australia exhibit.  The zoo visitors loved the budgies, but as the mid-September night temperatures dropped well below 50F, the birds needed to be moved to their warm winter area.  I spent more than a week catching and transporting birds.  It was my life and I had budgies on the brain.  It made me want to go see the wild parakeets living in Chicago.

The problem is, I hate Chicago.  I mean, I love everything Chicago has to offer.  I love the sports teams and the great zoos and aquarium and the museums.  I love the parks and the beaches and to some extent even the shopping.  I hate the crowds and crowds of people and the traffic.  I hate the crazy drivers who repeatedly cut me off.  I really don't like the guy who suddenly slows waaayyyyy down on the highway so his buddy can lean out of the window to puke.  (Are you drunk too, jerkwad?)  I don't like paying $25 every time I park my car or driving for a mile with not one parking place.  When I wanted to see snowy owls last winter and Chicago was a sure thing, I drove about 8 hours farther to Duluth instead.  Chicago.  Ugh.

Anyway, I talked Meghan into going with me.  We decided to go on a Saturday rather than a Friday to beat the traffic.  We researched where to find the parakeets and found a site that pretty much told us EXACTLY where to go.  We went exactly where we were told, walked all over the park and- no parakeets.  I drove all over the neighborhood but there were no signs of the birds.  Oh well.  There is a guy who posts an almost daily entry on the birding website I visit about everything he finds at Montrose beach.  I've been wanting to go there forever.  Maybe we'll at least find something cool there!  Uh...   Surprise!  There was a HUGE cross country meet that was taking up pretty much the entire park.  The areas that weren't affected by cross country were overrun with youth soccer.  Ugh!  Not only was there nowhere to park in that gigantic area, there were sooooooo many people the birds probably all fled.  Seriously?  (I was happy to later find out that my bird guy was also taken by surprise by the huge cross country crowds.)  Well, birding was a bust.  We decided to go to Lincoln Park Zoo instead.  It was a good time as always.  We got to see a month-old baby zebra :)  When we left the zoo, I missed my turn onto Lake Shore Drive and was instead filtered onto Michigan Avenue where I was reminded once again about why I hate Chicago.  We poked along before FINALLY hitting a place I felt was a sure thing to get back onto Lake Shore Drive and I-55.  I-55 was smooth sailing both into and out of town, so I guess our massive fail in the finding birds department was at least somewhat helped by the lack of traffic.  I suppose if we had gone on Friday we would at least have been able to enjoy Montrose Beach, but it probably would have taken us twice as long to get home.

At home, Logan has been talking nonstop about getting a snake for his birthday.  He's been talking about it for a long time and instead of his interest fading, he's just been getting more and more excited.  I have a bit of crazy going because my foot surgery is a couple of weeks before his birthday and I feel like I need to get everything done and accomplished right now just in case I'm unable to do anything then.  Logan picked up on this fear and has been harassing me daily about shopping for a snake.  I work pretty regularly with the zoo's education snakes and while I would never pretend to consider myself a snake expert, I feel like I know and understand enough to have one as a pet.  I finally figured, what's the big deal?  I'll take the kid to get a snake.  I'm not sure how I feel about getting a pet store snake, but I did want a young one that we can condition to be used to being held.  I also wanted a snake that is considered a good "beginner" snake.  I was afraid that if I inquired at the herp meeting, I'd end up with 100 offers of free snakes that were all large and bitey and we'd end up never getting the snake out of its enclosure. 

We went ahead and got a baby corn snake last night.  It is adorable!  It's probably around a foot long, but I've seen fatter nightcrawlers.  It has a nice pattern and cool colors.  Its mouth is so tiny I hope that if it bites Logan it won't hurt much and he'll get over it quickly.  We didn't hold the snake much last night because it was already stressed about being put in a cup for the drive home.  Plus, it pooped all over the cup and then had to crawl through it.  I rinsed the snake, but snake poop smells BAD.  The snake's name is Paul.  LOL, Paul the snake.  Logan named it after his favorite White Sox player, Paul Konerko.  :)

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