When I was about 18 years old I house sat for a friend of mine from work and her husband. They had this sweet little house on the Fraser River in the metropolis of Hope and needed someone to care for it and their pets while they ventured off, away from the snow to Mexico.
Now when I say pets, I need to clarify, they had two dachshunds (read: wiener dogs, blech!) who just had a litter of puppies, 1 standard poodle Roofus (standard poodles are the German Sheppard size ones, they eat Fifi for a snack), a pet crow that they had adopted after it, as a baby fell from one of the trees in their yard, 3 outdoor cats, 2 love birds and a parrot. It was a gong show!
Staying at their place was my first taste of independence, I had never really stayed alone away from home before and I was super excited about the chance to "get away", "be free" and "do what I wanted". Even though I generally was free and almost always did what I wanted, much to my mother's chagrin at that point.
They had left strict instructions on the feeding regime of all the pets and I did my best to follow it. They also warned me that Roofus could be a little mischievous and that the Parrot liked to pull his own feathers. I thought, "Great, not too bad. I've grown up with dogs they aren't that difficult to handle and a parrot who needs a therapist should be at best a source of entertainment."
I bought my groceries, unpacked them - being sure to keep things high off the counters because of how tall Roofus was, cooked myself dinner, had a shower and headed to bed. My first night was alright, though now I'll admit I was a little scared. I figured I had it in the bag and would be home free for the next 2 weeks.
2 nights into my stay that theory got thrown out the window. Of course it happened to be a particularly windy night, not something uncommon for on the river and I was feeling a little more uneasy than usual. I had just crawled into bed with a murder mystery/romance (Yes. I'm a brilliant like that) when I heard a sound in the kitchen, a rustling and then a crash. The kitchen was right by the front door, and my heart stopped!
Being that I considered myself a brave "woman" I grabbed whatever I could find for a weapon, I don't remember at this point and the cordless phone and headed down the stairs. Just as I got to the bottom of the stairs which ended right at the kitchen by the front door I heard, "Helloooo?" , "Who's there?"
I practically peed my pants. Dropped the stuff in my hands and booked it back up the stairs, slammed the bedroom door and crawled back into bed.
Well, it only took about 2 minutes for me to clue in that it wasn't a person that had said hello to me. It was just long enough for me to shake in fright and realize I had left my only means of communication to the "outside" world behind on the stairs. What had scared the bejeepers right out of me was that stupid, bald parrot. He had spit the feathers from his mouth long enough to scare the life out of me and was now probably down there laughing away as he groomed his rear end (it's where he was the baldest). But the noise? I still didn't know what had caused that.
So, up I got again, turned on every light I had neglected to turn on the first time and ventured down the stairs once more. Collecting my weapon and phone on my way.
As I walked into the kitchen I was greeted by the culprit, the causer of all bump in the night noises. Roofus, with a stupid dog grin on his face and the remainder of my cheese bread sticks in his mouth, which he had scaled the kitchen counter and some how managed to get from atop the microwave, on a high shelf. Nice.
Boy did I feel stupid. The rest of my stay was relatively uneventful and I even managed to enjoy the puppies a little (the grown version may be annoying and barely trainable but puppies, puppies are always cute!). And it didn't hurt my feelings a little bit that the opportunity to house sit for them never came up again. It really, really didn't.
What made me think of this? Well, my dear Bethany has in herself turned into a Parrot. You have to be beyond guarded in what you say to or around her these days. The other day we're driving up town and from the backseat I hear, "Mommy, what are you thinking?" Are you serious kid? Well, I was thinking of about 6 million things where should I start with peeing on the potty or tomorrows grocery list?
While playing with his girls Corey announces he'll be right back, he just needs to go to the washroom and what does Bethany say? "Good Luck!" (I may or may not say this anytime someone announces their water closet intentions)
Then, I get home and stub my toe. I in true female fashion yelp and hop around on 1 foot. Beth comes into the kitchen and says "What's wrong Mom?" "Oh I just stubbed my toe" and know what she said, "Well, don't do that then." Are you kidding me? Who taught you to be so lippy? Do NOT answer that.
Someone said to me the other day we spend 2 years teaching them to talk and the next 2o trying to figure out how to get them to stop. I know there are days, weeks maybe even months that, that exact thing was true for my poor parents such is the vastness of my verbal diarrhea but for the most part I'm really glad she can talk. Because amidst all the two year old whining there is a really neat little person with some pretty great things to say.
And at least she doesn't say, "Polly wanna cracker?"