Monday, August 22, 2011

Monday Morning Rambles

Gregg worked at home quite a bit this week. It seems to be a common theme with his company and he and his colleagues set up offices inside their homes. It's a different world. I will often hear him having two, sometimes three-hour conference calls. Of course, when he has clients to see he will go into the office which is about 30 minutes away. One day last week when I met up with friends, it felt strange for me to be saying goodbye, and when I came home a few hours later he was still hard at work.

On Thursday as I mentioned in a previous post, it was Brad's birthday. He was working that day and in the evening he and Lisa were going out, so he suggested we get together for lunch. As he only has half an hour we said no matter, that we just wanted to set eyes on him on his actual birthday. We met in the Tyson's Corner food court. Do you know they have one of those kiddy trains going around close to where we were sitting? It was very popular. We heard the ding-ding-ding of the engine driver's bell the whole time - hello Excedrin my old friend - and there were a lot of happy faces and occasional waves as they went by. For a closer look you can enlarge all the photos.

On our way back home we passed a lot of the construction work involving the extension of the metro line. The left picture above shows that the rail will be above the road in this area at least. Construction began in March of 2009. The line will be built in two phases, the first to Reston will be completed in late 2013 and the second phase that goes beyond Dulles Airport, will be completed in 2015. Gregg doesn't mind driving in such a congested area and with all the construction of the line it is even more chaotic. I prefer a quieter ride and would not go to this area on my own unless I absolutely had to.

The next day Brad, Lisa and their good friend Matt came over for dinner and we bought a birthday cake from Wegman's and some sparkler candles, and after dinner we all gave him the old Happy Birthday song. We had a pretty informal gathering at the kitchen table, having our main meal, then going into the family room for a chat, then back into the kitchen an hour later for cake.

That cake was a big hit. Hi Son, do you notice the "Happy Birthday Brad" on the top? Just for you and thank you Paint Shop Pro. I bought the fixings to write on the cake but got so busy preparing the meal I ran out of time, and then they were knocking on the door. Yes, even though I tried to hide this oversight by covering area with lit candles Brad still noticed. I didn't call that kid Hawk-Eye for nothing. Mental note for next year, organize yourself better Denise. I am always running out of time. At least I bought sparkler candles to make it a little fancier, but between you me and the lamppost they didn't sparkle that much. They kind of sputtered instead, and a few tiny flames flew out and reached the tablecloth, and one or two went on the front of my blouse, which I quickly patted down. I tried to hide the fact that my eyes went wider than wide but all focused on the cake, so that was okay. Other mental note, it's okay to buy ordinary candles next year, ones that don't fight back.

It was the first birthday cake that we bought from Wegman's. We have bought them elsewhere but this one was by far our favorite. We don't normally buy chocolate cake but because we were in a bit of a hurry we picked one up by mistake. Don't get me wrong, I love chocolate but Other-Half does not. However, it was a happy mistake because even Other-Half enjoyed it, and he really enjoyed the icing. He said afterwards that it wasn't over-the-top too sweet, just sweet enough, right Gregg? We offered the leftover cake to the family - we now consider Matt part of our family - but they were going on to a late movie and had to leave it behind. Gregg and I ate the last pieces the next day. And a good job we only bought a small one. I have never seen Gregg so enthusiastically tuck into any kind of chocolate cake before and I was left saying to myself, "Huh!" But it was oh so good! Thanks First-Born/One-and-Only-Child and First-Born/One-and-Only Child's Wife, plus Good-Friend-Matt-Of-Both-and-Now-New-Family-Member, it was again delish! We'll definitely be going back to their bakery for other special occasions but will remember these two things. No sparkly candles next time and we will not buy a bigger cake as we don't want too much of a sugar high. As you can probably tell I am still working down from mine.

The ants have disappeared and I can say "phew!" We had a major leak from under one of the sinks in the kitchen and it wasn't long afterwards that they appeared in droves. We didn't detect the leak for a while and all the wood inside the cabinet got saturated. For two or three weeks during the hottest time of the summer, every morning we would wake up to the industrious little beggars invading the kitchen. There were so many I could have started a couple of ant farms. I have always admired them but honestly did not want to admire them inside the house, but as quickly as they appeared, they disappeared and left me thinking, "Huh!"

And talking about leaks, in about a month we will be having a new roof put on the house. We have noticed patches appearing in the garage ceiling and the final straw came when we had one in our bathroom. Gregg put a finger up there to check and his finger went through the ceiling! We now have a hole in our bathroom ceiling, which will be fixed once the roof is done. We put our moniker on the dotted line recently and signed away First-Born/One-and-Only-Child, sorry Brad!

One morning last week I heard a bang on the patio door and it was what I feared. A bird had flown into the glass. Oh no! At first I thought the wee little thing had met its maker and felt very sad, but as it lay on its side I could see tiny movement. It stayed this way for the longest time but finally when I looked away and then as quickly looked back, it had up-righted to a sitting position. Oh joy! The sliding door was open and I kept talking through the screen, saying encouraging words, "Get up little one, you can do it." It watched me and its eyes blinked several times. I was still filled with hope that my little friend was only stunned and would soon be joining its family in the tree tops. There seemed more life in him somehow and finally I felt I could use the opportunity to take its photo. I was greatly encouraged by a little more movement.

It sat there for the longest time, at least 15 more minutes, and then I thought perhaps if I gave it a drop of water it might recover faster (this is not a good thing to do so please read the added note from Jane at the end of this post). What could I put the water in so the poor bird could reach its beak over without too much effort? I took the plastic lid off the butter container and spilled water all the way from the kitchen to the door. As I quietly and gently opened the screen I apparently gave it enough adrenalin to flap its wings like crazy and fly like a bat out of hell up into the treetops. Its sudden flight startled me but at the same time made my morning, and I can only imagine the story it's telling as I type my own. As I mopped up the water I had spilled - not a lot because really, how much water can you carry in the plastic lid of a butter dish? - this little bird's recovery gave me a nice lift to start my day. Not such a good start but I'm very happy it turned out okay.

These latest crop of young birds I've found, have a hard time navigating during their practice flying. There have been a few near misses. We haven't had a problem with bird navigation for a very, very long time but to be on the safe side, I am going to hang a sun-catcher on the window, one my friend Anne gave to me a while back. It's a very pretty stained glass of a cardinal. I think they will know its fake and not another bird to shake hands with.

Added note: I am always thankful for people like Jane who stop by and give wonderful advice. Here is what she said on how to help our feathered friends when they bang into the window. She worked at a rehabilitation center and knows of what she speaks. You can visit her super blog if you click here.

"Hi Denise, just a note from me wearing my wildlife rehabber hat. Do not give water to a bird with a 'wobbly head', they are likely to aspirate. If a window strike victim does not recover ASAP as yours did, please place in a place of warmth and safety (a small box away from predators). If there seems to be no recovery in the space of a few hours please take the bird to a wildlife center/vet. The bird will need a shot to bring brain swelling down. You have a window of up to eight hours to do this. Hope this helps our feathered friends. Jane x"

Thank you Jane. I am very, very grateful and will know what to do should it happen again. I certainly hope it NEVER happens again but at least now I will be prepared.


  1. I loved the birthday celebrations. Thanks.
    And I was super happy that the bird that knocked itself silly recovered and flew away. It has happened here a few times and once the poor bird broke its neck when it crashed into the window. I have decided it is the perfect excuse for me not to clean them (the windows I mean) so the birds know something is there.

  2. How wonderful that Brad had such a happy birthday celebration.

    Poor bird. Interestingly, we haven't had any birds banging into the windows here.

  3. Great celebration with Brad - I hope he enjoyed the candles on his cake. When we had a cebration cake for the family in March my son's father in law provided the candles, the type that don't blow out and just keep relighting. The children found it great fun - we all did!

    So pleased your little bird recovered. It is sad to see/hear them crashing into the glass and just awful if they don't recover. Have a lovely week Denise. A x

  4. Aren't you the clever one with Photoshop?! Very impressive. It all looked like great fun although I'm left with a lingering mental image of you patting down your blouse on fire while trying to look calm!

  5. What a delightful post, Denise. Loved all your stories, especially about Brad's birday. I have a butterfly on one of my big windows to stop the birds hitting the glass but it doesn't always work. I was also pleased to see that you have the same table mats as me. Aren't they great? I also have several trays to match. Hope you have a good week.

  6. Happy Birthday to Brad! No Wegman's around here, that cake does look good! Your Brad looks so much like a younger version of his Dad! What a handsome boy!

    That poor little bird! I have them knocking into a window all the time, not necessarily the same one. They all must come out of it and one wouldn't think so, as hard as they thunk.

  7. Hi Denise, just a note from me wearing my wildlife rehabber hat. Do not give water to a bird with a 'wobbly head', they are likely to aspirate.If a window strike victim does not recover ASAP as yours did,please place in a place of warmth and safety ( a small box away from predators). If there seems to be no recovery in the space of a few hours please take the bird to wildlife centre/vet . The bird will need a shot to bring brain swelling down. You have a window of up to eight hours to do this.
    Hope this helps our feathered friends.
    Jane x

  8. we are always having birds fly into one of our windows, so now I don't clean it.......well that's my excuse and I am sticking to it!!

    Gill in Canada

  9. Happy Birthday Brad!
    So glad to hear your little friend recovered! I would have been encouraging it right along also ;-)

  10. Sounds like a good birthday celebration.

    I hate for birds to get injured but it happens here too.

  11. Did you see the photo of an owls imprint that was left on the glass after the bird flew into it? A perfect impression, and I believe the bird survived the impact.

  12. Sounds busy at your place! My uncle has been talking about that metro addition, hoping it's worth all the pain in the end. Good to know about the water and little birds, I'll keep in mind if that happens here. Thanks for sharing.

  13. Birds sometimes bang into our window, fall and then pick themselves up and fly away. Sad but relieved when that happens. Enjoyed this post, Denise.

  14. The cake sounds real good. I had a sweet urge at lunch and found my daughter raided my pantry before she left taking all the cookies.I guess I shouldn't have told her to take what looked good.LOL

  15. I can so easily imagine setting myself on fire with sparkler candles!

  16. I am glad to see you all had a nice and I might add happy time with Brad on his special day. Denise, I always enjoy reading about your accounts with birds, very cute pictures and glad for a happy ending, you are si funny. We have had so many birds fly into our one window and some have made it and some not. I had to hang streamers on it to save their lives. Thank you for coming by.

  17. Hi Denise! Thanks for linking me up at TF. It does get tricky to click links there I wonder why?

    Brad sure had a happy celebration. That reminds me that I forgot to buy cake myself! We celebrate my late Mom's bday with cake too. ;-)

    And thanks to Jane we now know how to help birds that way.

    Have a happy week!

  18. HI, Denise. hubby and I love Wegmans. They have one of the best bakeries around. The birthday cake looks delicious. I have had a few window strikes and luckily the birds seem to be Ok and fly away. I hope you have a great day.

  19. Beautiful birthday cake! I love how you 'wrote' on it... where would we be these days without computer technology ;-)
    Thanks for passing on the tip for dealing with window-crashing birds. It sometimes happens here and, oh, it's the worst sound isn't it. Like you, I've never been sure of the best way to treat them.