Subourbon Mom

Birds on a Budget

Every now and then Hubby and I have a Come-To-Jesus meeting about our budget, where we both agree we eat meals out too often, among the other things we spend too much money on. That’s an easy way to cut back. Then we promptly go out with friends to a Mexican place and have beer and margaritas.  I’m always lecturing the girls on not spending their money at restaurants, and to save it for something they really want—and they promptly go to a local dive called Satterwites and order breakfast. Shocker…

Come to find out, the Animal Kingdom isn’t much different than the People Kingdom in that regard. Nobody likes to eat what’s in their own house.

We (okay, really it was Hubby and friends) recently finished the back porch. I was the SOA (Sr. Outside Assistant, handling things like running to the kitchen for rum and cokes and beer).  The porch is another dream come true (seriously, I’ve been thinking about it for years—BIG points for Hubby)—and then came the opportunity to get some good karma from the Animal Kingdom, to balance out the massive amounts of fish we’d been catching and eating.  (I’m sure that someday I will come back as a catfish—that will be my punishment—in fact, I’ve already got these suspiciously long hairs around my mouth that I now have to get waxed off…seriously, getting old is so gross.)

Unfortunately, a family of wrens built their nest (complete with 3 eggs) in the stack of cushions we were storing on the porch.  By the time we got the screen done and were ready to move the whole stack outside, nest included, there were three baby wrens in the nest instead of just eggs.  What a dilemma—make birds happy, or push on with my dream of sitting bug-free on the porch.

Newsflash: I’m not a bird fan, Baltimore Orioles excepted. They creep me out—all twitchy and beady-eyed.

I spent some time trying to determine how to move the nest without dropping the babies, but finally, better people (Mom and Daughters and Niece) decided the right thing to do was to leave the nest where it was and leave the porch doors open so Mama and Daddy Bird could feed the babies and teach them how to fly. According to the internet, this takes about 2 weeks.

I was not happy to have to share my porch with my feathered friends.

So we spent the rest of the time with the doors open and citronella candles burning, watching wasps, ants, mosquitos and other creepy crawlies enjoy their new home. It was also entertaining to watch the bugs have to re-route their flight paths once the porch was enclosed in a no-fly zone–lots of smacks against the screens. Those smacking sounds were almost as satisfying as hearing a bug zapper, or hitting them with the electric for swatter.

Finally, after dodging yet another angry, Kamikaze wasp, Big Brother said, “If those birds are going to live in here with us, the least they can do is stop going out for dinner. They should eat what’s here.”

I guess even the birds need to have a Come-to-Jesus budget meeting, too.

I’d Never Make it as a Mobster

Lately, I’ve been learning a lot of things about myself—some good, but most of them not flattering. For example, as I’ve gotten older, my brain-to-mouth filter has gotten, shall we say…porous? Hard to believe, I know. But one of my most recent self-discoveries had nothing to do with the new job. It had everything to do with one of our favorite American traditions—hiding the bodies.

This week, with the 4th of July coming up and the buzz around the US Soccer Team creating a surreal sports hype I was feeling nostalgic for some American traditions. What better tradition than to devote a weekend doing yard work and drinking beer? So, we went to the lake, where we have a small house and a boat, and enough chores to keep Hubby busy burning stuff for a lifetime. One of our chores was to finally sink this year’s Christmas tree in a secret fishing spot. In theory, the sunken tree will attract crappie and other fish (if you ever see fisherman randomly sitting 20 yards or so off of…nothing, you can bet there’s a sunken tree down there somewhere). Mind you, this is

a)    illegal, and

b)   a messy activity involving pine sap and pine needles that are impossible to get out of indoor-outdoor carpet.

It’s also harder than you’d think. First, I had to drag the tree to the dock because some people were a little concerned about spiders and lizards. Then we tied a cinder block to the tree so it would sink (the arborist version of cement shoes). Daughters 1&2 held the tree in the water in front of the boat while we idled over to the secret spot. With a flourish we let the tree go and backed the boat away.

The tree floated like a bobber.

Or a body.

Apparently, one cinder block wasn’t enough. In the meantime, the ski boats that whirl around our little piece of lake were watching.

Hubby was getting nervous…he sat on the front of the boat, feet dangling in the water as he tried to guide the carcass with a stick.

“Stop! Back up! You can’t go that fast!” All the while the body, er, tree was bobbing up and down for the whole world to see.

Eventually, we nudged the tree back to the dock and tied two more cinder blocks to it and headed back out.

“Hurry up!” Hubby said. “You know this is illegal, right?”

I nodded. “Yeah, but everybody does it.” Pause. “Do you want to stop?”

Hubby said, in true, fatalistic accomplice fashion, “No, they’ve seen us now. We may as well finish.”

Five minutes later, we had sunk our tree, praying it was deep enough not to get hung up in someone else’s boat prop, but also hoping the fishermen would snag it often enough with their lines that they would stop trolling along our piece of shoreline at 6:00am.

The boat was littered with evidence (it still is)—pine needles in the carpet, sap on the seats and our hands and legs, like Lady MacBeth’s blood. At least three ski boats saw our crime—hopefully we looked intimidating enough (me in my tankini and Hubby in one of his soccer dad t-shirts) to scare them into silence.

So what did I learn from my near-mobster activity?

  1. Do your illegal activities at night—no witnesses, and it saves on your breakfast revisiting you in the form of anxiety-induced heart burn
  2. Use plastic sheets to keep the evidence off of your stuff—there’s a reason they always assassinate the victims with plastic bags on the floor.
  3. Carcasses are more buoyant than you think
  4. I cannot pull off acting cool when I’m doing something “illegal”—we took treated lumber to the dumpster once and I was as nervous as if we were doing a drug deal in the middle of The Jefferson
  5. If the first detective asked me anything about it, I’d crack like an egg.


Happy birthday, America!



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