It was such a nice day.
Toward the end of January — a month of single-digit
temperatures, snow and ice — there came a beautiful day when temps were
in the mid-40s. A friend and I decided our first order of fun was to
“open all the windows” and let the sun shine in.
I was busy working, Brownie snoozing in her office
bed. She kept interrupting me to go outside, then interrupting me to
come back in. Finally, I thought to prop open the front door so she
could come and go as she pleased.
Pleased with myself, I continued writing some column
About 5 p.m., I shut ’er down, and closed the open
doors and windows. I walked into the kitchen. On one of the black tiles
of the black-and-white floor, I noticed something odd. I bent closer. It
seemed to be a scrap of lace. Hmmm.
In a move that I soon regretted, I reached down to
pick it up. Ewww! It was bird “doo.” How in the heck did … Oh. No. A
bird must have flown into the house through the open door!
I began the hunt, with my ears as much as my eyes. I
have had an errant bird in the house before, back when I had two cats.
The ensuing rumpus was chaotic. A treasured vase and an heirloom pitcher
became crashing casualties. I managed to close the little bird into one
room, after I had opened the door and all the windows and screens.
Thankfully, it did not take him long to flee my coop. The cats seemed
That recent January day, Brownie and I stalked from
room to room. We did not see or hear the intruder. Apparently, he flew
in, relieved himself on the kitchen floor, and then flew back out again.
The whole scenario reminded me of a trip I took to
Virginia Beach one early spring. My beloved Belvedere was not open until
the day after my arrival; I was at the mercy of some other, always
lesser, oceanfront accommodation. I chose one near the Belvedere. I
asked the all-important question of any front-desk clerk: Is there
construction going on near this hotel? He assured me there was not.
I checked into my room and discovered sheets of
plastic over the adjoining door. I heard hammering. I called the desk.
Oh, they said, they’re just fixing the balcony.
After a harrowing five-hour drive, I was too tired to
argue. All I wanted was a nap, with the sounds of the ocean waves
soothing me into slumber. I opened my balcony door. There was no screen.
(The Belvedere doors are screened; the only ones I’ve found on the
Soon, I was deep into a nap. I was awakened by a sort
of fluttering sound. I heard cooing. It seemed quite close.
I opened my eyes to discover my room was crawling
with pigeons. Lots and lots of pigeons. Dozens of them were strutting
around, pecking at things on the floor and dresser. One perched atop the
headboard, surveying his cooing feathered cohorts.
What to do? I had to somehow corral a host of pigeons
out the balcony door. I began my unwelcome, not-easy task. Marching
around the room in scanty nap attire, I shouted “Shoo!” and “Get outta
here!” I flapped at them with a pillow. I slapped at them with a towel.
The sound of flapping wings and angry coos (Can a coo be angry? I’m
telling you it can.) reverberated throughout the room.
Upon closer examination, I discovered that the
rafters of the balcony were chockablock with pigeons; only the advance
scouts had entered my sanctuary. The balcony itself was completely
covered with splotchy globs of pigeon goo. It was disgusting. I’d been
too intent on my nap and the ocean to notice it when I’d opened the
Rather than call the desk, I marched down there in a
huff. Well, perhaps it verged on a rage.
They would not refund my money, but offered yet
I spent a disgruntled, restless night, plagued by
Bless the folks at the Belvedere. They let me check
in at 8:30 the next morning. I was the first guest of the season!