Monday, August 8, 2011

War on Monday

Right, so I’d thought I had mastered the arts of War and Mondays long ago.

I was wrong.

My War on Monday started Sunday night. Last night, I put the dogs out and heard a cute little chirping. I thought, huh, odd, for the quail to be so close to the house, but hey, water in the desert, I’m sure they’re just here for the water. My big dogs rustled around in the back yard for a while, then came in, but the chirping continued.

I checked the source, and I had three orphaned hatchling quail stuck in my flowerbed. Mama had led them into a place they couldn’t get themselves out of and abandoned them. Not good. I went back inside to check the interwebs and our own local wildlife rescue. After checking the site and calling the number, I was armed with gloves, a box and a mission to reunite the little chicks with their mother.

I went back outside found the little guys and started trying to locate the mama bird, but then I heard a “beep beep.”

Now I don’t know how many people know this, but the original Looney Tunes were actually made in Albuquerque, New Mexico. That’s why Bugs always says things like “I should have turned left in Albuquerque.” It’s also the premise for the whole road runner cartoon set. Those birds are ridiculous, and while Mel Blanc may not have gotten the sound quite right, they really do make a beeping noise sort of like a fire alarm.


But where things are a bit off is in the diet of the road runner. They don’t eat seeds. In fact, their preferred diet is hatchling. They’ll eat a baby bunny if one presents itself, and I’ve seen them take down cicadas and worms, and well they’re definitely meat eaters. And I had three little tasty morsels chirping like mad for their Mama.

We packed up those orphans, and taped the box shut and put it in the garage. Then the dreams. I perseverate. No really, I get something in my mind and I just can’t get it out of my head. So, after a sleepless night waking up in a panic anytime a roadrunner came by the house (they were not going to eat my baby birds!).

So I started my War on bad ground, tired, with more problems than usual. Yeah, it just wasn’t looking good for the day when I bumped out of bed. I’d run by the wildlife rescue before dropping my daughter off at day care. No big deal.

Oh, but wouldn’t it be better to just reunite them with the covey? They are right there, right at the bird feeder. So I opened up the hatchlings box and tipped it so they could get out. I put it right next to the feeder, and sure enough they started chirping their little heads off. But did they go to the bird feeder? Of course not. Why would they do the smart thing?

Those little guys went straight for the street. And then I heard the ominous beep beeping of a road runner, looking for a three egg omelet. Yeah, not good, so I decided to package them back up and take them to rescue after all.


You’ve heard of herding cats with a helicopter? Think that but then make all the cats about the size of two quarters stacked on each other. Exhausted, worried about these silly little quail who’d weaseled their way into my heart, and now chasing them out of the road and back up against the house to catch them.

Now I have a box of excited, overly loud crazy hatchlings who’ve tasted freedom, taped up in the back of the car. I package everyone up and we head out for the daily commute.

Then, my daughter, who has been happily eating her cheerios up till this point, decides that stuffing cheerios up her nose is fun. Yeah, that’s how you know you’re a mom: anyone else would have a hard time coming up with a good way to put fun and cheerios up the nose in the same sentence, but I routinely get to say things like “Honey, don’t lick the wall” or “Sweat pea, we don’t make sand castles with the cat litter.” Still, it’s all fun and games until Mom has to make an emergency traffic maneuver because child can’t get said cheerios out of the nose and is panicking.


So at this point, I have a box of chirping quail in my car, and a traumatized two year old with a cheerio up her nose.

I wasn’t far from my normal doctor’s office, so I just went right on in. And then I had to explain to the receptionist, the intake nurse, the cashier and the doctor, that my otherwise healthy child is here today because she’s stuffed Cheerios up her nose, and oh, by the way could we hurry this up? I parked in the shade, but there’s a box of quail in my car, and I don’t want to leave them there for too long.


Eventually, everyone made it to where they were supposed to be—well except the quail who should be with their mommy. When I did finally make it home (I work from home some time), instead of a road runner at my house, I had a sharp shinned hawk at the bird feeder not ten feet from my kitchen window. Maybe those little quail are safer with the rescue people.


  1. Okay Rena, I've only just started following you. So tell me, does this describe a normal day in your household? Who says fiction is stranger than fact? :-)

  2. Oh, excellent question, and I don't think I talk much about my normal days because they're either boring or very technical.

    In general, children add a certain amount of chaos to life, however I've had some supremely strange moments in my life. I was mistaken for a tree by a squirrel who climbed up to my waist before figuring it out. I've had a paraglider hit my vehicle and fly away (it was my only hit and fly incident). Things like that are sprinkled liberally throughout my life, but no, usually cheerios up the nose with a box full of quail isn't normal. Poopy diaper of doom when my advisor calls to ask for revisions by that evening? common.

  3. Thank you for the laugh, and I'm glad to hear that the baby quails and your daughter are all right. Is the roadrunner in Looney Tunes true to size?


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