Sunday, January 04, 2004

Glaring Gloppies

When Kelsi and I decided to find a place together, we had a pretty substantial list of requirements. I won't bore with ALL the details, but we were looking for things like good natural light, a kitchen that opened to other living spaces, a bit of space separating the bedrooms, etc., etc. Our new place meets nearly every requirement, with two exceptions. I'd wanted laundry on the premises and she'd wanted a fireplace. We settled for a bi-weekly jaunt to our most favorite laundrymat and employing the two central heating systems in our apartment. All was good, except, that is, one thing...

...see, there was this pigeon shit to contend with.

Honestly, I didn't really feel the bird shit represented a force to contend with, per se. But my gal Kelsi--when she gets an idea in her head... :)

The thing is that the view from our little dining area is less-than-breathtaking. The many-windowed wall faces a large, Victorian house next door whose adjacent wall just happens(ed) to be covered in the droppings of the two birds who'd made a love nest of the tiny stoop above. Before we moved in, Kelsi mentioned to our soon-to-be landlord and landlady (on separate occasions) that she'd like to have an improved view, and she asked for their suggestions.

The landlady suggested we talk to the owner of the house next door and see if she'd mind our cleaning it. Logical.

The landlord was slightly more, shall I say, proactive (?). In addition to bringing over a large ladder and some kind of high-powered cleaning agent, he (how to say this delicately?) saw to it that the pigeons, well, uh, met with an accident.

Horrible! I know. If I'd known that was going to be part of his solution, I would never have let Kelsi mention it to him.

But anyway, we were then free to clean the droppings ourselves. There was some downtime rained or we didn't have the time or it was dark or we didn't have the cleaning stuff yet. It was during this downtime that I came to understand just how big a stick in Kelsi's spokes this bird shit thing was. There was more than one occassion when I walked out of the hallway to find her gazing disconcertedly out the window at the poo. I'd laugh--I couldn't help it; she reminded me of the grocer in "What's Eating Gilbert Grape" who was always driving into the Walmart-like, small business-crushing Food Mart's parking lot and staring up at the big sign, no doubt wondering where he went wrong, what he did to deserve this lot in life. It would take her a second to realize why I was laughing, why I began to fear she was being overtaken with thoughts of these...damned...pigeons (clenched fist, clenched teeth)!!!!!

I'd been thankful for the post-poning rain and for my absense over the holidays because, as you can imagine, scraping bird droppings off high-up places atop rickety ladders is, while ranking high, just not The Highest on my list of fun ways to pass the time. But finally, the rain cleared, the sun came out, we had the cleaning stuff and the time and (50% of us anyway) the drive. I'd kept thinking the problem would take care of itself (an inclination I'd like to blame--as I blame so many of my other undesirable qualities--on my Gemini-ness), but alas, problems don't generally work that way. [Incidentally, when one group of birds meets with an accident, others are happy to move in--just so you and YOUR sniper landlord know]

The day of reckoning came last Friday.

Even as the day was upon us, I tried to delay.
I took an extra long bath in the morning.
I mentioned that maybe, for who knows what reason, the following day might be an even BETTER day to clean bird poop!
I took to a bit of pouting, pointing out how it was my first day off in 7 and blah blah blah.

But that didn't last long. After all, who really wants to look at bird droppings when eating?

I was about 8 steps up the ladder when I realized this was one of those things I'd be telling Kelsi's future children about: "And yet another thing your mama somehow convinced me was a good idea..."

See, I have a serious ladder phobia. I discovered this only after I was hired to work at Pier 1 Imports about 9 years ago, where climbing to the very tops of ladders and flinging huge, off-balanced floor pillows onto and off of shelves overhead is just part of the daily grind. Four years after that and about 10 jobs later I graduated to even taller ladders at Target, flinging even heavier objects like King-sized comforters. Strangely enough, however, ladder phobias don't really go away.

So I did wonder how far I'd have to fall to ensure my spot in next year's "Darwin Awards" book. I can hear Kelsi's quote now: "She was reaching over...see, there was this especially menacing little chunk, a bit yellowish with a big gloppy hanging off... I asked her could she please grab that one while she was up there and the next thing I knew..."

Obviously, however, I survived the ordeal. 'Cept the rain starting down in sheets just as we were folding up the ladders. I was soaked through and through by the time I'd rolled up the neighbor's hose and made quick waste of the newly bio-hazarded scrubbing agents.

I giggled up the back steps, tugged my red, dripping wet Chuck Taylors off my feet, and thanked the universe for yet another ridiculous memory to tuck into the folds of my joyful life.

And I've never quite enjoyed a homecooked meal so much as the blueberry pancakes we shared while gazing out the breakfast nook window at our new, gleaming and glowing, dookie-free wall.

Sometimes, you just gotta clear away the shit.

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