Sep. 3rd, 2017

stevenpiziks: (Default)
When I got to Ireland, I knew I would need an umbrella.  It rains in Ireland a lot, you see.  I didn't bring one with me because I figured it would be easier to buy one when I arrived than try to stash one in my luggage.

Yeah.

When I got to Dublin, Darwin and I poked about a shopping district in Dublin on our first day. 

Perfect! I reasoned. I could get an umbrella.  Right?

No.  Not one store carried umbrellas.  We found stores for shoes, electronics, women's clothes, hiking equipment, even kitchenware, but not one store carried umbrellas.  And of course, it was starting to rain.

At long last, we checked a rather upscale men's store and found a rack of umbrellas.  Yay!  But they were expensive, like 60 Euros.  I just wanted an umbrella, not shares in an entire oilsilk factory. 

Well, I reasoned, this umbrella would last a long time, and I could take it home as my Irish umbrella.  So I bought it.

It worked just fine.  At first.

This umbrella, it turned, closed up with a frog--a button and clasp--instead of a snap.  In less than a day, the button that held the frog shut popped off and disappeared, meaning the umbrella couldn't be tightly furled and closed.  It therefore fell open or caught the breeze at the slightest provocation.  It liked to burst open at startling times, like when I was climbing onto a bus or going through a revolving door or about to enter a bathroom stall.  I hadn't kept the receipt and I couldn't remember where the store was anyway, so I had no way to return it.  I wrestled with the damned thing the whole time we were there.

But, I reasoned, when I got it home, I could put a new button on the umbrella and keep it anyway.  Sixty euros was sixty euros!

When it came time to pack, however, I discovered the stupid umbrella was about an inch too long to fit into my suitcase.

But, I reasoned, I could just tie it shut with some string and take it on the airplane with me.

When I got to the airport, however, an airline lady informed me that I couldn't take an umbrella into the main cabin because I might try to take over the airplane with it.

But, she reasoned, they would check it for me in a special section of the luggage hold for fragile items.

She strapped a routing sticker to the umbrella, put it in a plastic open-topped crate, and sent the whole thing on its merry way down the conveyor belt.

When we landed in Detroit, our suitcases arrived on the luggage carousel without incident.  So did the open-topped crate.  The umbrella itself was gone.

Well, I reasoned, that was that.  Sometimes when you travel a long ways, you pay for stuff that turns out to be a bad idea.  Such is life.  We went home.

About three hours later, I got a call from American Airlines.

"We have an umbrella here," the lady said.

Well, I reasoned, the umbrella is fucking cursed, and I don't want it in my house.

"Just throw it away," I said.  "Or maybe you'd like to keep it."

And I hung up.
stevenpiziks: (Default)
The hummingbirds are HUNGRY.

Just before I left for Ireland, I filled my three hummingbird feeders all the way.  My house has become the territory of a family of four hummingbirds--mom, dad, and their two adolescents--so the feeders are busy.  When I got back, all three feeders were nearly empty.  So I boiled up some more syrup and filled them up again.

They're sucking the stuff dry.

Seriously.  The little hummers are draining these feeders like there's no tomorrow.  I've never seen them eat so much.  The two adolescents--both a yellow-green--fight over the feeders, too.  I sit on my porch writing and see one of them buzz up to the feeder, only to have the other rush up and chase it away.  This happens over and over. 

Hummingbirds do NOT like to share, even with family, and it's therefore best to set multiple feeders out of sight of one another.  I've done this with mine.  One feeder hangs on my front porch, another on the back deck, and the third at my bedroom window.  But this means the aggressive one has to patrol constantly, and the quieter one has to sneak around to eat.

But they do eat.  And eat and eat and eat.  I think they're storing up for migration.  They'll be leaving any time now.  So drink up, little hummers!

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