Jason's birthday was in the beginning of February. I had given the boys a few simple ideas of what he may want for his birthday, and asked them to try and think of some of their own ideas as well. However, after a family outing to the pet store for some fish food (during which Jason showed some interest in the birds), the kids had made their minds up. They wanted to get him a pet bird. I should mention here that I am actually not a fan of birds. At all. There is just something about a small creature that is both capable of "fluttering" and "pecking" at the same time that terrifies me. Oh yeah, and the talons. I don't like talons. However, much to my dismay, the kids would not be swayed in their idea. And since I knew that Jason really did want one, I gave in.
And thus, the plan was set in motion. Caleb and Jacob and I ventured out to the pet store about a week before his birthday. We spent a while reading all the "Must-Knows for Parakeets" pamphlets, then proceeded to pick out the perfect cage and accessories. On the day of Jason's birthday, we hid the cage in one of our bathtubs, and then led him all over the house on a hunt for his present. When he finally found it, the kids had made cards and put them inside the cage explaining that we would take him to the store to pick out his own bird.
Luckily, Jason was thrilled with the idea, and we immediately piled into the car- all of us in eager anticipation of our new pet-to-be (well, most of us anyway). After debating for an unbelievably long time, Jason finally settled on a grey and black parakeet (while trying to upload my pictures to my computer recently, I accidentally deleted them all instead... so this is not our actual bird, just a close resemblance). With the help of the kids, he named him Grundy. For those of you that do not live with a house full of comic book boys, Grundy is DC Universe's super-strong, zombified, mobster villain. You can see the likeness, I'm sure.
And so began our new life as bird owners...
When we got Grundy home, he was quick to warm up to us and eager to explore our apartment. (All those "Must-Knows For Parakeets" had told us that it's important to let your bird out of his cage for at least half an hour a day). Day by day, little Grundy seemed to feel more and more comfortable in his new home, and even began to perch on our fingers or shoulders on his own will. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I was growing to like Grundy as well. I still don't like birds, but Grundy was ok in my book.
Then came that fateful day, only four days after bringing home the new addition to our family. Jason and I were the only ones home, and Grundy was freely exploring the apartment. Jason asked me to keep and eye on him for a few minutes while he went and took a shower. I nodded a quick "sure, yeah, whatever..." and went about my business. Grundy was peacefully perched atop our windowsill, and I was a mere 10-20 feet away finishing up the dishes.
Approximately 4 minutes after Jason had entrusted his dear new pet to my care, I heard a very brief fluttering of wings. I glanced up to check on Grundy's whereabouts, but couldn't seem to find him anywhere. After a few short moments of panic and confusion, I heard a tremendous splashing sound come from our fish aquarium, and looked to find our two largest fish flopping and flailing about in mortal fear of some unknown cause. Upon closer inspection, I was horrified to find Grundy frantically swimming laps along the top of the tank, seemingly trying to escape from the hysterical, gargantuan bala sharks below.
In the fleeting moments that followed, I mustered my inner heroic instincts and scooped Grundy out of the tank. I was sitting on the couch and cradling him in a towel when Jason emerged only 10 minutes after leaving me alone with the poor bird. His eyes darted from me, to Grundy, to the towel, to the open fish tank. Suspicion set in.
I explained what had happened, and promised that Grundy's "accident" had absolutely nothing to do with my prior avian-directed hatred. Grundy seemed more or less ok after the event, if not slightly lethargic. I tried to stress the heroic part of my story to Jason while placing Grundy back into his cage. Thinking all was well, and assured that disaster had been avoided, we headed off to work. We came home that night to find Grundy on the bottom of his cage... very dead.
I've maintained my innocence in the days following the loss of Grundy, despite great scepticism and accusations from those around me. According to the kids, "Molly defeated Daddy's birthday present" (Jason doesn't like them to say "kill" or any other such related words... it's always "Batman defeated Joker"... "Molly defeated Grundy"...etc.).
Shortly after the above events transpired, we headed back to the pet store for a second try as bird owners. This time Jason picked a yellow and green one (this picture is actually him), and together with the kids settled on the name Loki. Loki is Marvel Universe's adopted brother and enemy of Thor... just in case you didn't know. Again, the resemblance is uncanny.
I'm proud to say that Loki has been with us for over a month now with no incident. While I have lost some of my previous privileges, I have been granted supervised visits due to good behavior.