Friday, February 19, 2010

Adventures in Bird Research: Episode 1

I admit it. It was a guy. It was one of those fall-crazy moments where you don't even have time to get enough sleep, much less go running, much less continue writing blog posts. And then I was ashamed, and then I had nothing to write about, and now it's February 2010 and probably none of you even check this thing anymore.

That said, I quit my terrible cubicle job in a fit of happiness and now I do part-time outreach work for the Arizona Science Center and part-time field tech work in a study on bird foraging habits. And it's awesome. I get up, spend some time in the sunshine listening to birdcalls, have some coffee, go into work where I talk to groups of schoolchildren about how awesome it is to blow up Diet Coke with Mentos and why science is important (read: because it involves you in understanding the world around you and gets you to go outside instead of sitting on your ass in a cubicle all day).

That said, I haven't had a god*#(@ day off in going on four weeks now. So Sunday is going to be awesome and I'm going to sit by the pool and tan my pasty white ass.

But today. Today was my first time out doing the bird stuff on my own; S., whose project it is, lives in Massachusetts and is flying back this weekend to actually do her schoolwork and leaving little old klutzy me alone to do her dirty work for her.
And today I got up at 7:30, after going to bed at 2:30 because I was up talking to the man who stopped me from blogging in the first place (but I'll get to that), and groggily I groped my way out to my balcony where I keep all the bird research supplies and set up the birdseed trays for that morning. And then, just as I was putting the millet seed back in its own tidy storage space in the closet, my hand slipped and it fell all over the closet floor and into every single crevice in my vacuum cleaner.

"Whatever," I said to myself in that morning voice of not-caring-because-where-the-hell-is-my-white-chocolate-mocha-from-Starbucks-anyway-and-why-is-it-still-dark-outside-when-I-get-up? "That was bound to happen at least once today. "

On to the first house. Where I spent the first half hour troubleshooting a dysfunctional camera setup and the next fifteen minutes unraveling extension cords, and the next fifteen minutes after that chatting with the guy who was visiting the guy who owns the house about how nice the weather was and how interesting our experiment was. Then I promptly tripped over said extension cord, landed on the lip of the birdseed tray, and sent my carefully measured scientific amounts of seed sprawling across the rather well-constructed paving-stone sidewalk.
"Well, shit," I said to the guy who was visiting the guy who owns the house.

Then I drove back to my house to get another seed tray setup.

On the way I stopped at my favorite Starbucks for a white chocolate mocha only to discover that, of course, on the day that I rolled out of bed on five hours of sleep and bobby-pinned my freakishly Alfalfa-like bangs back, the cute guy was working. The same cute guy who, on my first trip to this store, had made my drink wrong, made me the right drink, flirted with me, and then watched me drop my correctly-made drink all over the patio.
"Maybe, since I haven't been here in a while," I thought, "and I look so terrible, he won't recognize me."
And he barely nodded to me when I ordered and I was somewhat relieved. When he handed my my drink he said, "What happened to the vanilla cappucino I always used to screw up?"
"Um..." I said, "I rediscovered my deep-seated love for white chocolate mochas?"
Then I ran out of the store.

On to the second house. Everything went smoothly there, and I even figured out a way to unroll the extension cords without getting them tangled. I double-checked all my camera settings, made sure everything looked relatively nice, and then carried the leftover bait seed trays to the car. I had to shift the trays to my left hand to open the door with my right, and I promptly spilled seven pounds worth of sand and birdseed all over the front seat of my rattly little Saturn Ion.

Some days I really wonder how I made it out of the womb without getting lost.


  1. I'm sorry you had a rough morning. But I was laughing inside my head throughout the post, then laughed out loud during your last sentence at which point I proclaimed to my apartment (Justin is somewhere in it) that your posts crack me up and proceeded to continue laughing.

    I love the way your days sound, actually. Life sounds good. And I love your blog!

  2. While you might go on a hiatus in writing, and crappy readers like myself might constantly go on 2-3 month hiatuses in reading, I hope the fact that the good people always return to read/write makes up for the inbetween times.

    That paragraph makes almost no sense but in my head it's lucid and amazingly thoughtful. I love knowing that you have not become any more graceful since I last saw you.