On the 23rd, I made a trip to Lone Tree to meet a lady who needed to rehome two female gliders. I know, I know…this would put me at nine gliders, but ever since Maverick realized there were other gliders nearby and he could see them but not interact with them because they wouldn’t accept him, he’s been lonely. He watched them constantly. Both my other cages contain males, which may or may not contribute to the lack of acceptance, depending upon who you talk to, so something needed to be done. Enter the lady I was meeting. She lives in Aspen, which is apparently a good six hours away from Colorado Springs, and was heading out on a trip from Denver International, so we agreed to meet in Denver the day before she left so I could pick up her girls and bring them home to hopefully become friends with Maverick.
I’d never driven to the Denver area alone before, and I’ve only gone up there maybe five times, including this trip, in the five years we’ve lived here. So naturally, I was nervous. I’m not fond of driving on interstates, and I love to drive. The longer the drive, the better. But interstates are populated by eighteen wheelers.
When I was seventeen, while driving my dad’s car back from somewhere I wasn’t supposed to have been, with two people I wasn’t supposed to be with, we were hit by a Ryder truck. That truck skidded 61 feet before he hit us. I saw it coming and stepped on the gas, but this was an economy car, which means there was really no pick-up at all. By the time we started moving, it was because we had been launched, Dukes of Hazzard-style, by the impetus of collision. The truck’s tire tracks were in the trunk all the way up to the back window. We were lucky. Not only did the tracks end at the window, but the gas tank was under the trunk. One of the police officers on the scene told me that when he heard car-and-truck collision, he’d thought they would be hosing us out of the vehicle.
Add this to the experience of growing up in an area of high traffic, which means you regularly heard news reports about eighteen wheelers jackknifing on the highway, and you get a good idea of my paranoia. The nice thing was that outside of the interstate, there were other highways we could use that did not allow trucks. For the area of New York that I trekked through most often, only the Long Island Expressway allowed trucks. The Northern and Southern State Parkways, the Grand Central Parkway, and the Van Wyck did not, so I most often used those. The City, or Manhattan to those who didn’t grow up there, was about an hour away from my home. We drove in often with my parents as kids, and as teens and young adults we drove in even more frequently because that was where the nightlife was. We averaged that trip at least once or twice a week, and an hour-long commute is a normal thing for New Yorkers. Even a two-hour one doesn’t raise any eyebrows: lots of people live in New Jersey and make the commute to NYC every day to work. So we made this drive often, and I knew the parkways well and didn’t have to deal with trucks. Paranoia indulged.
But now I’m driving to Denver. Alone. For the first time, with only a couple trips under my belt. What’s so amusing is that the drive isn’t that bad, trucks aside. It’s not…while I’m actually doing it. But when I think about doing it, I get chills and cold sweats. I have no idea why.
I left about 9 am because I wasn’t sure about traffic or where I was going. We were going to meet at Park Meadows Mall, at the junction of I-25 and CO-470, which I, for some reason, thought was on the far side of Denver. I left way too early, because traffic was smooth sailing, and the mall was on my side of Denver. Lone Tree is actually on the outskirts of Denver. I was on the road for maybe an hour, tops. As she was coming from Aspen, she had a longer drive ahead of her, and wouldn’t arrive until 2:30. I had lots of time to kill. Wandering around a mall covered maybe an hour. There’s just not a lot to do in a mall if you’re not a size 3 and you’re holding onto every dime you’ve got. I drove to a couple of other places nearby too, but ended up hanging out in my truck for about an hour before she arrived.
I met the family and we talked gliders for a few minutes before all of us hit the road again, and I brought the newly named Musette and Melisande home. What can I say? I was in a mood for some elegant French names this time around. So no themes followed this time, although Musette did come from a really old Judy Garland musical cartoon called the Gay Purr-ee from 1962. It was one of my favorite movies, about country cat Mewsette leaving home for the big city, Paris, and leaving behind her beau, Jean-Tom, who follows her with his little sidekick Robespierre in order to keep her out of trouble. Meowrice was the villain of the piece, voiced by Robert Goulet.
The two of them are absolutely adorable, fully as sweet as Maverick. I didn’t put them all together right away, though. They were both a little freaked out, which is understandable. A long car ride, a new person, a new environment…anyone would be a little freaked. So they went into their own familiar cage for a couple of days.
Last night, I took the girls and Maverick into the tent together and took video. It couldn’t have gone better!!! No fighting. No crabbing. Lots of Maverick marking them with his scent, and them allowing it. Victory!!!!
My initial plan was to let them have a few “dates” before moving them all in together, but after returning everyone to their cages last night and feeding them, I noticed a huge gap between the back of the girls’ cage and the floor, big enough for one of them to either escape or get a head caught. It was probably a result of the ride home in the back of my truck, and I couldn’t fix it. And of course, now that I’d seen it, I couldn’t unsee it. There was nothing for it: the girls were moving, and right now.
Fourteen hours later, all is still well. All three are sleeping in the same pouch, and the cage is a combination of items belonging to all of them, so the scents should be mixing well, and Maverick certainly spent plenty of time last night marking everything new that came in. The girls even spent time marking themselves with his scent by rubbing their heads back and forth on the scent gland on his chest. I couldn’t be happier with the outcome. Maverick has friends now, and is no longer a lonely single. And now, I really can draw the line and say no more gliders. Nine is more than enough.
But for some reason, other glider owners have been laughing at me since I said that…