And Then There Were Seven

I said no. I said it twice over. And then I said yes, and the three newest gliders arrived last night, bringing my total to seven. My bedroom looks like a zoo exhibit. There are currently five occupied cages in my bedroom. Five. In my bedroom.

But I’m getting ahead of my story, here. First, let me tell you how this all went down last night. It was quite the adventure!

The gliders were shipped in from out of state, so they came by plane. My friend, who coordinated everything, was to take possession of the gliders when the flight came in at 7:15, so I drove her to the airport. So far, so good. We got there in time, and she went in to baggage claims while I drove back around to the cell phone parking lot, which is a bit away from anything. Behind it is woodland, and in front of it is a hedgerow and trees, so as you’re passing it, it’s pretty much hidden. Since there are signs at Arrivals stating no waiting, it’s the only other place you can wait for someone. Well, okay, fine.

My friend calls me a bit later and says there’s a problem. Ten gliders were shipped. Two were going to Ohio, and eight to Colorado. The airline, which shall remain nameless, mixed up the carriers. So the two for Ohio were in Colorado, while our gliders were still in transit to Ohio. Oh, boy. And all of the gliders have been in small containers for hours with only enough food to get them to where they were going. Now we have an issue. My friend is working with the airline to resolve it and get everyone to where they’re supposed to be. Shouldn’t take long to resolve, and ours will arrive tomorrow (today) instead, early in the morning. Okay, no problem, I’ll circle the airport a bit. It’s now dark, and the cell phone lot–the nearly invisible-from-the-road lot–is empty. Well, I’m not turning myself into a sitting duck in an empty parking lot where no one can see if there’s trouble, and I haven’t seen a single security person the whole time I was sitting there. Time to drive around the airport. It doesn’t take very long to circle it; Colorado Springs Municipal Airport is one of the smallest I’ve ever seen. Okay, scratch that: for a commercial airport, it is the smallest I’ve ever seen!

Time passes, and my friend calls again. The carrier containing the two Ohio-bound gliders is actually a cat carrier with two smaller boxes inside. Hamster cages, actually. These two need to come out and stretch their legs and food needs to be found for them. Problem: gliders that don’t know you are not going to stay with you, you can’t leash them, and the bar spacing on the cat carrier is such that they can conceivably squeeze out and get loose, so what do you do? You get a ton of zip ties and start creating your own “bars” to keep them from entertaining that idea. So she is now zip tying the carrier door, and airline personnel have gone in search of baby food at one of the airport shops. I hate to think of what an airport charges for baby food!

I’m beginning to get a little concerned. Aneira has already Skyped me to ask what’s going on and why am I not home yet. I explain what’s happening to my family…my extremely patient family. By this point, I have stopped circling the airport and am now parked in front of Arrivals, where I am not supposed to be. However, as I mentioned before, I was not inclined to sit in the cell phone lot anymore, and I was also not inclined to waste anymore gas. I’m not driving an economy car, I’m driving a very thirsty truck. I tell my friend all is well–and it is; my family is okay as long as they’re kept up to date–and do what she must, I’ll be here.

More time passes, and by now we are closing on 11 pm. My friend calls again. While in the process of zip tying the carrier door, she has managed to rip her thumbnail past the quick rather badly, so she needs me to come in and help with the ties. Okay, where can I park the truck? The guy in baggage tells her to have me park in the employee parking lot and enter the building from there. So I drive over there, and as I enter, I see a sign that informs me that parking there is by permit only. All vehicles not displaying said permit will be towed. This justifiably worries me, as I am not an employee and therefore do not possess any such permit. I call my friend and pass on the information, and the baggage gentleman says no worries, it’s okay. So I park, and hobble my way across an expanse the length of which rivals a football field. This is a long walk for me, and my hip has no qualms about telling me so.

Inside baggage, I commence zip tying the rest of the carrier door so that we can let these poor babies have a touch more space than what is available in a hamster cage. Once this is done, we can release the two gliders into it, feed them, then hurry on home, because the airline has redeemed itself somewhat: because these two arrived early, and my friend was smart enough to open the carrier to ensure all was well, she was able to quickly tell them we had the wrong carrier, and the airline was able to catch their flight in the air and halt their progress in Chicago. And fortunately for all involved, there was a flight coming to Denver that was leaving ten minutes later. The airline managed to get our gliders on that flight, and gave my friend vouchers for the taxi that she was going to take to Denver and back to pick them up. The flight was due to land a little after midnight; it was currently about 11:30.

Dealing with eight strange gliders is a lot to ask of anyone, so my friend told me that, to cut down on everyone’s stress, she would bring me my trio as soon as she got back to the Springs, which would be at 4 am. As I still had a cage to put together, with no illusions that it was going to be easy, I’d already figured on being up that late anyway, so I agreed.

I came home and wrestled the cage into submission for about two hours, then joined the PIP in front of the television for a bit, until my friend calls and says she’s back, and could I instead come to her house to help her with the other five gliders as well as pick up my own. Naturally, I went, helped her out, and collected my boys.

Can you imagine what their shipping containers smelled like after housing animals all day long?! Yeah, “rank and reeking” doesn’t even begin to cover it. The shipping containers went directly into the garbage after releasing their tenants into the new cage. It was quarter to five.

Now, being a mom, I have one superpower that works most of the time: I have the ability to tune out anything but bloodshed. I subconsciously recognize the tone of the scream I am hearing. I know when it’s simply that Bryony is angry at her big sister, and when it is something worse that I need to address myself. This ability works on the pets as well, so if the dogs bark in the middle of the night, unless there’s some urgency to it, I will sleep right through it.

My superpower went on vacation this morning.

The Kaos Krew started it, by barking–constantly–for two hours, thereby causing the boys to bark back. At this point, the rabbits decided to add their two cents by thumping their back legs very loudly. Normally, only one member of the Krew barks at a time, and only for a little while. This ruckus drove us to sleeping in the basement. It was 5:30 in the morning. Furballs 1; humans, 0.

The three new additions are all considered “half-tails”, although only one actually has anything approaching half a tail. The other two have considerably less than half a tail. We were told that one of them was a birth defect, and the reasons for the other two having only half tails is unknown, as they were rescues. It doesn’t appear to bother the fuzzies in question though.

They have all received new names. This time, I went with a dragon theme. I have read and reread Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern series any number of times since I was a kid, and still do. She was a fantastic writer, and, really, who wouldn’t want a dragon?? So, the glider with the longest tail is Mnementh, the medium tail is Canth, and the smallest tail is Ruth. If you’re familiar with the books, you’ll recognize the logic. In the books, Mnementh is the largest male dragon on Pern. Bronze dragons are second in size only to the golden queen dragons. Canth, in the books, is a brown dragon, which is the next size down from bronze and are also all males. Then there are the blues, then greens, and then there is Ruth, who is the only white dragon ever on Pern. He’s a sport, the smallest existing dragon. His story, The White Dragon, was the first one I ever read. So there you have it!


3 comments on “And Then There Were Seven

  1. Wow. You deserve a medal. Enjoyed the Dragonriders reference. 😉


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