Wednesday, April 24, 2013

For the Birds

Tuesday saw the wagon train of goods moving once more to the wilds of Oak Hill. Lucky me, four friends wanted to see the house and offered to load their SUVs with lamps, two tables and a big bin of miscellaneous trappings that included the last of the ink and another two stacks of books that surprised me in the back of a closet. We also squeezed in one more painting, leaving only the four largest still to be wrapped and transported. On Wednesday I brought over all the hanging clothes, with only the folded things in the chests of drawers waiting to go. The movers will wrap the chests in bubble wrap with the contents still in the drawers. What I call an easy deal.

A favorite painting on the bedroom floor

A good part of the morning was frustrated by automated telephones and their idiotic questions. “What is your first name? Please say the name and then spell it. For example, if your name is Robert, say “ROBERT” and then “R-O-B-E-R-T”. If you understand, say “OKAY.” If you don’t understand, please say, “WOULD YOU REPEAT THAT.” And God forbid you let out an unsolicited groan, or any sound of frustration escape your lips. Twice I made small noises to myself and twice the robot voice snapped, “I DIDN’T UNDERSTAND THAT. I AM RETURNING YOU TO THE MAIN MENU.” It took twenty-seven minutes to accomplish a change of address for a magazine subscription.

Next on the agenda was the same chore at the DMV. I had been warned to check the website for the necessary documents in changing the address on a driver’s license and now I suspect it is easier to cross the border into North Korea. They wanted my birth certificate or a valid passport, my social security card and two documents showing the new address with my name included. Then I had to hand over $25 to proceed to queries asking if I were a drug addict, a convicted felon and if I suffered from either epilepsy or insanity. Last, the woman wanted to know how many times my license had been suspended for either DUI or hit and run. I was sorely tempted to ask if the big screen on her desk was a computer and did it show any of these descriptions under my name and license number. However, it is best not to antagonize a bureaucrat. I walked out with a new license showing a loopy picture that suggests an insane epileptic with a drug problem.

The friends who came to see the place yesterday brought an excellent housewarming gift. I have mentioned before all the birds, and now there is a bright red octagonal bird feeder hanging from a limb of the elm tree outside the back screened porch. For now, it hangs there empty of any seed and swaying gently in the late afternoon breeze. It came with a big bag of seed—a mix of sunflower seeds, thistle, millet and sunflower chips—but I am saving it for the time when I move out here to stay. No fun in putting seed out, going away and missing the action. Pretty sure if I filled the feeder today half would be gone before I next return.

Today I’ve seen two cardinals, a male and a female, and a solitary woodpecker. There is a steady chorus of birdsong out there beyond the screen, but today I’ve had only fleeting glimpses of anything other than cardinal and woodpecker. Birds aside, I did see a fox crossing the road as I drove up to my gate.


  1. The bird feeder is really nice and it's large enough that you probably won't have to fill it but once a day when you finally get out to your country home. The fox you saw means there are more around and they get in hen houses so you won't be able to raise any chickens. Too bad because eggs are getting so expensive.

  2. I was so hoping you would post the photograph of you looking like "an insane epileptic with a drug problem" since that would have perfectly completed this post that made me laugh out loud at the bureaucratic crap we all go through. That aside, it sounds like the country estate is taking shape--complete (almost) with a bird feeder. Well worth it when you find yourself lugging sacks of birdseed home.


About Me

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Oak Hill, Florida, United States
A longtime expat relearning the footwork of life in America