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Cute Animal Media If Nothing Else

Usually when I write this, I write a little bit every day so as not to forget what happened during the week.

Um...this week I didn't do that.

Let's see. Monday, work. Tuesday, work.
We are getting ready for rental season, so there's an influx of student instruments. A local string teacher came in on Tuesday so we made sure to have our string instruments and accessories in order for her to see what we offer. She and Kristy (woodwind tech) had met before, so they hit it off, talking about teacher-y stuff while I listened and worked on inventory. The visit went well and by the end of it I had a list of even more accessories to order for her students :)
On Tuesday I went to the gym.

Wednesday, work. Thursday, work.
Thursday was a "special" day from the moment I opened my eyes. I woke tense and tired, as there had been a huge thunderstorm the night before. Turned on the light in the bathroom and threw back the shower curtain, and there was a HUGE brown recluse in the tub. If I had been more awake I might have grabbed my phone and taken a picture. He looked like this (but wasn't carrying any cash ;) ):

I thought, "Ok, I'll just wash him down the drain." I turned on the water...
...and the shower head cracked right down the middle, shooting water in all directions.

What a great start to the day!!!

I squashed the spider (tough luck bro) and got a pseudo shower without a shower head. Then I drove to the city courthouse to try and get some paperwork for my Missouri Driver's License and vehicle registration. You need a tax non-assessment to register your car in this state. To get that, I thought that you needed to provide a lease, a utility bill with your address on it, and two forms of ID. What I ACTUALLY needed was leases from the past three years, utility bills from the past three years, vehicle registrations from the past three years, and two forms of ID.

This was a problem, because I've been on tour for the past five years. I had no utility bills and no lease. My brother was driving my car. Most of my mail had my employer's address on it, because that's where I was living, not my parent's PA address. I tried asking about alternative documents (Taxes? Stuff with my employer's address?) and was told that these would not be acceptable.

.....um. How am I supposed to register my car??

Next week I will call some government offices and see if there's a solution.

The rest of the day went normally. I had planned to go to the gym again, but we had a barrage of customers right at closing time, so I got out late. Starting next week we're going to have later hours to accommodate rental season.

Friday was a pretty good day, I felt like I got a lot done. I placed an order for more string accessories, drew up a tentative order for some method books, sold a trombone that we'd just gotten in the store 48 hours earlier, and input lots of instrument repair orders for us to bill out. My boss had given me some chicken stew over mashed potatoes, made by his brother who is an excellent cook. Yay free lunch! After work I went to the gym, then got groceries.

This weekend was a bit busy. In the morning I listed some instruments on eBay for a circus friend who is selling some of his belongings. At the same time I boiled eggs and pasta for the week ahead. At some point in there I heard a minor ruckus out on the porch. When I went to investigate I found two male hummingbirds duking it out over the feeder. They were so intent on each other that they hardly noticed me.

Mean little dudes!

After lunch I decided to revisit a local community college to see if I could find practice rooms. I had tried last week, but went to the wrong building...the practice rooms were in a office building across campus. This time I went there, and soon found them. There are only four. These signs were on the door:

In other words, they do actually allow non-music personnel to use the facilities. That's nice! Looking at the sign-up sheets, I saw that most of them end around 4:30. That's good, as I'd probably be there either super early or super late. With this, maybe I can start practicing again.

I had intended to practice that day, but decided against it as I had errands to run. I took my car to get an oil change at one of those places that are supposed to be quick, and was disappointed to end up waiting about an hour. Not only that, they didn't have a waiting room because their turnaround is supposed to be fast enough that you don't have to even get out of your car. So I sat in my car and fidgeted for an hour. Not fun.

After that I did a quick grocery run for some ingredients I'd forgotten, then back home to cook up some ground turkey to go with my pasta. Around that time I got a call from a young lady doing her thesis on circus music, and she asked me a few questions. I tried to answer to the best of my ability (my boss Brett would have been such a better resource!). Then I ate a late dinner, and reviewed the GoPro footage I'd gotten of the hummingbirds that day. I was hoping to catch a fight on camera, but it seems this obnoxious little ruby-throated guy won the battle and was hogging the feeder pretty much all day.

At one point his nemesis did appear, but was immediately chased off. In the second pic you can see the ruby-throat has his beak open in what must surely be a terrifying war cry :P

On Sunday I got up early to go volunteer at the nature center. It was an eventful day, I got to do a lot! After we took the birds outside, we scrapped the mews (took out the soiled newspaper and stale water and replaced it with fresh), then I got to spend some time with a new education animal: Ruby the possum! She is rather young but very sweet. Here is a link to some clips of her with one of the other volunteers, eating some snacks and sniffing around curiously (because of the way I posted it on Insta it won't embed). Then it was my turn!

It is important for education animals to be used to humans, so a little time every day needs to be spent interacting. When Ruby got bored with me and showed it by being restless, I took her back to her nest, where she continued munching on snacks and then burrowed under some blankets for a nap.

Next, I did intake for two animals at once: a squirrel that seemed unfortunately to be ill with something that made him shiver violently, and a small rabbit that had been clipped by a car and couldn't move his back legs. Sadly, not much hope for either of these. They'll either be treated and released, or put down depending on how it goes.

Then I spent some time in the nursery learning how to feed baby squirrels, possums, and birds. When I was little, my parents found a baby robin in the backyard, and they used to grind up worms for it to eat. So feeding baby birds today was not really new to me. But the squirrels and such I'd never interacted with. Before feeding them, we had to "stimulate" them to try and get them to poop by gently rubbing their bellies. Then we'd put them on a scale to be weighed, and then we'd feed them. Well, I didn't feed them, but I watched another volunteer put a tube waaaaay down into the squirrel and then use a syringe to squeeze formula into his belly. She says she can feel it when the tube is in his stomach. Yuck...but necessary. Here is the first baby squirrel I've ever held.

And a baby possum. He was gripping my finger really hard.

Then it was time to feed the birds in the flight pens. Flight pens are designed to give the birds room to exercise and even hunt if the opportunity presents. There were two tempermental Cooper's hawks, and a great horned owl. The other volunteer who was with me took the food in for the owl, but she was so entranced by him that she forgot to look for and pick up his leftovers! I got to feed a baby vulture...my mentor and I went into the pen looking for a full-grown bird, couldn't find one, and finally we noticed this ball of fluff in the corner and realized, that's him! Lol! He got his half-rat and we left him alone as he couldn't fly yet.

Last came a redtail hawk who had a hip injury. His leg keeps popping out of his hip, and it's doubtful if he'll be able to continue hunting with that condition. It's a shame, because otherwise he's in good shape. One of my mentors had to catch him up...basically walk right up to him, distract him with one hand, and grab his feet (with the long sharp talons) with the other hand. He looked like a total pro doing it, but admitted afterward that it makes him nervous every time. And rightly so, those talons and that beak could do a lot of damage!

With the bird in hand, the other mentor fed him with tweezers. He has his mouth open like that because he is stressed. Can't imagine, with four humans gathered around him.

After that we got to see a fledgling heron, who I believe had been received as an egg! Not sure how they hatched and raised it, but it's doing well and they want to transfer it to a more bird-centric widlife area in another part of the state. Safe travels little dude!

After that, we were about to feed a mole when I got a text from a trombone player whom I'll be subbing for next week. His name is Jeff and he plays for a local Chicago tribute band. He wanted to get me his book that afternoon. I excused myself from the nature center, but before I left my mentor asked what I enjoyed doing most here, and what I might like to focus on. I told her that I was really interested in working with the raptors. She said that she had hoped so, as in her opinion I'd shown skill in that area, and promised to let me handle some of the birds next time. Awesome! I can't wait!!

All of this was relayed to Jameson via text. He wonders if maybe I shouldn't look into a veterinary certification. He used to work in a vet's office, so when he makes a suggestion like that I take it seriously. Food for thought.

Anyway. I drove out to a neighboring town to retrieve the book and meet the gentleman I'd be subbing for. He's a really nice guy...took the time to flip through some of the charts with me and explain which ones I ought to focus on. I had planned to copy the book and get it back to him, but he said he wouldn't need it for the rest of the week. We chatted a little bit about trombone geek stuff, then he gave me his wireless mic pack and we parted ways. I'm very nervous to be filling in for him without any rehearsals, but still glad to have the opportunity. And he was very laid back about the whole thing, making me think maybe it'll be ok if I'm not Bill Watrous. This week I'll be busy practicing, making sure I won't suck.

After that I had planned to go to the gym, but felt very tired, so went home instead. There I uploaded all my sweet animal footage, chatted with Jameson, and put out the GoPro again in the hopes of getting some more hummingbird footage. I got a little bit, but I think the best time of day to catch them is in the evening rather than the afternoon.

I think that this next week will be very busy. With extended hours for rental season, plus making time to practice, I'll have some really long days ahead of me. But hopefully it's worth it. I'm glad to have one gig. I'm glad to have something to work toward. There are people who can practice enthusiastically without anything on the horizon. I am not one of those people. There's got to be a goal.

Some folks have asked whether/when there was a funeral for Orest. The sad truth is, I don't know. I suspect his family made arrangements, but I don't know what they were.

There has also not been an update on car 38 renovations this week.