My alarm goes off at 5:45 but I have already been awake for an hour. On this morning it was tiny kitten feet sprinting across my boobs that woke me, but most nights it’s the sound of my 15 year old Siamese cat Mia dry heaving somewhere in the house. Like a petulant toddler with an over active gag reflex, she mostly dry heaves for dramatic effect. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t an occasional pile of puke waiting for me so a lot of mornings start with an iPhone flashlight search mission. After a few minutes of moving around Mick the (50lb) German Shorthaired Pointer puppy is braying like a donkey in his kennel, I let him out and he shakes his floppy ears and stretches his way across the bedroom floor. You couldn’t sleep through this if you were in a coma. The cats are in a herd by my feet as I get dressed quickly and slide the bedroom door shut hoping Dustin can get a couple more hours of sleep. Then I trip my way into the bathroom and then down to the kitchen, as the cats and I move as one. They are attached to my feet like barnacles on a ship, annoying and unwanted.
First order of business is to let Mick out to go potty. There’s no way to do this without Tofu the chicken lurching out of her nesting box and demanding to be let out. She’s been living in a large kennel in the corner of the living room since her beak reattachment surgery a month ago and acts as if becoming a house chicken was her true calling all along. As soon as I release the door she does her Tyrannosaurus rex run into the kitchen to join the cats, who act as if it is completely normal for a chicken to join them for breakfast.
Next I prepare food for the cats, because of the amount of animals we have feeding time happens twice a day, except for Tofu who believes feeding time is all the time. If Mia and Chuck’s (our 15lb long haired cat) food intake isn’t controlled they’d eat until their stomachs touched the floor and then they’d need jazzy scooters to get around this house and no one wants to build tiny cat handicap ramps everywhere……
The cats get their food spread out on separate sides of the kitchen because the tiniest member of this family, 3lb kitten Stevie, acts like a starving circus lion after 72 city tour. Next Tofu gets breakfast, which is usually a bowl of corn and peas. Now it is time to feed Mick. He eats about 4-5 cups of food at each feeding, but it has to be given to him 1 cup at a time or he will vomit like a frat boy at 4am. As I slowly portion out his food I start making Carsten’s lunch, this process gets interrupted many times as the cats fight and rotate bowls and the chicken disrespects their personal space, for some reason the cats don’t seem terribly fond of a tiny dinosaur two inches from their face.
As everyone finishes up I wake Carsten and then make my own breakfast. But unless I want wings flapping in my face and bagel ripped from my lips I must make Tofu breakfast #2, a 1/2 piece of toast. Tofu and I settle in the couch and she eats first, because she is selfish like that. Mick is nearby licking the air and praying Tofu’s reconstructed beak’s has an aim that is still off enough that he will be able to rebound a crumb or two. As Tofu finishes her breakfast I have to push her off my lap and immediately at least two cats are on deck to take her lap space. I allow them a few brief moments before I start what will be the rotation of the next 8ish hours, Mick wants in, Mick wants out, Mick wants in, Moose wants out, OH! IS MOOSE GOING OUT?!?! ME TOO MOM!, Mick back out, Moose back in, Mick back in, etc, etc, ad nauseam……
Carsten eventually makes an appearance in the kitchen and the animals act like a bunch of teenage girls that just found out Sephora is having a clearance sale. She coos to them each individually in a voice that sound similar to dolphins communicating. She joins them on the floor and they take this as an open invitation to use her as a bed, chew toy, and food basin, almost always simultaneously. Eventually either I start screaming about not being late to school again, or someone maims her and she gets up herself. She eats her breakfast and then heads to school. Since she doesn’t have her license yet, this means that Dustin or I take her and we are always joined by Moose (our 8lb Maltese-Shih Tzu). Moose has one job in life, to completely lick the driver’s side door and window both to and from the high school. After you
suffer through experience this a few hundred times, you forget it is happening until you glance over and see people in the cars next to you photographing your dog.
As soon as school drop off is complete, it is time to do outdoor chicken chores. Rosie and Water Bottle need to be fed, watered, and given their daily positive affirmations. They have been demanding a lot more reassurance ever since sadness fell from the sky and trapped all the delicious grass under a wall of the white devil. To add extra fun into the mix, Water Bottle is currently going through a molt, which means she acts like that bitch in high school who was friendly to your face but as soon as you turn your back she was attacking your best friend with a knife in the girl’s bathroom. Usually Tofu declines the invitation to join them for an outdoor visit, but if she does visit they aren’t to happy to see each other anyway as she stuff her broken beak like she won one of those 60 second grocery store giveaways.
If I am feeling extra
guilty adventurous I let all three chickens reunite in the house for a few VERY LONG HOURS. One chicken pooping in the house in manageable, three chickens pooping in the house in like….. well….. like three chickens pooping in a house.
Most of the days is relatively relaxing, with 77% of the animals napping in whatever room I am in, which works really well as long as I am sitting still doing nothing of importance whatsoever. The second I get up to take a shower, the dogs are in the chicken kennel trying to eat chicken food, the kitten is sneak attacking the senile cat and the chicken is under the Christmas tree unwrapping presents.
And then the fun starts all over again at 4:30 when it is feeding time again. Occasionally Dustin and I do things to treat ourselves, like buying Mick a food bowl for “aggressive eaters” which is basically a round plastic maze that is a vessel for kibble and then we watch him wrestle 1,843 pieces of dog food from the bowl with the tiniest tip of his tongue and we laugh and laugh and laugh…..
Around 5pm Minnesota plunges into darkness, and thank God for small favors, this means the chickens go to bed. This usually provides a small reprieve before Mick’s Tasmanian devil’ing hours begin. Which is kind of like someone injects him with cocaine and evil spirits and his mission is to destroy anything floofy or crunchy until he passes out with exhaustion. We all try to hide during these hours.
Except for the random occasion when Moose frantically flies through room with Stevie attached to his tail, everyone gets along. It is A LOT of work, especially when Dustin is gone and I am single parenting this horde, but it is all worth it for the love and comedy they provide.
Now….. who wants to pet sit??!??