meet our parrot- Grayman
He exists, I swear. I don't talk about him much but Grayman, our African Gray parrot, is a big part of our life. He talks all the time and he squawks and beeps and makes every sound you can imagine. He is 11 years old. Paul had him before we met. Funny thing, I was literally terrified of birds before I met Grayman (by the way, he was named by the little kids who raised him as a chick- I think Brutus would be such a good name for him, in honor of Brutus the Ohio State Buckeye guy, oh well, too late to change it now). He was the first thing I noticed when I went to Paul's apartment for the first time. I almost didn't go on a second date with him. I kept thinking, what if he is one of those weird bird guys who puts the bird on his shoulder all the time like when he is eating or watching tv? It really creeped me out. I remember consulting all my friends and even my mom, should I go out with Paul even though he has this bird, in his house?!
Well, many years later, he's my buddy, Grayman, I mean. I feed him, give him toys, pet him, hold him, all things good pet owners do. I DO NOT clean his cage. I draw the line there. Paul has to do that job, no matter how much I am gagging from the grossness, he has to do it. Birds are so messy, I do not recomend getting one if you have lots of kids, you will resent their messes so bad. However, he is fun to have around. He does however bite and it hurts like the dickens.
It is never, and I mean, never quiet at my house. He makes noises all the time, talking to me, "answering" the phone by saying "hello" when it rings. If I pick up the phone he starts making the beeping sound of the buttons. He cheers "Go Buckeyes" and "Go Wildcats" (we're equal opportunity fans at my house), he yells for me "hey Jenny (in Paul's exact voice)" if I am gone too long. He makes ice hitting a glass noise if I get a glass out and get some water, he can mimic the sound of a can opening (too many Diet Dr. Peppers), he barks like my dog, he yells "Max" just like me if he thinks Max is being naughty, he giggles like the kids, he says "woo" if the music is cranked up, he says "woo" also if I do an exercise DVD, seriously, I could go on for hours. The only time he is quiet is at night, when we go to bed, but he will talk really quietly if he sees you in the middle of the night coming to the kitchen for a snack or whatever.
The best time to have a parrot is when you are entertaining your husband's work associates for dinner and the conversation kind of lulls. Just like I gave him a cue, Grayman will start talking and making noise. Boom, instant conversation starter. Most everyone agrees he's a pretty cool pet. He's quiet (sort of ) if you are right next to him, or he'll talk very softly (in my voice, so weird) and as soon as you leave, look out, he wants you to come back and he lets you know by squealing as only parrots can do.
Every year he visits our local bird shop while we go on vacation. He always picks up some interesting noises there. He can mimic a siren now, thanks to our trip last year.
Once, before Paul and I were married, he got away. As in, away, outside. Yes, my fiance took the bird outside, something you should never do, unless the bird's wings have been majorly clipped and poor little Grayman flew away as far as he could. He is a terrible flyer since his wings are clipped pretty regularly and he is a pet, not wild. We were panicked of course. This was our baby (before dog and kids) and so I made a bunch of posters, taped them all over the neighborhood and we spent the entire weekend searching for him. Yelling his name hoping he'd fly down to us. It was awful. We thought he couldn't go far because he can't fly that well, being a pet his whole life and all, and we were even more scared because he has never had to forage for food the way real parrots do in the wild. We were so lucky to be near the neighborhood where we saw him fly over, we just kept walking in the back yards and telling all the people our situation. We got a call on Sunday (0f Memorial Day weekend no less) that a family had him captured under a milk crate. Apparently the dad of the house thought Grayman was a falcon of some sort and his wife told him about us, they coaxed him down with some sunflower seeds and put the milk crate over him. It was relief to say the least that he was found. I couldn't believe how sad I was that he was gone. Could it be that I actually liked his dusty, feathery, noisy, annoying self?!
Grayman starts squeaking at dawn and roosts (yells like all birds do) at dusk, it's kind of like having a chicken in your house. Except this one talks to you in your voice. I used to be so anti-bird, avoiding the peacocks at the zoo, screaming at sea gulls on the beach to "shoo", now I kind of like them, a lot. I am drawn to bird art and I have little birdy statues in my house, oh puleez, not the tacky kind, cute ones of course. I tease Paul that if we ever split up, he'd have to give Grayman to me, because it'd be like I never left, Grayman would be talking to him in my voice, he he he!
Just another thing that makes my life special... I must like him a little if he is allowed to rest on my Longaberger basket and wrought iron holder! He is totally looking at me to rescue him in this picture.