I like birds. I might even have a thing for birds. I like to take pictures of them. I like to look at them. I like to decorate with them. I really, really like Twitter. What I don’t like? Birds in my house. More specifically, I don’t like birds in my dryer.
We knew that we had potential bird problems in this house. A few days after we moved in, our dryer was having trouble getting the clothes dry. John, our friend who owns the house, kindly came over to investigate and found a bird and a cozy nest in the dryer vent. Problem solved, clothes dry.
Last weekend, the dryer started acting up again. Mike, God love him, tried another approach – flip the dryer switch on and off a few times to see if that fixes the problem. The dryer went from running, but not drying, to not running and making a no-good, very-bad sound.
Ironically, I’m sitting at the kitchen table, sipping my coffee and working on a paint-by-number Charley Harper of … birds, when I hear Mike screaming like a little girl from the laundry room. He’d removed the dryer from the wall only to be met with a bird, flapping around maniacally in our house. He ran out and slammed the door shut behind him. Unfortunately that door also has a hole cut out of it where the cat door used to be. Thankfully I got it covered before the bird made its way into the actual house. After he calmed down a bit, he opened the laundry room door to the garage and let the bird back into nature, where it belongs. Back into the laundry room he went. As he’s cleaning out lint and feathers from the dryer vent, the exact same scene played out over again. Another bird, more screaming and slamming of doors.
Surely the bird situation is taken care of, right? How many birds can fit comfortably in a dryer vent, after all? Mike hooked the dryer back up, turned it on, and there’s that no-good, very-bad sound. How can this be? The dryer came back out, and he broke out the big gun: a screwdriver.
I’m back to painting my very cute, inanimate bird when I hear, “Oh God. Oh no. I think I’m gonna be sick.”
Turns out the source of that no-good, very-bad sound was a bird that got a little too close to the dryer fan. Like, sucked in and mangled too close. And we’re not talking sparrow here, we’re talking big, ugly nasty starling.
I’m not proud of the conversation that followed. He swore up and down he wasn’t going to deal with it. I not-so-kindly mentioned the last dead bird issue I had to deal with – a nasty one involving BBQ tongs, rigor mortis, and the grill of the mini-van. He claimed he didn’t need clean clothes until we moved anyway, I gave him a lecture that I thought years of CSI would’ve taught him on decomposition. We were at an impasse … and then we remembered we had kids. We would bribe one of them to do the literal dirty work!
Here’s where incorporating Dave Ramsey and money talks into your parenting repertoire can backfire:
Mike: Elena, I’ll pay you $20 if you get that bird out of the dryer.
Elena: That’s not good enough (crosses arms and waits).
Here’s where having a 5-year-old is awesome:
Eli: I’ll do it for $10!
Suddenly, $20 is more than enough. Armed with rubber gloves and salad tongs (I promise, we threw them out. It is safe to eat salad at our house.), Elena went to work. There was much screaming and some retching, but a little help from me and she was able to get it out.
We paid her $20 and advised her to invest some of it in a therapy fund.
In two days we will load up our boxes and move into our “real, alive home” (as Eli would say). I will happily pack up my bird painting, along with all my other bird tchotchkes. The real birds, both dead and alive, can stay behind, thank you very much.