My first week in our new home in Virginia and WILBUR

I’ve mentioned my parrot Wilbur. She is an African Grey Parrot and a wonderful pet. I named her Wilbur but at about age 25, she laid two eggs a day apart and shocked me. Since that time, she laid another two eggs a day apart. With no male, the eggs are not fertilized. I have contemplated having her mate, but the babies take so much care…like a feeding every two hrs around the clock, that I don’t think I could stay awake in that schedule. I got her when she was young but past the fluffy baby down feathers. She has a metal band on her proving she’s been vaccinated, but I don’t remember against what. Presently she is 35 yrs old and they live to 60-80 yrs, so they have to be considered in a will. For the first entire month, she sat on her perch (not in a cage), and would growl when I went near her but I could lift her on my gloved hand and she would behave. The gloved hand was necessary as she would draw blood because she didn’t know the strength of her bill. After a month or so, she started testing her voice. It was fascinating and incredible. she made sounds at the top of the sound register, and then down to the lowest register. Some of the sounds were hard on my ears. I whistle a lot so she began to whistle but only sounds, nothing sequential. One day, I came home from work and walked into the room and she said “Hello”. It wasn’t a, did she say hello, or did that sound like hello perhaps garbled, it was HELLO and there was no question about it. Even more strange, it was in MY voice. I was in awe! Months later, I came into the room and she said “January, when are we going to Miami”. Now if I Ever said that, it was only once and I don’t remember it ever. Since that time she has developed to repeat anything one can hear. My voice, my kids voice, the telephone, the microwave oven, the ducks on the pond, the crows in the tree outside, the creaky board in the kitchen, the cats howling, and so much more. When Mary would cook using the oven, occasionally some light smoke or even just fumes would trigger the smoke alarm. Mind boggling frankly.

So, we moved to Virginia in Nov 1989. We experienced 2 weeks of 15 below temp. I’m from Pennsylvania originally so I figured that was just standard weather. It’s not. That was a fluke episode and has never repeated. We live ina log cabin. The hospital administrator asked if I would consider a log cabin, and sent pix. I knew they aren’t what they once were, we came up to see it and that’s all it too. The cabin was heated with two wood burning furnaces, one in the basement and in the fireplace, the doors close and it becomes a furnace. In very cold weather, I would check the furnace every advertisement on the tv and put more wood on the fires. Mary was working ICU at the local hospital, and on night shift. The first week we were there, I watched the news at 11 pm, filled the furnaces with wood and went to bed…pulled the covers up over my shoulders and started the sleep ritual. Suddenly I am jarred awake to hair standing out on my body by the smoke alarm. I jumped up and ran thru the house with my nose sampling the air at every turn. That damn bird had learned the smoke alarm and it was a false alarm.

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