I wish there was a way to have my thoughts transcribed at the moment they pop into my head, especially the ones that take place while I am tending the birds in the mornings.  For that hour or so while I am in the birdroom, my mind goes a million miles an hour and I often catch myself and think, “I hope I remember this later so I can put it in a blog.”  Alas, most of it tends to evaporate by the time I can actually sit down to write something.

This morning there was a lot to dwell upon while cleaning cages.  Most of it not good.  Well, all of it not good, except I can now remind myself that life IS good, despite the bad that happens.

Yesterday we spent the entire day at a car dealership.  The truck is down to its last few payments, and as it’s got over 75000 miles it’s time to debate whether it’s smarter to keep it and run it into the ground, or trade it in for something a bit better and new, and just keep making payments.  There are pluses on both sides of the issue.  If you keep it, you eliminate a payment for a while.  Logically, you think, well I could save the money I normally pay and in a few years have a down-payment.  Realistically, that never happens.  Money you have is generally absorbed and spent.  So what could really happen is that you end up with a vehicle not worth much and needing constant repairs.  Of course, you could get lucky and it runs for another 75000 miles with minimal costs.  It could happen; it’s been a great truck so far.  Also, pigs could fly.

The alternative is to upgrade a bit, get something with a few more bells and whistles which would make having another payment seem less of a bummer.  The current truck is a 2011 Ford F-150 XLT.  Gorgeous red.  Spacious and roomy (crew cab), comfy even on long trips, and gets surprisingly good gas mileage, especially when compared to the Jeep Liberty that hubby drove just prior to this truck, which got about 14 mpg if you had the wind at your back.  The truck gets about 19 overall.  So we thought we should check out what the current world of trucks had to offer.

Scott checked out a Ram Laramie, with lots of bells and whistles, and kind of fell in love with it.  It was at the big dealership in Tilton.  You know the one.  They carry damn near every make made.  They used to have a smaller branch in Plymouth, 15 minutes from us.  I bought my PT Cruiser from them and Scott ordered his new PT Cruiser from them a few years later.  We never liked their attitude, both in the sales department and in the repair area, but one can put up with a lot for the convenience of being 15 minutes away.  They closed the Plymouth branch a couple years back, and now you’re left with the ginormous dealership they have in Tilton.

Since Scott had driven the Laramie and loved it, so we went back the next day to see what kind of deal we could work out.  Am I the only one – other than Scott – that can’t get over the shock of having a truck cost more than my first house AND this house put together????   Granted, neither place was a mansion, in fact far, far from it,  but still.   Let me tell you what the experience was like at Auto-Serv.  Scott had told the salesman via email that we would be in between 9:30 and 10.   No problem.   So, being the punctual people we are, we got there about 9:25.  Someone asked if they could help us and Scott told them he had an appointment with Some Dub between 9:30 and 10.  We were told Some Dub does not come in till 10.  Some Dub’s Buddy, who was also in on the deal, was also not in.  They apparently reached Some Dub’s Buddy and said he would be there in about 9 minutes.  Ten minutes later, someone else came and told us he would be there in about 10 minutes.  Good way to start the appointment, no?  They care so little that they don’t even bother to show up for an appointment.

While we are waiting we wander about a bit.  Some older salesman wanders over to talk.  To Scott.  I was invisible.  NO eye contact with me.  NONE.  I noticed this immediately, and to make sure I wasn’t being paranoid I actually made a comment to him, to which he vaguely responded while addressing Scott!   A five minute conversation, minimum, with no eye contact to me whatsoever.

So after cooling our heels for 20 minutes, Some Dub’s Buddy arrived.  He shall now be referred to as SUB guy, which stands for Stick Up Butt which was all I could think of once I saw him.  Lest you think that cruel, I assure you you’d think the same if you saw him.  So he shakes Scott’s hand.  I stick mine out and since he has not made eye contact with me AT ALL he ignores it and turns to lead us to his cubicle.  We talk, or should I say he and Scott talk, until he has to leave for something or other.  I tell Scott about the lack of eye contact or acknowledgement and he hadn’t noticed.  I tell him to watch.

I will jump now to the part where he presents us the initial “deal” on paper.  We felt we were being low-balled on the trade in and asked if he thought they could do better.  SUB goes away and comes back with Mr. Big.   He told us what a great deal we were getting.  Scott told him that we had done our homework and checked 3 different sites to get a value on our truck, and that they were low.  Mr. Big tells Scott at least three times that he must have clicked the wrong button, in Scott’s eyes implying that he was a doddering old idiot and couldn’t handle “that there new-fangled computer” stuff!   I had little input, since this guy was mostly addressing Scott though he did toss an occasional glance my way.

You know, in my book, a salesman (or woman) should be making eye contact and treating you like you matter and your wants and opinions matter.  We got the complete opposite. Scott saw the lack of acknowledging me after I clued him in to it, and neither of us felt they treated us with any respect at all.   We left, and I should add that we never got the follow-up “sorry we couldn’t do business and if we can help you in the future please give us the opportunity to try again.”
Nothing.  It was basically a “well, you lost out so good riddance” dismissal on their end.  It reaffirmed our opinion that we will NEVER deal with them again.

That was Wednesday.  That night I checked the Irwin Ford dealership online, and found that they had some nice fancy trucks in the Ford line.  When I grew up, you were either a Ford or Chevy person.  We had Chevys in our house, after the long line of Ramblers that never started if there was any moisture in the air, so Fords were always something other people had.  When we bought the F-150 in 2011, we had originally made a deal via the ‘net with a Chevy garage up north. This was a dealer in Littleton, and the salesman was great.  All we had to do was go try the truck out and sign on the dotted line.  Unfortunately, Scott did not like the truck once he tried it out.  The salesman was still great, and in fact told us about a Ford dealer not far away in Vermont.  We went there and they also turned out to be fantastic folks and we drove home with the new F-150.  Since then, my opinion of Ford completely changed, at least as far as their trucks went.  So the idea of settling on wanting the Ram without checking out the comparable Fords didn’t seem prudent to me anyway.

Turns out the Ford still makes a really nice F-150  package they dub the Lariat.  It looked very comparable to the Ram that Scott had liked so much.  Leather interior, heated seats, 8″ screen for the backup camera, etc.  Just lots of niceties you don’t get in the basic F-150 unless you add them.  The Irwin Ford place had one that seemed ideal, so I set up an appointment online for the next day, Thursday.

To start with, it felt completely different in that place.  Everybody smiles and makes eye contact.  Granted, that is how it should be everywhere, but unfortunately is not.  The salesman we dealt with, Ryan, was really nice.  We tried out the Lariat and Scott and I both LOVED IT.  While I never rode in the Ram, Scott was immediately won over to this Lariat and the Ram was no longer a loss in his mind.  I mean, I can’t say 100% that he felt that way, but I could see his eyes light up looking around the inside of that Lariat at everything it had and did.  Part of me would much rather just keep what we have and end up with one less payment, but I must say that the Lariat would have been worth another payment.  So nice!  The test drive also was great.  So now to the wheeling and dealing.  There was very little of it, since they would give us even less than Auto-Serv for a trade-in and could come down even less on the Lariat.  In the end, we just did not want to up our payments to that degree.  We even flirted with a lease, which we had always been against, but in the end we had to agree it was just too pricey.

To his credit, Ryan found us several other vehicles to try out, and we did, and we were close on one of them, A GMC Sierra, but it did not have a big enough back seat.  We carry cages to bird shows, and we need the expanse of the crew cab.  Even just carrying a third adult in the back of that truck would have been very cramped compared to a crew cab, so in the end we had to turn that one down.

This turned into an all day affair.  It was a LOOOOOOONG day. As it got into mid-afternoon, I reminded Scott that Spot was home, crated, and while he would probably be sleeping all day (which is what he does even when I’m home!) we also had the birds to think about.  I have the baby grey still with the parents, which means he should have been fine since they have tons of food in their cage with the 3 extra dishes of various pellets, but they are used to me giving them soft foods at least 3 times a day and I worried about them.  So while we tried to wrap things up at that point, we still ended up not getting home till after 5 PM.

First thing I did was let Spot out.  He was more happy to see me than he was desperate to go out.  That dog has a bladder made of steel, I swear!  Then I warmed up the beans/rice/veggies and brought some in for the grey pair with the baby, as well as giving some to the finch flight where there are baby gouldians.  The baby timneh was on his back and I could see he had very little food in his crop.  I had a very slight tingling at that – a bit of a Spidey sense if you will – but dismissed it.  They would feed him once they got the soft food.  I got a quick pic for the diary and left them alone.

This morning I went in to check on the baby first thing, and he was still in the same exact position, with Mom standing near him, about 3″ away, as if standing guard.  My stomach dropped as I grabbed a flashlight to look closer.  Not breathing.  Crap.  My next thought was that the guy who has been waiting for this baby for so long now was going to be absolutely crushed by this.  Ziggy was not moving away, so I grabbed a perch to try to get her to exit the box.  She attacked the perch, because that’s what they do, and I grabbed a food dish in my other hand to get her to back away enough so I could finally grab the chick.

He was ice cold and not breathing.  You might think I’m nuts at this, but at that point there is nothing to lose, so I started doing quick compressions on his little chest with my finger, and every 5th or 6th one I’d pause and breath into his beak.  After a few minutes  I saw him take a very shallow breath.  I kept up the compressions and breathing and when I stopped again I saw him again take a breath!  I really thought maybe he was going to be ok.  I had Scott plug in the brooder and I was focused on keeping him as warm as possible till I could get him into the brooder.  Almost an hour went by, and suddenly it was as if a light went out and he stopped breathing again.  I tried more compressions and breathing into him for another few minutes, but he was truly gone this time.  A few minutes past 8.

The guilt I feel when something goes wrong with the birds is horrible.  Even when it’s clearly something I have no control over, I always feel like I should have been able to see it coming or somehow been able to stop it or fix it.   So the guilt over this death is right there.  If I had been home yesterday, would this have happened?  Should I have just pulled the kid last night?  Logically I know that the chick should have still been ok even though I wasn’t here yesterday, and I had good reason to just leave them be last night, but still I am second-guessing myself and feeling guilty.  It’s done and I can’t change it.  Its the flip side of the joy that I feel when an egg has hatched – which truly never gets old for me – and I know that anyone that deals with raising animals of any kind knows the feeling.

So it’s been kind of a rough week.  The truck thing has been stressful.  Nothing, though, compared to losing this little life.  He was to be pulled for handfeeding this weekend.  I thought of letting Ziggy and Paco go again if they wanted to, but even though it’s only been two kids she’s hatched in the last two clutches, she needs to take a break till fall.

And so it goes…

The good, the bad.  The life, and death.  Always be thankful for what you have.