Sunday, 11 March 2012

Adventures in home ownership

Today was the first day I really got a good look at my backyard, as the snow is melting. On my "to do" list was to go out and pick up the trash that was appearing as the snow melts.

Backyard - before

I grabbed a garbage bag, and a plastic bag to protect my hands. I started picking up trash - coffee cups, a box of baking soda (?).

And then I found a dead pigeon, also emerging under melted snow. I reacted with as much calm and grace as Kate Gosselin, meaning I screamed and ran indoors and wanted nothing to do with the bird carcass in my backyard, I wanted someone else to take care of it.

(Many, many years ago I had to dispose of a dead mouse. I used a ruler and a dustpan and my hands shook so much I dropped it. I can't deal with this sort of thing.)

I put out a plea for help on Facebook. I texted my best guy friends, neither of whom could come right away. One of my friends pointed out that I could call the city at 311 and have it removed as a health hazard. So I called 311. The guy who answered was very nice. He transferred me over to Dispatch ... and the woman who answered was not so warm and fuzzy. No, I can't just pick it up with a shovel, I don't have a shovel. I just moved here last week. I can't deal with a dead bird. I can't.

The dispatcher said they were backed up and maybe someone could come today, but it would probably be tomorrow and I would have to leave a note in my mailbox giving them permission to enter the backyard, as it is my private property. I was prepared to wait.

Then I heard someone shoveling. One of my neighbours was in his backyard, cleaning up dog poop. I introduced myself, and it turns out that when he and his girlfriend moved in, they also had a dead bird in their backyard. Huh.

Anyways, he very nicely scooped the dead bird into a garbage bag for me, I thanked him profusely, and I disposed of the bag in the nearest dumpster, offering a silent apology to the bird that this was how its life went.

And then I called 311 again, and told them I no longer needed anyone to come out. They said they would cancel it. Five minutes later, someone from Dispatch called and confirmed that I was cancelling my request for assistance. I confirmed that the dead bird had been disposed of, and all was well. She thanked me for calling them to let them know not to send someone.

Once my nerves settled, I went outside and cleaned up the rest of the trash. I didn't find any more dead animals, whew!

I knew there would be unexpected bumps in the road of home ownership, but I never expected to have to deal with a dead bird.

Backyard - after

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