Playing Chicken

May 17 2011

I have no houseplants.

None.

Because it would be inhumane.  Or – what do you call it when it’s a plant?  It would be inplantane.

Cruel.

I am death to plants.  I cannot suffer them to live.

Besides, who wants stuff that’s green, beautiful, and makes oxygen, anyway?  Overrated.

To be fair, I do well by my kids.  I feed and water them every, single day.

And I do OK by my dog.  I feed and water him every day, too.  Except on the days when I walk by his empty food and water dish and go, “Oh, CRAP!” But our doggy’s hanging in there with all the fish crackers, ramen, and kool-aid he gleans from the floor.  Really.  I don’t think he’s ever had a hungry moment.  Please don’t turn me in to the ASPCA.

This is the hanging basket we bought two weeks ago.

You’ll note that we use the term “hanging” as loosely as possible.  I moved it to that spot, sitting on my front steps, hoping it would stick out its tongue for some rain water.

Thirsty.  So thirsty.

I’m sad to say, given the droopy, dried bits, that I’m starting to wonder whether it even has a tongue.

I think I got a broken one.

Again.

The thing is, I didn’t mean to buy it.  It’s just that the baseball team was selling them.  And I’m a sucker for kids at my door.  As every single neighborhood kid knows.  There’s just something about a kid standing there with an empty sales sheet, hemming and hawing, and forgetting to say please and thank you.  They slay me every time, and my checkbook falls out.

Poor not-hanging basket.  I meant well.  I swear it’s true.

So anyway… you’ll understand, given my track record, my surprise when our neighbors asked us to watch their chickens while they’re away.

Chickens, after all, are no hanging basket.

They’re actual, living creatures that our neighbors expect to find still living when they get home.

Isn’t that the sweetest??

See, our neighbors are nice.  They have nice kids.  They have a nice dog.  And they have chickens.

Probably nice chickens.

Our assignment is to keep the chickens alive, safe from predators, and collect the eggs every day.

For two whole days!

One.  Then two.

And they didn’t even ask for our resumes first or anything.

That right there is faith, people.  “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”  See?  Faith!

I made Greg set two alarms each evening.  They blast and blare starting at 7:30pm and continue until we walk over to lock the coop.

The alarms are necessary because I’m terrified we’ll forget the chickens the way we every once in a while, super rarely, forget the dog dishes.

And I can’t – I just can’t – look into our sweet little neighbor kids’ faces and tell them that we’re the dolts who forgot to lock the coop and let the local raccoon pack turn their pets into a down pillow.

So if we’re so bad at taking care of stuff, why did we say we’d watch the chickens?

Well, for two reasons.

Reason #1:  How do you say no to a face like this?

Aw.  Wook at dat cute wittle chicken face.

And Reason #2: They bribed us with free eggs.

Aw.  Wook at dose cute wittle children’s faces.

Um, should I tell the boys now or later that chickens only have one exit hole and those eggs are totally covered in chicken poo?  Yeah, nevermind.  They’re 4 years old.  Like they care.

So, free eggs!  We catch ’em, we keep ’em.  And those eggs just lay there, waiting to be picked up, if you can believe it.

It’s a total racket, and I’m on the winning end.

Do me a favor, OK?  Let’s keep the whole dying-hanging-basket, empty-dog-dish, no-house-plants thing just between us.

They’re new neighbors.  They don’t have to know all our dirty laundry yet.

‘Til then, I’m going to enjoy my turn being the responsible neighbor.  And hope, hope, hope they’ll ask me again.

Just please.  Pretty, pretty please.  Do not send those chickens to my door selling anything.  My checkbook can’t take it.