One of these days I need to remove from the roof all the things I have flung up there to chase away the flickers. They’re those orange-feathered birds with long beaks and ill manners. Not content to roost in the surrounding trees, they settle in around the metal pipes jutting up from the roof to call to prospective honeys. Thus they begin a jack-hammering routine that reverberates throughout the house to j-j-j-jar any sane person from sleep, concentration or just plain quietude.  

When they’re not drilling into the plumbing, they issue a jeering cry that just dares me to race outside, grab something handy and hurl it in their direction. Hence the need to retrieve barbeque tongs, a garden trowel, assorted sticks and an old shoe.

I no longer snatch up small rocks from the landscaping and aim for those avian hooligans in flight. One of the rocks sailed clear over the roof and hit a car in the driveway.  It landed with a crack to the glass. One of these days I need to get that fixed.

I miss my old shoe the most. It was already in my hand as I stood on one foot while trying to remove mud from it because flicker pecking season coincides with mud season in my backyard. I was particularly frustrated with the state of world affairs in that moment and so acquiesced to the impulse to strike out at something. I sent the shoe aloft with a might heave. Which upset my balance, causing me to grab for the nearest handhold and wrench the downspout away from the gutter.

One of these days I need to reattach that downspout before the rains come and threaten to flood the basement. Such a task will require a ladder, which I hope does not scrape away the paint from the corner of the house again this time as I try to maneuver it into position. The scrape happened when the ladder slipped while I was trying to replace a torn screen. The tear occurred as I tried to use a rake to retrieve the dog’s favorite chew toy from the roof. One of these days I need to finish the repair to that screen and then touch up the paint.

How do these birds manage to cause so much trouble? Truth be told, the problem is not the birds. It’s this hapless homeowner. There’s a certain territorial arrogance that follows someone into their domicile.(The same type of thinking often leads to road rage, but that’s a topic for another day.) Part of this proprietary attitude comes down from that old chestnut of common thinking “A man’s home is his castle.” Which by today’s quirky standards implies that so-called man caves need serious upgrades. It would be quite telling to see which consumers would fall for that one!

As for the those raucous causes of torment, I may be exaggerating here a bit, but perhaps hyperbole wouldn’t be necessary if I could find another past time to distract myself from the rat-tat-tatting on my roof.  Something that forces one’s thinking into a more methodical pace. Hmm.

Ah ha!  It’s Opening Day — and about time!  Here’s the sign I would hold up if I were in the stands:  “Don’t tell us how happy you are to return to the game when it’s obvious you won’t play for less than the amount required to fund a small school district!”  It’s so wordy no one could read it. Just as well, then, to attend via the television. I especially appreciate a good scoop of a grounder followed by a sizzling throw that smacks deep into the first baseman’s glove. Though I wonder if any of those guys could hit a flicker pecking on a pipe. 

Judy Allison has enjoyed a long and varied career in media and has written for newspapers, magazines, cable TV, government entities and elected officials. She and her dog Torrey the Wonder-Bouvier wander through many neighborhoods in the region.