Bald eagles are not sexy.
I would know. As a former resident of Alaska, I’ve seen my fair share of them.
In fact, when we moved to Tacoma in 1991 I remember asking my mom “Why aren’t there any bald eagles here?”. In my mind these rare birds were no different than the mundane seagull or a boring old crow. In fact, the only interesting thing I remember about the white capped creatures is that they would occasionally snatch up one of the neighborhood cats. Other than that, they seemed pretty, well, ordinary.
Speaking of moving, I recently announced that Scott and I are relocating to Small Town, Minnesota at the end of the month. Because I’ve never actually been to Small Town, I’ve been spending the majority of my spare time frantically researching the place online in hopes that somehow, I’ll end up discovering they do in fact have a Nordstrom, which just happens to be located next to the Starbucks, Trader Joe’s and H&M that for some strange reason, I’ve been missing all this time.
So far, no dice.
I’ve also been searching for condos and town homes to rent. Small Town is a resort town, and Scott and I are hoping to snag a fabulous, lakefront condo so that he can walk out the backdoor to go ice fish while I snuggle up next to the fire and cry/shop online. Sounds just like a post card, doesn’t it?
Last week I found the perfect place.
I was sure of it.
But, I have learned from experience never to sign a lease without actually seeing the “perfect place” first.
It seems obvious–yet like many lessons that most would assume to be common sense, I had to learn it the hard way.
Shocking, I know.
The last time I blindly moved to a city I had never visited was in 2007. I was starting graduate school at Syracuse University and after hours of online research, had picked out a cozy little studio for Scott and I to share in the mansion district.
By cozy, I mean just under 400 square feet.
And by mansion district, I mean the ghetto.
Which of course, is just two blocks away from the mansion district. A detail they had managed to leave out of the brochure.
Two blocks, that I highly recomend you don’t walk. Unless getting propositioned by a skateboard gang is your thing.
It was not my thing.
On the bright side, I did shave 14 seconds off my 100-yard dash time.
When we first rolled into our new hood, Scott’s eyes doubled in size.
He was ‘scurred.
Being from Parkland (holla) I was used to a neighborhood that was a little “rough around the edges”, so to speak. Scott on the other hand, is from a town of 900 people in rural Nebraska. Our new environment was a bit of a shock, to say the least.
I decided it would be a good idea to take a walk. You know, to ease his mind a bit.
It was not a good idea.
Approximately three minutes into our little stroll, we were approached by a very friendly woman who felt the need to engage us in conversation. It went a little something like this.
LADY: “What you two kids be doing up here on James Street?”
ME: “Oh, hi there! We just moved here and wanted to take a look around. Do you live around here?”
LADY: ” You moved here? Why would you move here? Pfft! I’ve lived here for about two years but I’m heading to Atlanta. It be violent up in here!”
SCOTT: “Violent? Uh…what do you mean, violent?”
LADY? “Just what I said. This place be violent. My little brother got shot at last week. You don’t even want to know what happened to my baby daddy.”
SCOTT: “What happened to your baby daddy?”
We never found out. I dragged Scott away before Miss Atlanta was able to recount the events. Although I’d be willing to put money on the fact that it involved a skateboarding gang.
Luckily, we were able to find our way over to the mansion district and Scott’s spirits began to lift.
Unfortunately, this small victory was overshadowed by the fight for drugs we witnessed between a drag queen and a homeless man at the bus stop.
The bus stop that was about 40 feet from our front door.
Did I mention the apartment used to be a motel?
Did I mention it also had a wall made of cheap mirrors? That happened to be placed directly in front of the only place large enough to fit a bed. Classy.
Other highlights included guinea pig droppings left from the previous owner, an ant infestation, and a heater that didn’t work.
And that’s the story of how in the midst of a bitterly cold Upstate New York winter, our oven also became our heating system.
The broil setting is a beautiful thing.
This is why I will never pick a place online again.
Even if it is on a lake.
And boasts a back yard which connects directly to a cross country skiing/mountain biking trail.
And comes with an attached cedar wood sauna.
Not to mention hard wood floors, butcher block counters, travertine tile baths and snow removal included in the rent.
Oh, and did I mention they’re throwing in a sleeping ice house?
Did I also mention the rent is a fraction of what we are paying in Seattle? And that we will be upgrading to 2,000 square feet?
I was about ready to break my own rule. I mean…I’m not just going to sit back and let somebody else snatch up Jolie’s Malibu Barbie ice house simply because I’m too afraid to sign a lease!
It seemed too good to be true. There just had to be a catch.
And, because this is my life we’re talking about, there absolutely was.
Let’s just say it wasn’t quite what I was expecting.
LANDLORD: “Oh, so you have a small dog?”
ME: “Yeah. Very small. Like, half the size of a cat. Is that going to be a problem? She’s super well-behaved and pretty much sleeps all the time. She never has accidents indoors and because I’m going to be working from home, I’ll be with her all day. When we do leave, Scott and I put her in dog kennel, so she never would be running around unsupervised. I promise she’s a perfect angel. We’ve had her for over four years and have never had any problems. I can even have our past landlords give you references if you like…?”
LANDLORD: “Oh no, that’s OK. Our homeowner’s association recently made an adjustment to the rules, so dogs are allowed in the townhomes, so long as you clean up after them when they go outside.”
ME: “Oh yes, of course. We always make sure to have a ‘dog bag’ in hand! We’re very diligent about that. Living in the city, we have to be.”
LANDLORD: “Wonderful. Then yes, I’d be fine with your puppy, but there is one other concern I should probably inform you of.”
LANDLORD: “Well, yes. I mean…it might not ever be a problem, but we do have a large bald eagle who nests in the back yard.”
Of course. Of course there would be a giant bird of prey that has decided to set up shop in my future back yard.
Of. Freaking. Course.
And I’m sure as I write this, he’s taking a huge nasty bird dump on Jolie’s Malibu Barbie ice house.
Both figuratively and literally.
After some more online sleuthing, I have determined that bald eagles can and will in fact snatch up small dogs.
Does the fact that I wouldn’t be upset if the eagle…oh, I don’t know…died in the next few weeks make me a bad person?
Of natural causes, of course. I wouldn’t dream of killing an endangered species simply so Jolie can have her Malibu Barbie dream sleeping ice house.
Plus, the $250,000 fine and 5 years in prison just doesn’t seem worth it.
Those numbers are off the top of my head, by the way. It’s not as if I’ve researched eagle poaching fines or anything.
Alright…there may have been a quick iPhone search or two…but nothing major.
Only because a bunch of dead eagle photos started popping up on the screen, and I didn’t want to freak out the other vanpool riders. I do have some manners.
While the eagle situation certainly puts a damper on things, I’m not totally ruling this place out.
It’s not that I don’t care about Jolie’s well being.
It’s just that after much consideration, I think if it really came down to it, Jolie could take him.
The eagle, I mean. You know, in like a yard fight or something.
If any chihuahua can do it, it’s this one. She’s been known to attack multiple creatures that weigh well over 60 pounds. She even picked a fight with a taxidermied grizzly bear, once.
Plus, she’s no stranger to puncture wounds.
Surprising, I know. Particularly for such a sensitive creature.
Despite her moody artistic side, she’s infamously referred to as “Killer” by the other residents in our current condo. I suppose she’s earned the title after making a Great Dane pee himself in the elevator out of sheer terror.
On three separate occasions.
She’s extremely kind to humans–I can assure you that her animosity is only directed at other animals.
Well, most of the time.
Recently, we’ve run into quite the predicament. She hasn’t figured out that children are small versions of humans. Instead, she assumes they are some type of animal and goes rabid whenever a kiddo approaches her. Which happens quite frequently as it turns out small children are drawn to tiny chihuahuas in dresses.
Insert more peeing in elevators out of sheer terror.
This has been quite embarrassing.
Yet not entirely unappreciated.
Which begs the question, which is worse: contemplating bald eagle homicide or secretly laughing when your seven-pound chihuahua scares the living daylights out of the four-year old terror who spilled apple juice all over your new suede pumps last week in the elevator?
The answer is that Katrina is a very, very bad person.
I’m starting to think Jolie and I don’t even deserve this Malibu Barbie ice house in the first place.
Regardless, the purpose of this post was to convince you all that bald eagles are complete and total jackholes.
Yes, you read me right. Jackholes.
Ironically, in just over 2,000 words, all I’ve done is paint a horribly accurate portrait of the terrible human beings Jolie and I truly are.
Shame on us, and our pink sleeping ice house of glory.
And yes, Jolie is technically human. She owns four purses and knows who Ryan Gosling is, which means she makes the cut.
I bet that stupid eagle wouldn’t recognize Ryan Gosling if he sauntered into his tree nest and hit him with his very best pick up line.
In conclusion, I think Jolie has what it takes to scare that bald eagle all the way to North Dakota.
I’ll let you know if we end up getting the place or not.