Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Bit of a Scare

I was still in a morning haze in bed Wednesday when I heard M calling me from the family room. She had gotten up to bring the gliders into the office for their morning yogurt and exercise (sounds like a spa, doesn't it?). As is often the case, Cirrus was still out and about the cage. Cirrus climbed on to M's robe, which normally is followed by a short trip to the office. Well, this time Cirrus had other ideas. She quickly jumped to the outside top of the cage and then crawled to the bottom where M could not reach her. Virga was already out of the pouch and climbing on M, so she decided to get the three of them into the office and come back and get Cirrus. The trip to the office and back is 30 seconds at most. When M came back out to get Cirrus, she was nowhere to be found. There was no scurrying of little feet or other sounds that would point to a likely location.  That's when I got the call.

Typically when one of the gliders is loose you can here them running around. As I slowly went through the family room and adjoining rooms I didn't hear a sound. That was not good. Cirrus is a very active glider and she especially has a good time in the morning, so it wasn't likely that she hunkered down to sleep in that amount of time. With some dread I went down into the basement to see if she might be there. I checked the areas near the stairs and did not see or hear anything. I headed back upstairs to look around some more, but no luck. On place I did not check in the basement was the area we discovered Foehn in during their summer "breakout".  I went back downstairs and checked the utility area. Within seconds I heard and then saw Cirrus climbing around the stuff down there. She was not about to come to me or let me grab her - she was having far too good of a time. I dashed upstairs and grabbed a pouch and went back down. I held out the pouch and she crawled right in. She joined the rest of the gang in the office moments later, but not before she got a little bit of a talking to by me. That leaves Virga as the only one who hasn't headed to the basement, and we'd like to keep it that way.

It still amazes me how fast the gliders can move. It also amazes me that they can get down the stairs so fast. Getting down the stairs is the easy part - getting up the stairs appears to be more daunting.

The basement stairs - a tall order for a small glider.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Room to Spread Out

After three months of waiting I was able to pick up our new (assembled) cage December 10th. I started assembling it that weekend and finished it up this past weekend. On the fist day I assembled the main cage, which meant connecting two 30 inch wide panels each for the front and back to make a 60 inch wide by 60 inch high panel, and then connect the sides, top, and bottom to them. Apparently on the first Saturday I must have been still a little strung out from trip the day before. When I finished assembling the cage, M noticed that I had attached one of the front panels upside down, which was obvious because the doors were upside down. Then, I noticed that I had installed the end panels opposite to where they should have been, and the doors on both opened the wrong way. So, last Saturday I spent more than an hour removing a few dozen "c" rings from around the upside down front panel, removed it, an installed it correctly. For the ends, I just swapped the doors. Once that all was done, the rest of the assembly went quickly. The new cage measures 60 inches wide by 60 inches high by 24 inches deep, exactly twice as wide as their previous cage.

That afternoon we rolled out the old cage, which was going to our son for his glider, Molly, and wheeled in the new one. M had new cage stuff all ready to go, including a neat "Santa Pants" sleeping pouch. That night we passed on tent time in order to let them come out and check out their new home. Virga was the first out that night, and she checked out the whole cage, sniffing everything. The others eventually came out, all a little wary at first.  They have since settled in and seem to be enjoying the extra space. We haven't really had the chance to see them playing around in it as we are in bed before they really get going . Most nights they take a post tent time nap after they are returned to their cage and don't going until later after we are in bed.

The gliders' new cage, complete with holiday decorations.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Road Adventures

A week ago we finally got the call we have been waiting for since early November. The new cage we had ordered in September was ready to be picked up. I originally had requested a price quote in late August, but for  a variety of reasons we didn't get it until late October, and then were told it would probably be another two weeks before it was ready.  Five weeks later they called. Ironically I was only a hour away from the company, located in southern Wisconsin, when the call came but I was working and did not have my own car. So, I decided to head up last Friday, the one good day between two storms.

I was going by myself because M had a lot of things she wanted to get done at home. I wanted to get an early start so that I could get there and back before dark. I pulled out of the garage and made my way about a half-mile toward the highway which would take me to the Interstate. When I approached the stop sign and hit the brake, the pedal went all the way to the floor and lights lit up the dashboard. I had no brakes.  Not good...not good at all. I backed up, turned around, and drove the half-mile home very slowly. The car was not drivable and would have to be towed to the repair shop.

The towing company showed up with a flatbed and loaded up the Durango. I was left to make the tip north in my 18 year old truck with 193,000 miles. That wasn't my first choice, but it would have to do. I followed the flatbed to the repair shop. We weren't very far down the road when I realized that I had no heat in the truck. It appeared the thermostat was shot. This was going to be a long, cold day.

Once the Durango was at the repair shop and scheduled for service I headed north. Fortunately it was a sunny day, but it was also only in the 20s. I started to get uncomfortable after an hour or so. It didn't help that there is a rather large hole in the body of the cab (rusted through) that provided unneeded ventilation. I had a wool blanket that I wrapped around my legs, and that helped. I made it to my destination in good time and picked up the cage panels and parts, and then headed home. The ride home was OK until the sun went down, and then it got really cold. By the time I got home my feet were like ice and my legs were cramping  because of the cold and sitting for hours. Mission accomplished, however - we had the cage.Well, we had the parts.

The cage was not assembled, and what I came back with were the pre-cut panels and other parts. The panels had doors installed where we wanted them, but I asked them not to assemble it so that transportation would be easier. I put together most of the cage on Sunday, and should have it finished as soon as I get some time this week. We hope to have the gliders in their new home this weekend. More on that later.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Catching On

I'm pretty amazed at how fast our "gang of four" adapts to changes in their routine. Back when we had to move the cage out of the office into the great room M was resigning herself to the fact that she wouldn't be able to spend time with them in the morning anymore because we couldn't let them out of the cage. She was taking them in their sleeping pouch from the cage to our bathroom while I was painting and laying a new floor in the office. They quickly learned that that's the way it was going to be, and now wait in the pouch for M to come and get them. Instead of the bathroom, they now get to run around the office where there is plenty of space. Cirrus is the "lookout" in the morning. When she hears one of us come out her little head pops out of the pouch to check who is there.  M brings them into the office where there are some things to climb on and a wheel to run on. Cirrus is often on the wheel when I come into the office to get my stuff for work. When I come in, she usually jumps off of the wheel and comes over to climb up my leg and arm to my shoulder. I like to think she is glad to see me, but it could also be I'm the tallest thing in the room for her to climb and jump off of!  Either way, it's pretty neat. They have the run of things for about 45 minutes until they decide to call it a night. When they are ready to turn in they crawl into the sleeve of M's robe, and once they have settled down she carries them into our bathroom and lays her robe on the heated floor along with their pouch. While she is getting showered and dressed they eventually make their way out of the robe and into the sleeping pouch, and into the cage they go for the rest of the day.

There is one more big change in the offing - a new, larger cage. I'll be going to pick that up in a couple of days and will have more to write about it at that time..