“Isn’t it a wonderful afternoon, Squeaky Pie?” Momanita, my hootman, said in an annoyingly cheerful voice.
“No, it’s NOT a wonderful afternoon! It’s rainy and gray and I don’t see any millet in my food cup!”
I chirped and checked my food cup again. Sometimes millet appeared when I napped. I loved waking up to millet.
To other hootmans this sounded like squeals and whistles, but not to Momanita. She MOSTLY understood cockatiel speak. I MOSTLY understood hootman talk.
“The rain waters my gardens,” Momanita continued. “A pair of mallards waddled onto our front lawn. They appreciate this weather. We should, too.”
“Do I LOOK like a duck? Look at my feet. No webbing. Cockatiels, especially THIS cockatiel, nap when it’s rainy. I WAS napping until you woke me.”
I scooted away from the door.
“Blue skies invite me outside to warm myself in the sun. Grey skies inspire me to stay inside and write.”
“Grey skies inspire shuteye!”
I turned my back and fluffed my feathers to give her a hint.
“Let’s go upstairs and write!”
I gave a hint, but Momanita didn’t take it. She opened the door to my little writing nest and placed it on top of my rolly nest.
“Come on, Squeaks, climb out and in.”
And I did. It’s hard to refuse a cheerful hootman even when she’s annoying.
“The rain cleanses the air. It smells so fresh.” Momanita inhaled deeply to make her point.
“You know what I like smelling – fresh millet.”
I banged my food cup with my beak to make my point.
“What should we write about? Deciding what to write isn’t easy.”
“You’re the one who wanted to write. You figure it out. Write about rain and gray skies and fresh air and about how you’re not letting me doze on a perfectly dozeable day!”
I’m crabby when I can’t nap.
Momanita climbed the stairs to our writing room and settled behind her computer. I settled on top of my writing nest.
“A good writer can write about anything,” said Momanita. “I could write about fresh air and breathing.”
“That’s what I said!”
“I know. I’ll Google it!”
“Good idea, Momanita! Another good idea is me snoozing.”
“Listen to this, Squeaks. Cockatiels don’t have diaphragms like humans. A diaphragm is the muscle that helps us breathe.”
“I may not have a diaphragm, but I breathe just fine with my chest muscles. Diaphragms are overrated.”
We cockatiels are proud birds!
“You have nostrils, but they look different than mine.”
“MY nostrils are better than YOUR nostrils. Mine are two flat holes above my beak. Yours are on that nose thing hootmans have.”
Momanita tapped on the keyboard.
“Toads and frogs breathe through their skin. That’s a neat trick!”
“Toads have warty skin. I have BEAUTIFUL feathers!”
I preened. I’m a showoff.
“Fish breathe through gills. Some crustaceans carry gills on their hind legs that look like feathers.”
“Crustaceans know feathers are beautiful . . . even fake feathers.”
“Whales have blowholes on top of their heads so they can breathe easier in the water.”
“I prefer the crest on top of my head.”
“Nature is amazing, Squeaks. Animals adapted their breathing to their environments.”
“You know what would be more amazing? If when I woke up from my nap millet would be in my food cup. I LOVE millet.”
I’m not sure she got what I said because Momanita MOSTLY understood cockatiel speak and I MOSTLY understood hootman talk.