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  • It has been three weeks since I last touched Cowbird, and three weeks of stories slipping in and out of my mind. I think that Cowbird has permanently wired my brain like that, in a creative way, and I now see a story in everything. When something interesting has happened or gone through my head, six words flash through my mind, 'that could be a cowbird story...', but by the end of the day all is forgotten. I'm out of routine, and out of practice. Lately I've lost that Cowbird thrill, that story-telling thrill, And that feeling of home when I'm on the site. I'm trying to retieve that feeling, because I miss it so badly. I want to get back in touch with you cowbird friends on the other side of the country or world, so here I am; for a day at least. The rest of this is more of an update then a story, but, as the saying goes, anything can be a story.

    Fifteen years my parents have coped with the same tiny apartment. Twelve of those years they have shared it with me. The junk has piled on, and my poor mother has had to cope with thirteen pets, which goes completely against the way she was brought up. I have been living in this little space my whole life, and am more attached to it then you could imagine. My whole history is recorded in those dirty walls, which, after twenty years, have been given the chance to be renewed. It was a long (and painful) process, getting a direct answer from the land lord. Weeks were spent tossing silly e-mails back and forth with no progress, and all we needed was a yes or no. We could have gotten the job done years ago if we'd had the freedom. E-mailing was one thing, painting is another. If you've ever painted, you would understand. Even though we would not be the ones swiping paint rollers around, we had a lot of moving to do. A lot. The house was going to have to be turned upside down, and everything in every room clumped in the center, and everything that was IN everything in every room had to be detached, stored in boxes, and hauled out of sight. My job was peeling books out of my library, placing them in crates, and choosing which ones were fit to sell, as were mother's direct orders. And finally, our work was done; and the house was successfully trashed. the cats were dazed and sniffing at every new corner, and soon using the hiding places we had created to their advantage. That night I slept on the couch, which was squashed with the living room table and surrounded with bookshelves (my idea of camping).
    We had done all this with still no answer from Dan, the landlord. Dad typed up a furious e mail, and a couple days later he replied hastily and threw in a painter he had known. A friendly painter, who's name I'll choose not to mention. He was from Brazil and loved to chat and take his own time. And so, the painting we had been waiting for for so long was taking it's own time. he was a great guy to hang out with, but not do business with. He talked about the weather in Brazil and things he liked to cook; and came in every morning at eight except one day where he never showed up, and mom had to call him and do her famous scolding until he confessed that he'd been too tired.

    Ever since I was five, I've dreamed of a minty green room. Something foresty. With a tent over my bed and plants hanging from the ceiling. Now, the chance was here. I had been staying over at a parent's friend's house (i've known her for years) who is so nice to me I once thought that she was my real mother (please don't laugh). I later learned that she had worked with autistic children for years; I had always wondered where she got such a huge supply of toys. Anyway, there I was again, destined for a three-day sleep over, with my cats, on their indoor porch. I won't lie, It was almost the best three days of my life. I stayed up late reading, watching the cats slinking around their new enviornment and sniffing warily at everything. All this was because my room was to be colored first, and the fumes would not be good for me or the cats. I went shopping with my "old" friends, fed squirrels, fed cats, ate a wonderfull breakfast, and suddenly it was my time to leave. Not only that, but the cats would not be coming me. Now, I don't want this story to start sounding like it's about the cats, but during this stage in painting they were the center of attention. Robby and Renee would be staying on the porch, as dad's logic suggested that it would make no sense to bring them home then shuttle them back once we started on the next room. I agreed, getting cats into their carriers is no easy task.
    A couple hours later we were back at our upside down house, me anticipating what my new den would look like. When I got the door open, I nearly staggered at the alien brightness. For years, I realized, I had been living in a pale room. It was hard to get used to this intuding green; the light bouncing off the walls. It almost felt like I was drowning. It was a forest, I thought, crossed with boiled snails and the carribean. Later that day we put my room back together, in a different arrangment then before, and I started to appreciate my new color more. I reshelved the books, threw out some more, decorated the night stand, put the stuffed animals that had been sprawled on my bed for years back in their chest, and vaccuumed. When all was done, the room looked cleanly modern and almost too spacy, to mother's delight. We placed the litter box in the closet where it could not be seen and nailed a bulletin board over the desk, and pinned things that had been floating around onto it. That first day I was uncomfortable with how big and empty my room seemed. And that night, no kidding, I had a nightmare that I went into my closet, turned to the right, and went down a long corridor before popping right back into my dark room again.
    The next day, the guy from brazil came in again and painted half the living room mayonnaise. And that same day we picked up the cats, who were just begginning to feel at home on the porch, and braught them home with difficulty. An old dream was coming true. It is impossible to live and create in a house and have it perfect, and we were far from perfct, but closer then before. Sometimes I will look at the clutter our house is drowning in and share mother's insane ambition to get to work and clean it up, but for now I have a room to retreat to. as I write this the painter us chatting with dad and less ten half the house has fresh colored walls, and mother is hovering above my head and painting the ceiling, which is not finished (mom has volunteered to help the painter). This is a job that should have been done years ago, and it's finally happening; I have been so active here and so silent on Cowbird, and now you know why. We're all upside down, school is always around the corner, and my routine has changed completely. But once I can mold myself in to this new life, I will be sure to sound my Cowbird call once again.
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