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Gill  has been kept up to date with things here through Skype and emails and her visit at Christmas. She was aware, of course, that with L’il Sis, The Pig (beagle) and Crazy D taking up residency with me, things had changed. But with her visit this month, she has come to understand the full implication and subtleties of the changes that have taken place since she moved out.

The most obvious for her is that she has been moved down the pecking order (this comes with losing her squatter’s rights). When she visits, she now resides in her sister’s old room. L’il Sis took over Gill’s room and L’il Sis’ room had been used as the Bird Room. With Gill’s arrival for her summer visit, the Canary Colony was relocated to my spacious bathroom for the duration. In my loftier moments, I say the canaries are enjoying a little spa time. Calling it what it IS, I refer to their present circumstance as ‘The Refugee Camp’. They are grouped together on makeshift stands, tables and file cabinets (not unlike the slums of Manila, as Crazy D points out). They seem to have taken their migration in stride,however, even taking the positive stance that the lighting is better than their normal room — as is the view. Of an afternoon, they bask in the bright sunlight and warble their hearts out until nap time finds them dozing contentedly, relaxed feathers fanned out over their feet in a posture I call ‘fwumped’. Would that Gill slept that well in the upheaval.

Gill noted with disdain that the garage is still filled with many of Crazy D’s possessions, bagged in plastic and the tops duct-taped shut. “Wasn’t the bug bed incident a month ago?” she asked, criticism oozing from every pore. “Couldn’t he clean it all up before he left for the great Continental Divide Bike Race? Is it just supposed to sit here, taking up valuable car space until the snow flies?”

“Yup. . .”

“And what’s with all the piles of laundry in the mudroom? It wasn’t like that when I lived here.”

“True.”

“I don’t know how you can stand to live with those two. At least I stayed in my room writing most of the time. We had a routine, things worked efficiently.”

“Again, true. If you’ll recall, you were more like a guest during your long tenure here. I still ran the household. Now, these two run everything. They run a tight ship and I’m clinging to a life raft.”

Gill was horrified. “Well, if I were you, I’d start with pitching all of Crazy D’s stuff out of this garage so you can reduce the clutter. At least then you’d have room for YOUR car.”

“Funny you mention that. Crazy D recommended the same course of action with respect to your stuff that’s still there. He’s trying to get me to throw out your sofa and boxes in the basement so ‘we’ can get organized and he can have space for his office/bike repair shop . . .”

Now Gill was indignant. “I knew it! The two of them have already taken or re-purposed most of my stuff and what they didn’t take they threw out. I was here first! Possession is nine-tenths of the law and my stuff was here first. It’s staying.”

I raised my shoulders in an exaggerated shrug. “I don’t know. I just live here. Oh, and don’t worry about space for my car. It’s not here.”

“Oh, where is it?”

“At work.”

“You don’t work.”

“No, but L’il Sis does.”

“Ma, you do realize you’ve lost control here, don’t you?”

“Yep. Not a problem. I ignore it until I can’t. Then I leave. You thought my trip in the spring to The Caymans was strictly for pleasure? Ha! My next trip will be to Australia for possibly three weeks and after that, out west to relax around a delightful, calming lake with someone else’s family. That leaves these two to tend and feed the pets, look after the house, fight over whose turn it is to do dishes and mow the lawn. Trust me, I have it all figured out. Mama ain’t no fool!”

“Oh, you’re good! Hats off to you, Ma.”

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