I had fun this morning. I can’t even completey remember what we were doing, but Amanda and I just were goofing off and having a fun time. That’s how we started our day, then we did a bunch of picking up and cleaning.

My mom got to the house with my youngest sister, Andra Dotsey, and my nephew, Jackson Sawyer moments before Amanda’s mom, Karen Mercer, got here. After a little bit Amanda and Karen went to Home Depot while I went with Mom, Andra and Jackson over the apartment of my brother’s girlfriend, Renee. Mom had brought a large cage for their coati mundi, Tsota. Adam was there by himself as Renee was at work but he had to go soon too. He decided that the apartment was too small for the cage, so we (sans Adam) took it over to Adam’s house. His friend Troy was there and helped me unload it as much as he could, having recently undergone surgery for a torn ACL from playing rugby.

We stopped by Church’s Chicken for lunch. It was the first time I’d ever been to one, and I thought it was pretty decent. I called Amanda while we were there to see if they wanted anything, but they were just leaving Home Depot and were going to grab themselves some lunch.

In all this driving around I always sat in the back so I could play with Jackson. He’s about a year and a half old now and walking around just fine. He’s still a happy baby (although he had a pretty bad cough) and he’s starting to say more words now. Back at Thanksgiving he said “thank you” for the first time with me, and this time around I taught him “tattoo.” He was looking at the one I have and touching it, so I said “tattoo” a few times and he said it real clearly. He said it a couple times actually, then started pointing at his own shoulder. He’s a smart kid.

When we got back to the house we found Amanda’s dad, Phil Mercer, already hard at work. He’d already mowed the grass and chainsawed down the holly trees and a bunch of other offending limbs. Amanda and Karen were planting things, which I think Andra and Mom helped with while I worked on getting the wheelbarrow put together. I got most of it together but Phil finished it up for me while I got either distracted or pulled away for something else; I can’t remember which.

The rest of the day was all work, a chunk of mine being the raking and burning of leaves. Amanda painted a birdhouse her grandfather, Earl Lemons, had built for us. Phil left at some point. He’d brought Paddy, the Mercer’s Jack Russell terrier, which I think was a relief to Emma, my mom’s (formerly Andra’s) mini-weiner dog. Schatzi was here too, by the way, my parents’ Papillon, so Bruce, our chihuahua, had plenty of company.
Things wound down and as I tended the fire I talked to my buddy Jason Revill, who had gone to see X-Men: The Last Stand today with his brother and sister-in-law, Jonathan and Crystal Revill. Jason felt sort of like I did, but more negative.

I did a good deed for nature today.  Amanda and Andra came to the front of the house and told me that a baby bird had fallen out of its nest and they wanted help in helping it.  I put on some gloves (so as not to upset its mother with the scent of my hands or whatever) and climbed a ladder to try to reach the nest, but there was no way for me to reach it myself.  Amanda or Andra had the idea of using one of our tiki torches to lift it up high enough.  I was skeptical, but the bird was crying out and it was ugly enough to be cute so I really wanted to help it.  I put it into the candle-holding part of the torch and was able to angle it just enough to dump it back into its nest, and there, as far as we know, the hatchling has stayed ever since.
Amanda and Andra went to get some bar-b-que dinner from Carolina Bar-B-Que across the street. Well, I say across the street, but it’s outside the neighborhood and down the road maybe a quarter mile then across College. Anyway, we all ate some BBQ and green beans and chicken. A nice dinner. Everyone was nasty and sweaty from working out inthe yard all day long so everyone took their separate showers and such then we all watched some TV before drifting on to bed. Mom and Andra slept with Jackson in the Green Grandma room and Karen took the couch. Bruce decided to stay with her tonight, which is no surprise. He always sleeps with our guests.