About two years ago we brought home our quaker parakeet for the first time. Shakeel (12), who was a huge fan of the Percy Jackson book series at the time, named him Titan.
Titan has assimilated into the family beautifully. He has firmly claimed his place as the ruler of the backyard. Unfortunately for me, despite all my attempts at gaining his affection, the darn bird seems to hate me. He tries to bite me at every opportunity. Since his cage is open all day, he is free to roam about the yard as he pleases - which I'd forgotten one day as I was hanging up the washing. All I remember about that moment is an excruciating pain on my foot - the little monster had left his cage and walked all the way across the yard to pierce my delicate flesh with his razor-sharp beak. Tears of pain sprang to my eyes immediately, as I shrieked - which just made him lunge toward me for a second bite.
I have no idea how to gain his affection. When the kids were at school and Mo at work, I was often the one to take his cage out into the sunshine, open it (daringly) to give him his freedom, fill his water and food bowls, and even fill one of the doll's toy baths for him in which to splash, should he so wish - and all the while, he'd be doing his utmost to bite me.
As much as he hates me, he loves Mo. He becomes so excited when he hears Mo's voice after work. Mo is the only one to whom he will go without biting. He even kisses Mo on the mouth! He follows Mo's instructions to dance and will imitate certain words which Mo taught him.
Last year John was hired to give our home a long-overdue paint. We had never met him, but he had come highly recommended. While working here, Mo learned that he was homeless, so he allowed him to move into our separate entrance. John has been living here ever since. In exchange, he helps around the house doing some gardening and has started to become involved in Mo's sideline business - panelbeating and spraypainting motorcycles and vespas.
John is extremely creative and a real jack-of-all trades (which he and Mo have in common). He also shares Mo's creativity and skill, and coupled with Mo's innovativeness, I believe the two of them make a formidable design team.
While walking through Stodels or the nursery at Builders Warehouse, Mo would often say how sure he was that he could build one of those beautiful rock ponds from scratch. So Mo formulated the design and carefully decided on the appropriate materials to use for this exercise. Using John's skill in the building industry and Mo's skill at colour-matching (due to his spray-painting sideline), they managed to build two very realistic looking garden features.
This rock-like flower box (seen in the background)
And this fake rock feature with pond
In the pretty rock pond, there are now four little goldfish, named Gotenks (named by Tharaa after Dragonball Z character), Aquamarine (named by Nuha after the mermaid in the movie of that name), Kakarot (another DBZ character named by Shakeel) and Barney (need I say more).
In addition, the new domestic worker just started about a week ago. While she is a very welcome addition to the household, I wouldn't go as far as referring to her as part of the family just yet. But I'm sure that this sunny cheerful woman too will acclimatise in no time and become part of our crazy lovely family.