24 November 2008

You'll be freezing

That's what a few people said to me when they heard I was starting on dawn fill, including Donna.

Okay, it is a bit chilly when you're standing there with an open freezer door putting ice-cream away, and I'm usually cold in the freezer section when I'm shopping there, but it wasn't that bad. In fact I ended up having to remove the small sleeveless jacket I'd been wearing.

The people I'm working with are nice and friendly, and very helpful. I think the hardest part of the job is remembering where everything is, even though I shop there and have done for a few years now.

One thing that really annoyed me, and this is something that's annoyed me for a long time as a customer, is that some people can be so bloody lazy. A customer picks up an item off the shelf, walks a few feet further on, then sees something they prefer. Rather than walk the couple of feet back to where they got the first item to put it back, they just leave it where they're standing at the time.

It's even worse when they get something from a freezer (those big things with the glass doors), then decide they don't want it when they're standing near the dairy cabinet (fridges without doors), or somewhere that's not even refrigerated. Buy the time we find it it's too late to put it back in the freezer, so it has to be thrown away.

Luckily, the customers aren't in the store when we're working, that's a big plus. Going home when everyone else is just starting feels good too.

22 November 2008

When I grow up...

... I want to be in a Shrek film.

I don't think he's quite got the eyes right yet though.

And he needs a hat.

21 November 2008

No more sleeping in

With the uni semester being finished and my exams out of the way the time has come. Time to get another job.

When I finished the old job in July, it was right at the beginning of the semester and I'd been concentrating on my studies and looking after any animals that came into care and needed regular feeds during the day.

I had applied for a couple of casual jobs during that time, but nothing came of them. As I have a truck licence, I was considering going for a job on the buses. After twelve years of customer service type work, I didn't really want to have to deal with customers again for a while

Then Donna said she could probably get me a job filling shelves at the supermarket where she works. In fact, her manager had already said he'd give me a job if I wanted one.

Now most of the shelf filling is done at night. Doing the night shift when you're married to someone that works days isn't much fun. But the dairy stuff is done in the morning from five till eight and that suits me fine.

So yesterday I had my induction (three hours of paperwork and watching DVDs) and now I'm a supermarket employee.

A couple of people have said to me, "Is that really what you want to do?"

Yes it is for now. I've spent the last twelve years sitting on my bum in front of a computer, the only exercise I got during the last eight of those years was walking to and from the bus. In this job I get plenty of exercise, I don't have to think much, rarely have to deal with customers and best of all, I'm home by ten past eight.

I've wasted a lot of time in the past few months just by sleeping in, but I still managed to average about 94% in my chemistry assignments, because I had the time to concentrate on being a student. Next year I'm doing three subjects per semester, hopefully I can do as well as I have this semester.

I'm not sure I'm looking forward to the 5am starts, or wearing thermals in summer, but I'm looking forward to doing something different.

18 November 2008

Tawny Frogmouths

I mentioned the tawny frogmouths in my last post, so I thought I'd share this little video with you so you can see why we love them so much.

Birds need sunlight to help them absorb the calcium in their diet, even nocturnal birds like these, so we try to put their cage out in the sun each day.

You can see from the video how curious they are.

The head cocking that the one on the left is doing is one way that they judge distance and is called parallax. By looking at a distant object from a slightly different angle they can tell how far it is.

If I can get an aviary built in the next couple of weeks they'll be moved into that until they're old enough for release. If not they'll go to another carer that has room for them.

03 November 2008

The joys of being a wildlife carer

Often when we tell people we're wildlife carers they say, "Oh wow, I'd love to do that."

People have an image of it being all about bottle feeding baby kangaroos or hand feeding baby birds, of having little possums sitting on your shoulder, or your head, maybe even hand raising a huge Wedgetailed Eagle, then seeing it being released back into the wild.

Okay, that is a big part of it. we've bottle fed kangaroos, we often have a little possum climbing all over us and he even sits on the top of Donna's head like a Daniel Boone hat. Right now we have three of the cutest little Tawny Frogmouth chicks that, when they beg for food, sound like the Three Stooges in the scene where they're all snoring. And how many people can say they've held a pelican?

What people don't usually see is the less enjoyable parts of being a carer, the cage cleaning, the deaths, the bites and scratches, being peed and pooed on.

On the way home from picking up the Tawnies yesterday we got a call to pick up a baby crow. The crow had probably been out of the nest a couple of days and was very undernourished. It had a bit of gapeworm and it did a very runny poo just after we put it into a basket.

Being a couple of old soaks and because the pub was on our way home, we decided we'd drop in quickly and get some wine. Two minutes later we got back in the car and were hit by the foulest smell imaginable and both blamed the poor crow. We drove home with all the windows open.

When we got home and went to transfer the Tawnies from their basket to a cage we found the crow wasn't the guilty party. All I can say is, I wish I had telescopic arms, because once we'd transferred them to the cage we both had it on our fingers and under our finger nails. I couldn't get it far enough away from my nose. This isn't your standard bird poo that just washes off under running water either. This was sticky, meaning I had to rub it off with my other hand... gag, gag. It also meant the little birds bum needed to be washed. I put on rubber gloves for that.

For all that though, we still love being carers. Even when something like this happens.

Donna wondered why her back suddenly got nice and warm.