Day 398: Have a cigar.

I was in our aviary last evening letting our sugar gliders inspect my ear canals for hidden treats and seeing how far up my pant legs they could climb before I talked them out. Usually everyone enjoys a good romp on the old gray-haired giant, but after doing a head count I realized Thyst, one of our females, was hanging back in the communal nesting bag.

joey5Peeling the sides of the bag down to see into the bottom, I discovered two sets of eyeballs looking back at me. I’m a grandpa (again). I reached in and gently lifted out of the bag Thyst and the teeny joey clinging to her back.

Thyst transferred her latest creation to me and leaped off my hand to see what was being served in the plastic dining room. The little newcomer, now clinging to my fingertips, decided he or she (we don’t know which one yet) preferred mommy to the hairless hand and started in on a squeaky version of the glider crabbing sound.

Fortunately, before returning the joey to the nest bag I had the presence of mind to whip out my iPhone and snap a picture for the baby book. Unfortunately, the camera decided to auto-focus on something it found more interesting than our new arrival and the picture came out a little fuzzy. I tried a second shot but must have accidentally touched some part of the screen I wasn’t supposed to. Apparently the camera thought I wanted to record a video and saved ten seconds of expletives over a closeup of my nose hairs as I tried to turn the thing back into a camera.

In the moment, the iPhone camera screen is too dark to read, icons like HDR Off are not helpful (what’s an HDR?), the indicator that switches between video and single shot is at the bottom of the screen while the other buttons are at the top so you have to be cross eyed to see both at once, the icon that looks as if the camera is doing the Twist isn’t helpful, there are too many places on the phone that a brush of the finger will unexpectedly start a cup of coffee brewing or invite Judy Collins to sing Bring in the Clowns while a picture of her album cover fills the screen – and like that.

Hey! I’m a techie. I helped create some of the technology that now tortures me. What’s going on? I guess these devices have become so feature rich that if you don’t use them every day (or at least once a week) you’re in a constant state of stumbling discovery (What happens if I turn HDR on? Why aren’t the same buttons on my screen today that I saw yesterday? Do they take Wednesdays off?)

In any case, Delphine and I are grandparents one more time. This is the third joey our gliders have produced and from the looks of the little bump in Grace’s pouch we may have another grandkid on the way. Frankly, we’re confused. We’ve lectured both Grace and Thyst about abstinence until we’re blue in the face. Just say no. Save yourself for the right man. Stay away from alcohol. Still the joeys come.

I’ve personally warned Harley about STDs. I told him he’s not just having sex with Thyst and Grace but with everyone they’ve had sex with. He says they were only joeys when they all moved into the aviary. I told him he’s responsible for supporting what he sires but he just seems to stare off into space and smile.

So we decided to put some of our little joeys up for adoption. Delphine pulled together a web page at and we stuck an ad in CraigsList. It’ll be sad to see the little fellas go, but we don’t see much hope in keeping Harley on the straight and narrow as long as he’s sharing a nest with the gals every night. And besides, it gives politicians a new demographic to target. We hear they’re already looking for a mid-term candidate who speaks native glider.

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