The following is a journal written by Nadia Von Ballmoos while caring for Oz from April 11, 2002 - April 24, 2002.

Some spell-checking and formatting have been applied.

April 11th Thursday 2002

"OZ" arrives; this time in the BIG cage. The stay is longer.

He seems quite confident.

- The lodgings comprise a living area, a play pan, and a bathroom.

A little SPA where his water is; [sometimes it drips].

Voilà,we square off.

He is located in the 'rain forest' corner of the dining-room among the house plants, in front of the glass sliding door to the patio.

Very well, I have the 'how to' all spelled out. We settle in.

First I am timid, mamma mia if he takes off when I open the gate, how am I going to fetch him. To cover my angst I talk very loudly to him, I open the gate, I have to make him welcome the poor thing. He sure knows how to play me. 'We are pals'.

Friday 12th

he catches a few rays, the weather is splendid. He is quite happy. He eyes the patio. -Hey lady, do you know that at the nice house they let me out on their patio? How about it?-

Like I was told, he stretches and pushes his little snout through the bars. I have to be firm.

I give him some parsley, to be 'very' nice. He accepts it.

Saturday 13th

Mister is pouting.

He won't eat, he won't drink. He keeps me on pins and needles.

With the help of Max we dig up an email address and a telephone number. Yes, I tell Oz, your parents cared so much that they did not even bother to give us emergency contacts. Sure, they brought the 'vet' cage.

We decide to wait until next day, after all 'how to' tells me not to worry about the pouting.

Sunday 14th

still being a jerk. What to do, I did promise to take good care of my charge. First I send an e-mail to Sean. Then Max and I decide to place a call. I call Amber, the poor girl had to think very hard to figure out who on earth 'Nadia' was. Then we were fine. I speak with Marco. He says to wait it out. So we do. Marco calls the same night. The news are better.

Monday 15th

He is back shredding and making a royal mess. He prefers the Wal-Mart bags to my Hannaford's for his sand box. He prefers the Queens' newspaper to our 'boony' E.T. with very little exciting news, accepts the O.D. with bruised dignity.

Tuesday 16th

He decides to punish me with loose stools. I set him up all pretty, brush him, shake is little fluffy carpet that is not all that white anymore, clean out, give him fresh hey, new sand and water. 'Boy' does he look well in his big 'mansion'. I turn my back and everything is soiled. Mamma mia.

Wednesday 17th

It is like living in a haunted house on Elm street. Spirits all over 'boo'. Luli is working in the bathroom, Boris is coughing, and Oz is drinking. It is Midnight I am going to bed.

Thursday 18th

Today the care fell a little short, I will catch up on it tomorrow. Every time I would shoot by the cage the little begging snout would pop up, and of course I would kneel down, open the gate and oblige with a stroking. I was busy washing the house outside and clean out the garage from all the season's sand. Lots of work. I hope Oz won't punish me tomorrow.

Friday 19th

Did you enter him in a watermelon pebbles' spitting contest? He is training hard: he now reaches about 4' around his cage.

Back to E.T., he does not shred it; beneath him. We get the O.D. only on weekends.

Lull starts at 6 AM to walk all over my face singing and everything. Finally I had to get up. I open the house surrounded by three pairs of stern staring eyes: -Is what you are doing more important than us?-. By nine I had everyone brushed, fed, and changed. Now I will have my breakfast.

9:30, I had to scold 'Mister' [it brought back sweet memories of 27 years ago]. I could not believe his hate for the Hannaford bags, he was scornfully ripping the bag apart sending the new sand all over the place. He quieted down. I still have "The Power!"

"And don't think to sue me because I traumatized him " Weak society".

Saturday 20th

…And what a start it had!

My ZOO is active.

4 AM Boris, that on Friday did lie around all day indisposed (or half dead), now climbs on my knees and pushes strongly leaping off the bed.

I am awake.

6 AM Maggia starts her morning dances and vocalizing.

"Guys, is Saturday??? People like to sleep in!!!"

7 AM I am just reaching that peaceful bliss that a horrible noise comes from the kitchen; I think OK now it is Oz's time to do summersaults in his 'mansion' for pure joie de vivre. It sounded like if the cage was thrown across the room. Of course we are up. Max: -what has happened?- The cats have black eyes and their ears bent back in a very stressful way. We mosey out: nothing. What on earth did happen?

I declare that I AM GOING BACK TO BED. Max proceeds with the morning's feedings

8 AM I have the radio on "a 5.1 earthquake happened at 6:54, lasting 30" Plattsburgh/Albany". Pas mal quoi!

-Max tells me that he found some aluminum plates that fell in the cupboard, that was the noise.

I clean Oz out perfectly; the basement and the main floor. Brushed, fed, stroked. We are all happy. 3 Seconds later it is a mess inside and out.

Mamma mia: rabbits belong in the farm yard!

I bought him new hey. He was so grateful, leaning in my hand weighing like a brick, I could even hold his front paw, and also stroke him under his chin! Hold his snout. Funny.

Sunday 21st

It is early in the morning. I set the alarm because I go walking with my club. We have a season's breakfast. It is always fun. Max got up even earlier than I. He is feeding the crowd. Boris makes him happy because he takes off 'slowly' across the yard to Mamy's and chases a wild rabbit out of the bushes. I get ready and go. It turns out to be such a very nice day but oh! so cold 38F and less, topped by a cold wind. Saw caves and waterfalls behind Owen D. Young's school. There were for the first time Mr.& Mrs Pannes. Came home after 2:30. The 'kids' are all happy, Oz a little dirty, but I am tired, I will take care of him tomorrow.

We -all- have dinner. Oz is happy, Maggia too, Boris is slow. GP+A called, and life goes on. Diana called from work.


- Mr. Oz likes his crackers whole. He says that if he feels like it, he will break them himself. Does not like remnants. Thank you very much.

- Mr. Oz likes his pretty carrot cut in half. The two halves do not sit around in the dirt for long. (I hope they get it, he whispered under his wiskers).

- Mr. Oz adores MY new hey, smells good, nice bedding. Was growing tired on that tasteless old hey; so he said.

You better hurry back, you won't recognize him if you delay much longer. Me neither for that matter.

Monday 22nd

I get up with good intentions to promptly keep my promise towards Oz. Not so quickly. Boris is not doing well and Max and I bring him to the veterinary for a 9:45 appointment. He has pneumonia symptoms. Before I could get to Oz, my phone is ringing off the wall: Lotti, Heidy, back to Lotti: the German club has a Birthday party at the residence of a sickly member on College Hill in Clinton (great it is raining, half freezing with hints of snow). I will be the driver. OK now at 11 AM, Boris is in front of the heater, Maggia feeling neglected and abandoned, Max wants my input about a vaporizer that might help Boris breath better, Oz revealing a variety of unthought of stretches for love and attention, I clean his sand get the rest straighten up some. Oz is fine.

-Ooff! I need a vacation-.

I told him that tomorrow he will have to fill out the Evaluation sheet with his comments: excellent - good - poor. I drop some hints to find out his intentions, but he does not disclose any.

You delivered him so prime and chaste! I would really like to return him the same way, but I think that my best will be to get the cage, oh! pardon, the 'mansion' ready tomorrow night, and hope for the best until Wednesday morning. [I might lose precious points on that sheet]. He won't help me none.

Tuesday 23rd

5 PM the whole 'mansion' went through spring cleaning. Boris' vaporizer dispenses a nice mint wave in the home. The O.D. at hand. With his 'butt' in the sun. His eyes semi closed in peaceful dreams. His blanket spiffed up. [I sneaked a cracker and a little parsley to him as pre/dinner treat]. He is all ready to receive his parents.

I am crossing my fingers. I hope that he does not start to shred the blasted newspaper.

It seems that my 'baby sitting' days are approaching the end. Now is poor Boris that is a thorn. He will have all my attention.

11 PM last treat for the night, and the changing of the water.

Wednesday 24th

Thank you Oz you kept pretty clean. Hold on old man, soon they will be here.

I ask him to show me the plus and minus sheet: Oz column and Nid column. He shows it to me with a smile we made out even.

Marco and Kathy arrived, happy, with 'the vacation tan'. We have breakfast.

……… And Oz is gone back to his old digs.

Thursday 25th

I am here feeding eggs to Boris with a syringe, and Maggia circling frantically like a maniac vulture, on food patrol. She feels neglected Not true, how could I!

- And life goes on -


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