Valerie Ihsan

author, editor, dog lover

On Chickens and Computers

Once upon a time,

seven years ago,

I was trying to convince my now-ex-husband to let me purchase a few much desired backyard chickens as we were racing to get ready for a theater group meeting we were late for.

Today, I rediscovered the tale in an old computer file and thought I'd share the humor.

'Tis a funny flash from the past. I hope you smile.


So, the day starts off calmly enough. There are home-schooly things we do: picking up eggs, researching chicken breeds, park day, and an allergy shot.

There is a crappy two minutes where Paul and I have a brief conversation about the chickens. He has finally, after months of cajoling, said yes.

"But the first time one gets in the house, we're eating chicken for dinner!" I believe him to be serious in this statement. Though how one could escape the gated run and get into the house is ludicrous and beyond me.

Triumphantly, I beam. "Done. But I need to add an ammendment to that. When they are chicks they have to be inside under a heatlamp, but I'll put them in the garage." And then I see his face. It’s gray and sort-of resembles someone who's been sucker-punched. He shakes his head.


I start arguing about it, faintly, in hopes of regaining the "lead" I had and mysteriously lost. Steve, our housemate, comes in then and continues the conversation with Paul while I duck out. Nothing is resolved by the time Steve walks away.

It’s getting pretty late (6:30pm) and Paul still hasn't left to pick up his daughter to babysit our littler ones and I still haven't started dinner. So we both scramble to do just that and around 7pm I have everything by the door for our weekly No Shame Theater practice night. My laptop is nestled in my red leather bag. I have my journal for inspiration, and my wallet, and I have a plate of food ready for Paul to eat in the car while I drive.

I'm fishing the Vegannaise out of the refridgerator when I hear a BANG at the overhead garage door. Almost like the bird that flew into the picture window and died when I was little, only louder.

"What was that?" And I promptly try opening the garage door. Mistake. I immediately notice this is the wrong action to take when I hear a sort-of screechy metal on metal sound. I stop the garage door. And then, some remote genius section in my brain prods me to try closing the door, because, you know, the screechy metal thing was so intriguing and I want to hear it again.

It turns out that my step-daughter, bless her, is a brand new driver, with a brand new permit. And that's all there really is to say about that. We’re awesome about it.

"At least it wasn't a kid. It's only a door. We can fix it," Paul says. We hug her when she cries.

Paul does some tinkering on the garage door, snarfs down his dinner and grabs some chips and hummus to go. I set my bags down by the back tire, unlock and open the door and then unlock and open the back car door to put my stuff inside.

We’re running late, understandably, and Paul now needs me to hold everything he brought in his hands so he can get into the car. I'm still stuck on getting my bags in and so when he hands the bag of chips to me, I mindlessly toss them into his seat. He squeaks, or snorts, or whatever guys do and hands me back the chips.



He gets in. I bend over to hand him the chips and naturally, since I'm half-way in the car, I get in. I'm also licking chocolate chips off my hand and am putting on my seat belt, starting the car and putting it in gear with one hand.


I think I've driven off the side of the driveway into the flower bed, but I'm not quite off-center enough for that.

"What was that?" I ask for the second time tonight.

"I don't know but you're still on top of it."

So I pull forward. I can't see anything out my window so I get out and there's my silly striped bag with my wallet and journal in it. How dumb. I snicker and put it into the car.

And then a horrible realization creeps over me. It starts in my center and then bleeds out to the top of my skull, tickling and quivering -- like when you first put your head under water and you shiver when it enters your ears.

I look under the car and sure enough, there is my red computer bag.

"Fuck," I whisper.

"What?" Paul is munching chips.

I pull out my laptop and see a different sort of munchy. The hinges aren't lining up right and it's sort-of rattley. I toss it in the backseat and we take off, late.

"My laptop."

"Oooh." He regards the moment in silence, momentarily abstaining from eating his hummus-dipped chip. "If it's really broken, you can have mine and I'll get a new one."

"Why do I always get your broken left-overs?!" I'm laughing but this is true. Last week the dog walked over Paul's open laptop lying on the floor and busted off the "P." He was Peeved at that. Pissed, too.

The alternative, I told him, was he could get his new laptop if I could get my chickens. He didn't like that.

And so it's still not resolved.

Regarding the chickens OR the computers.


I'm happy to say that I have a fully functioning laptop once again and just about to release my third book. I don't have backyard chickens currently, but did procure a small flock after this incident. I loved them. I hope to have them again one day.

Do you have chickens? Or ducks? I'm considering ducks but I've heard not-so-great things about keeping them in your back yard. Leave any chicken or duck comments/advice/stories below (or confessions of driving over computers!) and I'll respond.

Enjoy your spring day!



Find more articles on my archived blog, Dust Yourself Off (also known as Insane Parents Unite!).

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