I’m all for efficiency. The trick isn’t knowing how to feed your parrots well. The trick is how to get the damned food into your birds. And I’m not talking about actually making the food. Look, most of us are running at breakneck speed. It’s tougher to make a living, employers are cutting back on their employees so more work is being done by less people and most people are just really tired when they get home. I know, I know. I’m beat too. The trick is finding the time to actually dish up good, nutritional food and placing it before your birds.

But there are some things you can do to make life easier for you when you get up in the morning.

I used to have to get up at about four in the morning to get to work. I don’t have to now, but I never know when that ugly little mutt is going to rear its head again.

It was tough and grinding getting up at that hour, but it was what I had to do.

The upside was that I got home about one in the afternoon. However, there was that little matter of feeding the birds and taking the dog out before I left that made life a little harried at that time of the day.

Let me preface this by saying that I can’t ever be late for work. Let me repeat that.

I. Can’t. Ever. Be. Late. For Work.

Cindy Crawford’s agent once said, “Her body is her office.”

Well, my office takes off and hits a cruising altitude of about 35,000 feet whether I’m on it or not. And it’s not going to wait for me. Consequently, I’ve been late for work twice in 24 years. My company tends to take a rather dim view of those who can’t make it on time. So I had to come up with some tricks that made getting up at 4 a.m. a little less horrifying.

I figured out that when I got home from work at about one in the afternoon, I should immediately jump out of my uniform,  get comfy in my jeans, sneaks and t-shirt and then get set up for the next day while I still had the focus and the energy.

First, I would set up the coffee and lay out my clothes for the next day. (I wear a uniform so that’s kind of a no-brainer…) Second, I’d retrieve their bowls off of their play gyms from the morning, (that’s where they eat) and wash out the bowls.

Next, it was time to set up for their meals.  I would set up two plates for my three Greys. One for dinner that night, and one for breakfast the next morning. I would make their bowls of food with “Chop,” a bean mix, and various toppings to make that meal somewhat different; I’d top their dinner bowl with a nut mix and sprouts. On their breakfast bowl, maybe I’d add some bee pollen and sprinkle with sprouts, but I’d add some pepper flakes or celery seed to their dinners.  Anything to jazz up their meal a bit. The bowls would be set on their respective plates (breakfast or dinner), wrapped in saran wrap and placed back in the fridge.

Then I would make my “lunch” for the next day. Lunch to us at the time was usually breakfast to you. I ate my lunch at about nine in the morning, so it could have been anything from a pre-made grilled cheese sandwich wrapped in foil to heat in the convection oven to a taco bar for the entire crew. The point is, I would set it up when I got home from work the day before, place in my tiffin or wrap it up, bag it, and put it in the fridge ready to go for the following morning. All of this took about twenty minutes.

Once all of that was done, I could relax. It wasn’t hanging over my head. I knew that when dinner time swung around in a few hours it was all set to go. Even if I took a nap on the couch that afternoon (which happens frequently when you get up at 4 a.m.), I wasn’t thinking about having to prepare their meals when it was dinner time for the Greys. I could just take it out of the fridge, let it sit on the counter for 15 minutes or so to take the chill off and serve it to Parker, Pepper and Nyla. While I was at it , I’d change the water on their play gyms. No muss, no fuss.

When they were through eating,  I’d wash out their bowls and put them in the drainer, ready for their next set of plates the following day. We were all usually down for the count by 8:30.

I’d get up at four a.m. and snap on the coffee, remove their breakfast plate from the fridge, take shower and get dressed while it was brewing. I’d take Mattie out, come back, pour a cup of coffee and put the bowls in their gyms.

I’d get the birds up get them eating, feed Mattie, and sit down to put on my makeup while they were eating.

From getting up out of bed to sitting down to do my makeup was about 20 minutes. They had a half an hour to mess around with their food, play a little bit and stretch until it was time to place them back in their cages. Once they were in their respective rooms, I’d “bid them adieu,” give Mattie a scratch and I was out the door and on my way to the airport by five in the morning.

Mattie with her friend, Bodhi

The beauty of it is doing what you have to do before you have to do it. I found that it was easier for me to put together all of our meals the minute I got home: two of theirs and one of mine. I mean, if you’re in the kitchen, as long as you’re in there banging some bowls together, you might as well group together some meals.

It worked really well for a long time. Maybe something like this could work for your schedule.

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