birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.


My husband and I raised 4 kids together as a combined family and we bought his parents house to live in. 6 years ago we sold the house and downsized to this patio home. It has a huge open space kitchen and den and breakfast room all in one big space. We have had some great family get togethers in this space as well as entertained more than we ever did in our big home with the pool. 

We have laminated wood floors that were part of the reason that I loved the house so much. I love the shine and the ease of sweeping and I like the way it looks. Currently we have three spots in the floor that have turned a lovely shade of dark stain thanks to our four legged family members. I have covered the spots with furniture as best I can- I like to think I am the only one that sees those spots. 

I jokingly call my husband the dog hoarder. We have 4 dogs currently. Three of them are leftovers from our children. The 15 year old Chihuahua who is slightly addled from all the seizures and toothless from attacking a broom and who will pee anywhere she wants mostly. The miracle dog that found his way from my son’s tornado flattened apartment in Tuscaloosa to another apartment 3 miles away.  

The mutt that our daughter brought home after another died of stomach cancer. 

And my husband’s 60th birthday present- a store bought dog. One that we bought from a breeder down in South Alabama. She is not yet a year old. 

So I look at those spots and I work up a good resentment about how I can never have anything nice until those dogs are gone etc and how shabby the room is and how hard it is to keep this house clean……

I am then asked to closely observe something in this room and I remember that those dogs are always so glad to see me- they will look at me and listen to me regardless of what I am saying and they rarely talk back. They are giddy in their enthusiasm for supper and my touch. 

So I am thinking that perhaps just for now, just for today, it might be easier to ignore those brown dark spots in the wood laminate and remember that I don’t want to put things over humans and animals. I want to love first. 

History as Backstory

Double Panes