We made a new friend this weekend, and he's a bit of a hard ass

Good morning, Monday. The Super Bowl was not so super, now was it? The commercials were even worse. And let's not even discuss Adam Levine and his weird tank top. Awful, just awful.

So one of the joys about living in New York is that it's weird. In the best of ways. This city is full of eccentric people that provide a colorful approach to everyday life. That's one of the many reasons I love living here. It's just good weird. For me, living in Miami was bad weird. Or simply, not my flavor of weird. But New York? Yea, I get it. And I suppose my penchant for storytelling has a perfect outlet in a city full of so many stories. Here's one.

On Saturday, David and I decided to take the dog on a long walk through the neighborhood after a rather lazy morning at home. On our way out, we stopped to water my landlady's plants- we live in a brownstone owned by her family and she's on the garden/parlor floor. That's first floor for you non-Brooklyn kids. Anyway, she's been in Thailand for about a month and a half now with her recently college graduated son. Before she left, we promised to get her mail and water her plants, as good neighbors do. So Saturday we were in her apartment and the absolute weirdest thing happened. I'm standing there arranging some of her mail on the counter and tidying up a bit when I saw him. 

Moving across the hardwood floor was a turtle. Well, a tortoise upon closer inspection.

Now if you're not expecting to see an animal crawling across the floor, let alone a decent sized tortoise, you may feel like you're hallucinating. At least I did. And apparently I screamed to David "THERE'S A WALKING TURTLE IN HERE"! A walking turtle? I suppose in my shock I simply meant JesusChristheresaturtlewalkingacrosstheapartment but that's what came out. And then I ran out of the apartment. I suppose I got scared. I don't know why. But I did. Those legs and that hard shell and that extended neck freaked the f out of me. And of course, David was left to deal with it.

If you don't know our history or my husband's history with animals, it's epic. I'll never forget him freeing a pigeon from a frozen yogurt shop on South Beach, or accidentally murdering a possum which was masquerading as a rat at our home in Coconut Grove. Now it was a tortoise. So many questions.

How did it get there?

Why is there a tortoise in this apartment?

How the HELL did it get there?

Immediately I went upstairs and started calling everyone I could think of. I called my friend Talia who rescues dogs. No answer. I called 311, who asked me if the turtle was "vicious". Ummm. No.In that case, they would not come get him. I called a million animal rescues with specialties in exotics, none of whom work on Saturdays apparently. I called the ASCPA. I called Pet Smart, who did not know what to do with it. I called the guy who sometimes house sits for Khan, who keeps tarantulas as pets so I figured he might know what to do. Wrong. I asked my Facebook community and they all insisted he must belong to the home. 

Our landlady never, ever mentioned she had a pet ps. David was getting ready to adopt him or her. I began to think about life with a turtle/tortoise. How would Khan react? How would I tell him he'd no longer be the only pet in my life? How does one care for a guy or gal like this? And why did I feel so guilty that I really did not want to have him in my home? I love animals, but for some reason, this shelled creature was not one I could picture crawling around my apartment. But if he was a stray, of course we'd find a way to foster him, until we found him a proper, tortoise friendly home. David was feeling responsible for him somehow. I just wanted to know why and how.

And then David got in touch with someone (after I talked him out of releasing him into the wilds of Brooklyn) who said it's one of three scenarios:

1. The turtle belonged to the tenant.

2. The turtle belonged to the tenant and they lost it thus forgetting it was there.

3. Somebody put the turtle in the home on purpose.

It finally occurred to us to call our landlady's sister, who we send our rent check to. I was nervous to do that because A TURTLE IN THE HOUSE.

So David texted her asking if she knew anything about it and here's what she said:

"Oh yea. That's Bertram. He's lived there for 15 years. He lives under the radiator in the winter and comes out from time to time. And he's not a turtle. He's a tortoise".

BERTRAM. Could there be a better name for  a New York tortoise pet than Bertram?

Apparently he half hibernates in Winter so said landlady had no real reason to tell us of his existence. He doesn't really eat all winter, but how would we know that? Immediately I went out and bought him some organic butter lettuce to eat, which he devoured. David also fed him a house plant leaf because he was worried that he would starve to death. Then he worried he had poisoned him. OMG. The drama. Oh and the college grad what's app'd us from Thailand to tell us NOT to worry about him or even feed him.  Gone went the butter lettuce, even though he had eaten a bit of it. Maybe I need to hibernate for the winter. Excellent weight loss tactic.

Seriously though- who has a free roaming tortoise with the first name of an endocrinologist in their apartment (fun fact- Bertram was the name of my mother's long time endocrinologist)? And forgets to tell the people watching said apartment about him? Thus concluded the excitement for the afternoon. After what seemed like an eternity, we finally departed for our walk, relieved Bertram was not a homeless turtle that escaped from a local brownstone. A tortoise lives in Brooklyn. And he doesn't need our help. Only in New York, kids. Only in New York.

Cause that's what's up this wacky Monday in the 718. Yours, in hard shells and funny times. XO