Thursday, March 14, 2019

Our Life as Foster Parents

We’ve had a foster cat at our house the past couple of months. She went home Tuesday evening. We kind of miss her.

Her parents morphed into snowbirds this winter - and I must say, they chose a good winter to do this, what with all the subzero temps and snow we’ve had - and so they needed a home for their beloved Blackie while they were basking in the hot sun down south. Tim and I agreed to take this task on. 

We’ve never done the foster parent thing before, so weren’t exactly sure what to expect. We have two cats of our own, and they are both quite old. Seventeen, to be exact, and pretty set in their ways. Our biggest concern is that our two would not be very receptive to Blackie. 

However, our cats are extremely mellow and while they exhibited mild curiosity when Blackie first arrived, that was about it. 

Blackie, on the other hand, had quite a lot to say about her new surroundings and her new siblings. Blackie, as it turns out, is a very vocal cat.

Hiss. Hiss. Hissssss. Growl, growl hissssss. Hhhhhisssssss. GRRRRRRooowwwwl. 

We never once heard her meow. We don’t think “meow” is in her vocabulary. Nope. In the entire two months she lived with us, although she did far less hissing and growling as time went on, she never actually meowed. The closest she ever got to a meow was a less abrasive growl. 

It didn’t take her long at all to get settled in. The first night she made herself at home with our daughter Katrina, who was still home on Christmas vacation, and so Katrina’s bed and bedroom became Blackie’s bed and bedroom. That worked wonderfully, as that area is one we normally keep closed off and so our cats don’t frequent it. We put her toys and her cat bed in there. Now mind you, she didn’t touch them the entire time she was here. Heaven forbid that she’d use them. We spread her blanket on the bed and that became her sleeping area. 

During the day she hung out with me - and our other two cats, because, as cat people know and non-cat people don’t know, cats really are quite social and like to be with people. They just aren’t in-your-face, demanding attention all the time, like dogs. They are more passive. So wherever I go in the house, the cats are always nearby. If I am sewing, they are in the sewing room. If I am card making, they are in my studio. If I am working at the computer, they are perched nearby. If I am reading a book, they are vying for my lap. Or sitting nearby on the window seat or on another chair. That’s the way it is with cats. The perfect kind of companionship. 

Blackie would get up bright and early each morning and sit with Tim while he ate breakfast and said his morning prayers before going to work. She didn’t miss a day. The other cats and I don’t bother - we stay sound asleep at that unreasonable hour (Tim gets up at either 2:40 or 4:40, depending on his shift. In my book, that’s before God gets up.) But Blackie was tried and true and always joined him. What a trouper! She would greet him with her gentle growl and hop up into the dining chair next to him so he could pet her and brush her. I suspect this was her favorite time of day. No competition from the other cats.

On the night her mom came to pick her up, Blackie was at the open door with me. She heard Mom’s voice and her ears perked up. I could see that she was excited. She stayed at the door, listening and watching. However, as soon as her mom walked in and greeted her, she turned and walked away, with both her nose and her tail in the air, in a huff. “If you think I’m giving you the time of day after you deserted me for two months, you can think again!” 

It’s awfully quiet around our house now. It’s going to take me awhile to get used to it.


Thursday, March 7, 2019

One of Those Days

Saturday was apparently “one of those days.” I think you know the kind I am talking about. Those days when things just seem to go all wrong. 

I always say you can laugh at the goofiness of it or you can be upset and frustrated. Tim and I choose to laugh, because being upset and frustrated never changes anything and laughing is so much more fun.

All was going well until about 4:15 in the afternoon. Tim and I were sitting at the dining room table, visiting with our daughter Alexandra on the phone, when Tim realized that he needed to get going as he likes to be at the church at 4:30 on Saturday afternoons to lead the rosary before the Vigil Mass. He rushed off to the bedroom to change clothes and then dashed out of the house and left for town. 

As this was happening it occurred to me that I also needed to get going as I needed to be to work at Shady Beach at 4:30. So I ended the call with Alex and hurried to change clothes and get out the door to work. 

Except then I couldn’t find the keys for the car. 

Now we have one of those push button start cars, so I leave one set of keys in my purse at all times and the other key hangs by the door to the garage. Except it wasn’t there. Where oh where could it be? I ran around the house, frantically trying to figure out where I might have put it. I don’t take my purse to work, so I always grab the single key and drop it in my coat pocket - and I could not find it anywhere. 

Finally I gave up, grabbed the set from my purse and scrambled out the door. When I got into the garage I discovered where the single key was: Tim had it. He’d taken Poppy to town instead of his pickup.

What the heck! Poppy is MY car! He never takes Poppy, unless I am not going anywhere. Then I realized that he’d had a brain fart and forgotten that I had to work that evening. 

So I got into his dirty, icky pickup and drove to work, laughing about what Tim’s face would look like when he got home and saw the pickup gone. I was also a bit dismayed that I wouldn’t be able to remote start the pickup when it was time to leave work - but if I’d had Poppy, I would have been able to do that!

About 8:30 that evening I did sent a message to Tim and asked him if he planned to come start the pickup for me so that it would be nice and warm when I was ready to leave. He didn’t even feel sorry for me.  

When I got home I was very nice. We currently don’t have room for the pickup and Poppy both in the garage, so the pickup is parked outside. I made sure I put the old, ratty blanket over the windshield so that Tim would not have to scrape ice or frost in the morning. I also plugged in the block heater, because I thought it might get cold, and I figured it would be a kind thing to do. I struggled mightily to plug it in - it doesn’t fit very well. 

And then I went to bed.

The next day I found out about the other mishap - the one in addition to Tim taking the wrong vehicle. When Tim got to church, he put his cell phone on silent mode, but earlier in the day when he’d taken a nap and set an alarm, he hit “repeat” for the alarm, instead of shutting it off. As you may know, alarms on cell phones do not abide by the silent mode. Tim had his phone on the pew next to him, on his left side. Tim is completely deaf in his left ear. So when the alarm started to ring, he didn’t know it was his phone. He couldn’t tell where the noise was coming from. He proceeded to look at the guy behind him, thinking he was the idiot whose alarm was going off in the middle of church. Fortunately, when he turned to look behind, his good ear then picked up on where the sound was coming from. Oh boy. He was a bit, just a tad bit, embarrassed.

And me? Well I struggled to plug in that darned block heater, only to find out the next day that the other end of the extension cord was not plugged into the wall. Well now, that’s a fine how-do-you-do. Tim said it was very nice of me to work so hard at it for him, especially considering that he’d stolen my vehicle. Too bad I wasn’t successful, especially since it was another bitterly cold morning.

Here’s hoping the trend of mishaps doesn’t continue.