Home Alone

cat sleeping

It was two minutes before eleven when she finally finished the novel she had been trying to read for the last couple of days.  The cat was leaning heavily against her leg.  He twitched in his sleep then snuggled in a little closer to her in the big soft chair.

As she stood up and stretched she caught sight of the dirty breakfast dishes still in the sink.  She chose to ignore them and put the kettle on instead.  A cup of tea and a snack maybe?

The pounding rain had eased off to a drizzle and she wondered how her daughter was doing at sailing camp in the cove close to their house.  She had dropped her and a friend off this morning in the early morning greyness.  The had happily grabbed their life jackets and headed down to the dock.  The rain didn’t seem to bother them but she was more than glad to head home to a quiet, dry house for a few hours.

There was something cathartic about being at home alone for the first time in weeks.  The laundry was done, the “to do” list was all but complete, the bathrooms were clean (pretty much) and emails had been answered.  Okay, so the breakfast dishes were a bit of an issue but, really, they could wait.  At least for a bit.  Nobody else would be home until after 4:00 so she had….five hours.  Five hours.  Alone.  Excluding the cat.

June had been a full on month of work, year end wrap ups, ear infections and many, many challenging parenting moments.  Then a week full of Disney and dancing in California.  Late nights, early mornings and crowds.  So many crowds.  The input overload had resulted in a few headaches and numerous medicinal glasses of wine.  And the occasional margarita.

As she poured the freshly boiled water over the tea bag and spooned in a generous portion of honey she thought.

“What should I do now?”

It was genetically imprinted in her that after a few hours of idleness she must now accomplish something.  Her dad was the culprit.  Even at 87 he still wasn’t capable of sitting still for long.  It often resulted in exhaustion for him but damn it if he was going to change now.  So way back in her mind the tiny “stay busy” gremlin was getting restless.  What to do?  What to do?

She could put away the dishes?  There was that stack of filing that needed to be put away.  When was the last time she vacuumed?  Should she talk something out of the freezer for dinner?  Has she call her mom in the last few days?

The cat stood up and yawned.  Circled the cushion and curled up.  Asleep again in seconds.

She thought about it for a moment.  The dishes could wait.  She picked up the remote, turned on the TV and pushed the cat over to the side of the chair.

The Best Thing in Life is changing the way you spend your days once in a while.

 

 

 

The Adventures of Elvis and His Monkey

I am considering starting a new blog.  The Adventures of Elvis’s Monkey.

Fifteen years ago when my son was three years old a friend gave him a stuffed monkey. He didn’t care much for it.  It sat in his room for a while.  It got packed in a box and moved with us.  Twice.  And then it sat in his room some more.

As soon as he was big enough our cat, Elvis, adopted the monkey.  At first he would just play with it.  Throw it around and chase its tail as it flipped and flopped on the hardwood.  He’s loved it so much that its fur has worn off in spots.

Elvis is now twelve years old and still has his monkey.

This morning the monkey was on the green chair in the den where Elvis had slept last night.  It was there when I left the house.

When I got back to the house three hours later the monkey was upstairs in my unmade bed.

monkey

Sometimes when my husband is at home alone working, he hears Elvis moving his monkey around.   He holds it in his mouth and drags it up or down the stairs.  But not quietly.  He kind of talks to it while he’s doing it.  He cries with it in his mouth so it comes out as a a muffled meow.  It’s actually really pathetic.

I wonder what Elvis is thinking?  “Come on little buddy, lets go have a nap upstairs.”

I wonder what the monkey is thinking?  “When is this cat going to leave me alone?”

I bet they have some stories to tell.

Elvis is in the Closet

elvisSo there I was sitting in the den surfing the net and thinking about what to write about this week. Sometimes it’s easy and the words and ideas come quickly and effortlessly. Other times the brick wall in my mind is close to ten feet tall and completely impassable. Today was a brick wall day. I wasn’t particularly worried though, as I sipped my tea and watched the last of the leaves fall off the Japanese Maple in the back yard. And then it jumped up at me. Literally, jumped up at me. My eleven year old cat was looking for some attention and I was the only one home.

When we moved into our house my son was six and he desperately wanted a pet. I had been promising him for months that once we moved from our rental into our own house we could get a cat. Day one. “So can we go get our cat today?” Sigh. Every day for the next month I was asked if today was the day we could get our cat. Finally I couldn’t put it off any longer and I started to make some calls. I remember my son and I having some discussions about what kind of cat we might get and what we might name a cat. “If we get an orange cat I’m going to name it cheese.” He said. Note to self; do not get an orange cat.

When the clerk at the pet store brought the two cats into the room he put them both down in the middle of the floor. “They’re brothers.” He said. (probably hoping we would take both) One was completely black and the other was what we now know is a tuxedo cat. Black with white paws, chest and half a white nose. The all black one retreated to a corner and sat down to wash itself. The tuxedo cat stood up and walked straight over to us with his tail straight up in the air. “That’s the one I want”. My son said. I couldn’t have agreed more. We couldn’t bring him home that day but went home excited that in a couple of days we could come back and pick him up. I remember when we did bring him home and he tore around on the hard wood floors bumping into the walls. I’m not sure if it was the fact that my husband was, at the time, working in Memphis or of it was just because he was such a cool cat, but we ended up named him Elvis.

Life with Elvis as a kitten was not boring or easy. We made the decision that he would be an inside cat. We live in an area close to a forest that is full of racoons, coyotes and the occasional cougar and it just didn’t make sense to put him out on the front doorstep. We tried a collar and leash, but really he was just bait at that point. The problem was that he was bound and determine to get outside. We had a Swiss student staying with us that summer who quite often stayed out late and came home mildly intoxicated leaving the front door ajar. I can’t tell you how many times I chased that God damn cat up and down our street with a flashlight in my hand. The neighbors must have thought his name was Stupid not Elvis. (at least I didn’t have to call him Cheese). Then there was the day that he escaped and bolted up the tree in the neighbors backyard. I managed to get up to him without incident but coming back down I missed a branch and had a wicked bruise in my thigh for a month. God damn cat.

He has mellowed out in his older years. He now sleeps in our closet and some days doesn’t wander out until mid morning. His attempts to sleep on my head did not gain much admiration from me and I may have thrown a pillow or two at him in the middle of the night. The closet was just a safer option. He rarely tries to escape anymore. The look on his face says, “meh, it’s just too much effort.” With my husband away as much as he is, I am happy for his warm furry comfort in the evenings. Although his habit of patting my face (with his claws out) when I stop paying attention to him, can be a tad annoying.

So here I am with Elvis curled up in my lap thinking about all the crazy things he’s done and how over the years we have laughed and cursed at him too many times to count. He’s purring softly and probably having a cat dream about tuna or the yummy kitty treats we occasionally give him. I’m grateful to have the time to sit and let him nap for a few more minutes but then the day must go on for me. The Best Things in Life for Elvis is that he can just head upstairs and go back to the closet to sleep.