Thursday morning I stepped outside and was greeted by the plaintive yowls of a cat in dire straits. I followed my ears to the persimmon tree, where Hybrid, one of Stripes’ half-grown kittens, had gotten himself (or herself; I haven’t checked genders yet) stranded up in the branches.
When life throws the old Cat Stuck In A Tree cliché at you on top of everything else, all you can do is laugh at the absurdity and go find a ladder.
Hybrid was soon rescued.
But this is turning out to be a rough week for the animals. We have another unexplained horse wound, this time on Mahogany’s leg…
…and the chicken flock seems to be shrinking. I need to do a head count one of these nights while they’re roosting.
That afternoon I went to another VBS meeting and helped paint the camp-themed mural until it was time for my worship team meeting to begin. That’s also Youth Group night and pretty soon there were kids all over the place and none of them were Luke or Elizabeth because they were still at camp and I was ACHING with missing my babies by the time I left for home.
This morning I awoke to the sound of alarmed chickens and something chasing them. I ran outside to find Steve’s dog Brutus in hot pursuit of a hen. For some reason Gericault and Brodie were watching this but not putting a stop to it. Maybe because they’re friends with Brutus? I don’t know, it was pretty odd. Even odder was that Brutus didn’t even seem to grasp the fact that he was busted. I went after him, yelling “NO” and “GIT” and “GO HOME” and he just kept chasing one chicken after another like I wasn’t even there. Finally I threw a rock at him. It nailed him on the shoulder and he fell over like he’d been shot or something. When he got up he was three-legged lame. Part of me felt bad because I’d only meant to chase him away, not injure him, but it was a very small part. Chicken chasing is no joke.
I sent Steve a text message: “Keep your dog away from my chickens.”
He actually called me on the phone a few minutes later, something he hasn’t done since things got ugly. He asked if Brutus was still here, and I said I didn’t know because I was back in the house now. I told him about the rock I’d thrown and Steve said he’d come up and look for him. It was weird because this was Steve’s Friendly And Agreeable voice, and I did not know what to make of it. I stayed in the house, because I did not feel like looking at Steve this morning. I knew I’d see enough of him at the Parent Orientation Program later in the day.
I’m going to end this post here, because the kids are home now and freshly bathed and now we’re going to watch The Brave Little Toaster in a big snuggly pile on the sofa.
Last Friday the kids and some friends and I got together up in Idyllwild for a rousing evening of karaoke. I hadn’t done the karaoke thing in about ten years, so I wasn’t sure what my voice was going to sound like, but I was feeling the need to introduce my kids to this great American pastime.
As it turned out, yes my singing voice was a bit rusty, and no that didn’t infringe upon my merrymaking one bit. It was a slow night, so everyone in our group who wanted to got to sing six or seven songs each. Luke got up and belted out “Day-O” with me, and it was horrible and awesome and everyone clapped and cheered at top volume when it was over.
“I’m surprised no one laughed at me because of all the mistakes I made,” Luke confided to me later.
“Oh, baby, that’s the fun of karaoke,” I assured him. “Nobody cares about the mistakes, they just love that you got up and sang.”
Elizabeth declined to join in; somewhere in the past year she has become very self-conscious and unwilling to just be goofy. That makes me sad. It is now one of my goals in life to get Elizabeth hooked on the “screw personal dignity” adrenaline rush of karaoke.
There was no school on Veteran’s Day. Around here November 11th is also the occasion of Gericault’s and Brodie’s birthday, so it’s EXTRA-special for us. Here they are as babies…
…and big strapping three-year-olds:
I chose that particular photo because today is Love Thursday and it suits the theme better than all those other photos where they’re literally trying to rip each other’s throats out. Let’s just say that Gericault and Brodie have a sibling rivalry sort of love/hate thing going on.
So there we were on Tuesday, all home from school and overflowing with leisure time, and…we just weren’t having a good day. Elizabeth was cranky in a way that I can only describe as hormonal, and Luke was whiny and complainy, and by 10am I was ready to sell both of them to the gypsies.
But alas, there were no gypsies to be found, so instead I announced that we were Going For A Walk. Originally this was just going to be a stroll around some backroads to clear everyone’s heads, but then we decided to go to a nearby sandwash where there are rocks to climb and a culvert to crawl through.
The dogs enjoyed their birthday outing , and climbed rocks with full enthusiasm.
By the time we got home, everyone was in a much better mood.
Which lasted until the next morning, when I discovered that my credit union had pulled a Big Chunk Of Money out of my savings account because Steve is behind on his truck payments.
This is a new savings account that I’d opened after the separation, and only my name is on it. But it’s with the same credit union (although a different branch) as Steve’s truck loan. Which I am listed on as the primary lendee, because I am the one with pristine credit. Because I, you know, PAY MY BILLS ON TIME.
What makes this all the more ridiculous is that the money Steve makes is measured in BUCKETFULS. On a good DAY he can make more than twice the amount he pays in child support per WEEK, and that’s my sole income these days. And he lives with his PARENTS, who FEED HIM and DON’T CHARGE RENT. And which one of us has a (slowly) growing savings account rather than mounting debt? Why, that would be me.
I called Steve and he said that he would repay my money and see about getting my name off of the truck loan. Since the only way to do this is for him to refinance the truck in his own name, we need to do it QUICKLY before he destroys his credit and no longer qualifies. Our CU is very very picky about who they will offer loans to, and I don’t think that’s gotten any less true of late.
I’m trying to think of a way to tie that last part of today’s post into the whole Love Thursday theme, but I don’t think it can be done.
So I’ll close with some good news: the chickens have all been running around loose for a few days now, and so far no fatalities.
AND we had our first frost Sunday night and a really hard frost Monday night, and somehow my bell peppers and tomatoes just shrugged it off…
…and then the weather turned warmish again, so the garden’s probably safe for a while yet. I LOVE tomatoes and bell peppers and lean heavily on them in all my cooking for as long as they last, so I’m very happy about this.
Happy Love Thursday, everyone. Here’s to…stuff not dying, and imperfect-but-joyful public singing. And rocks!
Before the addition was added on two years ago, Luke and Elizabeth used to share a bedroom. They had a set of bunks in there, but they usually preferred to share a bed as well. When Luke was finally presented with his own room, he loved everything about it…except sleeping alone. For a while there Elizabeth had mercy on him and would come in and sleep with him, but eventually she decided she was just too old for that and Luke was on his own. And oh, the lonely hardship he so vocally suffered.
He more or less got used to sleeping alone, but he never liked it. We tried to get one of the dogs to stay with him, but they want to be outside at night. Finally I asked him if he would like to have a small breed of puppy, to sleep with him and be a little friend when Elizabeth doesn’t feel like playing with him. Luke said no, he wanted a cat.
I had mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, our dogs see cats as food, not family. I wasn’t sure we could convince them not to eat any small animal we brought into the house. On the other hand, we really need a cat or two. Gericault and Brodie keep our property admirably free of squirrels and rabbits, but apparently hunting mice is beneath them; I’ve had to start putting rat poison in the cupboards. So, a mouser or two would be very welcome here.
When I heard that a friend of a friend had a cat that had just produced an unwanted litter of kittens, I made a spur-of-the-moment decision to let them know I’d take a couple (Elizabeth wanted one too, and kittens seem to do better in pairs) when they were old enough to leave their mom.
And Saturday that long-awaited call finally came!
So yesterday, after church and before our Sunday dinner, I took the kids over to pick out their new babies.
Choosing turned out to be pretty simple. I asked the kids to please try to fall in love with female kittens, because they make better mousers than male. Turns out all the kittens were an identical jet black but one, a little striped tabby that Luke was immediately smitten with. He chose that one and Elizabeth chose the only other female in the litter.
Luke named his “Stripes,” and Elizabeth’s is “Soot.”
When we got them home, the first thing we did was introduce them to the dogs. Gericault apparently assumed that I was offering him a snack, and matter-of-factly helped himself to Soot. My thundering yell of “NO!!” made him drop her in confusion, and I smacked his nose for good measure. This was a bitter blow to Gericault’s deeply sensitive soul, and for a while after that he pretended to be completely unaware of the kittens’ existence. If I put a kitten right in front of him, he would turn his head away and study the artwork on the walls or whatever.
Brodie seemed to grasp right off that the kittens were off-limits, and he’s shown no interest in them at all since the introduction.
So far so good. We shut the kittens in the back of the house while we ate supper, and then the kids brought them out to snuggle on the couch while they watched a Looney Toons dvd.
This eventually proved to be too much for poor Gericault, who is not prepared to give up his position as Family Snuggler-In-Chief.
But he managed to restrain his jealousy and not do anything antisocial.
The kids love having the kittens to sleep with, and the kittens seem to be settling in pretty well. Other than a mild case of sticker shock when I saw what high-quality kitten food costs these days, I have no complaints. I suppose the real test will come when we start letting the little tykes have the run of the house and Gericault inevitably finds himself alone with them one day, but so far everyone’s getting along fine.
Find the mice, kitties. Tasty tasty mice! Real cats don’t need no stinkin’ cat food!
And welcome to the family. :^)
This is an excerpt from a comic that Elizabeth drew earlier this summer, called “Gericault The Crime Fighting Dog.” Our dog Gericault excels at catching rabbits, and Elizabeth decided to…um…embroider the details with a bit of artistic license. I found it highly amusing.