In Russia, cat adopt you

Odin wonders, did kittens have something to do with the loss of his one eye and he made up the story about the spring of wisdom because it sounded more divine?

He wonders, is that what happened to Van Gogh and he made up the whole cut off his own ear story because mad artist sounded better in the 19th century than kitten?

See Odin woke up at 3.30 with a kitten gnawing on his ear, making nomnomnom sounds and purring sounds, and smacking its lips.

It also bathed his entire head as he tried to fall back to sleep.

You ever try to fall back to sleep in the middle of the night with a kitten chewing on your head? he asks the crows.

Of course not.

Of course not. The crows aren’t even there, Odin is just imagining them today. His wife packed him a lunch and he ate it early in his office and now he’s sitting there while workmen drill holes in brick walls on all sides and concrete walls and do other things similarly noisy to floors and ceilings with other power tools.

What say the slain?

Here is what I wish for you: that one day you lay aside the millstone of recognition for just a second and driving down the street, say, you see a young woman walking toward you on the sidewalk, smiling in the morning sunshine, on her way to work, dark hair flowing in the breeze and unaware of you and the sight of her makes you happy and you think, what a beautiful, together, strong, happy, professional-looking, competent, smart, intelligent, interesting, charismatic and unique woman and only then after this objective reaction to a stranger, realize she is your daughter.

What say the hanged?

Seeing yourself at the center of creation is a failure of imagination.

The Curious Caterpillar and the Very Hungry Cat

The curious caterpillar crept across the kitchen floor.

The sleepy man turned on the coffee machine.

The very hungry cat meowed at the man.

Meow. Meow. Meow.

I just fed you, said the man.

The very hungry cat looked at something on the floor.

The very hungry cat played with it a little, as cats do.

What the hell’re you playing with? said the man.

Don’t eat that, he said.

The man squinted because his eyes weren’t focused yet. It was still early.

The man bent over and tried to pick up what the very hungry cat was playing with.

It looked like green felt, to his bleary eyes.

But it felt like a warm piece of fat.

Yuck, said the man.

Meow. Meow. Meow, said the very hungry cat.

Frickin’ caterpillar come from, said the man.

Go ahead and eat it, said the man.

The end.

There is a word for it

Definition: the emotion a parent feels when their 16-year old daughter returns home from a weekend at a boy-laden rock festival in a city three hours away, happy, thorn-scratched, sunburnt, exhausted, hungry, filthy, robbed of sleeping bag and backpack (including contents) but not purse(+more important contents such as phone, ID, money, etc), long hair wild and glamorous and full of twigs, a goofy smile on her face and glad to be home.

Relief might be the word.

Or gratitude. Thanks for watching out for my kid, universe! And for the dozens of stories you gave her!

As others have said, this is the deal. If you do a good job, they leave. If you do a really good job, they come back. Now and then, at least.

Her sister’s still in the States. She’ll come back too, eventually. I hope.

We have her cat.

Her early-rising cat.

It’s fence-painting season. It’s Gamma’s summer job this year. I keep forgetting to tell her the Tom Sawyer story, but it’s just as well, I can’t imagine any other kids doing as good a job as she does.

Meanwhile, I found myself in a cloud of mosquitos yesterday evening trying to get the pool set up, because my wife wants her pool set up, and also it would be nice if Gamma could jump in when she gets hot out painting the fence.

Definition: the period of time in which a person forgets how the hoses connecting the pool to the filter and pump are connected; equivalent to the time from the end of pool season one year to the beginning of the next pool season the following year.

Imagine me standing there in a tie-dyed T-shirt and old running shorts, slapping mosquitos, staring at the pump, then the pool, then the hose in my hand, trying to grok the nature of this set-up. Eventually I do, of course, I am actually not bad at this sort of stuff, but this is where the fun part begins.

The pool is almost full, just a few more inches to the inlet/outlet holes. I turn on the hose, do stuff around the house, write myself a postit note to turn off the hose before I leave, and go to work. At lunchtime I call Gamma and tell her to turn off the hose and ask her if anything is flooding or leaking.

Flooding no, leaking yes, she says.

When I get home in the evening, I change back into my pool assembly clothes and reality morphs into a version of the cake factory episode of I Love Lucy only instead of cakes moving ever faster down a conveyor belt, I find ever more new leaks. I replace a leaking hose with a new one. I tape up another hose, but I can’t find duct tape and the packing tape I use does not stop the leak and looks decidedly white trashy so I cut more fresh hose but before I can take off the old hose I have to drain the pool below the outlet, so I get a pumpĀ  into the pool and water the garden.

All of this is done, by the way, with Beta’s cat walking in a figure eight around and between my feet.

I also tighten every screw on the pump and filter that can be tightened, and that stops a lot of the leaks too. Ditto the screws on the leaking skimmer thing on the pool.

Yes, then the water is down and the new hose goes on and the pool gets filled back up and I’m done.

Kind of wet, and covered in mosquito bites, but done. As happy and relieved as a girl arriving home from a pop music festival.

A note to my neighbors concerning the naked gent with the live mouse

Due to our morning schedule several days a week, my wife is on her way to work and my daughter upstairs getting her hair nice and flat while I shower downstairs and the cats get into trouble, with the result that a clean but naked male person deals with the cat issues at this time of the day.

I think of you, neighbor, I truly include your peace of mind and sensibilities in my operational equations. If the situation appears likely to require more than a minimal amount of running around, as it did this morning, I am always careful to close the kitchen curtains (with the light off as I do so) in order to avoid subjecting pedestrians, for example, or you there across the street to involuntarily witnessing my activities.

This morning, grey cat made a funny noise outside on the welcome mat, a sort of muffled meow. Since it sounded urgent, and was not his projectile vomiting noise, I let him inside. As he passed me on his way into the kitchen, a shady expression on his face, I noticed a tail sticking out of his mouth.

I did what psychologists advise you to do in these situations and praised him while I turned off the lights, closed the door to prevent the escape of the mouse (because he had set it down and it had darted into the corner beneath the onion and garlic rack thing where the cat couldn’t get to it), closed the curtains and went through the cabinet looking for the proper Tupperware container (small enough to wield easily in tight corners, yet spacious enough to avoid further traumatizing the mouse), finally selecting one of the smaller microwave containers. I also took an unopened issue of the Japan Times from the counter, with which to hold the container closed once I got the mouse inside.

The important thing at this point was preventing the mouse from diving through the air vents in the moulding beneath the refrigerator. Because if it did that, it was home free. It could build a nest beneath our cabinets and have its babies and evolve.

I moved the onion and garlic rack, the mouse began sprinting along the edge of the wall, moving closer and closer to the air vent. The cat batted it around a little. I got the dish over the mouse, slid the newspaper under it, et voila.

Opened the front door, threw mouse in fairly gentle, low arc into the driveway, observed that I was naked on my front porch wearing only a Japan Times and a Tupperware microwave dish, expressed thanks that no children were walking to school yet and went back into the house, where the grey cat was having an existential crisis in the kitchen, which looked like this:

[Picture old grey cat torturing an invisible mouse.]

The end.

Oh, wait. Then I got dressed and took Gamma to school, whose hair was now perfect but expressed some dismay at forgetting both her lip gloss and her perfume.

That’s maybe your subconscious telling you that there are more important things than lip gloss and perfume, I said.

Yeah, mascara, she said.

Also, the red cat was playing with a mouse in the back yard.

On the weaponization of cats

The man is in the shower. The girl is in the kitchen. The girl is home sick, second day in a row.

The man finishes his shower and is drying off when he hears the following two things:

  1. The girl making panicky noises, yelling and stuff.
  2. Gray cat making a noise like it is trying to yack a knitting needle.

The man has heard these noises before. Noise one means the girl is upset about something. He assumes she is upset about noise two. Noise two means the cat is about to vomit. The man knows he has about one second to throw the cat outside.

The man does the following in less than one second:

  1. Finishes drying off, more or less, so he doesn’t track water through the house.
  2. Runs naked into the kitchen and grabs the cat the way you do in this situation, sort of like an automatic rifle that is firing at random.

Then the man runs with the cat to the front door, opens the door and throws the cat outside.

Too bad for the man, though that #1 and #2 used up his second, so when he’s running through the kitchen and entry way naked, holding the cat like a rifle that is firing, the cat is spewing its breakfast on everything. It was not a dignified moment for anyone.

Too bad police weren’t kicking the door in to arrest me, the man tells the girl. Or missionaries knocking at the door.

Waste of a cat.

The man got dressed. Then he cleaned things up.

The Golem

Golem sit in front of new TV.

Golem tell girl how unutterably stupid all the show are for a little while until he notice he spoiling all girl fun. Then he stop.

Golem watch stupid show for a while and cuddle with girl. She put head on Golem shoulder, which give Golem nice, fathery feeling.

Girl turn off TV and they sit and watch black TV. That a little less boring than watch show, just chill and talk.

Girl go to bed. Golem watch TV some more (still off). Golem fight sleep in front of turn off TV. Golem let three cat out. Cat want back in because raining out. Golem notice wind blow shed door open. He go out in rain and put back rock that hold shed door shut. Golem wonder, hey, what that buzz/doorbell sort of ring sound?

Golem figure out doorbell short out in rain.

Golem go out to gate where doorbell button is. Golem reach in slit to wiring and wiggle he finger around to see if something loose.

Neighbor all see Golem skeleton like in cartoon.

Golem pull finger back out. Golem go, Hey, that not 220 volt. You call that 220 volt? Still, Golem have extra spring in step when go back into house.

Doorbell box on wall smell like fire. Box first go Bzzz then Dinnnggggggg then Zzzt and make big spark. Then light all turn off.

Golem look around and determine that all flashlight in house have dead battery or not in right place where suppose to be for state of emergency.

Golem make lot of noise move ladder around in dark. He look at doorbell box with dim light from cell phone. Golem find little tiny screwdriver to fit screw that hold it on and take it off then look around floor with dim light from cell phone for little screw that he drop but he not find it.

Golem take off face plate and loosen two screw inside and take out so doorbell not go Zzzt again when he go out to fuse box and turn light back on. Golem leave ladder there and faceplate off so maybe wife figure situation out when she get up early because have to work while he get to stay home and sleep in on account of holiday.

Golem go to bed. Golem get up later because cat make noise which mean cat want out. Knock stuff off table and stuff.

Cat hide, but Golem know hiding place. Two cat. One cat hide under sofa. That cat dumb and easy to catch. Other cat hard to catch so Golem use science. Golem leave office door open. Cat go downstair, Golem go downstair. Cat go upstair hide in office. Golem go into office close door. Cat corner. Cat go to door, pretend I just normal, good cat, I just want out this door please okay? Golem say, okay kitty. Golem pretend to open door, catch cat. Golem throw out cat. Golem catch easy to catch cat. Golem throw that out too. Sensitive cat also want out, because he not stand all this drama no more.

Fourth cat already outside. So no cat inside! Yay!

Golem go to bed.

Golem wife ask what up with ladder?

Golem tell wife story about doorbell.

Golem and wife sleep. Sweet dream, Golem.

It snowed just now

I stood out on the sidewalk watching it, using a sewing machine as an umbrella. Wearing my bowler hat. An umbrella wearing a bowler hat is absurd. The cat had a worm. Possibly more than one, so I took her and her brother to the vet for a pill each. And to make an appt to have her sterilized. They shaved her belly and did an ultrasound to see if she is pregnant, because she refused to pee on the little paper stick.

There I stood, looking at that familiar ultrasound monitor image, trying to think of a good joke, none coming. How will I explain it to my wife if one looks like me, like that. And all the while, big flakes of fallout drifting to earth out the window. Apocalyptic humor.

Freshly-shaved cat belly is a soft thing.

We’ve been looking for the leopard slug, or whatever it was, unsuccessfully. It’s out there, somewhere. It’s a feeling like when the jungle drums stop, you know? That slug is out there.

I hear they come from Spain. Climate change. They come from Spain, like these butterflies a friend found on her oleander come from Greece. Like the butterflies, only way more slowly.

Except, it didn’t snow.