Friday, March 23, 2012

Hummingbirds Part 2

Working at my computer I noticed an email from my nosy neighbor Harold.  As if it wasn’t enough having the retired next door neighbor commenting on my life face-to-face, now he’s emailing me, too? 

I clicked on the email and noticed an attachment.  Unbelievable: Harold is 86 years old and he’s attaching files to his emails.  My 60 year-old mother-in-law could learn something from him.

I double clicked on the attachment and saw an image that didn’t need much explaining.

“Ready to fly”, he wrote.

"Beautiful," I wrote.  "They sure grow up fast.  Congratulations, Harold."

Then I clicked, "send".  Some things you just can't express face-to-face.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Wine Group 1

It's that time of the month--my All Girl Wine Group meeting!  This time it was about tasting wine without looking at the label, otherwise know as "Wine Tasting Blind".  

Enjoy and Cheers!


Friday, March 16, 2012

Cats and Hummingbirds

“Keep your cat away from my yard,” our neighbor, Harold, bellowed at me from his driveway.  For an 86 year-old he had a booming voice. 

“Sure,” I said flipping though the mail.  “Wait a minute--”  I paused.  Jackson was an indoor cat who came to our house in a carrier and was so scared he’d spent the first two weeks hiding under the bed.  “How did you know we got a cat?”

“I run the Neighborhood Watch,” Harold said puffing out his chest.  “I know everything.”

I thought this information about neighbors looking out for neighbors was supposed to make me feel safer but instead I just felt… exposed, violated and in the market for even thicker curtains.

“Harold, you keep an eye on… whatever you look at and I’ll keep an eye on Jackson.”

“In that case,” he said straightening his baseball cap.  “Follow me.  Use the side gate.”  I’d never been through Harold’s side gate not to mention his backyard, which is where he led me.  In the yard grew soft blades of grass, ropes of ivy and along the west wall, a row of cypress trees.

“What do you think of those guys?” he said pointing to an exposed branch, which held a miniature nest with two baby hummingbirds snuggled inside.  The nest was the size of my woman’s fist and the birds just bigger than my thumbs.  With their striped brown and white plumage they would have been perfectly camouflaged if their nest had not been so exposed.

“Wow,” I whispered.
One bird opened his beak, no doubt hungry.  They were both so tiny and precious.  I understood Harold’s concern.  One swipe from a cat and they would be history.  However, if we left them alone maybe they’d grow up and in three weeks be buzzing through our garden pollinating flowers.  

On second thought, maybe it wasn't a bad thing having a nosy neighbor and a scared cat.  Together they would give nature’s newest kids on the block a fighting chance.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Cat Hell

“Make him stop,” Mr. Wonderful said yanking the duvet over his head.  “Please.”

It was 2:30 AM and our new cat, Jackson, had jumped on the bed, thwacked his tail against Mr. Wonderful’s forehead and was kneading my pillow with his paws.  Forget serial killers and clowns, nothing’s scarier than opening your eyes to sharp, hooked claws two inches from your peepers.  And, nothing’s more annoying.

I dumped Jackson to the floor but he leapt up for three repeat performances before the alarm clock sounded. 

We’d only had him two weeks and already this five year-old male had taught me a lot about his species.  1) Cats sleep all day.  2) Cats sleep all evening.  3) Cats keep you up all night. 

In other words, cats are jerks.

Since Jackson was still adjusting to us and our home, we’d followed the advice of the Kitten Rescue volunteers and kept him in one room closed off from the rest of the house so as not to overwhelm him.  Unfortunately with my cousin’s kid, Matt, still bunking in the guest room, the only space available for the cat was our bedroom.  Jackson and our chronic lack of sleep were driving Mr. Wonderful and I toward a career in serial killing--each other.

Just when I’d decided to save my marriage and sleep on the sofa, my sister arrived. 

She surveyed the situation and announced, “Your cat has a problem.”
“Yeah, he’s not a dog,” Mr. Wonderful said with a yawn.
I valued my sister’s diagnosis because she knew cats—she owned eight felines, six of which lived outdoors controlling her farm’s mice population.  She continued, “The problem is Jackson makes his own schedule.”
“Because that’s how cats are.  They’re independent,” I said.
“Then why did you get a cat?”
“My question exactly,” Mr. Wonderful said boring his eyes into me over the rim of his third espresso.
“Jackson’s doing everything on his time,” my sister said.  “If you want him to be part of your family, you have to get him on your schedule.  When you eat, he should eat.  When you’re awake, he should be awake.  For at least some of the time.”
“I can’t do that.  I can’t even get him out from under the bed.”
“Follow me,” she said.

First we collected every picture frame I hadn’t hung and stacked them like Legos, one on top of the other.  We slid them under the bed, filling every square inch of space, which forced an unhappy Jackson out into the open.  Then we swung open the bedroom door to freedom.  Instead of going out to explore the rest of the house, the cat slunk to the opposite side of the room and crouched beside his litter box. 

“We need to force him to leave this room,” she said.  I lugged his litter box and food and water bowls to the kitchen.  Still all day, he remained in our bedroom.  That night when we slipped into bed Jackson disappeared into the living room and didn’t bother our sleep for eight hours.  Eight heavenly hours!   

The next morning my sister, Mr. Wonderful and I sat at the table eating crepes when our laughter was punctured by the sound of chewing kibbles.  On the floor next to our table, we saw Jackson hunched over his newly placed food bowl.  He was out of the bedroom. He was eating while we were eating.  He was with us.

My sister, Mr. Wonderful and I exchanged smiles.  For the first time since moving in I felt like our house was full of family.