A New Addition to the Family

My phone conversation this morning with Older Daughter, mom to our almost-5-year-old and 14-month-old grandsons, went something like this:

Her: Guess what? We got a new cat.
(Background noise of chairs screeching and children running.)
Me: A new cat?
Her, in a slightly raised voice, to the boys: You all let Tootsie go in Mommy and Daddy’s room to rest for a minute.
Her, to me: Yup, a new …
Her, to Older Grandson: Please take the laser pointer out of your nose.
Her, to me: … cat. She’s black and …
Her, to Older Grandson: If you point the laser at your brother, you’re going to your room and I’m taking it away.
Her, to me: … and white and 3-years …
Her, to Younger Grandson: No-no. Pulling the kitty’s tail is not nice.
Her, to me: … old and very friendly and ..
(More background noise of chairs screeching and children running with addition of frenzied meowing.)
Her, to Younger Grandson: Maybe the kitty cat doesn’t want to be chased anymore.
Her, to me: I think I need to call you back.

“That’s the Biggest Cat I’ve Ever Seen!” — So Long, Shadrach

Yikes! I haven’t blogged for so long that WordPress was, like, “I’m sorry. Who are you again? Please identify.” You know, in the same way that your iPhone’s Siri (not to be confused with the unfortunate Suri, bless her heart, whom we all know will rebel against her mother at age 14 and run away to become queen of the Scientologists) gets annoyed  when you ask her stupid questions. But I have good excuses: We were vacationing in sunny Florida and then came home to a sick cat. Sadly, Shadrach — our lone male out of the four — turned out to have unfixable kidney disease and so we wished him “safe journeys” and sent him on. He was big and fat and the feline equivalent of a grumpy old man, but he’d stuck with us for almost 16 years and we miss him. My tough sports-editor husband, who yells at AP and makes photographers tremble, practically is inconsolable — he’s like that about pets. For me, Shadrach and his two sisters (we got the fourth one a couple of years after the first three) are a link to when my two 20-something daughters were younger and living at home and we had kids running in and out of the house all the time and all sorts of meetings and rehearsals and practices on our family calendar and I loved every minute of it. We got the cats sort of as a divorce present shortly after we became a single-parent family. I swear that one day in the privacy of our own kitchen, we said, “Oh, it’d be great to have a cat!” and within minutes we were deluged with offers. One of Older Daughter’s friends let us pick from a barn cat’s litter, and of course my firm commitment to ONE CAT ONLY turned into ONE CAT ONLY FOR EACH OF US and there we were. The girls rescued No. 4 from a pizza box at a local swimming pool but our hopes for one big happy cat family never materialized as the three incumbents immediately forged an alliance that’s still impenetrable, even after all these years. With Shadrach gone, we’re not sure how the new dynamic of two sisters versus one step-sister will play out. It’s clear that he enforced some sort of order — possibly by simple virtue of being twice as big as the girls — so who knows what will happen now. I’d schedule them all for a cat-therapy session but they hate car rides and strangers, so that’s not going to work. I’ll keep you posted. Tomorrow we’ll talk about all the cool places to go and things to do in Pensacola Beach, Fla., but right now I think I’m going to find those boxes of old photos and look for the ones of three little scrawny kittens, especially the orange tabby with the big green eyes.

 

Grandchildren

Today the cutest and most precious little guy IN THE WHOLE WORLD — our 2-and-1/2-year-old grandson Capt. Adorable — came to our house. Usually I travel his way for a visit but this time he got to come to Kacky’s house. I was thrilled. We had a blast! Our cats … not so much. I mean, all he wants to do is hug them. That’s not so bad, right?

Madison, Alabama

Madison Street Festival Saturday, the town of Madison, Alabama, officially welcomed fall with Madison Street Festival the annual Madison Street Festival. A gorgeous early-fall day brought out thousands of folks to shop arts-and-crafts booths, eat that tempting fried festival food (funnel cakes, anyone?), catch up with their neighbors and be entertained by folks like Older Daughter, who performed with her Huntsville belly-dance troupe. She is an awesome dancer (and that’s not just maternal pride Madison Street Festival speaking), and the group’s repertoire included a piece she had choreographed herself. Even 18-month-old Capt. Adorable seemed to recognize his mom onstage. At least, he sat still and watched in his stroller for about 15 minutes. Or maybe he was just fascinated with the balloons we tied to the handles. Balloon-decorated strollers were everywhere, as you can tell by the line parked outside the festival’s raptor show — balloons and pets were prohibited, although I guess young children were considered safe! Capt. Adorable almost came home with a pet, since he made friends with the oh-so-adorable puppies at the animal-shelter’s booth. I’ve got a feeling there may be a new addition at the Captain’s house soon. Read more about the festival at http://blog.al.com/breaking/2009/10/madison_street_festival_draws.html and http://www.madisonstreetfestival.org/

Dog Food

Dog treatsI know how hard it is for me — a human person — to resist a similar display of yummy treats. When faced with an array of delectable-looking goodies, I lose all self-control and want one of everything. I wonder if dogs who come in to the local Pet Depot feel the same when they spot this. And raise your hands if you ever have mistaken a doggy cookie for a real one. C’mon — you know you’ve done that. I think I would especially fall for the “chocolate” football versions in the middle of the bottom shelf, but the round “sugar cookies” with the pink icing look pretty interesting, too. And those little white Scotty dogs with the perky red collars in the back right are adorable! When my older daughter was in high school, she made homemade treats for our now late beloved black Lab, and the kitchen always smelled so good when she was baking them. Now I’ve made myself want a real chocolate football cookie. And a dog.

Pets

summer-2007-pets-and-tn-ren-faire-0231Our sweet Black Lab mix, Abby, died this past spring, and we’ve finally gotten used to not seeing her every morning at our back door, so eager for some people love. But here’s the thing: Right now here in Alabama we’re going through the first freezing cold snap since she died, and one of the first things both my husband and I have thought of as temperatures plummeted has been, “We’ve got to remember to put Abby in the basement tonight.” It’s like our brains have not yet unhooked the thought process that links “freezing temperatures” to “bring Abby in.”

We miss you, Abby-licious. Hope you’re having fun running around doggy heaven.

Alternative Transportation

We were on our way out to eat on Saturday night when we spotted this sight at the drive-through window of the former Dairy Queen in Muscle Shoals, Ala., now called Shakers. The rider said he was from nearby Leighton and was visiting family in Muscle Shoals. Not sure if he was on hoof to protest high gas prices, but a bystander observed that a decades-old law on the books in Florence prohibits cars from traveling city streets. If this becomes a trend, Shakers is going to have to change its menu since the man rode off with an ice cream cone — and the horse didn’t get a thing.