It’s Wednesday morning and I’m up before dawn to ensure one of the teenagers I said I would not mention, but already have, does not miss her morning class. I’m emptying the dishwasher while steaming a kettle of water for tea and a too loud clink gets an echoing bang from the other said teenager I promised not to mention. Did I mention it’s Wednesday, which means in our small town in NH there is no school (unless you’re taking classes elsewhere).
Abandoning the chore, I decide to salvage some peace and descend into the dungeon of the house to visit the cat-who-distrusts-dogs, Yoda. Yoda, as always, is elated to see me (unlike the teenagers we’re trying to overlook for now) and promptly comes over the his morning pets. As I settle in for a good hand grooming of the feline, my eye catches upon a white and gray mass near the hand weights. “It can’t be,” I think.
I flick pull the string to turn on the overhead light.
Yes it is. Stuck to the wire of a portable fan, and even more stuck to the black mat on the floor, is the flattened carcass of a mouse. As I gather spray cleaner, paper towels, and an old bread bag from the shelf beside the cat food, kept in the dungeon for this very purpose, I recall the evening five days ago when Yoda leapt through the cat door and deposited his live catch before my feet. I had my answer.
The desiccated rodent remains now (mostly) cleaned and scraped from the floor and tied inside the (single use) plastic bag and in the garbage bin, I crank open the tiny window get ready to settle in for a morning workout under the supervision of Yoda the Cat.
In bounds Millie through the same cat door that allowed entry of the rodent I just disposed of. Full of energy after her night in the coat closet, Millie is ready for second-breakfasts and not so ready for pats. As Millie-who-thinks-she-might-be-a-dog, or as we call her a “cog,” polishes off the scraps of Yoda’s treats and the remainder of his breakfast, I zero in to steal some pats. Once again, my eyes hijack the intended moment. “Is it?”
Yes it is. A tiny black tick is working its way into Millie’s white coat. Fingers pinch the bugger and the other hand quickly finds the roll of masking tape (also on the shelf for this very purpose) to snuff out the life of the invader.
Thirty minutes later I have managed the semblance of a workout with my trusted guide, Yoda (Millie, true to her nature, has found better things to do with her time) and have also caught myself up on half an episode of ‘The Great British Baking Show.”
I figure I’ve at least faired better with the first half of the morning than some of the contests under the tent as I give Yoda a few more pats and make my way upstairs where the dogs are already taking their second naps of the day on the couches.
I reach for my laptop to go through the morning’s mail and give Rosy a slight nudge so I can sit down beside her. A waft of dog-perfume greets me as my rear-end meets the cushion. “Never again,” I tell myself for the five hundredth time, “Will I buy a couch with unwashable cushions.” Friday, which we’ve dedicated to renting a commercial washer and hopefully scrubbing the scent of cleaner into the couches, can not come too soon.
Rosy, on the other hand, appears quite content with her couch, and not too thrilled with her human invading the tiny space beside her. No worries, soon enough I leave her to her nap, and head upstairs to my yoga room with my shadow (aka Zelda) at my heals.
Ten minutes later, as my busy mind is finally beginning to settle into the flow of the postures, my fifty black shadow with fur, claws and a very loud mouth, leaps onto the window seat and starts hollering her displeasure at an unseen presence.
Just for good measure, I check to make sure. Yep. Not an intruder in sight.
I settle back on the mat, while my shadow settles her head on the windowsill to keep watch, and slowly the flow of life returns. But not for long. With a charming chirp, the cog announces her reappearance.
There is no resisting the cog. Even the dogs who despise all other felines, have been charmed into near-adoration by this would-be-dog. Adjustments must be made and the mat must be shared while Millie graces the day with her presence.
Not to worry, though, she’s soon vanished (again) and I nearly, just nearly get a complete practice in before the not-to-be-mentioned-teenage-son makes his way downstairs and starts rooting around for some breakfast.