I’m having one of those days. It’s 2:00 in the afternoon and I’ve gotten less than nothing done today. I was further ahead at 3:30 this morning than I am now. That’s when the wee birds woke me up for a little meal. I love those baby birds, truly I do, but why do they cry for food in the middle of the night if they’re just going to lazily suck back a squirt or two of formula and go back to sleep?
Anyway. Here’s my day so far:
Fed the birds at 3:30 a.m., cleaned their dishes and syringes and thermometer and containers and stuff. Fed the cat, went back to bed.
Looking forward to lunch with Richard today. Plot the timing of baby bird meals so that lunch won’t result in starving babies. Woke up at 7:30, fed the birds, cleaned all their stuff again. Fed the cat again. Scooped the litterbox.
Went to transfer the laundry from the washer to the dryer but discovered four inches of water in the washer. Inspected. Discovered the laundry tub was full of water because it had gotten plugged up with pine shavings from the birds’ towels, which I knew I should have taken outside and shaken before throwing in the washer.
Bailed water and poured it down the handy-dandy drain in the middle of the floor. Re-spun laundry. Put baby towels in dryer. Laundry tub still plugged, will deal with it later.
Realized it’s garbage day. The baby birds generate more garbage in a week than I do in a month. Swept bird-room floor of shavings. Cleaned bird house. Swept bird-room floor again. Took garbage out and dumped it in green bin.
Cleaned out fridge and dumped contents in green bin. Dumped kitty litter in green bin. Dumped pine shavings in green bin.
Drank coffee, ate cherries. Doorbell. It’s Bob and Bud, coming to check out my front porch. Duncan and I join them outside while they inspect and theorize. It’s not a little job, they say. It’s a big job. Porch needs replacing. They take a bunch of measurements, and do some out-loud thinking. They’ll get back to me with quotes for a wooden porch and a pre-cast cement porch.
Half an hour later, they leave. I look around for Duncan. He was just there a minute ago, on the neighbour’s lawn, chewing a long piece of grass. He’s gone. I run inside, grab a bag of cat treats and run around the neighbourhood like a maniac, shaking the bag and calling his name. No Duncan.
It’s time to feed the birds again. I feed the birds and then throw all their stuff in soapy water. I phone Richard’s cell and leave a message saying I have to reschedule.
I grab the cat treats again, and run around the neighbourhood again, shaking the bag and calling his name again. Four little girls with doll carriages surround me. They have questions.
What are you shaking? Why are you shaking it? How did you lose your cat? What colour is he? Why is there a picture of a fish on the bag? Why do you have a cat instead of a dog?
I answer their questions. I ask them if they have seen a large orange cat. They all nod yes.
“When?” I ask.
They all speak at once:
“A few weeks ago.”
“On my birthday.”
I ask them where they saw it. They all point in different directions simultaneously, and then change their minds and point in other directions.
I tell them it was nice chatting with them. I thank them. They smile sweetly. Their babysitter, who is sitting in a white plastic chair, snarls at them to get off the damn road.
I head back towards my place, thinking maybe I should grab my bike so I can cover more territory. And suddenly I catch a glimpse of that unmistakable orange fur. He’s in the parking lot out back. He’s very close to MY parking spot. I call him from 50 yards away. He looks suspicious. I run up to him, gushing “Duncan, I was so worried about you! I’m so happy to see you, you big ol’ puddinghead!”
He’s staring at me like he’s never seen me before in his life. He’s arching his back. He’s hissing at me. HISSING! At ME! I’ve never seen him hiss at anyone before, except for a dog or two.
It’s then that I realize my cat is deaf and blind. He probably has been all along, I just never knew. I crouch down and shake the bag of treats. Open it up, extract one, offer it to him. Suddenly everything is okay again. He knows who I am. He’ll follow me anywhere.
I open the gate and the back door and he dashes inside, relieved, happy to be home. Me too. Everything’s okay, even if my porch needs to be replaced before Sunday and my laundry tub is plugged.