Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Cat at Night, Nerve, and My War against the Inanimate

I need to write more about Dahlov Ipcar later; until then, this image from her book
The Cat at Night is the perfect compliment to my first story, , , 

I was so happy to see both Tiger Grumpyface and Tiger Whitestockings at different points this evening.

Three weeks ago they both seemed to be thriving, Whitestockings especially, who enjoyed the warm weather and the melting and actually stayed around during the day, sunning herself on the deck with her front paws folded beneath her.

But then as it turned colder again she seemed to get nervous and skittery. Frequently when I came home at night she would come out from under the deck and cry at me, and follow me up the stairs looking nervously over her shoulder.

Then she disappeared for a solid week.

Grumpyface had already not shown herself for two weeks prior. I wasn't all that worried, because the food was being eaten at night, and it was like her to keep a low profile. But as the weekends came and went with no sign of either of them I started to grow concerned. There are other cats in the neighborhood, and once I found one of them (a beautiful Persian) mooching off of my plate. So maybe it wasn't my guys cleaning up the food after all.

Finally, last Friday night, I opened the door and Whitestockings appeared. She ran up the deck to meet me, and I picked her up and gave her a great big hug. She didn't mind. That was something new. I stayed out for a while and petted her and talked to her while she ate.

Didn't see her again until tonight, which was very much a Repeat Performance. I did get her a special treat of Fancy Feast, to make sure that she would come back!

Earlier in the evening, while it was still light, I opened the door and saw Tiger Grumpyface's tail swirling around the corner at the foot of the stairs. She ran away across the driveway. I went to edge of the deck, looked down at her and said, "Tiger Grumpyface! I'm so happy to see you! Where have you been for three weeks?" She paused midway across the driveway and looked up at me with an expression that said, "Don't take one more step in this direction, buster!"

It's nice to know that they are alive and well, but I wonder what's going on.


The last couple of days, I haven't been so much depressed as anxious and easily nerved up. My ongoing war with inanimate objects has flared up again, and this has contributed to the nerves.

Some things just don't like me, especially small things. Looking back on it, I marvel at how I managed to survive in the old house with all of its bric-a-brac piled atop mountains of other bric-a-brac without destroying more of it than I actually did.

Small, fiddly things are especially vexing. Mounting the mailbox onto the mechanical man was a real battle for me, because the nuts and washers and screws were tiny and I knew that if I dropped them I would never find them again. This made me nervous and when I get nervous my hands begin to shake. When my hands begin to shake I get more frustrated and nervous and this causes my hands to shake all the more.

This morning I had a skirmish with a fork that, I swear, absolutely refused to stay on the plate.

Scrambled eggs and toast is my normal breakfast, and when it's all whipped up my usual thing is to carry it in here to the study and eat while I check the morning email, Facebook posts, etc. Usually this isn't a problem, as I carry my juice (Welch's Berry Sunsplash, yum!) in my right hand and the plate in my left with the fork curled underneath in my fingers. Today, for some reason, I just placed the fork on the plate and tried to pick it up.

It slid this way. It slid that way. I tried to make it rest against the food; instead it slid towards me. I grappled with that damn fork for half a minute until gravity finally won, and it hit the kitchen floor with a loud CLANG.

I was already feeling pretty hissy and jumpy, but the CLANG went right through me, and from there the morning went downhill.

A lamp that worked in the old house for thirty years or more suddenly decided, a couple of weeks back,  to loll and droop and throw its shade on the floor. I fought with that damn lamp for three nights, until it finally craned its neck at me and spurted sparks. FOOSH! One dead lamp.

This morning I finally put it in the car so that I could drive by the hardware store and get some parts to fix it with. But my cloth grocery bags were also on the seat, and I didn't move them; so of course the lamp was on the edge of the seat and as I pulled out of the driveway it started to throw itself all over the place.

A normal, sane person would have stopped the car, moved the bags, set the lamp up in a more secure position. If you've been paying attention at all, you know that I am not a normal, sane person. I tried to fix the situation with my right hand while I drove with my left, fussing with the lamp while careering around some very narrow and twisty sidestreets. Yes, it was exactly like something out of the Darwin Awards books except that I somehow managed to avoid killing myself.

Although I did get quite flustered and Mister Anxiety closed his hand around the base of my spine, and that son of a bitch has really cold fingers.


On a happier note, all of the inside quats are much more responsive and outgoing with me than they were in the old house. For the past few nights, I've had Pandy Bear and Patches sleeping with me in addition to Honey -- who does not seem to mind that the way she would have in the old house. It's been warm enough some of these days that I've been able to open the door to the front porch -- and they LOVE it. They seem to actually be disappointed when I DON'T open that door. They sit on the windowledges and the furniture, and Pandy Bear finds a sunny spot and rolls over on his back to give his tummy access to Maximum Warmth.

Honey is the only one who seems to have any reservations left whatever, and even she has found Her Places that she loves.

Today when I pulled in the driveway, she was sitting in the bay window at the side of the house. I slowed to a crawl and waved at her and shouted, "HI, HONEY!! HI, HONEY, I'M HOME!" and she raised herself onto her front paws and meowed back.

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