Friday Odds and Odds

R-E-S-P-E-C-T! Give it to me! Give it to me!
I’ve written before about my two feline friends, Sophie and McCloud. McCloud, as you will recall, is my step-cat. FattyHe weighs in at 21# and has essentially no self-respect. He will stoop at nothing for food, he drools, he rolls off beds and crashes to the floor in the middle of grooming himself. Food and affection used to be his only goals in life, rendering him more dog-like than cat; now he has added sniffing Her Highness’s butt to his list.

Sophie, at 8#, is all cat. Pure and simple. I won’t explain it to you because if you know cats you already understand. She has been bracing for winter with a slightly increased appetite, nocturnal forays into the world of rustling leaves and nesting mice. Her coat is twice as thick in less than a month.Basketsmallweb1_5

Yesterday this piece of mail advertising the Cat Caddy showed up in my mailbox. A delightful cat bed/home/carrier all-in-one. This beauty, at 90.00, is the "total piece of furniture for your cat." "Your cat will feel cozy and content in this soft bed at home and safe and secure at the vets! Makes travel a breeze!" Okay, I ask you. Does this cat (who just finished subduing this wild animal she sits upon, after 30 minutes of growling, kicking and gnawing) look as though she would willingly snuggle down and sleep in the same contraption that also serves to transport her to Hell on earth the veterinarian’s office? Do you think she’s going to hop right in when I say, "Hey! How about a car ride to Dr. Darga’s office?" How stupid do they think cats are? Does the step-cat look as though he would fit in an 8x12x12 carrier?

I believe this is wrong marketing, These things would have great appeal to my neighbor’s Shitsoosnotsoo dog, Ramona.Sophiedeerskin_2 
Shhhhh. My father’s ashes are gathering into a mini force-4 storm at the mere thought of my hiring someone to gather my leaves. But here’s the thing: We have an acre of land surrounded on four sides by over 50 mature oaks and hickories. We have more in our gutter than most people have in their yard. We live in a city that gives you one 30 minute opportunity to have your leaves in the street if you want them gone. This window was set months ago, regardless of weather conditions or life circumstances or business travel. Our lot is 600+ feet deep and they all have to be down to the dirt road between 8:20 and 8:35 Monday morning.

It’s true (you’re right, Dad)- I could have started a month ago and kept at it for five hours a day, rain or shine, blustery or no, as they fall in whirls and clumps. Or- I can pay RICARDO! Ricardo, who also provides our mowing service for 32.00 a week will, for the low, low price of 175.00, arrive today with 8 men and 4 underage boys, 2 giant riding mowers, 7 gasoline-powered backpack blowers, four rakes and one broom. In eighteen minutes they will all smile and holler "Beunos Dias, Mizzz Bennett!" and disappear my leaves. The zebra finches in the aviary will scream, the guinea pig will cower, the cats will hide and in 18 minutes the leaves will be gone. They will have cleared every bit of lawn, gutter, deck, walkway, under the bushes, driveway, window wells and the two, but only two (and not the other four I leave covered), garden beds of leaves.

Then they will do my neighbor’s two acres in equally short order and they will yell, "Adios, Mizzzz Bennett! See you in the Spring!" and head for other lawns and then parts south. I love Ricardo. Edgy Mama loves Jonathan, the gay boutique clerk, but I love Ricardo. And we wonder why we have an immigration problem.

(on Monday at 8am there will be 2 stories of leaves in the road in front of my house- it is the collection place for our block, the most heavily treed in the city named for it’s trees. The city will send in three or four double bed tractor trucks and giant bobcats repeatedly to remove them. It is the most photo worthy  opportunity of the Fall season and I will definitely have pictures.)

My post on formal education generated wonderful, thoughtful and funny comments. Thank you, everyone. I’m not going to link to all of them as the links are already in the comment signatures. Roxanne and Bonnie, I found reassuring on the idea that you could actually be a viable human being with a fine arts degree. Two of the husbands of my teacher friends do not have college degrees but are as successful, if not more, than most people. Hoss doesn’t allude to any formal education- we know he went to high school; do you think he’s been getting by on just his magic twanger since then? I doubt it…Grace tells a delightful story of her education in her comment and it’s worth circling back to read. And the last comment that got posted was by my brother-in-law who wears flannel nightgowns. And although you couldn’t tell from his comment he is one of the two brothers who have JD degrees. He writes:

30 some years ago, I thought about becoming a teacher, but I was put on academic probation in my first year at school and flunked “Principles of Education” in my second year.  11 years, five colleges and two professional licenses later, I finally graduated with a BS in social science.
Which reminds me.  Rich once said:

BS — well everybody knows what that is.
MS — obviously, that’s More of the Same.
And PhD?  Piled higher and deeper.

Anyway, so now I teach at the University where this all started.  Irony.  Isn’t that the tool you use to smooth out the wrinkles in life?

Baby Fix! Alexis is here for two weeks with her lovely parents. As a threesome they are a hoot, reminding me of those first days with Daniel when there was absolutely nothing in my life but baby. Juanita records every feeding time, every diaper change, every hiccup. Chris carries Alexis around, chattering rhetorically, "Shall we see if the kitty wants in? Let’s do that! Mommy will be done in the shower in a minute. She has to get cleaned up. You wear her out!"

I knit Alexis a spiffy hat. Lots of color on the brain in the early days insures a creative future. Here is Alexis after an exhausting trip to the pediatrician. As soon as his plane gets in, Rich and I are heading out to the cottage for one more crisp, clear,sunny day so they can have some just family time. Sophie will go with us so  she can kill the deer skin in front of the woodburning stove- again. But it won’t be in any cat caddy; she’ll travel curled on my lap, with her GPS in full operational mode. What are you doing this weekend?Hat

17 responses to “Friday Odds and Odds

  1. Alexis looks pleased with the hat. Oh my! Did you use that computer dyed yarn that automatically makes stripes? Mom made Nyssa a scarf for Christmas out of that. Nys loved it, wore it all the time and left it accidentally in a Pizza Hut in Murfreesboro, Tennessee last spring. Don’t know how she is going to explain this to her grandma.

    I always hired someone to do the yard in Mississippi, except it was usually not until just before Christmas. It wasn’t leaves so much as pine needles. Yard work was traumatizing. Weed eaters would throw out fifteen feet of line and then break off, somehow I talked myself into a lawn sweeper instead of a mower and pine needles really don’t come up with anything except old fashioned rakes. One spring I planted 384 impatiens by hand; couldn’t walk or sit for days. In most of my flower beds they wilted but in the front they were three feet tall and I thought I might have to contact Stephen King with a new story suggestion….Attack of the 50 Foot Flowers. Ricardo sounds amazing.

    As for the cats. I am sooooooo glad someone else has one that drools. Rhett saves this wonderful (much sarcasm) trick for special occasions. I don’t think you can help loving McCloud, he is so ROUND. And Rhett sends Sophie a big kiss. I’ll show her picture to Nicky as well, he might have better fortune in love if he would forget Maggie.

  2. My Mom and I live on more or less the same size of land as you do and well…we are not much for yard chores. At all. Ever. I’m fairly sure neither of us knows how to operate a lawn mower.

    I love Alexis’ hat and that lovely bit of blonde hair I see peeking out.

  3. Friday Ark #60

    Friday Ark Template We’ll post links to sites that have Friday (plus or minus a few days) photos of their chosen animals (photoshops at our discretion and humans only in supporting roles). Watch the Exception category for rocks, beer, coffee cups, and….

  4. Michele sent me earlier than usual! Thats a great , newsy post. I love the hat and Alexis, and I want you to send Ricardo south to Raleigh when he is done with you. My Mexican yard crew is not as proficient, it appears. I live outside the city limits and no one picks up my leaves; we have to blow them back into the woods (so they can blow out again in the next wind).

  5. Wow, someone who has longer and more diverse posts than me! 🙂 Love the Ricardo story. Next spring take pics.

    Michele sent me today but I’ll bookmark you and be back.

    Cat carriers are tricky. Some people seem to have success with teh cat bed/carrier thing but my ethics get all qualmy. provide a safe place and then at random intervals make the safe place into a vet-transport. hrm. Even if the cat doesn’t mind…

    Cute hat for Alexis. If colorful hats make one creative, what do bunny-eared baby hats do?

  6. Great hat, V. And my girl loves the polar bear photo.

    I’m about to give in and call a yard service as well. We’re surrounded by beautiful, ancient, towering oak trees, and our yard and even the street are knee-deep at the moment!

  7. There is so much good stuff here I think I’ll just say I was here, read same, and left, wiser.

  8. What a wonderful life you lead, Vicki! And, your generosity shines through it all!

    Bruce is ferrying me away to an island this weekend for a bed and breakfast stay and some whale watching. Love is in the air…

  9. Hi Vicki – I have nothing at all planned for this weekend, which is just the way I like it. Hmmm. Bonnie said that “love is in the air.” I think that is her polite-Bonnie-way of saying that Bruce is going to get some molasses cookies this weekend.

  10. This weekend? I have nobody at home all this evening. Nobody. Whole house is mine… Got the internet allll to myself. The computer. Mine. I could NaNo in peace and quiet. Or I could clean the house if the spirit moves me because I have writer’s block. Which I’m certain I will. Or I could go to bed. I’d love to have Ricardo over here cleaning for me. Do you suppose he’d clean my house while I NaNo? I could write about it. Yeah! Maybe I’ll do that anyway. My character could use some spicy man coming along to clean her clock… or something. *snort*

  11. I live in the country. I am not raking leaves. As far as the weekend goes I am cleaning things out and forcing the kids to do so as well. My mother will be here for Thanksgiving so I have a week to get ready for her. I would also like to go see Pride and Prejudice. Then I might write something.

    I drive an Excursion. There is no way I would ride with the cat not in a carrier. I know it would run wild and cause me to have a wreck. :-/

  12. That baby looks like a very cool little lady–I love her expression. That’s so funny about the cats; my husband bought a round bed for the cat, who wants nothing to do with it. She wants to sleep in HIS recliner. He is trying to “train” her to like the bed, and I am having trouble keeping my mouth shut. I think I did giggle a few times.

  13. I will be running around cleaning up after my wonderfully sloppy family. And as far as I’m concerned, the weekend already has begun. Case in point… an hour ago, my toddler had a laughing fit and ended up projectile vomiting directly into her 15-year-old sister’s shoe on the floor in the foyer. Does it get any better than that?? I think not!

  14. I cannot wait to see the pictures of the Wall of Leaves!

    The hat is great … The baby is better! LOL!

    Have a great weekend!

  15. Wow..i”ve missed a lot!! Unfortunately I’m feeling neither witty nor funny…makes for crappy writing! But I love your new picture collage up there..your kitties are fabulous and your Grad is a hotty!!! Thanks for sticking by my lameo posts ;0) I hope to have a brain surge soon!

  16. Love the hat. What did I do this weekend? Today we took a ferry ride. It was great, but I’m glad to be back home.

    I have like 15,000 words to write by tomorrow night for NaNo to catch up.


  17. Well, the weekend is over and Bonnie has said good-bye to all and you are MIA. What are we going to do? It’s a crisis!!!

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