If you wondered where we went for a week, Mimi has an explanation: an open house, laryngitis, an errant computer, and a foster kitty.
I’m not sure what it really means in human because felines have no equivalent in our language. We would never open our territory to a bunch of other cats all at the same time, even if we knew them. It also did not mean I was free to go out into the yard whenever I wanted. So I really wasn’t sure what to expect when I realized “open” did not mean the door. “House” is pretty straightforward, but why do people who come here need to be told what it is when they already know? Human activity always raises more questions than it answers, especially in the strange way it all began, after sitting among boxes and bins here just working all day every day at the computer and in the studio.
First the tortie shows up one night, in a trap, and goes upstairs into the bathroom. Sunshine hissed, “What are you doing here? There are many of us,” so she’d know what she was dealing with. She hissed back, “I don’t know, I was outdoors, then I was in a cage and now I’m here.” We were all okay with that explanation and she’s been fine in there. I’m still not sure she had a part in this, but right after Bernadette took the trap back from carrying her indoors she started pulling artwork out of boxes and bags and hanging it in the stairway, that night. It might just be coincidence.
A friend of Bernadette’s who we know and see every few years came to visit the day after that and the two of them kicked up piles of dust cleaning off the desk and every other surface in the big room downstairs and everything was piled in the kitchen or in the basement or out on the deck. There was a lot of coughing and sneezing among all of us, and we weren’t thrilled with things piled in the kitchen where we like to chill out and eat.
The very next morning Bernadette was whispering—some odd effect?—but ran off for errands and that day and the next continued moving and sweeping and wiping things down. That turned out to be really nice, all these nice clean, clear surfaces to walk and nap on after years of sleeping on piles of papers and slipping around on whatnot as it fell off her desk. I remember when it was like that in here, when I first arrived. But we didn’t have the chance to enjoy it because that was when things really got confusing. After we’d all explored the new spaces and highly approved, giving her lots of blinks and rolling on our backs and such, she started covering them up! She waved piles of this stuff that was hard to walk on because you could see through it, sort of, but it was nice to tuck into after we got used to it.
But, to prove that humans not only make absolutely no sense and don’t care at all what their cats think, we couldn’t nap on it or under it, but we had to move AGAIN. We were replaced with nothing other than baskets that we were permitted to step into but not actually settle into!
Yes, even some nice new ones just the right size for a kitty to curl up into, but they weren’t for us, they were for…stuff, her stuff, just to sit inside them. The stuff was allowed to sit in them when it probably didn’t care at all about the nice basket, but we were not when we would have loved the basket. This was totally unfair. So when she wasn’t looking we climbed in anyway and started into baths and a good afternoon nap.
The next morning the fun started for me! Every bin and box and drawer and cabinet was opened and everything came out. It’s my divine right to inspect each bin, box, drawer, cabinet with and without contents, and I spent hours in this pursuit. I explored places I never knew existed.
All the while Bernadette was shooing Jelly Bean and Mewsette and Sunshine out of the baskets and everyone but me paced around and inspected everything she placed into each basket, or stacked up on any surface. When we all settled down for a break the room was completely changed and we understood the big plan. Exhausted, we settled down in groups with whoever was near for naps.
But we had no sooner fallen asleep before humans started arriving. Most of us were pretty excited about this because this meant we’d get extra attention. Bella headed for the basement and Hamlet for the second floor, but most of us greeted our guests. And they were still here when more guests came. Bernadette’s voice was hard to hear but she still introduced each of us, and we got plenty of pets.
Soon we grew tired, however. Cats aren’t intended to be awake all day, though I stayed with Bernadette the whole time. But most everyone found they could settle in one spot where they could nap and get pets when the humans came by. Everyone was completely charmed by the piles of napping kitties, and how nice and affectionate we all are. Even Basil stayed with the group and let people pet him. Hamlet came down the stairs and waved his tail, and who could resist? Bella came and looked in the doorway and everyone thought she was adorable.
My children taught them well when to trust humans. Did I ever mention I have very nice children? This is when I get to see it in action, but really, everyone wanted to see me, and why not?
This went on for two full days, and we ended up napping through a lot of it, while Bernadette had absolutely no voice left. She was not unhappy, though. After everyone left and she shuffled little papers for a while she went off and came back with a food we’ve all come to associate with her being away with her stuff and coming back all happy and cheerful. We were pretty happy and cheerful after that too.
A few people stopped by in the next few days so we still had the chance to be charming and get petted more than usual. Bernadette’s voice is still not back to normal, and we aren’t sure if the room is going to stay this way, but we’ve been napping in our favorite new places. Either way, it was a very exciting week!
Yes, my open house was about the most successful event I’ve ever had. I haven’t held one since the late 90s when I still worked a full time day job while freelancing full time and didn’t have the time to go to other events, but it was great fun, and much easier to set up everything in the office/living room downstairs. I did develop laryngitis, something that happens every winter, from the dust of moving and cleaning things and temperatures in the teens outside, dry air inside. Usually I’d keep to myself for a day or two to let it heal, but I had to talk to my guests even if they could barely hear me, and by the time Sunday night came around I could barely swallow an ibuprofen caplet without nearly passing out from the pain, so a week later I’m still recovering from it. It was so painful some nights that I slept fitfully, and even my patient healing cats left me for periods of time to be sure they could get enough sleep (snark).
The main reason I quit posting so abruptly, something Mimi couldn’t really follow, was that the hard drive in my main computer had started to fail in a way that my computer company wasn’t certain about the integrity of the backup. I was not about to lose all my art and photos and customer files, so I moved it all off to a 2TB external drive and moved it up to my studio computer, which took two full days. My studio computer isn’t as fast as the office computer so posting takes a little longer. Also, it was upstairs while my open house and all my other work last week was downstairs. I had presumed I’d be able to use my office computer to post and share photos all weekend and all week, but that was not to be.
And the Pittsburgh CAT calendars came in too! It was a very big week. I’m not sure about my fine felines, but I’ll be glad to get “back to normal” and reestablish my schedule. I have no idea what day it is!
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Weekly schedule of features:
Sunday: Essays, Pet Loss, Poetry, The Artist’s Life Monday: Adoptable Cats, TNR & Shelters Tuesday: Rescue Stories Wednesday: Commissioned Portrait or Featured Artwork Thursday: New Merchandise Friday: Book Review, Health and Welfare, Advocacy Saturday: Your Backyard Wildlife Habitat, Living Green With Pets, Creating With Cats And sometimes, I just throw my hands in the air and have fun!
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