Life as a cat

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “New Skin.”

For the next year, I think I’d enjoy being my cat, Smokey.  He’s a ten year old gray short hair, and he pretty much rules the roost.  He prompts us when to wake up, he orders us to let him in and let him out of the house multiple times a day, drinks fresh water whenever one of us goes to the bathroom, and is persistent about keeping his bowl filled with food, despite his ability to catch birds and mice.

He has lovely hair, and it’s no trouble whatsoever to take care of.  His look is effortlessly classic.  He spends a good portion of the day napping on my bed–probably spends more time there than I do.

During the day, I imagine he has many adventures.  When he’s inside, he likely taunts the dogs with his ability to go where they can’t, looking down his nose at them until they finally get bored and circle about, falling to the floor.  Cat’s have much longer attention spans than dogs, so he uses that to his advantage.

If he’s outside, he can explore under the porch, under the sheds, up in the rafters, and in and around the barn.  The world from his height is much larger.  I imagine he knows more about where the wildlife on our property lives than I will ever know.  And I’m sure he takes great pleasure in lording it over the dogs his ability to come and go around the place without hindrances.  He probably makes a point of lounging on the other side of the fence to their dog yard, where the two imps spend their days when its nice outside.

He’s pretty street smart, and those skills have translated to the country in critical ways.  He is weary of wildlife, and knows the best places to hide from the occasional coyote that makes his way in off the fields surrounding us.

Over the next year, he will have a few companions in his outdoor territory he’s going to need to learn to get along with.  The two barn kittens are curious, and more wild than him.  He will likely intimidate them with his size, and his masculinity.  I’m sure he’ll put them in their places, especially since he has indoor privileges.

The best part of being Smokey for a year, however, would be the petting.  That cat never lacks of someone to scratch his back, caress his neck, massage his hips.

Keeping the barn kitties warm

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Warmth.”

Tonight, the weather report says windchill will turn our ten degrees into the equivalent of 20 below zero.  While the dogs, the domestic cats and I will be okay, provided the furnace doesn’t decide to go kaput for some unknown reason, our barn kitties I worry about.

We found them a couple of months ago in the rafters of our shed. We went looking for them when we didn’t see their mom for a few days.  We found them, and sheltered the little poof-balls inside for a couple of days in a separate room during a similarly cold snap.

But now, they are bigger, and have been staying in a shed room for the past few months, growing and getting more curious.  We’ve outfitted the room with places to hide, places to curl up, food and water, and an incandescent light.  Today, we put a heating pad between some towels in one of their little hidey-holes.

But one got out when the door was open, so we can’t close the door all the way yet.  I hope when I get home, I find he’s gone back in his room and I can close the door to keep the cold further at bay.  If they can get through the next couple of months, I think they’ll be okay.  But they’ll likely always be somewhat dependent on us, as they have no mom to show them the kitty ropes, and we’re pretty poor substitutes.  But, they are wild.  And we can’t loose sight of that.

No wait! I didn’t really mean that!

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Tight Corner.”

It’s a tight corner you paint yourself into when you say you’ll pay for something your kid really wants.  And if you have three kids, the corner just gets tighter.  And if you have three teens, forget it–you may as well take up deep sea diving without air because that’s how tight it can feel at times.

You say “sure” to the t-shirt they need for their team sport, and “sure” to the one that parents can get to support their teen.  That’s great.  But then the other teens hear that you said yes to this, and they have team sports and activities too, and if it’s yes to one–then it follows it will be yes to all.  Before you know it, you have to decide.  Will it be a drawer full of t-shirts of slight variation in the same mascot theme, or will there be permanent scarring and lingering feelings of remorse because the “f” word creeps into conversation–Favorite, silly.  Not that other f-word.

And that’s only with the teens.  If you say yes, you still have to answer to your husband or wife, who didn’t get hit up for the t-shirt (s) and had other plans, like making a car payment or taking you out to dinner, or paying that speeding ticket you got when you were racing to the latest sports event wearing your mascot-inspired t-shirt to “show support,” a.k.a. socialize with the other parents in the same boat.

The simple word yes will usually result in a tight corner.  Better to just say no.

Price is no object

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Secret Santa.”

Let’s say my secret Santa is one of the aging-out foster kids in my town, and I could give anything to that kid anonymously.  I would give them a home to call their own–completely paid for, and taxes paid for the next ten years.  It would be a place to feel secure.  An anchor in this sea called life.  A place to build a life from.

The house would be next-door to where I live, and I would be sure to check on them often and be there for them to call on the way they would a parent.  I remember that when I moved out of the house for the first time, I needed my parents more than ever before, but they were states away, and it felt kind of cold having to come up with everything on my own essentially.  And I at least had parents I knew I could turn to if things went horribly south and I needed to have someone through me a life preserver.  I think that helped me to feel like I could take the risks I did.  If I didn’t have that, I’m not sure what I would have done, and yet, there are thousands of young people every year facing that problem.

“To Be Resolved.”

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “To Be Resolved.”

I have not lost weight.  I have not written a book.  I have written and published two articles of a magazine, however, which was something I meant to do, but not sure I should count it because it is a product of my regular employer’s, and I didn’t get paid any extra for doing it…but the experience was great and I have something new to show on my resume.  So, we’ll give half points for that.

I have not yet finished the last couple of classes I need for my degree.  I do, however have a plan for next year.  So, not so bad, but still no dice.

I have essentially failed on most of my resolutions.  Still, I’m up for making them.  I did read a few great books on goal setting, and when I get time, I’ll definitely try their suggestions.  Perhaps I need to make easier resolutions.  Like–I resolve to get the pantry cupboards organized this year.  I resolve to come up with new container garden plans for this summer.  I resolve to read a fictional book each month for the fun of it.

There, how about that for my new year’s resolutions?  I’ll let you know next year.

Turning to the Matrix for my hero(ine)

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “My Hero.

I don’t have any real life heroes, so the question, “Who is your hero?” instantly awakens my inner editor.  I’m supposed to have some awesome intellectual answer, aren’t I?  Some historical character like Ghandi, who I hope to be like someday?  Perhaps a religious character?  Some avant garde, hardly known artist or writer?  Nope.  None of the above.  Also, not a family member, not a friend, nothing really sweet.  There are so many people I find admirable, but I don’t consider them my heroes.  There is no person I can think of withs “saves the day” quality that comes to mind right off the bat for me.

This question is akin to “What do you want for Christmas,” for me.  This is also an inner editor question.  When I’m asked this, my mind always draws a blank.  I end up over analyzing the question, and then can’t think of a thing, even though what I’d really like is –whoops!  Inner editor just stepped in and deleted a rather long and self-indulgent list of goodies.  I’m a happy person without all that.

But, back to the hero question– in the realm of fantasy, I like Trinity from the Matrix series.  She is awesome.  She’s smart, sexyTrinity, athletic, adventurous, would risk her life for the people she loves, unstoppable, mission oriented.  She is so cool.  I should ask myself more often, “What would Trinity do?”  when I’m in a jam.

I’m a middle-aged mom, so maybe it seems kind of odd that I would find someone like Trinity to have the qualities I  would emulate, but that’s what heroes, or in this case, heroines are like.  Larger than life.  So what if I would imagine myself dressed in skin-tight leather, leaping through windows of buildings and acrobat-ting my way down stairs, missing certain death in the time it takes to grab a ringing phone receiver, pulling a gun on the Merovingian to save the life of my true love…

It’s a heck of a lot more exciting than sitting at my desk, writing local news; but looking deeper, perhaps it makes more sense than I think.    Let me tell you, if I was ever tapped to choose between the red or the blue, I’d definitely take a trip down the rabbit hole.  Finding the truth–that’s what I do love about my job.  Reporting, writing editorials and columns –it makes me feel awesome at the end of the day.   Maybe not as awesome as Trinity, but in real life, it’s pretty good.

When will Christmas get here?

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Getting Seasonal.”

Christmas is one of those holidays that has a day on the calendar, and in the retail world it is months long, but it doesn’t really arrive until your heart is ready for it.  I’m feeling weary of it this year, despite the fact my kids will be home.  Perhaps this is the same for most families with teens.  I’d love to share quiet moments together, bake together, go to church, talk, listen to Christmas carols and relax.  That seems to be far from what the kids want though.  They have friends and dances and boyfriends and iThis and iThat to watch, phones that interrupt, and they can’t seem to sit still.  Does it have to seem like a punishment to spend time together at the holidays?  Do they even know how?

This sounds like a gripe session.  I suppose it is in a sense.  It’s been a long time since we’ve had a normal Christmas-divorce does that to families.  Visitations make the holiday seem more like a burden than a joy in many ways, but we do our best to make it enjoyable.  Living far from our extended family also leaves me feeling melancholy about the holidays.

Someday, I’m going to settle down and really observe Advent, complete a Bible study, make all my gifts by hand for only a select few, and I’m going to watch all those Christmas movies, listen to carols while I bake, and if my kids or friends or husband decide to join in, that will be fine.  But no football, no Kardashians, and no cell phones will be allowed.