"Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know. It's tax season. Need to gather up the W-2s and so forth. There's work to be done, chipmunks to chase, etc., etc. But I'll be much more productive if I take just a moment to collect my thoughts. Shouldn't take long. Be with ya in a sec."
On family project day, it's important that we all do our part. Take leaf-raking, for example. Note the clean space I've created for myself. One can only hope the others will do as fine a job with the rest of the yard. What can I say? I'm a giver.
To my friends who have been kind enough to inquire about the health and well-being of Cheeto, the stray charmer who adopted us: Cheeto has settled into a favorite spot on the sofa, where has managed to achieve a moderate level of comfort and is learning to relax. Hank the Cat is doing his best to accept the interloper. They do not, by any stretch of the imagination, love each other. But they have achieved what Henry Kissinger would call detente. It comes and it goes, but they have achieved it. Sort of. On their good days. As long as they don't run out of cat treats to distract them when hostilities erupt. One day at a time, kitties. One day at a time.
I shed a few tears over this fella yesterday. Had to drop him off at the vet for The Procedure that will stop his career as the neighborhood kitten factory. His name is Cheeto, and we've had a bumpy ride together for the past month or so. He showed up in my back yard, doing his Polynesian love call to the stray ladies on the hill behind us. Quite a ruckus ensued, as Hank the Cat was sweet on one of them. (Hank, however, had The Procedure many years ago, so it was a peacefully platonic relationship.) Hank and Cheeto get along fine OUTSIDE, provided I am nowhere in sight. But the minute I pet one, the other gets jealous. And if Hank catches Cheeto in the house, it's a hissin', yeowlin', free-for-all.
Cheeto is from out of town. When his owner moved to Birmingham, a series of unfortunate circumstances made him take to roaming. Finally, his owner decided he just couldn't keep him any more and let me adopt him.
Cheeto likes to dart in the house and meddle and claw the furniture and eat Hank's food, even when his own bowl is full. He is a rascal. But he is also very affectionate and loves a lap to lay his head on. He started life as a stray that the neighbors fed, so in my Crazy Cat Lady head, he just wants to belong to somebody and will stop all the mischievous behavior once he realizes he has a home. And has The Procedure.
Because he's not supposed to eat or drink anything before his surgery this morning, I had to catch-as-catch-can yesterday and drop him off at the vet. He hates the pet carrier. And I left him at the vet, convinced that he felt abandoned. I am paying more for The Procedure at my vet than I would at the Humane Society. Why? Because I want this rascal cat to have Hank's medical team, an overnight hospital stay, and really good pain meds for the trip home. Cha-ching. Then one of the nurses informed me that, since I don't have his vaccination history, he needs three shots in order to stay at the clinic. Cha-ching again. And then there's the need for additional blood work. Since he has been outside, they need to test him for feline HIV, and if that test is positive they will call me so I can "decide what to do." That's where I drew the line. "He cannot test positive because I cannot take that, so you all will just have to make sure that doesn't happen," I told the nurse. She said she would do her best. I told her I had heard somewhere that male cats who hate each other will sometimes become friends once they've both had The Procedure. "It's possible," she said, "but I wouldn't count on it."
So now I am watching the clock. Cheeto's surgery is scheduled for 8:30, and they said if his tests come back okay, they won't call. They'll just go ahead with it and update me when it's over. If the phone doesn't ring before 9:30, I think all should be well. Tick-tock, tick-tock . . .