There is a knock at the door. Yesterday I was so sick I would have ignored it but today I feel a bit less dead.
I bound down 3 steps, trip on the fourth and stumble the remaining treads to the landing. Less dead but not any more graceful. A man in a safety vest from Rocky Mountain Power is staring through the glass watching me.
I open the door with the plan to appear more normal than my first impression offers. Odds are against me. I am wearing a t-shirt that reads mental ninja, a pair of glossy black boxing shorts, and my wrists are still taped from working out.
As if this wasn't enough when I open the door a little blond dog comes flying out at him. The man jumps back and begins trying to shake the dog off his leg.
Now I know he must be thinking that I have let an giant albino squirrel out on him so I say, "It's not my dog."
This only seems to add to the amount of time it takes him to recover his composure.
"I'm not joking." I say and take a swipe with my foot at the dog as it tries to reenter my house. "Not my dog. I've already put it back twice today"
I pull the door shut behind me to at least give me a fighting chance against this white devil.
The man explains without taking his eyes off the yapping dog that yes he is with the power company and they will be trimming trees in the next few weeks. I listen and nod and kick at the dog as it jumps on me.
"So what do you need from me?" I ask with my best I am a compliant citizen smile.
"To not shoot or kill us when we enter your property." Well, I see our reputation on 10th west proceeds us.
"I won't try to kill you but I can't guarantee that this dog doesn't end up duct taped to the back of one of your trucks."
The man pauses. "Now, you have chickens?" We both turn to watch the newest mom hen parade her chicks past a sleeping cat on the edge of the driveway. The dog, seeing them too, darts. Suddenly all hell breaks loose. The chicks scatter and the mom hen takes off after the white dog chasing it across the front lawn.
"Seem to have them today."
"You might want to lock them up when we come."
"Don't worry most of them already are and the ones that are out aren't armed." For being sick and on the fly it was a good chicken joke but he ignored it.
"I think I remember this house. Did you guys have a dead squirrel under a bucket?"
Wow, that is a pretty far out question to ask a woman....
"Yes,.... but for the record you guys are the ones who killed him.
It was death by electrocution. We just handled the last rights."
It's one thing to have a horse you don't own wander past your kitchen window while you are cooking dinner. Simple enough fix. Go get horse. Put horse in the back pasture and wait for BC to explain. Go back to cooking dinner... and a flock of chickens lead by 2 'simple minded' [honest truth, that is what the bin label says at IFA] turkey's stroll by. Easy fix. Put chickens back in the coop with the help of the 3 dogs....except we only have 2 dogs. Now this 3rd dog is at our house so often Beach has named him Poncho. He is a giant hyperactive chihuahua who just the other day had 2 ears but now seems to have just one. As far as I can tell it just fell off like a mister potato head part. That might not be completely accurate but since he never stops moving that's going to have to be close enough to the truth. Getting rid of this dog is not so easy. You can put him in his yard but by the time you have turned around he'll be standing on the sidewalk in front of you- it's a little spooky. And while I was thinking about the complications of having Poncho the ADHD poltergeist dog a horse ran by followed by a flock of chickens and 2 turkeys.... I got this, when in doubt, call a child out! "Hey, Fisher, you doing anything right now?" I have him take the horse home. He does... only they both come back. Turns out the horse's owner has locked the gate. A bit of an oversight considering the horse, which is not a small horse is on the wrong side of the fence. Fine put the horse in the back pasture and wait for BC to explain. Go back to cooking dinner. Open a beer. In strolls Jack Cat. Instantly like a paratrooper Poncho pounces on her. Jack gives me one sideways glance which I read as 'why does shit keep falling out of the sky on me human?!' Then she explodes into a raging fluff ball of danger. However it doesn't matter that Jack has turned into sonic the hedgehog because Poncho has moved on leaving Jack pretty much hissing and attacking herself while our 2 dogs look on in horror. Jack recovers and heads for higher ground just as Beach bounds through the front door home from gym with a large Pitbull in tow. I am quite certain she didn't leave the house that way. Let's see, leo, snack break, water bottle. Yeah, I don't recall a wide mouth drooling Pitbull. Simultaneously a flock of hungry chickens fleeing from the stampeding horse come flying in to the kitchen through the backdoor. Now how I see things: Beach, my precious baby, is little red riding hood and that dog the one with the big open mouth with all those teeth- you guessed it- it's the big bad wolf. Logic dictates the danger falls to the oldest male within shouting distance: "Fisher!" He steps out of his room and says 'what the..." and I say, right? Beach: "Can I keep her, I've named her Sunshine." Okay, let's count heads because I am sure I have not prepared enough dinner and Sunshine looks hungry.... Beach, "Hey, mom where is Poncho's other ear?" At this point there is no waiting for BC. We shoo out the chickens and leash old Sunshine. We walk her up and down 10th west. Mostly it feels like walking a crocodile with a touch of stampeding bison. No leash manners, all teeth. Three cars slow down to see her because they, yes all 3 of them, have misplaced their Pitbulls, and yet somehow Sunshine is not any of their missing dogs- are you kidding me?! This is not how probability should work. I did however get on offer for me to meet some guy at his apartment later- he even said I could bring the dog. Well, that isn't uncomfortable. After that little encounter we went home to wait for BC. And to finish cooking dinner and while I'm at it, a second beer. Eventually BC shows up. Unfazed by what he finds, he wants dinner which is fine. He can have it. I'm on to whiskey. A flock of dogs chasing a cat bound through the kitchen over the white sofa and up the stairs with Beach calling "Be careful Poncho, don't fall through". It's a little insane. They pass the other direction in reverse order Jack chasing the dogs. Beach calling after them, "Wait for Sunshine!"
You hear them scuttle out the kitchen door across the deck. Chickens squawking and flapping. The dogs triggering the horse which begins galloping madly around the yard after the fleeing chickens. BC, "If you're not going to finish your noodles I will."
On their 5th lap back through the house I say, "I have an idea, let's drop Poncho and old Sunshine here in Poncho's yard with a note that says we got your dog a dog. OR we forgot which one of these dogs belongs to you so here you sort it out." Blank stares from my family while they try to figure out if I am joking or not- for the record- I'm not. Dinner continues through epic chaos 3 degrees beyond anything the Kappos-Robert's children are capable of unleashing. And then Ladybug cat shows up the front door gives one little sweet meow to come in and Sunshine goes ape shit. Well, that sure disproves the validity of Noah's ark. You can have any number of animals in a confined space but adding a second cat- that's the sinker. Not to mention how much alcohol would be needed to keep Noah's wife from killing and cooking the whole lot of them. Following dinner and the total eclipse of Sunshine's brightness I pick up Poncho and hand deliver her to her family. "Here, I got something for you!" They act happy but I'm totally on to them. I'm sure this little dog is some sort of voodoo curse...that might explain the missing ear. Then BC and I take Sunshine out for a long walk. We have 2 offers from strange men to take the dog off our hands. Sort feel like a dog pimp. BC turns them down flat while I consider a few things... I would like a new pair of leather boots. We make our way around the block knocking on doors following the pointing fingers and end up in a large block of apartments. And that one guy, the meet me later guy walks up to us. BC and him have a little talk and BC agrees that short of calling the dog catchers we are out of options. Turns out this guy finds Sunshine all the time, let's her stay over with his dogs until random unidentified kids show up to claim her. Better than the pound. We hand her over. We return home. BC locks up the flock. Tucks in the turkeys and turns the horse out in the pasture for the night. Really it's all simple enough.... until you hear someone say "Hey, will somebody let Poncho in, he's scratching at the backdoor."
Once again we are back to why feral cats don't always make the best pets. Now as feral animals go, Jack Cat is pretty okay as long as you follow the rules. For unknown reasons you can squeeze Jack, mush Jack, sit on Jack, even step on Jack but you can't pet her. It is also wise to not walk or stand, or sit with your legs danging if you don't know exactly where she is. And never walk up the stairs if she is in the house- NEVER Knowing all this last night after a long day of being gone and missing my pet feral cat. I was lying on Beach's bed with Jack safely locked in a death grip hug on my chest when Beach decided to join us. Now when a gymnast, even a very little one, decides to move quickly a lot of force comes with them. Beach hit the bed with the same G's she hits the vault table. Of course a small child seemingly dropping from the ceiling would upset any kind of cat feral or otherwise. In turn Jack made a reactionary vault heading in the opposite direction. Unfortunately for me I was in the direct epicenter of these 2 mega giants of physical force. Jack's jump which landed her all the way across the room originated from one tiny spot: the pointer finger of my left hand. And being a cat she pushed off my finger using a claw. Now I instantly knew something was wrong. I grabbed my finger to see if it had been severed from my hand which it had not. In fact my finger looked fine. But it didn't feel fine. There was a delay, actually there was an F-bomb then a delay, then a geyser of blood. One tiny puncture wound from one single claw, a shit ton of blood, and no off switch. (I got bored of applying pressure long before the bleeding stopped.) It was as if Jack had stabbed me prison style with a pen knife. Pretty sure I got the full length of her claw inside my finger. That is a lot of gross when you think about it. Now for those of you who might not know I am very, very, very, allergic to cats. If and when I get scratched I also get super, super, super sick not to mention the alarming rate the wound becomes infected and scars. So a deep puncture in my finger is not a happy thing. I really prefer to keep my oozing infections skin deep. But there is not much I can do about it now but wait for the inevitable aftermath of the flying kitty circus and hope that when I have to go see Doc B he isn't wearing his skirt. Oh- Right, "utility kilt". Raising cats with ninjas- don't try this at home.
I was sitting at my desk watching one of the cute moms load her toddler and baby into her car. I was thinking about what she was going to do next.... pop through the grocery store for crackers, story time at the library, home for lunch, naps, laundry, and .... I want to stay home, I thought. Wait! I do stay home. I am so thankful for my life. Thankful for my job and for this week. I am getting the chance to work full time for a tiny little bit. It's like getting to try on someone else's life for a while. Actually, like trying on my old life. It's fun. A little crazy (oh, yesterday) but that only serves to make it that much better. Some days I really miss being the Me that worked in the hospital world. The Me of dress clothes, meetings, classes, and curbside school pick ups. But even as I miss that life I remember how homesick I would get. Mostly I missed my children and the way sunlight looks in the late afternoon in quiet house. Sick days were a mixed blessing; precious stolen time home with a kid. But so too were Monday mornings heading to work to a job I loved. Kids safe a school. It was a good life.
There is no question that working whatever the hours makes me a higher functioning and happier person. I love helping other people. I love who I am when I work. I am far more reliable as an employee than I am as a friend or partner. The rules are easier to understand. What is expected of me all laid out. When I can stop doing all that and walk away pretty clear cut. I adore customer service (making people happy is the best!) but I do let it wear me down. That would be the homesick part- the search for solitude. I really have the best of both worlds right now. Mostly I am home with one of the best kids on the planet and the rest of mostly I am at gym, surrounded by wonderful people.
Sunday morning on the farm and along with a fresh batch of zucchini brookies (brownie + cookies), which I am told have an aftertaste of cake, we have a fresh batch of these: late summer chicks. I'm afraid that isn't the last of birth announcements on the farm; we have 2 more hens setting.
The trouble with tiny chicks is they seem to be quite irresistible to all the other animals on the farm. It takes a really good mom hen to keep them safe from lurking would-be chick nappers moving in for an opportunistic chance to nab one...or two.
Yes, I am talking to you guys.
I think Beach needs to take a few lessons from LadyBug on how to 'act natural'.