Monthly Archives: January 2018

Beocat Could Eat Beowulf for Breakfast: Part 1

In days of old, my brother’s successful quest a few weeks ago would have been immortalized in song. The court poet laureate would have been summoned to hear the heroic tale of the fearless and valiant man who spent several months (that’s several  years in Olde English, armor-laden, horse-riding time) meticulously planning and executing a dangerous mission, battling nature herself and saving a village.

The poet would be sent off to pen the enduring lines that would be recited for centuries in the royal court, then sung enthusiastically by drunks in taverns, and finally forced to be painfully memorized by bored high school kids in freshman English.

It started with a few of those wily creatures found around witches and James Bond villains: cats. The local villager (aka our dad) started feeding strays. And, for a few years, like a cute dragon that has hatched from an egg and isn’t very big and hasn’t yet learned to breathe fire, it was all fun and games. But then a funny thing happened on the way to mother nature. This year several batches of kittens were born, and said villager started feeding them all. Suddenly, a few cats became 13. In addition to the possible risky things that can happen when there are 13 feral cats about, even a word girl like me understands enough about math and exponents to know that next year, we’d have 50 cats and a lot of ‘splainin’ to do, Lucy.

The siblings batted it around for most of the year. It was part of a bigger discussion around caring for my aging parents. And since my dad reads this blog, I will also say they are doing amazingly well, but they are pushing 90, so no shame in getting some help. And it really was my siblings — they were great about letting me launch the kid this year, so for the cat thing, I looked up a few feral cats websites, got nowhere, and declared the problem intractable.

And this is why a legendary epic will never be written about me.

My 2 sisters also looked into the issue, but over months of research, they came to that often inevitable red tape dead-end: the feral cat organizations or city wouldn’t touch them because they had been steadily fed, and the legit pet people would charge as if it were one beloved house pet with a big pet health insurance policy. Also, my sisters were distracted by those other pesky things like our parents’ medical procedures and doctors appointments.

But Sir Mark Beocat, as he will henceforth be known, had set his sights on, er, “fixing” the problem of the fertile feral cats, and would not be deterred. His months of relentless, heroic preparations came down to this: 1 week, 13 cats, 16 humane traps, cat trapping boot camp, 1 helpful pet organization, 2 willing veterinary clinics, and pounds of the stinkiest bait food you can imagine.

What happened next? Tune in next week!

 

 

 

 

 

A Snow Adventure

You may have heard we got hit with 12+ inches in Boston last week. Ah….there’s nothing like that first big snow fall, the dazzling snowflakes…blowing horizontally in the shrieking wind of the “bomb cyclone.” Someone needs to give the weather people more to do — they have way too much time and fun at work making up scary adjectives for storms, which we in these parts are happy to just call a naw’eastah, thank you very much. The rest of us don’t get to make up words at work, so why should they have all the fun?

Despite the storm’s doomsday descriptions, I survived with heat and electricity intact. However, it wasn’t until the next day that I understood the real terror of the storm… The Space Saver.

Now that I am in a new neighborhood in Boston proper, suddenly all those stories about saving shoveled out spaces with broken toilet bowls and vacuum cleaners stop being “cute” and “funny,” and take on a menacing tone. In most areas, moving the saver is a really bad idea. Silly me, the real test of storm endurance was just beginning. Not for nothing, in my previous neighborhoods, even though I had a driveway, my visitors had to park on the street and I’ve had non-snow parking situations where people left a nasty note, flattened tires, and once keyed a car. You break the unspoken rules of your neighborhood, and you take what’s coming to you.

Oh, sure when I moved in this fall, these were the nicest people. Saying hello, organizing neighborhood leaf raking, even checking on my sister and elderly mother when they were out for a walk and taking rest.

But the first spacing saving chair had sprouted; Boston winter’s equivalent of a warning volley shot across the bow. And with another 3 days of ridiculous temps from 7 to 14, there was no luxury of having the bright, day-after 35 degrees and sunshine helping me shovel out with a little snow melt. My monkey mind went into overtime. I didn’t want to get involved with saving a space. If I left and couldn’t find a space when I came back, what were my options? Where could I park my car? I was starting to miss the “snowmageddon” of 2015 (another made up weather word!). At least then I was master of my own domain and could shovel out on my own schedule, or at least when work demanded I show up in the office.

I had managed to get as far as thinking I could take time off from work to dig out my car during the day, which was allegedly supposed to be warmer at 35 degrees. And if I couldn’t find parking when I got back, I could park in a pay garage in the next town and take the bus back to my house. But then I realized something. Something profound.

I didn’t need my car. I take the train to work, I get my groceries delivered, and anything else can be walked or cabbed to. So I let it go, and then in the way the universe likes to mess with you, I went to check on my car on the weekend, still cold as you-know-what, and saw that the spot behind me was open. This gave me some space to start phase 1 of the digging out, and I cleared in front of, behind, and next to the driver’s door of the car. Then, when the kid come home later, he suggested that we clear off the snow on the car. Of his own volition. So we did. Now all that left is the snow pack three feet wide and 1 foot high between the car and the road. But I’m looking at above 35 degree highs for the next week, so ha on you, Winter!

In the meantime, I learned that the worst that happens is people just move your space saver and take your shoveled out place. The city may also come by in the night and take the space savers because they technically aren’t allowed. That’s unconfirmed, but yeah, and naming snow storms isn’t supposed to be allowed either. People do it anyway. What? No nasty notes? No flat tires. How the heck am I supposed to blog with all this civility?

Oh, I guess I just did. Just 53 more days until spring!

Top 6 Posts of 2017

Well, kids, looks like we made it through year 1 of the Cheeto flea, and that alone is worth celebrating. But even better would be to forget about him altogether. As you run the highlight reel of the past year in your mind, acknowledge the not-so-great stuff, but give priority to the good things — the people, places, and events that gave you a lift. I’m reminding myself as much as you on this one. I think of myself as a positive person, but I’ve been noticing that I can get focused on the one bad thing sitting amongst all the good stuff. So I’m going to try to keep an eye on that in 2018. I’m also feeling like my tank is empty, and, yes, I had a big year (as the posts below will attest), but most of the big things are past, so I also wonder if it’s real or a habit? I will keep an eye on that, too.

But for now, it’s time to look back a bit, take a deep breath, and head out to 2018.

6. The big news of the year was getting the kid launched, and it was official with this post. In the process, there were highs, lows, lots of wine, and a few moments of full-blown panic. But the deed got done with Mission Accomplished.

5. I reread this one, and thought, damn, that’s good! I’ve been feeling less than inspired lately to write. In keeping with my positive theme, I’m going to recall the words of a painter friend many years ago, when I was hit with my first case of writer’s block. I had just finished a bunch of essays and thought, now I’m ready for the next thing. But I wasn’t. The faucet had nary a trickle. He told me not to worry — I was merely filling up again. So, I’m going with that. Don’t know how long the filling will take, so be prepared for reruns if you’re a long time reader and for cool old stuff if you’re new. In any event, this piece reminded me that, yeah, I still have some writing mojo. Happy Anniversary.

4. That this one is in the top 6 makes me laugh. I thought it was just me, but apparently this was something a lot of people could relate to. For the love, Leave the Curtain Rods.

3. Because I have memory issues, er, I mean, I live in the moment like Eckhart Tolle. I’m a super advanced human, I swear. Anywho, I thought this one was about Cheeto flea, but it was more subtle than that. Either way, it never hurts to remember It’s a Marathon not a Sprint.

2. I just reread this one, and it reminded me I have a blog to finish about bystander intervention. Also, it reminded me that Life moved with me to my new apartment and is still sitting in my chair, giving me the look, and motioning me to get her another drink. Happy new year, bee-atch! Dammit!

1. Oh, Celine. I hope where ever you are, you have all the happiness you deserved when you walked among us. Goodbye My Friend.

So there it is, friends. I wish you all you healthy, hopeful new year. We can totally do this. We always do.