Autumn was late in coming to my small corner of the world. Summer, with it’s wearing, energy-zapping heat hung around till well into October. We”ve had one night of frost, three days ago, and though the rain finally made an appearance, the temperatures during the day haven’t really dropped much below the mid-60’s. In fact, as I write this, it is pushing midnight, and I am sitting outside on my upper deck, in my anti-gravity lounger, wearing loungepants and a camisole, covered only by a lightweight comforter. The weather went from an Indian summer to late winter, verging on spring. I can’t say I mind in the least. It is cool enough to be somewhat reminiscent of fall, but not cold enough that I need to worry about winter. Today, the weather forecast accurately predicted rain, but the temperature remained in the 70’s.
At one point this evening, I decided to head outside to get the mail and turn on the one lonely, but very creepy jack-o-lantern light we have. I live in a neighborhood of townhomes, some of them connected to another, others are solitary buildings, houses, if you will. I happen to live in one of the larger ones, with three large decks rather than a yard. I am also not adjoining anyone else’s home. The best part is that my home is the remotest, most private in the neighborhood. I like i t this way. I’m one of the few in the neighborhood who have children, which kind of makes me an anomaly. Most people living around me are, empty-nesters, or not yet married with children. I also like this.
But tonight, as I returned from getting the mail, I noticed how many of the homes were dark and silent. I took a moment t to gaze around. I counted only two other homes that had lights on. It was uncertain if anyone really was home. I shrugged to myself, thinking this was an interesting thing. As I turned back to my own place, I noted how drastically different my place was, I contrast. The decking above and below, combined with it’s unique and very private location in the neighborhood, set it apart instantly. But tonight, I noticed something else, something more. While all the homes in my neighborhood are well maintained, mine actually looked like someone lived there. I don’t mean this the way some might when they try to excuse the “kid clutter” or haphazard maintenance that characterizes their place. My home is as meticulously maintained as the rest of them. What was different was the element of warmth. My home appeared warm and inviting in a way that these other homes, even with their lights on, could not.
“Someone who cares, lives here,” I thought. “And it shows.”
I walked back to my home, once again grateful that, in spite of all the challenges and difficulties I face, I have a warm home where I truly enjoy being. I have children who are great people, and I love spending time with them. I have four cats who annoy the crap out of me at times, but tonight I wouldn’t change a thing. There is just no place like home.
Last September, I moved in to the home and neighborhood I live in now. I’d lived in my previous home for seven years. This move was a big change for me, I actually moved out of the city boundaries where I’d lived for almost 20 years into a smaller, bedroom community nearby. This meant a lot of things for me, and the move was a good one in so many ways. The one downside to this move is that there is one neighbor that has a dog. This dog is not a small dog. This dog has a bark designed to be heard from a long way away. This bark can be heard for several hours most nights.
Tonight is one of those incessantly barking nights.
I’ve looked up the non-emergency number for the police department, and am preparing to call. This animal has been barking for nearly two hours. What confuses me is how no one else seems to bothered by it. What confuses me further is how these people can just allow their dog to bark all.night.long.
Maybe I should just get on a robe and slippers, go pound on the door, and wake my neighbors and tell them to make their dog stop barking.
I just don’t understand how people can let their animals bark and bark and bark. They have to hear this. They are a block away from me and I can hear this animal through closed windows and doors.
It’s keeping me up. I’m putting the non-emergency police number on my speed dial.
This evening when I got home, The Hesitant Boyfriend noticed that a patch of hair was worn off my black cat. The location of the patch was on the meaty part of the back thigh. It looked, at first, like maybe a tick or flea was bothering the cat and he’d dug away hair to get at the pest. Upon closer scrutiny, we discovered a perfectly round puncture wound that was oozing bloody puss. And by oozing, I mean, this ooze was of volcanic proportions. THB thought someone might have shot our cat with a BB gun or a .22. We tried to clean the wound, but our cat fought his way out of that one and ran off.
I figured that cats are pretty good at fending for themselves, so we turned our attention to some episodes of West Wing a friend let us borrow. I couldn’t get THB’s comment out of my mind, though. What if something was lodged in the cat? It seemed infected. What if it didn’t heal on its own, but got worse? And who would shoot someone’s cat? Further, since he’s an inside cat, how and when was he out? I also didn’t exactly relish the idea of that ooze ending up all over the furniture and the house.
I searched the house for my cat. He’s a beautiful black shorthair. Exactly the kind represented on the Halloween decor each October. In fact, I make certain he’s safe inside during the fall months especially. Of the four cats, he is my own. I picked him out when he was a kitten after going to pick up another kitten my daughter reserved a few weeks earlier. He was pure black, so adorable, and I fell in love. Somehow this cat knows I love him, because as the most standoffish cat in our bunch cats, he is a cuddly creature only when he is with me.
I was worried that he might really be hurt, so we ended up taking him in to the emergency vet clinic not far from our place. Mind you, between the two of us, THB and I have less than $150 to buy gas and groceries for the next week. It’s not the norm for us, but with the Bankruptcy Trustee taking my tax return and, my car’s hot water pump and extra medical expenses coming due, we are ultra tight this month. Had I not sold some things, we would not even have this much.
I knew we were in trouble when we walked in the place at 11:30 pm and the sign said payment due at the time of service. And then we discovered they no longer take checks. I’m now wondering if I can just use my debit card and let it overdraw. The minimum cost to walk in the door is $105. I’m just sick. It is going to cost even more than this for sure. The last thing I needed was another financial blow and here it is.
Well, this is going to be interesting.
And, yes, I am worried about my cat.
The tech just came in and informed us that the cat is not the victim of a gun shot wound but of bites from other cats that have become infected or abcessed. Well, that’s the good news. Now, how about the financial devastation this is about to wreak on my life?
We have been here nearly two hours. I am beginning to wonder if I will ever see my cat again. This place has never been this slow. THB mumbles,”We shaved too much hair off your cat so we are letting it grow back before you can go.” He’s delirious. He’s not a night owl at all. I’m tired, too, and might even be able to sleep if I were anywhere near a bed. I’d just like my cat and the bill, please. Well, I’d really just like the cat. You can keep the bill.
Much, Much, MUCH Later…
$159.00 later, I have my half shaved cat back, with the diagnosis of abscess of the left thigh.
That was our last amount of money until payday (I don’t even have a credit card to fall back on). How I’m going to get by with $20 for food and gas for the next week, I have no idea. I just need some sort of financial reprieve or windfall and soon.
At least the cat will will not need further care. It is a small comfort to know that none of the neighbors actually shot my cat.