Thank Grog It’s Firday!!
And man…did “grog” ever match the goings on for the Miller clan over the protracted Thanksgiving weekend! As mentioned in my last Friday Filler, we drove 9 1/2 hours through the midnight fog, driving rain, and wind, over the Siskiyou Summit, and into a weekend of Thanksgiving, Birthdays, and a perfusion of wine-tasting. My daughter Ali, who lives in San Francisco with her husband Ryan, works for GAP Inc. as a Senior Buyer. Where was she on “Black Friday?” With us…wine in hand…watching the Ducks pound the Beavers in the Civil war. Her buying for the GAP Black Friday was done months ago!
This was between my wife’s birthday on the 22nd, and Ali’s birthday on the 24th, which was celebrated with a stay at an old farm house on a vineyard, and several sojourns to other wineries for “tastings” throughout the weekend. You had to pace yourself. Trust me.
I threw in the towel mid Saturday, and escaped with my daughter Maddy’s boyfriend to Sanoma TrainTown, (see the link) which was a great deal ($7.50 for a 20 minute train ride, or roughly 1/4th the cost of a “tasting”) where I heard the agitated tales of “Jefferson,” my daughter’s latest “demonic child in cat form.”
Which brings us to the REAL reason for this post…a discussion of Cat People, and how the Crazy Cat Lady is a perfect addition to our games, and the airways above our towns!
Let’s make something perfectly clear…I’m not a “cat person.” Although, by way of circumstances, I have been forced to deal with them in close proximity on and off throughout my life. My choice to be a “dog person” comes from a sad story of my youth…along with several situations where the wishes of daughters prevailed over common sense.
My first cat, was a family cat that I really, truly don’t remember much about, except that he was “part Manx,” meaning he had a stubby tail, and was “batshirt crazy.” He died from some dreaded kidney ailment just a couple of years after we got him. He was not affectionate. He was nuts…and demanding. His name was “Cat.” Perhaps that’s why he was always so pissed off.
After protracted lobbying over several years, the Miller kids were finally allowed to have a dog. “Duke” was a black cock-a-poo, that was one of the most devoted, loving, chillaxed dogs ever. Instead of barking at the mailman, he would actually find the mail truck several blocks away on his route, and Duke would escort him to our house, and beyond…protecting the mailman from other dogs. Which unfortunately, led to his demise. One day, a substitute mailman was on the route, and didn’t know that Duke was “friendly.” When he came up to him, the sub-carrier shocked him with an animal control stick, which made Duke growl at him. Duke was reported to animal control. My Mom buckled under the fear of being sued (she has been irrational about lawsuits her entire life), and *Poof*, one day we came home from school, and Duke was gone. Like I said. Sad story… I never trusted my mother again.
Which brings us to the first family cat of MY kids’ childhood. Oliver. A very, very chillaxed black cat, with a tattered ear, who just showed up one day. Oliver was more cat than dog. He followed you around, always more interested in what you were doing than what he wanted. VERY un-cat-like.
He just liked hanging out. He didn’t meow…or make a fuss. He didn’t wake you up at 4am to go out. He was chill. I loved Oliver…because he didn’t act like a cat. We had him for 9 years, before he got some form of feline cancer. Broke my heart to watch him lose his grip on life in his final days.
Enter Maddy’s cat Scrimpson. She got him when she was a sophomore at Oregon State, and lived in a “no pets allowed” apartment (which should tell you something about Maddy). Scrimpson, was another coal black cat, but of a variety (Bombay) that had huge long, double jointed claws…which he used on everything. Nthing was safe…screen doors, speakers, couches, recliners, rugs…all mine…because he was often “visiting” for weeks on end, while Maddy figured out her next living situation.
Oh….and he had protracted stays with us while Maddy did student exchanges and internships in Chile (5 months) and Uganda (almost 6 months). We did the math once…and realized that “Scrimpy” had been with us several months more than he had been with “his mamma.” He was NOT a chillaxed cat. He was a hunter of anything that moved. Birds, snakes, mice, moles, baby possums, baby raccoons, all neatly deposited on our front porch each morning.
I had a “I’ll respect your weird space, if you don’t shred mine” relationship with Scrimpy that was born out of many smacks on the head (his), and his learning when I clapped my hands loudly and hissed like an insane, rabid, mongoose, that he was to stop whatever he was doing, and get the hell out of the room. It mostly worked. But, after a while, I think Scrimpy grew to love the floor show.
Scrimpson finally met his match (we think) while roaming in the woods next to Maddy’s place in Portland…which is dominated by roving packs of raccoons and coyotes. Or…he just finally drew the line at moving again, and decided to become a feral forest cat. Which ever, he left one day, and never came back. However, I still have several thrashed screen doors and windows, as well as two vintage guitar amps, shredded by him, as a lasting memory to his proclivities.
Maddy’s latest cat is named Jefferson. He has not stopped biting her “affectionately” or diving onto her from the bookshelves when she enters the room (also “just playing”) since she got him as a kitten.
I have had one brief interchange with him, where I literally tossed him across a room on hardwood floors, only to have him pause…shake his head…and attack me once again…over, and over, and over, again. Cute? Or a spawn of some ancient Egyptian demon. Not sure which, but Maddy’s boyfriend, Josh, is thinking the latter to be true.
And now…because I bought her “Ms. Claws” skin…She mushes a fleet of shopping-cart-pulling-cats across the sky, battling for air space with my “Homer Santa” and Norbert’s Bi-Plane. This is actually a great set of animations that seem to actually be timed in association with the physics of the propulsion provided by each!
I spent more time watching than I care to admit. And I realized, that if Simpsons Physics is accurate over time/space/air…then Norbert’s plane is the fastest by almost 2.5 times…as it “laps” the others in less than 2.5 revolutions across the screen. CCL’s Cat Sleigh is faster than Homer by about 1.75 times…and the poor reindeer hauling Homer’s bloated body, are by far the slowest.
So yes, it took a great deal of patience, and a little luck, to get a screen capture of all three in the same place at the same time. Who knew that cats are faster than reindeer? But there is is…in plain site for all to see!
I love the Crazy Cat Lady. She is hilarious, and represents how I feel about cats…they are best thrown. Homer as Santa is a hoot…and Norbert in his bi-plane represents my greatest wish as a child…to be a WWI Fighter Pilot.
My current wish…is that all of you cat people out there allow me to simply scratch my head and wonder “why???” And at some point…before she dies (my Mom is almost 87) to finally forgive her for giving away Duke while we were at school. Neither is likely (I’ll be 65 on New Years), but one can hope.
Christmas is almost upon us! Let the cats be released from their bondage to fly free in the Cat-a-Pult!
How about you? Cat people? Dog People? Favorite pets??