Plans; are these just feathery play toys on the end of a stretchy cord for your cat to bat around or unwieldy blocks of mental cement you have been tied to for eons?
Wednesday was a midweek holiday, an anomaly. We are used to bunching our time off into clumps as opposed to spreading it about like rabbit turds among the tall grass. Perhaps because it was an isolated day, a number of friends seemed to see it as a special opportunity. Oddly, here in the land of moss and mildew, it coincided with a slight break in the weather. Any day in November when you can see a sharp line delineating light from shadow for more than about half an hour qualifies as a break in the weather, even if the sharp line dissects a large deep puddle, rippling in cold wind.
I planned an epic ride, stepped away from the blinding glow of the weather forecast, took a deep breath and counted to 10, then scaled the plans back to a long ride and began the tenuous process of negotiating ride parameters with potential partners. There were the expected number of cant’s: Can't get the day off (it wasn’t a holiday for everyone) can’t get out of previous planned activities, and can’t really see my way clear to travel that far just to ride with you. I honor all of these. I rarely take days off just for a ride, my plans with family always outweigh riding with friends, and these days I have a hard time driving my bike somewhere to ride it. I’m getting codgery.
All the obstacles swept aside, a small band agreed to role out from Rocky Acres at a civil (full daylight) hour for a leisurely run down to the Beehive in Montesano for a bite. Then probably a somewhat circuitous return route that would result in about a century (miles, not years).
Enter the cat
Lately Chairman Meow has been engaging in late night territorial dispute resolution with unnamed interlopers. Or, ... he may be out subduing the peasant class and expanding his territory. Either way, he came in about 2:00 am dragging his caboose behind him and whining long and loud about it.
In the last few weeks he’s come home with new ear piercings, a couple new nose scars, and he even came screaming through the cat door about 1:00am one night as some demon was trying pull his hind legs off. Scenes of a Stephen King horror flick, (believe me, that cat scream in the night will get even and old codger up outta bed in jig time)
But this night he looked to be more seriously damaged. Every step was a cry of pain. He’s just getting initiated into ‘riding through the pain’ so every foot or so he’d stop to hiss, I’m not sure he’s smart enough to know that he can’t ‘scare the pain away.’
I wrestled him down and gave him a once over. No obvious open wounds or protruding bone ends. His coat is fairly thick so finding the puncture wounds that come from raccoons, possum, or other cats is pretty hard until they abscess in a couple days. But he seemed messed up, and it would mean cancelling the ride and a run to the vet instead.
After a comedy of early morning calls and email messages to the riders who had bent to my will, we were off to one of Chairman’s favorite spots: The place he lost his manhood, the place where he’s been sewed back together in the past, the place of a thousand injections, the place were they allow those annoying puppies to yap endlessly without just summarily executing them on the second bark. The land of a thousand hisses. They are great people there at Steamboat Animal Hospital and money laundering. They take their work seriously, but we always get a certain ‘cool’ reception whenever we announce that His highness will be paying a visit.
The Doc remarked that it appeared he’d been throwing his weight around again. More like getting it kicked around this time I offered. (My sister the egg lady has a cat with similar tendencies, her vet calls it fighting out of his weight class).
He gave him a closer look than I had and discovered a puncture wound in the groin, shaved it down so that I will be able to treat it when the inevitable abscess presents, and gave him a 2 week injection of antibiotics. He predicted he’d be good to go by the weekend. I was skeptical but hey, I only see one of these every so often, I’m sure it’s a near daily presentation for a country vet.
He also gave me two syringes of oral anti-inflammatories for the cat. I almost laughed: cat anti-infalammatories, does this mean Chairman will soon be riding 600K events? I did ask if he had any steroids: If Chairman is determined to engage in cat cage fighting maybe we can help him bulk up while developing the requisite degree of ‘roid-rage’. After all, in the last few weeks he seems to be getting more of his wounds in his hind end and fewer in the fighting end. A little more fight and a little less flight might just turn the tables on the night bully.
When we got home he gimped around till the Catbuprofen kicked in and then he was almost normal. By late afternoon it was obvious the drugs were wearing off; he looked like he’d just gotten home from the Three Volcanoes 300K. (I’ve seen that look before, in a mirror maybe). So much for the precious mid-week break.
PS: He’s prowling around the house like nothing happened and rushes the door every time I head that way. As punishment I’m keeping him inside till the weekend. He’ll be going out early Saturday morning as I role off for a long leisurely ride, apparently in the cold rain.