Tuesday, January 14, 2014

An Uneasy Truce ...

Or maybe not so uneasy. 

A strange thing happened on the weekend, which I thought might have been a fluke, but after today's experience I am not so sure.  Let me explain.

This picture

shows Chairman Meow the imperial cat comfortably seated in 'his' chair.  It may not be obvious, but in the background you can see the travel cage, with Billie Holiday in it, gazing out on the world, ... and the cat.  Click on the picture and it will 'embiggen'.

On Sunday as I headed to the back of the house I found Chairman, lying in the hallway just outside the back bedroom door, looking in.  As cats go he's pretty savvy, it took a few weeks but we did train him that he could not climb up on the birdcage,

and that there was a 'no staring' zone around the cage.  He learned that if he stayed on the carpet it's OK to sit and stare longingly up at the birds, but no drooling. Closer and the rolled up newspaper comes out.

But with Kermit and the chicks in the living room and Billie Holliday in the back bedroom, life has become a little complicated.  Particularly so because Chairman does have a legitimate claim to that office chair which he allows Mrs Dr C to borrow when she is working from home, or sewing.  You see Chairman has his own demons and that chair was his life raft. 

Some of you know that in December of 2007 our house was flooded.  You can read about it here.

We bought this place in April, in July Chairman adopted us, he just came over the fence and within three days he was spending nights in the house, just like that.  In August we went to France, where I participated in one of the most incredible and storied bicycle events on the planet, Paris-Brest-Paris.  Mrs went to the coast of Spain where she suffered in silence on the beaches of San Sebastian while I and my bike gobbled up the 1200 Kilometers of ancient country roads to Brest and back.  Chairman, having quickly wormed his way into our hearts went to the Steamboat Island Cat spa where he earned a ferocious reputation.

We came home and resumed our lives and in December, we had a 500 year flood event.  We stayed home the first day to make sure that, ...what? We took care of things?  The next day it appeared that the worst had passed so we went to work in Olympia.  We locked Chairman in the house because there was water all around the neighborhood and we didn't want him to get lost, confused, drowned, or swept away. 

we guessed wrong.  By the end of the day we could not get back home.  Hiway 12 to the east was flooded, and to the west, blocked by a landslide.  not one to give up, I made my way via forest roads through the capitol forest back to our little town.  There was no power, it was pitch black and our end of town was flooded.  It was eerie, just a huge National Guard generator running down at the fire station, black night  and water as far a you could see.  There was no getting to our house.  It was flooded and our little kitty was locked inside.  We went back to Olympia, got a motel room and listened to the rain, and the radio, and waited, there was nothing we could do.  This produced a special kind of helplessness which you never want to feel.  

The Next day I dropped Mrs Dr C at work and I once again took the little Subaru 'overe the river and through the woods' .... and over half washed out logging roads with trees down, and plugged culverts (that is a TERRIFIC little car!).  I made it to town, but was not able to drive to the house.  I got to the neighbors' place up the road, I could see our house surrounded by a sea of brown, muddy water.  And I began wading.

It was one of the saddest things I have seen in my adult life.  You'll have to read the blog posts from that time, just keep scrolling back to December 2007  or click on 'Flood of '07' down in the bottom right corner of the front page here.  The best/worst thing was that I found Chairman, he was safe and alive but had gotten very sick in the house and he*was*a*mess.  I could see the places where he had tried in vain to claw his way up the walls, his muddy foot prints told the tale.  He'd tried the bed, and a little time on the kitchen counter, but it was clear by how muddy it was that he had spent much of that terrifying, cold, dark and watery night on that chair, his life raft.  Probably one of the few things that reminded him of my wife, who was his best friend.

So, you can understand that even to this day when the bed, the window shelf,
or any of his other haunts won't do, he can often be found sleeping in 'his' chair.  I felt for him as I saw him looking into the back bedroom and so I thought I would try something:  I went in and rolled the chair toward the doorway and he came in and hopped right up on it and settled in.  In the doorway, back to the parakeet is fine, he just needed to know that he had not been displaced from his life raft by some johnny come lately bird.  He laid in that chair for most of the evening, reclaiming his space.  That's when I took the picture.

Today we were both at work in Oly and though Chairman is a cat with great  integrity, he is still a cat, and Billie is still a bird.  We kept the door closed while we were away.  When I came home I opened the door and checked on Billie, leaving the door ajar so she could at least have some sense of awareness that I was out there rumbling about.

I checked on the chicks, it takes some time because where ever you are going to  put them you need it to be warmed up to about 85 degrees so there is much microwaving of bowls and recepticals and dry wash cloths and hand towels. 

They were peeping in the nest box when I came home so I assumed they were hungry and that Mr Greenburg had blown it.  They were fine,  Kermit the green did an outstanding job of feeding his little chicks during the day.  They were not full (you can tell by looking at their crops) but when I weighed them, they all had gained a goodly amount of weight.  Good job Dad! 

As I was putting all the chick paraphenalia away I suddenly remembered that I had left the door to the back bedroom open.  I went back just to see what was what, and there was Chaiman ... lounging in 'his' chair. Granted he was looking longingly in the direction of Billie Holiday but he was playing by the rules, as he knew them to be.  Billie for her part was nonchalantly tossing back beakfuls of seed mix.

It's a happy little zoo we have here.

Todays Chick Pics:

1 comment:

  1. Hope you can keep the episodes coming. They make me smile, usually.