Thursday, March 11, 2010

noah's arc!

two by two, our pets come to us. they do seem to us...somehow they find us.  many of them have cut out the middleman!

we haven't always had luck with the middleman. a few years ago, i was visiting my mother at the hospital. it was a day filled with doctors, social workers, physical therapists and some quiet time with my mom.  she had broken her hip...for the second time.

yes, throughout the college years, all of our friends would laugh and imitate the tacky commercial, "help!  i've fallen and i can't get up!"  and after.... that i had been imitating the "help i've fallen and i can't get up!"  i reminded my mom about that commercial...i asked if she thought that all of those years of imitating had caught up with me...i had jinxed her and caused her fall...she laughed! thankfully.

theday had been long.  it was hard to see my own mother so frail and hurting.  there were many decisions to be made regarding her future...beginning with her hip rehabilitation. it was alot to take in...and think through. after some time down at the hospital on long island, it was time for me to head off on my 2 hour drive biff and the kids.

it had been an emotionally grueling day.  as i began the drive home, i had an idea that might put a positive spin on the least for me. i called biff to get his opinion...  should i stop at north shore animal league?

adopt a new kitten?  we had just lost a wonderful kitty to a coyote. that happens alot to outdoor kitties in connecticut.  very sad.

so, after a dramatic loss of  grace's little black kitten, named midnight....guess the color....i thought picking out a new kitten to our family might just fill my sadness...even if a temporary fix.

i know, you say...come on it's just a cat...they're a dime a dozen!  this may be true.  until we moved to this house, i had never had a pet until our 2 kittens....we imported them from a shelter up near boston.  we had commuter kitties.  my first real pets.  they would do...until we were able to handle a puppy...something i really wanted...for my whole life!

we had them for some time before tragedy struck.  "boy cat" was a bit quirky.  he was kind of like kramer on seinfeld...on of our favorite shows!  "girl cat" was sweet. let's just say, they weren't meant to live in the wilds of connecticut!  one of the first times "girl cat" went outside, our neighbors' spaniel raced after her and she must have run 30 feet up a tree! after that, she didn't trust a stroll in the park in the backyard again.  she would sit outside and stair at the neighbors' house in fear of "rosie", the spaniel. she gained so much weight, after the traumatic chase by rosie, i had to carry her down to the end of the driveway to let her get some exercise!

and then...soon enough...*POOF*...she was gone....#1...

then "boy cat"...outside one night,,,didn't come back...and *POOF*....he was gone. ... #2... sad.  grace and t.j. were pretty comfortable with the death thing after that, so they asked if we could go to "the cat store" again. we did.

that's when we got "smokey"....#3......t.j's replacement cat for boy cat.  now that was a cool cat!  he was the coolest and most handsome cat i can remember. t.j.'s buddy, smokey used to follow us to the "school bus rock" and wait while the kids all got on the bus.  and after a wonderful life with smokey....he was gone.

sometime around that time, we had to replace "smokey" for, off we went to the "cat store"...that's when t.j. picked out "jinx"!  our handsome black kitty with the green glass, marble eyes.  way cool and handsome.  we love him like crazy and hope to have hime
forever.  if daisy has anything to do with it, we will.  she goes out to protect and to get him in at night!  he sleeps with t.j.

after that is when "midnight" arrived...#4....grace's choice at the cat replace "girl cat"  she was precious.  itty bitty and black as night...hence the name!  she used to walk through the house with grace's puffy pink slippers in her mouth!  
 and then she was gone!  sadder than sad. 

back to the "cat store"!  and that's when "tic tac" put his teeny gray paw through the cage to get grace's attention!  he was ours/hers/ours!  awesome kitty who taught our new "daisy" golden retriever puppy  to retrieve....kitties!  theirs was a special relationship. "daisy" and "tic tac" had a mutual admiration society!  tic tac was the cat that was a "he/she" cat...grace thought she was a girl and we found out that she was a we decided "tic tac" was "he/she"....we loved her for a long time...and then "tic tac" was gone. sadder than sad.

and now for the point!
 on my way home to connecticut that spring day many years ago, i stopped at north shore animal league...  
i checked with biff to see how he felt about the kittens that i saw.  we talked about the right one for our would be a special surprise.  this was the day!

i found the kitten...they even had twins...biff and i thought 3 cats would officially make us "cat kooks"...since we had our dogs and our fish, we knew 2 was our limit...and our track record was bad thanks to coyotes in connecticut.

i had paperwork to fill out.  i had my license to show. i had references to list.  i even had a short interview...all for a cat!  biff said cats were out on the streets, they have babies like crazy....why were they so intense?  who cared?  we were on the cusp of a new kitten!

they sent me out to the waiting room. it was quiet.  it was a big room filled with benches....for the adoptive sit...or to pace...patiently...nervously...anticipating the good news...the new pet!  ready to go home for love!

i waited.  i was feeling bubbly...even effervescent!
my brother and sister in law would surely have wonderful words to praise our kitty skills!  my other reference was biff...actually, they wanted to be sure that both parties in the couple wanted this kitten.  they wanted no questionable homes.

i paced.  i sat.  i waited.  i thought...about what joy the kitty would bring to us.  i was pleased with myself to find a sunny spot in the day.

that's when the short, chubby man in the black pants and scruffy white shirt opened the door to the waiting room....he called my name!

i approached quietly.  proudly.  the other adoptive parents stood  showing their approval and apparent joy shared with me....

that's when the shelter adoption manager gave me the news.  we were not acceptable applicants.  our application was denied.  "but why?", i pleaded. "why? could this be?"

cat man responded with these words that i'll never forget...."i'm sorry to say that you have been denied because your references did not check out."  i pleaded with him...i told him we loved our kitties...we took good care of them. "i'm sorry." he said curtly. 

i pleaded some more...i asked if there was anyplace else nearby that i could adopt a kitten.
that's when he told me that i would be on the blacklist.  that's when he told me that there was only one faraway place that would not get word of my blacklisted name!

i left in tears...blacklisted.

i called biff.  crying.....crying...crying more and more.  i told him that we had been blacklisted.  i told him that my heart was broken.  we couldn't even adopt a kitten.  we were not fit.

biff quietly spoke.  "hmmm..."  i asked what  he said to my short chubby representative.  biff said that when they called for references and confirmation, they asked about our previous cats.

biff spoke again....i could barely hear him...he said, "i was kind of kidding.  i guess he didn't realize. i was outside doing yardwork .... i was kind of talking like a farmer.... i said something to the effect of, they got 'et by coyotes!" in all of our married life, i had never ever heard this 
"farmer" twang he used.  i cried some more.  and i cried until it turned into laughter!  biff and i were doubled over...we were imagining the chubby man....thinking of the wilds of connecticut and farmers....and cats and coyotes!  we laughed some more!

it was shortly after the"et by coyotes" remark that grace picked out "happy" at an connecticut...we were more anonymous in all worked out....without extensive applications and references...or phone calls...or waiting rooms... 

today we stopped in to visit a friend...she loves animals...she has 2 turtles for us. 1 for t.j. and 1 for grace!  no applications! no blacklist!  just a gift.  just add water and food.   we're like a mini starter kit for noah's arc!