worm census

Emerging from the storm cellar finally after an endless winter here in Sharon, MA… the snow is finally gone and we’re getting reacquainted with our neighbors and the earth beneath our feet. The garden beckons and it’s time for the annual worm census. I didn’t even have to define what that was for the kids… Isaac was digging for worms the first chance he got and tearing Sydney away from dinner to show her what he found. “Get a good count, son!” I murmured over the mashed potatoes. It’s nice when you’ve got your farmhands so well-trained they’d rather work in the fields than eat dinner. This is my momentary daydream before re-engaging in the nightly battle over nutrition, homework and practicing piano.

Ah but the kids seem to be turning out okay, despite having a father who takes nothing quite seriously enough. Sydney made her television debut reading her report on Clara Barton for local cable, which was aired multiple times in between showings of middle school basketball games (including middle school play-by-play announcers, who provide more entertainment than the game itself of course) town meetings and local church theater productions. Isaac has become the social darling of the lower grades at Heights Elementary, seemingly unfazed by students and teachers alike. This kid is marching to his own drum at all times… which has been a challenge for us and his teachers, but so far he’s keeping up academically and seems to have made a big leap in reading just in the past week or so. So I guess that means his college fund remains a college fund and not my Corvette fund… what now?

So our kitchen project remains in the “before” phase–thanks to an overbooked contractor–giving us some quality time with the soon-to-be-removed wall and the old cabinets. The new cabinets our unpacked and stacked in the old cats’ room. “Old” you say? Aha, yes, well our cats may now have new homes. We found a nice place called Nine Lives of Norton, and after passing a rigorous screening via a series of emails from the women running the place, we finally got off the “wait list” and got our cats two spots there. The kids were just a little sad to say goodbye to them but even they had come around to agreeing that these cats could have a better home, one where they could go outdoors sometimes and one where, oh, I don’t know, the owners wanted them. It was a dark, post-stormy night with snow-covered roads as I tried to navigate to the shelter in a remote part of Norton. The GPS was taking me to the wrong place, so I had to call and get directions with a series of turns, just mentally noted, because who can find a pen and paper when talking on a cellphone? Smartphones mean no one has pens and paper handy anymore. And following the directions the roads were getting less and less plowed and I had visions of driving into a snowbank, so close and yet so far from getting these felines to their new home.

When I finally found the place the woman running the show never made eye contact, focusing solely on the well-being of the cats. The judgment in her voice was quite apparent as I answered some basic questions and filled out the release forms. Even more accusing were the enormous eyes of a strangely-colored cat that had me locked with a stare through the glass door to one of the rooms. This cat had impossibly orange fur and bright green eyes, and looked not a little askew and unstable. I found myself uncertain with the pen, feeling like one wrong answer might send me home with my cats plus at least one or two more from this place as a punishment. Every time I looked up the cat was motionless and staring. The nicer of the two ladies started telling me about the blizzard of ’78 and how she had to abandon her car coming home from work and stay with a coworker two towns away from home and how the neighbors had to take care of her daughter for one week, feeding her tomato soup and grilled cheese. It made me think of a simpler time when people had stockpiles of tomato soup in their houses. Then the guilt-trip lady came back and told me my cats seemed very out of sorts and that maybe I should go see them. They have not been around other animals much so seeing other cats had put them very much on edge. There were low non-cat-like growls and other fierce animal behavior and posturing that further convinced me I didn’t want these creatures — who honestly could decide to turn on us in an instant, no? — in my house. They calmed down a bit though as I talked to them and wished them good luck. I told them it wasn’t them, it was us. We just didn’t like how they destroyed things in our house over and over again. And how their cat litter box had made one room of our house uninhabitable. And how the boy cat was always trying to run away where he might get hit by a car. They didn’t seem to understand what I was saying. Anyway, less than one week later I had calls from the place for yet more background information being requested by people about to adopt them. So I think they are both in new homes, undoubtedly more wanted and loved than before… and for that, I say, “You’re welcome!”

Crazy amount of work of late, with proposals and new projects starting. Frisbee season is attempting to start up — the various listservs are chirping about confirmed players for this weekend. I went on one training run last weekend only to remember how much I dislike exercising… an opinion which my body seconds more and more vociferously each year. I tried to join a local ukulele jam a few weeks ago but have had no time for it since. I was also the youngest person there, which at this point in my life, is a bad sign — and the group, while admirable in numbers, left a bit to be desired in the way of song selection. A bit more like a singalong group then a “jam”… but it was worth it even just once so that I could learn all the chords on a ukulele tuned the right way (I played one tuned the wrong way in the past). I have a bunch of songs to record — many in the key of C — and I can’t decide if I should purposefully record them all in the same key as a sort of challenge to make 6-7 songs in the same key listenable one after the other… or possibly that’s just a very bad idea and I should employ the mighty capo. Time will tell. And hopefully more than one listener will tell. But it’s grown late, and need my sleep these days. Hope spring has sprung in your neck of the woods. Until next time, I’m yours perfectly free of cats…



About ericf73

A modern-day combination of Noah, Godot and Clark W. Griswold.
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