Cat Exchange

kesh 0719I let two cats out the back door and sat down with the computer in my lap (hence, laptop). Since then, I have let two cats back in, one at a time, of course, and removed a stinging insect (I always thought they were wasps, but once I looked them up on the internet and it may be that they’re bald-faced hornets — whatever they are, they are annual summer guests here at the Livermore-Schumann residence) from the front window.

I also went outside to roll very wet car windows down. This is because Lynn failed in her instruction to roll my windows up yesterday if it started to rain. She will tell you it’s a failure of location, and perhaps some of you will think I should take responsibility for my own windows, but it’s just so much easier to blame someone else, isn’t it?

Gunnison summers are why I never hang laundry outside to dry. When I went back to work on my bicycle somewhere close to 3, the sky was bright blue, with nary a cloud in sight. I think Lynn said her phone’s weather report had us at a 15 percent chance of rain. At probably 5:30, all of us at work started eyeing the blackness that was the western sky as it rolled ominously ever closer.

Gilly was taking a bunch of shirts home to work on last evening, and she and I loaded the last of them into her car just as the raindrops started. She was going to take some boxes, too, and even though her car was perhaps 20 feet from the doorway, we delayed that trip because suddenly rain was careening out of the heavens in what we like to call a gully-washer. (I knew a guy from Texas once who colorfully referred to a deluge as a “toad-strangler.”)

Since I wrote that last sentence, I have let: Marrakesh out, Marrakesh in, Na Ki’o out, Na Ki’o in, and Marrakesh out. Dusty said something once about the definition of cat is being on the wrong side of a door.

Sunday at the Firebrand I crossed paths with Dan Piquette, who grew up on Irwin Street. As a kid he was always Holly and Leah’s hellion little brother, but we both took the same meditation class as adults. He once had a job as an OR nurse that paid very well but stole most of his soul (as he described it), so he went back to college later in life to reinvent himself. And now he teaches and practices meditation and mindfulness in Oregon, where he also drives a school bus, and he seems very at peace with his life and himself.

He went to Corvallis to get a master’s degree, and he said Sunday he didn’t expect to stay, but it has really spoken to him. He didn’t expect to enjoy the annual 80 inches of rain, but he finds it quite soothing. Unlike Gunnison, he said people just go about their business in and don’t let the rain impede them.

So I thought about him yesterday, as rain was sheeting down and (unbeknowst to me) drenching the interior of my car because Lynn was out at Riverwalk where it was barely raining at all. I was supposed to be at Mario’s, four blocks away, for my nephew’s birthday dinner.

These are my favorites: Marrakesh appears at the door, as he has just now, looking for all the world like he wants to come in, so I open the door but he remains where he is, unbudging.

I had already turned down the offer of a ride from Lynn, in her dry car where the windows were rolled up, because it was only four blocks and I had my rain poncho in my backpack. Except it wasn’t, because I’d used it to get home one day, hung it up to dry and forgot to return it to my backpack.

Marrakesh did decide he would like to come in, and now he has decided he would like to go back out.

So I substituted one of the emergency rain jackets available for use at the shop, along with a sorry little umbrella rendered even sorrier by my walk in the wind and rain, although it valiantly did its job. My head stayed dry, at least, but I ate dinner with soaking wet feet.

I do not think I will be moving to Corvallis.

Yesterday, in the midst of a very busy, perhaps frantic, day — where our three youngest employees failed to show — Ben received a phone call that I ended up returning. It was from one of my many friends named Bob, this one known to many of you.

His health has not been good for really a decade or more, and now his kidneys are on the decline. A doctor told his cousin in California, before telling Bob, that Bob has eight months left to live.

I asked where the doctor came up with that number, and Bob didn’t know. I asked about dialysis, but that’s in Montrose and Bob doesn’t want to drive there three times a week and moving is apparently out of the question. So while I think maybe I was supposed to feel sorry for him, it sounds like he has made decisions of his own volition that can determine how many months, or years, he has left.

His plan is to disbelieve the prediction, and why not? (He did also tell me I could share this information with whomever, so I am not violating any sort of confidence.)

Marrakesh: back in.

Through all this, I imagine you have been wondering in the backs of your heads why I don’t just leave the door open for cats to come and go at will. Well, I will tell you why not: because then Oz comes and goes. And he doesn’t stay close to the door like the cats generally do.

Yesterday, in fact, I located him out on the Van Tuyl trail, shambling back from the north at a rather slow pace. Then we went to his vet appointment where the man coming out of the exam room with his dog said, “We just saw you over by the school!” to Oz, which means that he had a very thorough walk without me, since the school is at the south end of the trail.

So I will let cats in, and let cats out, let them in and let them out . . . it is my lot in life.

And now I need to roll up some car windows, although the clouds that were heavy and seemed of rain have mostly dissipated. Around here, though, you just never know.

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