Old Hydrox has become a frequent singer in his dotage. Jeanne described the ones happening several times per night lately as ‘annoying’. And I haven’t found a way to discourage him doing it, nor thought of any explanation.
I tend to think he misses being around several cats, possibly [especially] Niaid, his litter-mate who went on permanent mouse patrol slightly over a year ago in Andrews, Texas. We were all together 17 years, so I’d imagine if a cat’s capable of ‘missing’ another creature Niaid is one of his night songs.
On the other hand, it’s clear Shiva is a part of all this. He’ll walk over and sit on the floor in front of the chair where she’s sleeping and begin the serenade until he runs out of lyrics. Sometimes it’s Sweet Betsy from Pike, other times Otis Redding or Roy Orbison. Fortunately that usually happens during the hours of daylight.
The night songs seem to be triggered by dreams, or by Shiva creeping through the living room where Hydrox and I bed down. She has to go by here on the way to the litter box, a few laps of water, or to check out the food dishes. And there’s no way she’s getting past here without the keen ears of Hydrox detecting it, head jerking around to stare.
Usually he’ll contemplate what he’s seen until she passes on her return trip. Then he’ll jump to the floor and follow her with his immortal prose or a few stanzas of Pretty Woman Walk on By. Or My Girl.
If he had a better command of English and had ever shown any signs of being susceptible to reasoned argument or persuasion I’d try it. But a whispered 2:00 am yell at him only results in a brief pause and stare. Getting up and chasing him around also only gets me back under the blankets with my teeth chattering and him carrying on where he left off.
Maybe I misinterpreting the song. Hydrox might just be saying, “This getting old is hell. I surely do miss ambition.”
Hi readers. Hydrox and Ms. Shiva did Snoopy dances last night when Jeanne arrived back here. She’d been the past couple of weeks climbing wet mountains and doing other things people do out there under the Japanese nuclear threat. Although she didn’t say so to the cats, her arrival was timed in such a way as to suggest she came back fleeing the Japanese invasion of Hawaii.
It’s long been known, both by Japanese military planners and by US historians that WWII would have gone a lot differently if Japan had followed up the Pearl Harbor attack with an invasion of the island. The recent reinterpretation of the post-WWII Japanese constitution allowing renewed military adventures by Japan requires absorbing lessons learned from WWII so they don’t make the same mistakes again. Practice landings on Hawaii, and possibly later on areas of the US west coast not yet too heavily contaminated by radiation from Japanese nuclear plants will help assure that next time things will be different.
Anyway, Jeanne didn’t say anything about all this. Her climbing of Mount Whatchallit, Ranier? etc etc etc went as well as could be expected. She took plus/minus 2500 photographs, stayed various places, and despite the radiation, wasn’t all that anxious to return.
Today’s a new beginning returning to working two, count’em, two, jobs again. Which evidently still weighs in better than radiation poisoning as a way to count off the days she has left in life.
The cats and I were glad to see her back, everything else being equal.
Me: Jeeze Hydrox. Ain’t it a bit late for this crap? Something bothering you?
Hydrox: No. I just got to thinking about things. Missing Niaid. All those Y2K chickens and that cabin. Mehitabel. Tabby and that mountain place we used to live. All I’ve got now is this other cat here, Shiva. You. And that woman who lives here with Shiva.
Me: Well you do have that. You’ve got to live for the moment.
Hydrox: I’m not asking for any of that cheap tripe philosopy. You asked why I was weeping aloud and I told you.
Me: I’m glad you did, amigo. I was afraid you were getting sick again.
Hydrox: So where’s that woman who lives here? I haven’t seen her for a couple of days?
Me: She’s off somewhere else, Hydrox. It’s just you, Shiva and me for the next couple of weeks.
Hydrox: So I can meoooow as much as I want and nobody’s going to be kept awake?
Me: I’ll sleep right through it. You know that. And who cares what Shiva thinks? She used to be a good cow cat, earned her keep. Nowadays she’s worthless. I don’t know why Jeanne keeps her around.
Hydrox: Yeah, but I’m glad she’s here anyway. This place almost echoes. I’d go crazy if there weren’t at least one more cat around.
Me: You’ve got it then, amigo. I’ll keep feeding her so long as the food holds out. Maybe Jeanne will pick up some more when she gets back.
Jeanne’s next door neighbor saw us on the back porch the other day: “Hi. Is that big, fluffy-looking black and white cat yours?”
Me: “He came with me from Texas.” No point giving my cat-ownership philosophy dissertation.
Neighbor grinning: “We watch television late at night with the front door open. He comes by every night and sticks his head inside, looks at us a moment, then leaves. It’s eery when he meets your eye.”
Hydrox is evidently as determined to milk as much living out of this life as I am. Even if it means spying on the neighbors. They’re older than him, but barely.
Good morning readers. Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.
First, I want to thank Bob for the link he provided about Gate Guard jobs, a particular blog entry that swivelled my thinking on the issue entirely. The issues of wear and tear on the RV because of the dust on the sites, bearings and other wear surfaces, particularly. Along with everything clogging, electrical connections not making contact, and the bad roads getting to town for groceries all conspired to convince me it’s not the job for this RV, these cats, and this old guy who wants to die before the party of the first part, but after the parties of the second part.
Second, today I’ll be taking it to town for the first time since I got the tags transferred. Need to pick up something called a ‘deep cycle’ battery to run the various coach functions. The one that’s on it is dead meat, which I knew when I bought it and used it to argue the guy down a bit on the price I paid. But it’s got to be replaced.
I’ll also be going by a coin laundry for the first time since I’ve been in Texas to get some clothes back into non-pioneer conditions.
Afterward I’ll go behind all the malls and big stores for packing boxes so’s I can get my belongings out of here and into the storage place. Everything I can’t carry along right now, winter clothing, that sort of thing.
Thirdly, groceries. Getting food of types I haven’t been equipped to utilize in a goodly while. Because everything on that RV WORKS.
Lastly: I might put the thing through one of those oil change places, get it lubricated, everything checked out for fluid levels, new oil. Instead of doing it my ownself, which ain’t all that much cheaper and is just one more time-sink.
Life’s a good adventure. It allows the illusion of forward movement, even standing still, leaning forward, preparing to stagger into the future.
After the literary Mehitabel, the first namesake to enter my life was in 1967. She was a stray, moved in ahead of a hurricane reputed to be headed for Houston. My new wife and I took her in because she was hungry, pregnant, and a violent storm might be coming.
She was near to giving birth and decided my sock drawer was the best option, refused to be dissuaded. So I built her a cat house behind the apartment. She didn’t stay around long after the kittens died, evidently because of drinking her milk.
Mehitabel #2 was a bob-tailed calico. Amazing cat, a loyal companion for 17 years. I once watched her in horror and awe as she mauled a full grown German Shepherd and similarly sized mutt, though they intended it to be the other way around, then found themselves surrounded, blocked repeatedly in their attempts to escape by a feline seemed to prefer two at a time.
I could spend pages telling Mehitabel #2 stories, but I won’t, except to say she was the mother of Hydrox #1, Hydrox #2, Xerox #s 1 and 2, and The Great Rumpus Cat #1. I always figured she was reincarnated from Mehitabel #1.
Over the years I always kept the cat population contained in a set of names lying in wait for a cat to fit in them, Mehitabel, Hydrox, Xerox and The Great Rumpus Cat being the primary ones. The method always worked well for me, but cats needed to fit particular qualifications to seize a particular name. Hydrox and Xerox were always jellicle cats. Mehitabel had to qualify by meeting other standards, generally following the Don Marquis model.
Mehitabel #3 came in around 1996, me fresh out of cats, her being a pregnant bookstore cat in Socorro, New Mexico. When Mehitabel #3 emerged from sleep and demanded I pick her up I asked the lady-owner, “She’s close. When these kittens are weaned could I have one?”
“You can have HER.”
“I don’t want half-a-dozen cats.”
“I know. As soon as the kittens are weaned you can have her.”
The enthusiasm and insistence of the lady told me I had the right cat. Mehitabel and I hit it off beautifully. But I was on the road a lot, and despite the cat door she was able to use to go in and out, I sensed Mehitabel was lonely.
Mel, a good friend, had a pregnant jellical female, Electra, living in his garage, and when the kittens were born I picked out Hydrox #4, or maybe 5. Freshly weaned, I carried him home to introduce him to Mehitabel #3. She hated him.
Mehitabel showed no signs of accepting him, so I went back to Mel and borrowed the second-best of the litter, Niaid, on an indefinite loan to keep him company. I didn’t try to fit her into the name thing because she was just a loaner.
As the pair matured I’d frequently ask Mel, “You needing this cat back?”
“No,” he’d assure me, “I’m fine.” Then Mel partnered with me on the Y2K land, though he stayed in town except for a week leading up to January 1, 2000, so the Niaid issue wasn’t a concern.
That’s where the screw-up happened in the life-long cat naming procedures. A stray pregnant cat emerged from catdom at a motel Jeanne was staying in while visiting me in Grants, which she took back to Kansas with her. Named her Shiva, largely because of my lousy abilities at prognostication.
I had no idea the was going to eventually fill the Mehitabel #4 slot.
But she did and it’s screwed everything up from a cat naming perspective. I doubt I’ll live long enough to get it back on track. One of Shiva’s litter’s living with me, as well. Sheeze! Her name????
Salvaged wheelbarrow, salvaged nightstand and salvaged material stapled over door opening
Salvaged microwave stripped of components with the back cut off makes a great means of keeping the cat food dry
Heavy rain and the cool snap last got me scrambling to give the cats a way to get out of the weather and keep the food dry. Looks as though it will serve, but I’ve got to work on several more shelters. They’re there, but need upgrading a bit.
I’ll confess I’m behind the curve on a lot of things. I should have re-wrapped that electrical tape around the busted phone line before the rain hit. Internet’s back in tin-can telephone speeds this morning.
Gale and Kay were working the Mesquite Show in Fredericksburg this weekend, so I borrowed Little Red today and went into town for necessaries. But when I’m on the road I always shop the grader ditches and investigate any potentially useful items thrown or blown out of vehicles. Today was great insofar as upgrading cathouses:
The top was missing on this, but otherwise it's in good shape
The cats will be fighting over which gets to sleep inside this
I find a lot of these lids in the ditches and this one almost fits.
Also found these rubber bungie cords near another bunch of trash in the ditch
74 years old, a resident of Leavenworth, KS, in an apartment located on the VA campus. Partnered with a black shorthaired cat named Mister Midnight. (1943-2020)
Since April, 2020, this blog is maintained by Jeanne Kasten (See "About" page for further information).
I’m sharing it with you because there’s almost no likelihood you’ll believe it. This lunatic asylum I call my life has so many unexpected twists and turns I won’t even try to guess where it’s going. I’d suggest you try to find some laughs here. You won’t find wisdom. Good luck.