I woke up uncharacteristically early. It was this dream, watching one of my cats, my easily-spooked black and white long-haired Elly dash across a busy street and climb to the top of a palm tree and squall and I was in a maze. Gotta get that cat out of the tree, I’m dreaming. And the maze of buildings gets more complicated, building 4, floor 5 and then taking the stairs to 7 and confronting the wise but perverse administrator who knew the answer and would not tell me because of rules. It was like a bad role-playing game. I did make friends with the administrator but I was still looking for the broadcast booth for the radio station.
Yeah, I’ve been a little jumpy lately.
It didn’t help that my dream about Elly-Belly’s flight to the palm tree in my dream seemed to touch on a terrible reality. I couldn’t find Baby. Baby’s real name is Pixie, although the concept of a cat having a real name is something like naming the stars. Cats and stars laugh in your face at your petty attempts to name them!
Baby was an impulse rescue, the kind that doesn’t make sense and probably upsets the natural order of things in a household just getting used to the latest addition even if she is a benevolent tyrant. This is not a conflict in terms in the cat world as it might be in human terms.
Baby started out as a foundling in Napa. I was trying to help her finder find a forever home for her. We had a deadline, the end of the Labor Day holiday weekend. I didn’t want her to go to the pound. Sometime midway through the weekend, I caved and asked Andrea to bring her to me. Seriously, what’s one more cat? My older cats stand with picket signs, citing food riots and other unpleasantness should their world be shifted.
Shift it does and Pixie comes to live at my house and since she’s only a ball of fluff, just a few weeks old, we call her Baby, too. It sticks. To keep her from becoming a feral indoor cat in her formative years, I determine to take her with me on a road trip to the Four Corners area. Since the dog was coming along anyway, what’s one more?
You’re starting to notice a theme, I think? What’s one more? I have Jupiter in the nadir in my birth chart, Jupiter in Gemini. This is “generous to a fault” but perhaps super-sized. After all, what’s one more? That’s called Jupiter in an “ill-dignified” sign. Uh, oh, OOPS. As the fearless leader of the Daughters of Divination, Thalassa, says, “Dignity. Always dignity.” OK, how about sometimes dignity? There are other planets. My natal Venus is in Taurus and couldn’t be happier.
So it is energy that lends itself to planning an opera out in the barn called Die FliederRabbit starring a familiar looking rabbit with unfamiliar looking bat wings through the Miracle of Photoshop. Suddenly, I envision customized little blue jackets, a slathering-mad Mr. MacGregor waving wooden stakes and a gun with silver bullets, a toothy minion chorus, and, well, remember the scene in Fantasia where the basement floods due to an overboard spell by the Sorcerer’s Apprentice?
OK, fine. More isn’t always better. More is more. But the dog, the other cats, the humans and Baby all settled down into sort of a Cold War if not truce. Our house has all the intrigue of a walled and divided city. There are those who go to the North Sector and those who never do. At least one never goes to the South Sector. Alice, the Empress, likes to vacation in the downstairs apartment, luxuriating in having the place to herself.
Baby, who believes her presence is appropriate for any occasion, goes wherever she pleases. She hangs out on the ironing board waiting for an unsuspecting resident to walk by. She leaps, knowing she is likely to land badly, so all claws are used to get a purchase on her target. This is especially inconvenient when carrying a bowl of soup, for instance. She likes to lie in wait for Derek our ordinarily pleasant housekeeper who comes once a week to despair over all our personal failures. When he ventures near, she likes to remove a chunk of flesh to see if he tastes the same this week.
Lately, however, her terrible twos have mellowed just a touch. She has forgotten herself for a moment and left her Hell on Wheels personality behind. She has actually taken to giving me a snog good night. Nice kitty! Perhaps there is hope for my Holy Terror.
Any mother with any time on the job knows that the time to be most afraid is when the children are quiet. So after waking up from my dream about scared cats in palm trees, I detected the silence of the Lambie-Pies.
“Ah, snoozing,” I thought and wondered why I wasn’t snoozing also. I sat dutifully at my desk, hoping I was really looking at two computers instead of having had my astigmatism stuck in left gear. I read my work email. The street sweeper came by.
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(c) Copyright 2010 Marcia McCord
I waited for Baby to pound on my door as she does whenever the street sweeper comes. She’s pretty sure that, for her sins, that thing is going to eat her. I don’t discourage the notion entirely. Heavy machinery is hell on cats. Loud noises among the sound-sensitive are particularly jarring. The Coming of the Street Sweeper must be the scariest movie she can imagine.
But there was no pounding on the door. This didn’t make sense. This didn’t smell right. I had to investigate because where the heck was the kitty? Noses counted and I’ve come up one short. Where’s Baby? I start to whimper. I call her name, her names. I call her lots of names. Other cats come to see if there’s food involved and retreat when they realize it’s just me on my hands and knees checking under furniture. Binket beeps at me and sits, explaining that she might have told me there was nothing under there except a cat toy, which she wouldn’t mind having.
My panic grows. The little rat charges the front door every once in a while. Did she make a break for it as long ago as last night? I wander down the back stairs and pad around the back yard calling softly for her. John takes a walk around the block while I imagine the worst. She is hit by a car? She is stolen by hawks? She is scared and alone?
As I settle down to my desk to have a good cry in utter despair, fully “fived” about the whole thing, I consider which might be worse, the 5 of Pentacles, the fear of material loss or the 5 of Cups, the sadness of a heart sunk low by loss.
A small form emerges from behind the stove in the kitchen. Naughty kitty to give your cat mama a heart attack! I say a little prayer to St. Angina, the patron saint of “You aggravate my heart and soul.”
My day begins.
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