Thursday, February 08, 2018

Writing, And the Disappearing Kitty

"I drive by there, and I just picture you in your little cabin, writing away!"

Several people have told me that, recently. So today when I worked in my Sparrow Nest I thought about what I actually do when I "write," since I do a lot more than just type and create.

Today I:
1. Deleted about 100 emails and slid the publishing-related emails over to the Muddy Creek Press folder.
2. Called one woman to tell her I can't speak to her group in May, but my schedule is open this summer or fall.
3. Made a list of all the books and websites that I promised to review, so I don't forget, being prone to overpromising and underdelivering.
4. Texted another woman to say I could speak to her group's Mother-Daughter tea.
5. Inventoried my books. This was actually done in the non-coop side of the chicken shed and is one of my least liked activities, but it must be done for tax purposes.
6. Gathered a few notes for my upcoming talks in Montana, and put them in a folder.
7. Updated my calendar with the above speaking events, hoping sincerely that I didn't forget any, being prone to nightmares about not showing up when I've promised to be there.
8. Sipped tea.
9. Re-read my newspaper column for February to see if I missed anything that someone could possibly get offended at, before it's printed on Sunday. Why do I do this? I NEVER predict what will offend people and am always blindsided.
10. Admired the pretty dry-erase markers that Steven gave me for Christmas and chose the teal-and-berry one to write on the board that I'm so proud of--one of my mom's old metal work-table toppers, covered in dry-erase contact paper.

Sometimes I do all the above stuff when I ought to type and create, but am putting it off.

We have too many cats. At least two strays came by and had babies under our porch. Of course it's hard to know that this has taken place until the kittens are big enough to go exploring. And by that time they're completely wild.

But not too wild to come eat the food we put out for the family cats.

People will often take kittens if they're tame and cuddly, so it seemed logical to bring a few inside and calm them down. Even a shelter is unlikely to take them if they're terrified and a bit crazy. So about a week ago, I poured food in the dish and then stuck my arm out and grabbed one and put it in the back of the house where there's a tile floor and you can shut all the doors.

I did this a second time, except that kitty went completely crazy, scratching wildly at my hand and then disappearing in a blur. It squeezed in behind my desk and crouched there.

I read online that a bit of Benedryl will calm down a frightened cat, so I mixed Benedryl with cat food and offered it. Hours later, it was still pop-eyed with terror and hadn't eaten the food.

Well. Epic fail, as the young people say. I might as well put it back outside.  So I got a broom and gently moved toward the kitty.

It went insane, leaping up and streaking toward the kitchen, scratching and scrambling. Honestly, it would have been easier to herd a squirrel.

Then it disappeared.

A couple of hours later, the girls and I heard a faint meow. It sounded like it came from a kitchen cupboard.

What in the world?

Carefully, we opened cupboards and looked inside, moving dish drainers and cereal boxes. No cat.

The meowing repeated, muffled but real. We were totally mystified.

We took the front panels off the bottom of the dishwasher and refrigerator. No kitty. But the meowing still sounded from underneath, somewhere.

"It has to be in that space under the cupboards!" Emily said.

Paul said, "That's impossible. There's no way a cat can get in there!"

We said, "But it IS."

It was the weirdest thing, because Paul couldn't hear a thing and for all he knew we were just messing with his mind.

We poked and hunted and shone flashlights, completely flummoxed. The meowing repeated, RIGHT in THERE.

Could Paul come saw a hole in the bottom of the cupboard? Or could he get Kevin Baker, who built the cupboards, to come and pry it apart?

Paul said he'd call Kevin in the morning.

We pulled out the stove. Back behind it, down near the floor, were several small openings where you could get a glimpse of the old 2x4's and wainscoting from a hundred years ago.  What if the cat had slipped in there and back in the dark hidden corners of the kitchen cupboards? 

Or what if it was down under the floor somewhere?

I have a horror of any living things trapped in dark spaces, so the thought of that cat down under the floor gave me chills.

The muffled meows made me suspect that's where it was, and it would die there, and we'd have to tear up the floor like in The Telltale Heart. "Tear up the planks, I admit the deed..."

Paul, of course, said a cat couldn't possibly get down in the floor.

Before going to bed, I left the stove pulled out from the wall and put a HavAHart trap with food and water in the middle of the kitchen.

I didn't sleep well, hoping all night for the clang of the trap.

Early the next morning I crept into the kitchen through one door just as Jenny came in the other. And we saw the kitty! Not in the trap, but close to it. And then just that quickly it was gone again.

I thought it had slipped back through a hole behind the stove, but Jenny was sure it had been over by the sink. She got down on the floor and felt around, then turned to me with big round eyes. "There's a hole!"

"WHERE?" We had looked on every possible inch, hadn't we?

"It's down here, but it goes UP!"

I felt around. You know how all good cupboards are set in about 4 inches at the bottom, to make a space for your feet? In the little ceiling of that indentation was a hole less than three inches square. I stuck my fingers in and wiggled them, and something hissed.

Jenny and I looked at each other. Yesss!!

But how and what and where did that hole lead to?

"We need to take a picture!" she said, and tried to stick her phone in, but it was too big. I found my old iPhone and Jenny poked it up and in, and snapped a picture.

There it was, in that narrow space between two sections of cupboards.

What a relief that it wasn't trapped down below. And leave it to a cat to find such an impossible hiding place.

When everyone was off to work and school, I opened the door to the porch and dumped the food in the cats' dish with as much noise as I could. Then I left the door open and walked away. Just as I hoped, the kitty made its way outside to join his friends.

I am done trying to tame cats.

However. Sometimes I meet someone or hear someone speak and I just sense things about them, real and vivid things, but I can't for the life of me explain or quantify how I see and know what I do. Recently I heard a speaker who gave me a creepy vibe and I just "knew" he was a wolf in sheep's clothing and took advantage of innocent people.

Paul is always in a bad situation when I go off about these feelings I have, because he doesn't want to squelch my intuition but the truth is he doesn't see or feel or sense or pick up or suspect ANY of this, not one smidgen.

So he was carefully choosing his words and suddenly I had an epiphany. "This is what it's like!" I crowed. "It's like I hear that kitty meowing and I know it's under the cupboards somewhere and you can't hear a thing!"

Paul said actually, we were both right and wrong about the kitty, because it was neither under the floor nor under the cereal cupboard, which he had declared to be impossible, but it WAS back in there, in the general vicinity, so I was right about that.

So maybe when I pick up on spiritual and invisible things about people and Paul does not, we are in some way both right and both wrong.

That is oddly comforting.

But it doesn't solve the problem of having too many cats.

Quote of the Day:
Paul: [fixing curtain rod] Can you get me a screwdriver?
Dorcas: Plus or minus?
Paul: Phillips
Dorcas: [fetches one of each]


  1. I like the conclusion you came to on the subject of picking up on spiritual or invisible things when your husband doesn't, because I, too, find it comforting. The women are sure of what they see and hear and the men says it's impossible! If we communicate and give each other space, we can make a great team!

    1. I agree. When we respect each other's insights and realize we could be wrong, like you say, we make a great team.

  2. Ruthie Schrock2/09/2018 5:40 AM

    This is a great post. I really like it all but TQOD caught my attention. I think like you about screwdrivers.

  3. People have different spiritual gifts. If intuition is yours, it is no less legitimate if your husband doesn't "get" it. "Have you ever seen a million dollars?" "No." "That doesn't mean it doesn't exist..." (Lines from one of my favorite movies...)

  4. Your QOTD made me laugh! We have a joke here about screw drivers. In my childhood we spent a lot of time with a family who had brothers named Philip and Stanley. Naturally, when we learned that there is a Phillips screwdriver, we decided the other kind must be a Stanley. :)
    I never thought of plus/minus, but that's brilliant!

  5. This is all really good. You must have been deleting emails about the same time Victoria was cleaning up our thousands of unread emails and unsubscribing. If you got an unsubscribe notice from, it's because I prefer to just read your blog online. I don't check emails very often.

    Your cat story is hilarious. Dan is the cat tamer around here. I struggle to like most animals, but can't bear to watch them suffer either.

    And intuition and all that? I love how you wrote all of that and I'm nodding away here.

    1. I would love to hear how you make peace with your intuition.

  6. This is how I make peace with my innermost feelings about people, some I have just met and some I've know for years. I used to feel tremendous guilt that I wasn't loving everyone through and through and letting all unpleasant things go over my head. Now, I only make sure I didn't say anything *out loud*. (Unless, of course, they absolutely HAD to be said.) But if it just stayed inside of my mind, then I was a good person. Hey, it's the best I can do.