Garfield bursts through the just-opened front door. “Why-why-whyyyyyy?” he meowls. It’s pouring rain, and he feels poor and homeless. This is the third week the house has been torn up by my annual, end-of-summer cleaning, painting, and general reframing, and now his paws are wet.
He makes eye contact with me and continues. It’s so wet there are birds bathing in the potholes. Where is a cat to go for a bit of dry peace and quiet?
“You have six beds!” I say, and head back up the stairs where I’m cleaning the library shelves. His first bed, a black fleece basket in the cat condo which he just bypassed, is crowded between paint cans. But he’s got a great bed right here in these shelves.
“Meeeeeee-owwwww.” The warble cues me that he is quoting the Bearded One from a political discussion earlier in the week. “Everyone gets to define their own wealth.” What do I know of his suffering?
“I’ve finished the pink wall in the bedroom,” I say to Garfield, implying that his penultimate fifth bed, the Bearded One’s pillow, is available.
“And the living room has been finished for a week. Your little brown fluffy kitty bed –” I point to his second bed on the relocated coffee table by my rocker — “is just waiting for you.”
“Nope.” He shakes his paw.
“And remember, your food is up on the freezer now.”
He pads over to the window sill and hops up. “Yowwwwwww.” The request for treats is always unmistakable.
“Okay,” I say and return — I’m just to the landing anyway — to grant his wish. He hates his food being placed on the freezer, plus he’s been off his treats for the past couple of weeks, perhaps in protest of the transition and changes, and I want to show my appreciation.
As I walk to the window, I see the goats up the hill. There’s a lull in the rain (3 inches in the rain gauge this weekend) and they have finally ventured out of the barn. Pearl makes eye contact, and then Sage and finally LaLa. They are a lot like cats — they hate rain and love to ask for treats.
I see the cornstalks have fallen over in the rain, and the biggest pumpkin, half orange now, pokes up out of the dying pumpkin leaves.
We have a list of Edible and Poisonous Plants For Goats but it says nothing about the pumpkin leaves we now have in abundance. The internet says pumpkin leaves are supposed to be edible, but ours won’t touch them. We guess it’s the tiny spines covering the entire bottom surface. The goats love corn and eat everything but the stalks. I tell them I’ll come out soon.
“Meow-meow.” Garfield noses one of the treats I just gave him, then licks it. Then looks up at me.
“What?” I say.
“Nope.” He hops down and then trots over to the stairs. “Meeeee-owwwww.” He is a very vocal cat.
And I am a patient cat woman, I say to myself. Perhaps I misunderstood His Majesty. No, I understand. Everyone gets to define their own treats, too.
I continue working on the built-in bookcase. Books flocked with dust, which were once treats, get nosed again briefly, sorted, rearranged.
The new Pink Peach wall in the downstairs bathroom and on the west wall of our bedroom make me happy now. I love to lie in bed and just stare at the color as the rain pours down.
Garfield yowls when he gets to the top of the stairs and sees beds number three (under my computer) and four (the chair in the second bedroom) are blocked by plastic drop cloths and piled high with clothes for Goodwill. He has just about had it.
And then he sees his sixth bed, the shelf, is now blocked by a ladder.
He turns and bounds back down the stairs, thumping out his displeasure.
“I have work to do,” I say, officially calling off this cat servicing session, and take a small limp toward the stairs. My hip is getting better since I’ve stayed off the ladder for several days, but I still favor it. I’m glad I just have the ceiling fan left to clean. Once a year whether it needs it or not. And it needs it.
Garfield crosses quickly in front of me, expert tripster that he is, and I see him at the last second. I look up at the ceiling fan, then at the cat, and I go sit in the rocker. He leaps into my lap — the seventh bed.