If You Give a House a Bed

We are Robert the water guy’s next to last delivery. It’s almost 8pm, we’ve got spotlights on the side of the house, the Bearded One is opening the gate, and I’m standing at the window holding our new kitty, Nala.


“Mew,” she says, her eyes nocturnal and wide. She wants to watch, too, but is a bit nervous about all these lights. She is comforted just by hearing the sound of my voice, that I am not concerned.

She wants me to tell her a story as we stand here, looking out at the road, the driveway, and the huge pile of bedding soil dropped off earlier in the driveway, a tall pile that looks in the dark to be pointed like a witch’s hat.

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I remember a favorite bedtime story of our kids – If You Give a Moose a Muffin – and riff on it for my kitty.  “Okay,” I say, kissing Nala’s soft head. “This story is called, “If You Give a House a Bed.”


“If you give an old hippy house a huge pile of bedding soil outside, it’ll want a real inside bed (not inflatable) as well. So you’ll drive into Hilo and buy a Serta Perfect Sleeper queen-sized bed, box spring and frame.

When the bed is delivered, the hippy house will want another one for guests. And then another for the den. But it’ll settle for a couch in the den, one that clicks down into a full-sized bed, so you can watch an occasional Netflix, and also for guests.


And when this old hippie house’s rooms are all full of beds and couches, it will ask where the washer and dryer will go. You’ll have to trek to Hilo again to buy some concrete and order wood for a free-standing outdoor deck to put the washer and dryer on. Might just vibrate the old house apart, otherwise.

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When you’re building the deck, that old house will notice how dusty and dry the road and yard are getting in the record-breaking heat and drought (9 inches behind normal rainfall for the year and 10-15 degrees hotter for the winter). The dust will remind it of the last El Nino and it will think about what a crazy year it’s been with hurricanes and lava eruptions and now drought.

It’ll ask you to check the water level in the catchment tank. It’s scary if it goes too low. When the old building sees there’s just a foot left, it advises you to order a water delivery to keep everybody happy. $140 for any amount up to 4,000 gallons. The 1550 gallon tank is starting to feel downright tiny.

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Out in the yard, the hippy house suddenly notices the perfect spot for a second catchment tank, so you won’t have to keep paying for water. It tells you to put an ad on Craigslist for a jackhammer man to clear the lava rock from the spot.

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And then it remembers how dirty you get working outside, so the old house, excited and on a roll, insists on an outdoor shower on the deck next to the washer and dryer. It’ll go measure. We’ll need to buy some redwood to build the shower.

Meanwhile, you go inside for a glass of filtered catchment water from your new Berkey water purifier, and sit on the couch/bed. The hippy house is feeling very homey. All it needs now is a cat.

Just then, your son calls and asks if you would like a beloved, tame, gorgeous 7 month old cat named Nala, whose mother is pregnant again. You say, ‘BRING HER!’”

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Nala meows fiercely, and I pet her some more. I hear the heavy water truck coming up the road, unmistakable in the night silence. It’s pitch dark. The stars are popping. Time to wind up the story. “Yep,” I say, “chances are, if you get new beds, inside and out, an old hippy house is going to want at least one cat to go with them. “

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22 responses to “If You Give a House a Bed

  1. Meow! WONderful story and pictures.

  2. Oh what a beautiful uplifting post Christi. You must have known I needed some house loving since mine was broken into on Friday last week. I love your new little kitten Nala and love how you told it a story to calm her. I know just what you mean when you start looking at one thing you need that mysteriously morphs into needing lots of other things :D. Happy rain showers to you and your new overflow tank when you get it xoxoxoxox

    • Oh, I’m sooo glad this post helped with that trauma, if just a wee bit! Houses have energy running all through them, and yours needs some soothing, and you and your kitty and Jason will heal it over time. Hugs from Hawaii, Cathy, and thanks for reading. xo

  3. Oh happy days! You are no longer camping, no longer ‘settling’ …. You have arrived and have a proper HOME!! Welcome to Nala, who looks like a gorgeous miniature leopard. How fabulously serendipitous of His Majesty to find her at exactly the right moment. Arohanui! Farmlet Hawaii has begun! 😀 xoxo

    • Nala is a mix but surely has ocelot in her! Her tummy is spotted just like a leopard. I love to look at her. The bed was a psychological thing, but also logistical. But now that it’s here, Nala sleeps on it, on my side, part of the night at least. She loves the B.O., but he draws the line at her sitting on his head. Arohanui and big love from the Big Island. 🙂 xo

  4. Love it! I look forward to many more Nala stories in the future. Meanwhile, yay for beds pretty kitties and catchment tanks and laundry porches with showers! Damp, gray Olalla is further away all the time…xoxoB

    • The Olalla rain sounds pretty sweet to me right now! but NOT the gray and cold. The fellow we sold the Olalla house to was from Hawaii; I hope he is weathering the winter happily with the wood stove. The fire energy saved me there. 🙂 Mahalo for the comment, and hugs from Hawaii xo Christi

  5. Happy Happy House and Home!! What a beautifully told story, I know that kitty will love her new happy home! Sending love, S

  6. Lovely looking cat 😊. Nice “bedside” story too x

  7. What a wonderful circle of want and need all tangled up with the arrival of your new girl Nala. Filling your new old house with things that make it intrinsically ‘yours’ is slathering a Texan-Olalla flavour to your new Hawaiian lifestyle. Strange that your drought and warmer than average winter is not reflected in our wetter and colder than average summer…strange weather abrewing BUT you have more water holding capacity and a shower and real beds…REAL BEDS!!! :). Life is good Ms Christi and getting better every day 🙂

    • I always loved those circular picture book stories If You Give a Moose a Muffin, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, If You Give a Cat a Cupcake, ETC. Funny how they still come in handy. We did get some rain last night, yay! so the road isn’t so dusty. You’re hotter and dryer than usual, too? I know about the El Nino thing, but this is more extreme than just that. On April 8 we’ll have been in Hawaii for a year, and the weather has been “unusual” the whole time! Oh, and one other interesting factoid. Nala was born the end of June, and June 27th is when the lava eruption began (which is now stalled again). She’s a daughter of Pele. And YES, the BEDS are wonderful. Both of them. 🙂 Life is good, indeed. xo

  8. Christine Widman

    A cat of gold for you. Here – A bobcat sighting 2 weeks ago – 7 minutes of ooooh oooohhh cat magic.
    Love Keith’s contented house drawing. An outdoor shower sounds like starlight night heaven to me. Maybe we should consider one – for us!
    Average high here in February is 68. I went for my run at 3 pm and the temperature was 78. I could feel my skin adjusting to this.
    I shall sleep easy knowing you are sleeping on a Serta Perfect Sleeper bed.
    Sweet dreams, Christi.

    • Nala is a cat of gold! We’ve got a vet appointment tomorrow to have her spayed…won’t be that expensive. 🙂 I love your bobcat pictures. Cats of all sizes amaze me. And absolutely, an outdoor shower in Tucson works the same way as here. Got your Valentine today! Mahalo, and Happy Valentine’s Day to you as well. Love you!xo

  9. I love this post and all your comments about energy and Gods. You sound marvelous. Love you

  10. My favorite kids book is “if you give a mouse a cookie”! I use it a lot to parable life! I thot if you so much while we were there, an earthquake, the WIND, a new word- VOG, etc, etc…and all the washer/dryers outside!!😀

    • Aloha Maria! Wasn’t that a windstorm, though! We lost a huge ohia tree, 16″ diameter. It’s been such a wild year. And the vog has been bad with the lack of rain. Vog = volcanic smog, smells like sulfur. Like firecrackers have just gone off. Yes, the washer and dryer are outside. But we Almost are…single wall construction. The coldest it gets here is 58 degrees! Hugs to you and Michael. xo

  11. Aloha Christi. Hopefully last night’s rain put a little water in your catchment. (We need it!) The gecko picture in your banner is fantastic. Do you mind if I use it on my non-commercial site, The Punatics (it’s an online serial novel set in Puna)? It’s a great shot: http://www.thepunatics.com/episode-4-6.html

    • Aloha Jeffrey! Yes, you may certainly use the gecko photo, and thank you for the compliment. And what a cool idea — your online serial novel! I plan to check it out ASAP. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

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