The Boy Spouts of America

The Bearded One lifts the empty box Nala came in from the back seat and I shoulder my purse and grab the gallon ziplock bag of my chocolate chip cookies and we head into the veterinarian’s house, which is just another house in our immense subdivision here in Puna, Hawaii. I am a nervous wreck.

Our 8-month-old kitty was spayed today and we’re here to pick her up. I feel like a new mother these days (at age 58) with this new kitty around to nurture. Maybe once engaged, mothering never ends. Besides, everywhere we go there are babies.


*   *   *

Earlier in the day, our older daughter called to ask for my chocolate chip cookie recipe. She and her husband, the Captain, are having a baby in July which will be the Bearded One’s and my first grandchild and we are over the moon.

Right now they are nesting. The Captain is gardening and working a city job and won’t be fishing this year, and our daughter wants to bake cookies. I tell her I’ll email the recipe. I tell her the story of Nala getting spayed today, how nervous I was, and then I tell her again I will be there for her, that I will fly to Seattle when she comes home from the hospital.

“We’ve decided not to find out the sex,” she says. This is a change. For weeks she’s wanted to know.

“Remember when you were a kid how we used to check the cookie bottoms to see if they were boys or girls?” I ask.


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“Lift up the edge – burned bottoms are boys.”

She is appalled.

*   * *

Nala is heavily drugged. She can’t walk a straight line.


She is helpless and needs to be somewhat contained, and can’t go outside for a day or two. The doctor says she did great in surgery. He is an older white guy with wire-rimmed glasses, sneakers and a sweet smile. I thank him and hand over the bag of cookies.

*   *   *

We get Nala home and settled in a barricaded area downstairs, and when she is sound asleep, we decide to go to the beach, as we often do, to watch for whales. Sure enough, there are several fins and spouts a ways out, so we hang around for a while and watch. Humpback whales come to Hawaii from Alaska in the winter to birth their young.

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The pod moves across the horizon from left to right. Everyone points and shouts when we see a spout, and then we see an extra big spray and a smallish humpback baby breeches for all to see.

“The Boy Spouts of America!” says the Bearded One and everyone laughs.

*   *   *

At home, Nala is missing. We walk in the front door and the barricaded corner is empty. The box she came in is pushed aside, and it is clear she escaped. But where? No way she could have handled the stairs yet. We call her name. Nothing. We search the entire bottom floor, all her favorite places.

Behind the stove and fridge, on the towel shelf —

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— in the bathtub, on the suitcase in the guest room closet, under the stairs. No Nala.

I race upstairs, even though it’s impossible that drunken kitty could be up here. I am frantic.

But there she is. Asleep under the bed, on my side. “There you are,” I say softly.

“Mew,” she says, and goes back to sleep.

27 responses to “The Boy Spouts of America

  1. Awww sweet kitty. Love your cookie gender tester and tell The Bearded One those iridescent clouds over the Boy Ppout are beautiful!

  2. What a lovely sight those hump backs must be. Poor kitty, she will be right as rain after a nice sleep, on your side of the bed of course 🙂 I’d be right as rain if it would just rain, and rain, and rain here! No rain for 2 months… and hot, and humid. I think I must be channeling Hawiai 😀

    • We’re getting rain again, Kym! Oh, it feels so good. May you get some soon, too…and the channeling continue. The whales are thrilling. You can’t believe they are as big as they are. They could swamp a fishing boat, easy. And yes, Nala is right as rain again. xo

      • Finally got some rain last night but not enough to really cool things down. Been sweating buckets. Going to the coast (two hours away) this long weekend to cool down 🙂

  3. Grandbabies are wonderful! So happy for you all! I’m glad she wants to be surprised and not know if it’s a boy or girl. I did that, and I loved the surprise!
    I so agree that motherhood never ends, because there are always babies of one kind or another. Sleepy kitties and chocolate chip cookies…life is good. xoxoB

    • Aloha, Becky! I didn’t know for my first two, but with His Majesty, I was 34 so I qualified for an amniocentesis (back in 1990) and we found out. (I was so shocked that my second baby was a girl — she was so completely different in utero, that I felt happy to know ahead with the 3rd). I’m glad they’re waiting to find out, too. Hugs from Hawaii, Christi xo

  4. Ha-ha! The Boy Spouts! It’s true about mothering! For me as a grandchildless grandmother I pour it all into my pets…. they are over indulged and spoiled rotten according to my two daughters who ought to know, as they watch the antics regularly ……. We were discussing the other day how nothing prepares you for having a baby. I was telling them how I thought I knew what was coming – I was very excited and so wanted my baby – I had read all the books, taken all the classes and got a dreadful shock when I found myself home alone with a baby that was a complete alien being and for whom I was one hundred percent responsible and with no support! Every new mother needs her mother to be there for her! Your little baby will already be right as rain I imagine and you are in for such a wonderful time I am sure, becoming a grandparent! Woo-hoo!! xoxo

    • Aloha, grandchildless grandmother! I like that. We older women who love to cuddle and nurture little animals. My own grandmothers, neither of them, was crazy about dogs or cats. And certainly never in the house! You never see pictures of pioneer women with little Chihuahuas. What’s that about?

      “Nothing prepares you for having a baby” — sooooo true. I was overwhelmed, and I have never been the same since. She was 10 days early, jaundiced for 2 weeks so had to stay in the hospital (back then the bilirubin lights didn’t travel home with families), and I had 2 breast infections, my husband was a teacher and had just started school (she was born Sept 3) so he needed his sleep, and this particular daughter didn’t sleep through the night ’til she was one year old. My mom came out from New Jersey (where she lived at the time) TWICE, bless her. Now this daughter is making her (my mom) a great-grandmother! So cool. Thanks for your lovely comment, Pauline, and kisses to Orlando and Siddy! xo

  5. Oh!!! Congrats!!!!! How awesome to be grandparents! How exciting she will wait to find out the sex! Poor sweet Nala….It’s so hard to watch our babies in that state. I think animals pick up on our motherly instincts :-). I love whale watching! What a wonderful life! Lots of love from Susan

  6. Nala obviously feels safe with you both and needed somewhere sheltered to recover. CONGRATULATIONS grandma to be and for having chocolate chip cookies SO very good that your daughter needs the recipe. Now THAT is what I call a culinary triumph :). Sounds like Hawaii is your home for reals now Ms Christi. You are part of that island you live on and Olalla is a far away past dream you once had. How are the pineapples going? We are ‘flat out like lizards drinking’ at TAFE and life is not what it once was. So good to catch up with my twin, even if it is only in passing 🙂

    • Life is not what it once was, yet we still connect as we can and feel the love every time. The pineapples are little red explosions in the middle of blade leaves, and I am telling everyone I’m gonna do a lot of drying and wine making. I checked out those solar dehydrator sites and so did the B.O. He’s on it, soon. MAHALO! The deck is still the focus these days, and the new catchment tank. And Nala. Nose to the TAFE grindstone. Love you. ❤

      • Lots to do and work out in your new home. I have mental dusting out and rehousing to do. SO much of a change to my usual routine! Here’s to dusting off brains and drying out pineapples 😉

  7. Grandbaby coming, new kitty, and cookies. Three of my favorite things.
    I love how you wove them all together in this lovely slice of life.
    It is like homecoming with so many return guests….greeting us with hugs and each other as they see friends they have made from meeting at our B&B. Quite heart-opening. The reunion of people from all over the US and even abroad.
    Right now – couples from NY, Kansas, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
    Last week we had two couples from the same state who discovered they lived only 3 blocks from each other.
    I feel your blog is like our B&B. We both are in a single place that is creating a widening circle toward a connected world.

    • OMG Christine, neighbors discovering they’re neighbors thousands of miles away, what a story! It’s like the universe insists on connection. Wonderful, and mahalo for your ongoing visits to the Farmlet all these FOUR years. Love you, soul sister. xo

  8. I’m so happy for your future arrival, Christi. I highly recommend grandparenthood. Lovely post. Peace, John

  9. Congratulations to the proud parents and grandparents to be! So very glad Nala is ok. Love the burned bottom boy cookies 😄😄😄😄

    • Mahalo, Cathy! I was surprised our daughter didn’t remember the boy cookies’ burned bottoms. It was funnier to me than her. Maybe she didn’t really get it. Anyway, hugs from Hawaii! xo

  10. Hi Cathy, I like your stories and your drawings. And I hope Nala will be fine soon.

  11. I googled Quince Trees and Hawaii to see if they grew here and i found this blog.
    It’s funny, me and my husband just moved here to Puna from Western Washington last Sept. I can relate to much of your adventures in Jungle land. You sound like you’re enjoying it as much as me, what a fun and creative blog.
    I’m going to try to find the Labyrinth, I would love to walk it.
    Cheers, nice to meet you, I’ll be back.

    • Aloha Susan! I’m so sorry for the delay in responding — we’ve had mainland guests. 🙂 How cool that you found us, and through quince trees, no less. I think I wrote about them once a couple of years ago back in WA. Do you have quince trees here? Mahalo for the lovely comment!

  12. Hope you haven’t fallen into that volcano. Haven’t heard from you in a while.

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