That phrase rears its head from one of my art history classes – fear of empty space. Think Egyptian Art, Victorian homes, my house…. Space opens up in our house and is almost immediately filled with something else.
I used to joke with friends that there was this universal law in operation that when the number of animals occupying your life decreased for some reason, that same number of homeless animals would show up on your doorstep.
Earlier this month our horses went to their new home. Leaving a vacancy. My daughter who’s eight, has been begging for her own pet for years now. A kitten, a puppy, a bunny, she’s not picky. Just something furry that’s still a baby. I’ve spent the last several years explaining that babies are a lot of work to take care of, that kittens are nocturnal, dogs can’t be left alone for days and neither can bunnies.
Finally, I decided that if there was a time to add to the family, then this was it. It’s winter break – so she’d be home to bond with the new kid, and could deal with a few sleepless nights. I started looking for kittens. We already have three cats, so I figured kittens would be easier to integrate than an adult cat. The more I researched, the more it said – get two so they can play with each other and not harass the older cats.
We spent an entire day getting supplies – two extra litter boxes, more food bowls, two more cat climbing trees/scratching posts and a cat bed. And maybe a few toys. We spent another entire day baby proofing her room. An amazing feat – the flat surfaces in her room are actually vacant. For the first time in years!
The next day we went to a couple of shelters looking for kittens. At the first one, the kitten we’d seen online – an orange tabby had already been adopted that morning. So we looked at a few cute fuzzies then moved on to another shelter.
Eleven kittens to choose from. It took us an hour or two to narrow the choices down. She loved all of them. It was a fabulous shelter with cats roaming free and an amazing amount of people who dropped in simply to hang out and pet or play with (socialize) all the critters.
So I, who always, always, clip my keys to my purse, had stuck them in my coat pocket because the noise was scaring a couple of the kittens, went out to the truck to get our cat carriers. Left my coat in the truck and my keys on the front seat. In the locked truck. And didn’t realize it until an hour later when I needed to get my checkbook from the truck. I don’t remember EVER locking my keys in any car. EVER.
So, of course this was the day that spousal unit had a two hour dentist appt. At the exact same time I was trying to call him to at least ask for our insurance phone number to call the roadside assistance which is provided free by the policy.
The lovely people at the shelter looked up the number for me and I called, got cut off. When they didn’t call me back (because, of course, inside the shelter I had no bars on my cell), I called again and finally got a body who could look up my policy number and send help.
Problem was – help was an hour and a half away and the shelter closed in half an hour. And baby, it’s cold outside. And it’s 2:30 and neither child or I had eaten since breakfast. And the only food was in the truck. I’m usually much more organized than that, but between getting the latest novel up and Christmas, this year has thrown me for a loop.
So the shelter folks called the gas station down the road (we’re talking rural here) and a guy came up and tried to break into my truck, but my truck is a 2008, too new to do it with his tools. In the meantime we were filling out paperwork, then the shelter folks let us stay a half hour after they closed, while they fed everyone and got ready to go rescue some cats.
The locksmith arrived just as the shelter workers were getting ready to leave and it took awhile, but he got the door open. Unfortunately, we had to leave kittenless. Which was rough on my daughter. So, I did what any lame Mom would do. We had ice cream for lunch on the way home.
And went back the next day to pick up Snowball & Tiger. Although, I call her Tigger, if nothing else, just to annoy my daughter, who at eight, is too old to admit she ever liked Winnie the Pooh.