Saturday evening, my parents, my husband, and myself enjoyed the simplicity of a summertime drive. After an hour of taking in the scenery at 55mph, and stopping for the mandatory ice cream treat [naturally], Mother and I displayed our musical talents.
You see, over the course of the past month, she and I have built up quite the repertoire. She's not always great at remembering the words, and I can't hold a tune to save my life, but really—we're excellent. We roll down the windows of the cruising car and belt it out...watching the Queen Anne's Lace roll over and play dead as we pass their stretch of ditch.
Last night was no exception as we gave our renditions of the theme songs from The Nanny, The Brady Bunch, and The Golden Girls before diving headlong into Annie's "Tomorrow", Rogers and Hammerstein's "Oklahoma!", Herman's Hermits' "Henry the Eighth" and the McCartney/Wonder hit from bygone days, "Ebony and Ivory".
Exhausted by our performance, silence fell as we took stock of our predominately male audience. Dad pulled to the side of the road and attempted to slam his head in the door. Miles, above, swallowed back his nausea.
• He's no Fred...not even close.
• He bites.
• He jumps on counter tops.
• He's kind of ditsy.
• His butt smells like a freshly fertilized field.
• He is fascinated with my bra straps and all other frilly things.
• He's nearly gnawed through my shoelaces.
Friskey, my beloved 9th birthday present, has gotten sloppy. Her litter box has grown too small for her purposes, apparently. It seems she has difficulty maneuvering within the once adequate perimeter. As such, my mother is faced with a daily offering of litter scattered about her floor.
I suggested a larger litter box in January, but many stores don't carry supplies for plus sized cat clientele. So, the deed has gone undone. Meanwhile, my mother has learned to blow smoke from her ears and nostrils.
Finally, a straw crumbled the great camel just this week. Single-minded purpose consumed her mind as she probed the area for butt-worthy boxes. On a wave of frustration and ultimate inspiration, she snatched up an under-the-bed storage container from the stacked fortress of the aisle. Hot pink plastic? Sure, why not.
And so it came to pass, on that meddlesome day, that Friskey, asleep where she lay, awoke to find a new litter box sized for an ox.
Sunday morning sees us off to church with dear Aunt Debbie. We use a service setting that I have recited since the days of my youth, so I know all of it by memory. I spend the six days in between church singing bits and pieces of the hymns. It is not uncommon for me to get a tune stuck in my head, and, being that I am a pop culture reject at the moment (and have been since the death of my mp3 collection), hymns are pretty much...it.
I find that my quiet singing of them unnerves those in company. I get wide eyed looks that say, "You shame me...I just burped," and the like. I saw my father hesitate over the tab on a can of beer on one occasion. My brother, fresh from a shower and wrapped in a towel one evening, rushed by quickly...it's unholy to be naked, I guess.
Mom and I watched Raising Helen this afternoon. In the movie, there is a little girl who needs to learn how to tie her shoes. I looked to Mom and said, "You know, I don't remember learning to tie my shoes."
She looked at me like I just proclaimed that the refrigerator stays cold inside. "We kept you in Velcro." She patted my hand as if to say, "I'm sorry you are such a dimwit," and then returned her attention to the movie.
For 90 minutes we had feigned sleep, but it had not come. Then, out of the stillness, "Ehgh....ehgh....ehgh...ehgh...ehghckh!" It is the sound that every cat owner knows well. I jackknifed up and pushed the tangled hair from my face. Miles was sitting up as well.
"Are you ok?" he asked. He seemed unaware that a furry friend was somewhere getting sick, but perfectly curious of my odd behavior. He hit the lights and grabbed his laptop. "I just can't sleep," he continued when I did not respond. "I'm going to read some websites and then come back to bed, ok?" Had I only imagined the strains of impending hairball? Dare I say anything?
I bit the bullet. "Didn't you hear that?" His expression was blank...classic Miles. "I think a cat just got sick." He hadn't heard a thing, but dutifully checked every corner and crevice with me. We came up empty...there wasn't a parcel of puke to be found! Miles patted my head and nudged me toward the bed.
I pulled the covers to my chin and brooded. Had I been asleep? Is this what my life has come to, this spending of my dreams on feline vomit? Is it natural that I should reach the pinnacle of excitement at 23? I bet it's all downhill from here.
Well, we skipped working out yesterday, because well just life happened, and this morning when it was time to go I was looking for all sorts of reasons to not go. "I have a headache", "I'm still full from breakfast". Captain Laura wouldn't hear of it though, and marched my butt off to work out. Don't tell her this, but I was secretly glad when the workout was done. Thanks hon!
Aunt Brenda and I were driving along the highway. A storm was imminent, if the small licks of lightning were any indication. Brenda, behind the wheel, told me conversationally that she is afraid to drive in storms. Ever since she got caught driving through that near-tornado, she's been [understandably] spooked. She laughed nervously.
She stared straight ahead and cleared her throat. After awhile, she said, "Really, this isn't bad."
"Nope," I replied. "The sky is pretty light."
"Yeah—" and just then, a fearsome flash of electricity caught my eye. It was close, and it was angry.
We've now had two days of decent rainfall. We came home from the gym the first day—my mother responded to our plea for help and chauffeured our sorry tails home. Miles hopped out of the car, ready to start his work for the day. I hopped a bit more exuberantly, having consumed both my cappuccino and finishing off my husband's when he deemed himself in the mood for cooler, less scorching drink.
It was to be a quick stop for me, as I was only removing the sweaty gym clothing from my bag and then heading out to spend the day with my mother. Miles proceeded to the lower level ahead of me. Mom and I spoke about our plans for the day when Miles, the articulate dude in the tower of Babel, grunted desperately, "Um, here, it's uh, you gotta, uh, Hon?" Mom and I looked at each other comically...somewhat like this, I would think.
Thump, thump, thump...
And suddenly Miles was at the top of the stairs, wild-eyed and perhaps drooling. "WATER!"
Mom and I, the logical strands of our threesome, picked our way calmly to the room while Miles followed hunched-backed and limping in a way that would put Quasimodo to shame. Miles was deeply disturbed as Mom assessed the situation. Quick to action, she and I were armed with mildew upholstery wipes, a wet/dry vac, and fabric freshening spray inside of an hour. Damn the woman's good.
We stowed Miles in a room upstairs and hoped the hives would stop emerging if he was away from his angst. This left the ergonomically incorrect, hunched-over work of the wet/dry vac to the females. I spent most of Wednesday in this fashion. I had to take two hot tub breaks because of the Charley horses and, you know, I stood upwrong as opposed to upright. Miles attested that evening, "You could've asked me to help, I would have gladly pitched in!" I patted his hand soothingly and wiped the saliva from his chin. I think my dear husband will be interesting in a delivery room.
But today! Today, with the help of my aunts' super-human-strength dehumidifier yesterday, I can trod upon the carpet without feeling like I am parting the Red Sea! Water no longer spurts up at me and hisses, "Halt! Who goes there?"
Last night, getting ready for bed, I told Miles, "You know, I've never stopped to give thanks for dry carpet before." He laughed nervously and dabbed the corner of his mouth.