Friday, December 13, 2013


Don’t saw “Awwww”yet. This is a photo of our new kitten, Max. He is half Manx and half Siamese and all mischief. Okay, so he's sweet and cuddly most of the time. But let me tell you what he did to me a few days ago.

Max asleep in my favorite family room chair.

We live in a home with a sliding glass door from the family room to the patio. The previous owners had left a cut off broomstick they used in the runner for the door, and also a standard pin at the top to prevent the door being opened by a burglar. Sort of like a belt and suspenders. ☺ Plus they had a burglar alarm.

Hero had gone fishing for a much needed break. That meant that I was relegated to taking our dog for a walk in the backyard. Hero usually does this as I have that wonky ankle that causes me to sometimes fall on uneven ground. We have no fence on two sides, so little Webster has to be walked on a leash.

Now I don’t want to alarm readers, but writers sometimes work in jammies or clothes that should have long ago hit the rag bag. On this day I happen to be planning to clean the showers, so I was wearing my comfy Liz Claiborne knit pants that have bleach and other mysterious stains on them. They are old, but unbelievably comfortable and warm. That Liz knows her clothing business.

I also have horrid, fine hair with a cowlick. Until I shampoo and dry my hair, I wake up looking like Lyle Lovett on a bad hair day. By the way, I love Lyle, so don’t think I’m slamming him! But picture Lyle with highlighted hair, chubby cheeks and glasses. Scary, right? That’s how I looked this fateful day.

Just for good measure, I grabbed my husband’s sweatshirt before I went out with Webster. We took a quick tour of the back yard and came back. Uh oh! The door was locked. Inside, looking sweet as can be through the glass, stood Max. From this point forward, Max will be referred to as Max the Menace. 

Yes, even without opposable thumbs, Max the Menace had rolled the broomstick into the groove, blocking the door from openig.

There I stood with no phone, no keys, and no way to get inside my house. I sat down in a patio rocker, but decided it was simply too long to wait for Hero’s return. I went next door to one of the few neighbors I’d met since we moved here. She wasn’t home. Her yard man had just finished, so I borrowed his phone. Darling Daughter 2 wasn’t home and I couldn’t remember her cell phone number or Hero’s. I have them in my cell phone and depend on that to contact them. Wrong, so wrong and did I ever feel stupid.

I trudged across the street to a neighbor who had phoned me to introduce herself. Oh, man, she turned out to be a very, very formal person. She invited me in, but I explained I had Webster. She told me to bring him. As I sat down to use her phone, she mentioned that her family visitors over Thanksgiving had to use crates for their dogs because she simply couldn’t have dogs wandering through the house. Webster’s a good dog, but I shortened his leash so he couldn’t move more than two feet from me. Our daughter still wasn’t home, so I left another couple of messages.

This woman looked as if she were from a magazine ad for the perfectly groomed grandmother. Jeans, yes, but starched and pressed with a knife-sharp crease down the front. After a few minutes, with a sniff toward my personal hairstyle (or lack of one), she mentioned that she had a hairdresser’s appointment. Her hair looked perfect to me. I really wanted to disappear into the floor, but I thanked her and trudged back home to wait on my patio until help arrived in the form of Hero or our daughter.

By this time, the sun had come out so I was not uncomfortable. Max came to the door several times to check on us. Or maybe he was laughing at us. I may have mentioned that I love our back yard. Lots of large trees, birds, squirrels, and butterflies entertained me in a park-like setting. Plus, writers always have their characters with them and can use down time plotting a book. In fact, we immerse ourselves in our stories and lose touch with the real world around us. I enjoyed the day so much that I didn’t hear the sound of Hero and Darling Daughter 2 driving up out front.

Max the Menace snoozing in Hero's lap.
Animals always love Hero. (So do I.)

Eventually, DD2 looked out the door and said, “Dad, here she is,” as she opened the door. Webster and I went inside. 

Hero was frantic. “Where were you?” he asked, which I thought a somewhat odd question considering my plight.

I gestured to the patio. “Right there.”

"We've been looking everywhere for you."

Turns out they had arrived at the same time and DD2 went to the neighbors while Hero checked the house. He had looked through the house twice, apparently forgetting I. Was. Locked. Out!

“Didn’t you notice Webster wasn’t in the house?” I asked.

Hero said, “I wasn’t looking for him, I was looking for you.” Okay, he was a bit overexcited. Frenzied, maybe.

When Hero is worried about me or our daughters, he is like a steam roller. No, in this instance he’s not like James Taylor’s version of a steam roller. More like a speeding locomotive heading onto the downed bridge and dropping into the gorge below. Hero was convinced I had fallen or some other mishap had kept me from home. As if being locked out wasn't mishap enough.

He also insisted I was irresponsible for leaving the house without my keys and cell phone. I'll give him that one.

But one week later, guess what happened? Yep, Max the Menace struck again. Hero was locked out, but by this time the weather was frigid and he hadn’t taken the precaution of a sweatshirt. Fortunately, I was home and let him in. 

Did I say “I told you so”? I might have mentioned the words "irresponsible," "car keys," and "cell phone." I most certainly gave him “The Look.” You know the power "The Look" carries, right?

Max the Menace wondering what all the fuss was about.
After all, he was fine.
Broomstick is visible on floor right.

Thanks for stopping by!


Stephanie Suesan Smith, Ph.D. said...

I met Max and agree he is sweet, but watching him try to climb Caroline like a tree to get to the table suggests he will always be a menace!

Susan Horsnell said...

At least he will provide you with plenty of excitement, Caroline. He looks and sounds adorable.

Meg said...

OH MAN!!! wish I'd known about this - I'd have put it into SANTA CLAWS to add to the fun! LOLOL - Max is adorable but he could also be called Mischievous Max. What a character! Nice chair, too. :-D

BrendaC said...

Ok. You could have called me. I'm in the phone book and yes they still deliver them. Also, I learned long ago to hide a key outside. Silly human.