Sunday, February 3, 2013


My little helper.  His name is Eddie.  I use the term "helper" very loosely.  Not sure that we have a shared vision of his antics. I'm sure he really thinks he is helping me.  He is confused by the stress he causes.  He's often referred to as Eddie-No-No.  How Eddie came to be a part of family is an interesting story.

We had a cat, Otis, that we had saved from under a porch in our former neighborhood. We had an old cat named Milo when we found Otis was it the perfect name to round out our duo.  We lost Milo six years ago but Otis kept going strong. Until in the fall of 2011 when we noticed that Otis was suffering from some stomach issues.  He would walk backwards when he was hurting.  The vet gave us remedies but the little guy would hurt so badly. We knew that our time with him was running out. 

While getting ready for our October art show in 2011, Otis snuck out the front door.  He had done this before and he'd stay out a few minutes and return to us.  He had even stayed out over night with other alley cats partying it up a time or two.  When we came home from the show we were exhausted.  We woke in the morning, put food in the animals' bowls and rehashed the evening.  As we poured our second cups of coffee, we knew something was wrong.  We started calling for Otis.  And calling. And calling.  Calls became panicked shouts and we realized he was in none of his normal hiding spots in the house and not waiting for us on the porch.  Thanks to FaceBook the news spread to our friends and we had search party in full swing within a few minutes.  We looked everywhere. We had people in cars, on foot, on bikes, running around, talking to neighbors and there was no sign of our little guy.  They say that tom-cats go away when their time comes because they are born free and that's how they want to go.  That wasn't much help when multiple friends told us this. We continued to look.  By November we had decided that we didn't need to go out everyday before and after work to search for him.  We didn't stop looking when we would drive around. We even stopped one day in December when we thought we saw him.  We never did find him.

With two dogs, one of which has developed seizures and requires a lot of attention and stability in her life, I say she's a bit autistic and being a teacher that makes sense to me with how to take the best care of her, we decided NO MORE CATS...for awhile.  We should have shared this revelation with our family.  Well, particularly, our brother and nieces.  And we should have done so before Christmas!

I don't know about you but holidays can be stressful. Ha. I'm trying to be nice.  Holidays ARE stressful.  I have a bit of perfectionist in me and it has taken me ten years to find the perfect balance for hosting a "perfect" Christmas.  I had snacks ready for the early comers. I had plans for roast and chicken and enough sides that even the pickiest eater in our family could be happy.  The cookie plates were adorable. I was well-enough rested and had eaten breakfast and drank the perfect amount of coffee.  As I turned to my Emily and said, "We are so ready this year," I should have knocked on wood. 

Her mom came in with a bag of what I was content to keep a mystery to myself.  Emily took the bag and I knew she could handle the last minute addition to dinner, the final gift that needed wrapped, a casserole to throw together, a stocking to stuff.  I got drinks for the family and got the littlest niece busy with a job I had kept just for her as the family came. Another part of my perfect plan!

More family streamed in the house.  We've got this.  {Where was that wood I needed to be knocking on?!}  Someone else knocked. Why were they knocking? I walked towards the front door to see Emily opening it and a little kitten being placed in her arms.  What is this? What?! A kitten for Christmas?! I had thrown out the litter pans. We had no cat food let alone kitten food. And it's Christmas Day.  Okay.  Okay....then the littlest niece says, "Don't you just love him Aunt Mandy?" Well.  I adore her so of course I hugged her and thanked her. I then did ask if she wanted him to stay at her house to which she said she already had two dogs. I excused myself to the kitchen.

I reemerged with an extra strong Dirty Shirley {that's a Shirley Temple with vodka and today it had some extra vodka} and a smile.  Emily was already smitten with the kitten. She'd have a thousand animals if I wasn't careful.  Eddie fit into the palm of our hand.  I think Emily held him until he no longer fit into the palm of her hand.

Over a year later Eddie is growing on me.  Or I'm getting used to his antics.  He steals my paintbrushes. He rubs against my artwork and attacks my hands while I type.    Eddie eats bread that's on the counter- he tears the bag open and shares to loaf with the dogs.  Randomly we hear crashes from other rooms and later find he has knocked over things in my studio or off the stove or from the counter.  Water glasses are Eddie's. All of them! He sticks his head into your coffee cup for a sip.  Beer isn't safe on a table as he'll help himself.  Eddie drives the autistic doggie crazy as he has his own agenda and schedule.  When I get really frustrated I do remind him that I didn't invite him to live here.

But then he stretches up my leg or jumps into my lap. He's soft.  And cuddly.  His purr is pretty relaxing. Somehow those five minute increments of love each day balance out the antics! I tell him during those times that I guess he can stay.

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