And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair. ~ Kahlil Gibran

Monday, September 01, 2008

My Heart Just Can't Take This

Well, I worked the awake overnight shift last night. On the way home from work, I stopped off at my folks' place to pick up the 5 (yes, that is 5) grocery bags full of tomatoes that my Dad picked for me. I headed out to the garden and picked cabbage (5, I think), jalapeno peppers, green and red bell peppers, a few onions, and a couple potatoes. Quite the haul for a seriously neglected garden, if you ask me.

Mom came with me to Barefoot Manor and watched the Sprouts while I whipped up fresh salsa, tomato~basil salad, baked cabbage, and prepped to make hobo meals (venison hamb, potatoes, onions, carrots all wrapped up in foil and grilled/baked/cooked on an open fire). It was a BLAST! I had so much fun putting together that meal! We had corn and venison wieners, chips and dip, I don't even remember it all.

We had quite the crowd by the time the food was already. Mr. Barefoot's Mom, Sister and BIL, Cousin, DD, and Grand~Sprout came, as did my folks and Bro. Everyone ate massive amounts of food and had a great time visiting. I was tired and a little cranky, but it was so worth it to have the whole family hanging out at MY HOUSE.

At about 3pm, Mom and I headed off to pick up.....dun~duh~DAH! our new cat!!!! I was so excited to finally be able to bring home a pet. Callie (the cat) is a very pretty calico that I have been told is very cuddly and sweet. After chit~chatting with her former owners for a bit, we headed back to my folks' place to drop Mom off before taking Callie to her new home.

Poor Callie cried almost the whole way home. She really did not like the car ride, and I felt so bad for her. Excitement mounted as I neared Barefoot Manor. I could hardly wait to see the joy in the Sprouts' faces when they saw our new kitty. The pet~less years of apt living had been hard on all of us, and I knew that the addition of this frightened little bundle of fur would make our house a true home. Visions of sitting in my comfy chair with a cuddly cat in my lap danced through my head, taking turns with warm fuzzy thoughts of how happy it would make Big Sprout if Callie decided to sleep in bed with her.

When I brought Callie into the house, I set the carrier down in the middle of the living room and opened the door so that she could get out. I expected her to be shy, but she hopped right out and began exploring her new surroundings. I had warned Big Sprout that when Callie arrived she might not feel like socializing. In order to distract Big Sprout, I enlisted her to help with the unloading of all the cat accessories that Callie's former owners had sent with her.

About 15 minutes went by while I set everything up for the new cat, and when I looked around I didn't see her. I figured she was just hiding somewhere, but started looking for her so that I could keep an eye on her to see how she was adjusting.

I couldn't find the cat.

Really, I couldn't find the cat.


I started in the basement, knowing that the basement had the best hiding places for a nervous feline. I slowly worked my way up through the main level of the house and all the way to Big Sprout's bedroom which was the only room with an open door on the second floor. As I was checking in Big Sprout's playroom, I noticed the window was open. No problem, I thought, there is a storm window in place. Upon further inspection, however, I noticed that the bottom of the storm window had come free of the window and the entire thing was literally blowing in the breeze.

Oh, no! Could the cat have gotten out onto the roof? Where in the world could it be?! At this point I started to panic. Big Sprout ran outside to get a look at the roof, and I ran downstairs to let Mr. Barefoot know that the cat was apparently missing. We all looked everywhere. In the bathrooms, in the cupboards, under furniture....basically any place that looked like a cat could fit we checked. At some point during all this, Little Sprout woke from her (late and too short) nap and began crying. I checked on her and, finding no blood or broken bones, cheerfully shut her back in her room with some toys while the search continued. The sounds of her indignant screams echoed through the house, causing even more anxiety.

Soon, we moved our search outside. Big Sprout took her bike around the block, looking for any sign of our fat little cat. I ran up and down the street and through neighbor's yards in my bare feet hoping for any glimpse of her. Mr. Barefoot wandered the yard and the house searching. I was near tears.

How, oh, how could I let this woman (a friend of my mother's) know that I had lost the cat that she cried over when she gave it up to me within an hour of getting it into it's new home?! What would she think of me? What was I going to do? The cat is totally de~clawed, so there was no hope that she would be able to hunt or defend herself. Did the cat (Incredible Journey style) begin the long trek back to her former home?

I kept telling myself that this was a fat cat. One obviously used to a comfortable life and lots of spoiling. The likelihood that she would go very far or be gone for very long was slim. Things would be fine. We would find her.

But I didn't believe it.

I was heartbroken.

Big Sprout, in a last ditch effort to coax the cat back to our loving arms, decided to take a double handful of cat food out into the yard and call for her. Mr. Barefoot and I went to the living room to discuss the next step in our cat recovery efforts.

Mr. Barefoot, in a moment of pure genius, decided to rock our couch a bit. We had looked under and behind it already and seen nothing (the sofa is really low to the ground), but when he did that, the cat came out from behind the couch and stood in the middle of the living room looking for all the world like she couldn't figure out what was wrong with us humans that we were rushing around so.

Sweet relief! I called in Big Sprout, Mr. Barefoot rescued Little Sprout (who never did get over being cranky), and Callie decided that we were all nuts and went back behind the couch.

I think Callie is too nice of a name for a cat that could carelessly cause so much concern. Her new name?

That Damn Cat.


Deb said...

Barefoot, we had EXACTLY the same experience with a Siamese kitten we brought home when we lived in a way too big rental house in Missouri. WE brought the damn thing home, then didn't see it for two days. We finally brought in our Brittany, who pointed it behind some boards in the basement. A week later, it came upstairs and started cuddling with me in bed.

You should have told me you needed a cat! We've got thousands here! :)

Thomas said...

Sounds like a good haul from the garden. I just tore out my spring tomato plants and put in four new ones for the fall.

As for the cat, I am dog person. Just so you know.


barefoot gardener said...

Isn't it terrifying to not be able to find your BRAND NEW pet?!

To tell the truth, I never thought about asking you for a mom knew I was going to want one when we moved, and started looking for one before we even knew our offer would be accepted for this house. Next thing I knew, she had found That Damn Cat and set it all up for us to pick her up as soon as we were settled. My head is still spinning a little! ;0)

I like dogs, too, and hope to get one this coming spring. I just like cats because they are so aloof and independent. They make you work for it a bit more than a dog, I think. Still, I am very much looking forward to getting a dog and making our little barefoot family truly complete.