Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Stealth Cat

It was obvious that I needed to take my cat Guinness to the vet. I wasn’t sure about Herbie but I thought he should be checked out.

After confirming that the cats were elsewhere, I closed the doors to my bedroom, the study, the TV room, and the guest room. I hauled the cat carriers up from the basement. I enlisted my neighbor to assist in capture and transport.

About half an hour before our appointment, my neighbor, Eldon, arrived and we began the capture process.

Predictably, Herbie was easy. I lifted him into his carrier and closed it.

Now for Guinness. He had run upstairs when Eldon arrived. Since all visitors spook Guinness, Eldon went upstairs to herd him to the first floor. But Guinness was nowhere to be found upstairs. The only open room was the bathroom and Eldon checked behind and in every possible hiding place.

In past searches, Guinness has been found in the laundry room cupboard (the cupboard door doesn’t latch so he paws it open and slips in before it closes). He wasn’t there. Not in the floor level cupboards or the ones above the sink.

So we checked the kitchen cupboards. They don’t latch either. He wasn’t there. We checked the pantry and all its shelves. He wasn't there.

He wasn’t under the couch or in the fireplace nook in the living room. Sometimes the cats slip behind the books in the bookcases. We pushed all the books back. He wasn’t there.

We re-checked the upstairs bathroom – the downstairs bathroom – the kitchen – the pantry – the laundry room. He wasn’t anywhere. We checked again. We even checked the rooms that had had closed doors. He wasn’t there.

Herbie was crying. I let him out of his carrier. We told him to find Guinness but I don’t think he was interested. Anyway, he didn’t.

I called the vet to say that we would be late. I called my Pilates teacher to say I might not make it to class. We re-checked everything. Guinness wasn’t there.

We kept asking ourselves, “How can one cat outsmart two relatively intelligent humans?” We gave up. I offered to make some tea. Eldon helped me hang a picture. I served the tea.

We were sitting at the dining room table sipping tea when there was a resounding thump in the laundry room as Guinness jumped down onto the dryer. He had been inside a cardboard carton on the top shelf in the laundry room.

But now he was out in the open. He dashed toward the stairs. I caught him and, with Eldon’s help, got him into the carrier. Then I retrieved Herbie and put him in his carrier and we went to the vet.

We were only an hour late.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Morning News

In our local paper, the weather, ‘Dear Abby’, Horoscopes and ‘Today in History’ are published on the same page. Always interesting, the history factoids are sometimes amazing.

For example -- on May 5, 1945, six people in Oregon were killed by a Japanese balloon bomb – the only war fatalities on the North American continent.

Beginning in 1944, Japan launched more than 9,000 huge rice paper balloons filled with hydrogen and carrying explosive devices. Transported by the jet stream, these were designed to explode along the west coast causing mass destruction and forest fires. Only about 1,000 reached North America. And only one was deadly.

On May 5, Rev. Archie Mitchell and his pregnant wife Elsie drove up to Orgeon’s Gearhart Mountain with five of their Sunday school students to have a picnic. Elsie and the kids got out of the car to look for a good picnic spot while Archie drove on to find a place to park. The kids spotted the balloon lying on the ground and when they approached it, it exploded, instantly killing Elsie and Dick Patzke, 14; Jay Gifford, 13; Edward Engen, 13; Joan Patzke, 13; and Sherman Shoemaker, 11.

A memorial, the Mitchell Monument, is located at the point of the explosion. Several Japanese civilians have visited the monument to offer their apologies for the deaths that took place there, and several cherry trees have been planted around the monument as a symbol of peace.

Not only are the factoids themselves interesting, the juxtaposition among the factoids is fascinating. On the same day that six people died in Oregon, Denmark and the Netherlands were liberated as a German surrender went into effect. And in 1934, the first Three Stooges short was released.

After listing 'Today's Birthdays', The ‘Today in History’ column always ends with a ‘Thought for Today’. On May 5, it was from Hermann Hesse: “Some of us think holding on makes us strong; but sometimes it is letting go.”