How are you? Fine, I hope. I just feel like writing you a letter this morning. Not beeped, texted, smartphoned, or IPadded. I know it’s still electronic, but, hey, you can’t have everything, right? I woke up at a quarter to five this morning and Mike came padding in not long after. This would have horrified us a few years ago.
I filled the kettle and set the dial on “high”, dropped tea bags in two cups and waited for the little pouted pot to scream for mercy. Even then I wait a few seconds. I like my tea and coffee scalding. My dad used to say that sister Katie and I liked it boiled twice. Whatever. I was saved from homicide that time somebody sued McDonald’s because the coffee was too hot. The saving grace was I didn’t know her name.
While the kettle was taking a deep breath prior to screeching, our quartet of outdoor cats started demanding to be fed. The deck has sliding glass doors through which we can observe their entreaties. And if we don’t observe them fast enough to suit them, we have a sliding screen door that still has a few tatters of mesh left. So they set up a stringed quartet loud enough to compete with the kettle, though the notes were not quite as harmonious. Just enough heavy metal sound to set your teeth on edge.
Mike usually feeds them, not because it’s anyone’s particular job, but because he likes to. Those kittens we didn’t ask for would have been wild as a hare by now if he didn’t coax and pet and sweet-talk them. Even got one doing tricks. But this morning he was ensconced on the couch pulling up the internet and condescended to let me serve the little darlings.
Not knowing I was walking into a trap, I slid the door open and walked face-first through a spider web, which proceeded to bond with my hair and glasses as my own high-pitched symphony joined theirs and the tea kettle’s. Mike didn’t bat an eyelash as he sang out from the living room that famous line from “Phantom of the Opera” — KEEP YOUR HAND AT THE Lev-EL OF YOUR EYES”. How can anybody be that sharp before six in the morning.
This reminded me of another spider web incident a few years back when we had possum problems. They loved cat food, too. So Mike had to thin the population a little. One dark night he walked out on the porch to pop one. But Mr. Possum didn’t wait around to see what he was up to. He promptly climbed the tree next to the deck, his strange little alien eyes gleaming. Since I was between books and there was nothing on TV, I decided that possum popping was a good enough spectator sport, and I wanted to see if the old man still had the old eagle eye.
As Mike was lining up his shot, I got out of the way, creeping over to the dark side of the deck — where I ran face-first into a spider web that stretched from one side of the porch to the other. I thought at first I was blind and that I had broken my glasses. All this went through my mind as I was whirling and screaming like a dervish in my winterized nightgown with sweet little bunny rabbits on it. (A gift from sister Kate). By the time I got through whirling and screaming, my whole body was wrapped up like a mummy in spider silk. When I finally got my glasses cleaned off I was able to see that both hunter and possum had called a truce long enough to gape in wonder in my direction. I could swear they both then looked at each other with a “that’s a woman for ya” grin on their faces. They bonded. And Mike shot him. THEN he came to release me from my mummy webbing. Tck. Tck. Tck. Priorities.
The morning sped past hot tea and early news to laundry time. Sigh. I had to collect clothes hangers from the closet to transfer to the washer/dryer where Mike had rigged a stout hinged pole. It swings out so I can conveniently hang up the laundry. But clothes hangers defy me. They defeat me. They fight me at every turn. They snag on everything I pass. They entwine in a chaos of complicated hooked madness like a snarl of snakes and resist my every effort to set them straight. I think they’re aliens from another planet who hook up with our socks and transport them to another dimension, there to dissect and experiment on them. Anyway, that’s as good an explanation as any. Maaabe, that’s why white socks sometimes come out blue or pink . . . reckon? Who knows.
Anyway, it’s been nice chatting with you. Come have a cuppa tea. I can put the kettle on. The spider webs are gone, the cats are fed, the bed is made, the kitchen cleaned, the laundry done, and the clothes hangers are finally subdued and hanging meekly in the closet. I’m free for the moment.