Fat Cats

I forgot cats existed. I also forgot mosquitos existed but that’s another story. The outcome of forgetting mosquitos existed when I moved to Texas was disastrous. Not quite so bad with cats. In daily life in Arizona, if you don’t have cats of your own, you would never see a cat. There is no such thing as “outdoor” cats in Arizona because of “outdoor” coyotes. An outdoor cat would quickly be lunch for an outdoor coyote. So I hadn’t seen a cat for something like 15 years.

I really like cats but I could never have one because one, my husband is allergic and two, we always have big dogs. Even if you think the dogs get used to a cat and accept them as a family member, bad things can happen abruptly. Years can go by and you think everything is splendid between the dogs and the cat and then when you are not home, some instinct in the dog kicks in and you get home and no more cat. I’ve seen it happen. No cats for us.

One of my favorite cats of all time was my brother Sean’s cat, Gracie. She was adorable. Gracie was also one fat cat. In fact, she was the second fattest cat I’ve ever seen. The first fattest cat I’ve ever seen was in Venice, Italy and coincidentally when I saw this fattest cat, I was traveling with Sean before we both got married. Speaking of married, that trip had it’s strange aspects because at that time, 20 some odd years ago, we had the same last name and when we were checking into little, inexpensive B&B’s suggested by Sean’s “Let’s Go!” guide, Inn keepers assumed we were married and I ended up sleeping in the same bed with my brother way too many times. But yes, there was a cat in Venice who was fatter than Gracie living with a woman who made masks.


Sean was very defensive about anyone calling his cat fat. “She’s fluffy,” he would say. “Fluffy kitty,” he would say to her affectionately in baby talk. I guess we were all supposed to take the bait and go into denial about how fat that cat was, which we cooperatively did.

Anyway, my dog Troy, a one hundred pound Golden Retriever whom we suspect has hound dog in him had never seen a cat until we moved to Texas. There is one who must be a neighbor because I see it gallivanting around my house frequently. That cat is not fat and it’s new favorite pastime is to terrorize Troy. I have a high to low window in my home office that looks out to the front yard. More than once I’ve heard Troy violently barking in my office and have come running in to see him jumping up and down while that cat sits outside the window preening and glancing in at Troy while he goes berserk. While that cat might not be fat, I suspect it is smart. That cat is never around when Troy is outside.


I Have An Attic?

I was so busy preparing for our move from Scottsdale and my husband Steve was swamped in his new position with Prime Lending in Dallas that we had to buy a house and buy it quickly. I flew out to join him here and we did it in one day. The realtor had only a few houses lined up to show us after I nixed anything over 5000 square feet. Steve wanted a new build and it’s hard to find one smaller than that in the neighborhoods we liked. So, we have a brand new, gorgeous 4800 square foot house and it’s considered modest by Dallas’ standards. The media room is so big my mom said we should put in an ice skating rink. Then later when she heard through the grapevine I really wanted an elephant she said, “Perfect! They have room for it!”

The move was beyond stressful, nervous breakdown kind of stressful. The culture shock was beyond belief and I found myself completely disoriented. Steve was working long hours and traveling so I was mostly alone dealing with dogs sick as dogs, me sick as dogs, me with 18 mosquito bites and allergies so bad I was positive I had lung cancer. Then there were the projects I was overseeing; building a pool, installing landscaping, removing a rotted out 60 foot Red Oak tree from our front yard and grinding out the roots (I decided to save money and did that one myself), planning interior design and getting the technology in the house orchestrated which, as everyone knows, is rocket science these days.


There I am taking that pesky, rotten tree down.

Anyway, one day this guy was here; I can’t remember what he was doing but it had something to do with paint.
“Where is the leftover paint?” he asked me.
“There isn’t any,” I said. “They didn’t leave extra paint, extra tiles, nothing!”
“That would be very unusual,” he said.
“I know,” I said, “I’ve owned a lot of houses and there’s always extra paint and tile. But I’ve been all through the garage and there is nothing there!”
“It wouldn’t be in the garage”, he said, “It would be in the attic.”
“I don’t have an attic,” I said.
“Yes you do,” he said, “All newer homes have attics.”
“No they don’t!” I demanded. “I’ve had several newer homes over the years and none of them have ever had attics!”

You’d think after living in the house for over two weeks I would have noticed a pull cord hanging a quarter of the way down between the ceiling and the floor from a trap door in the upstairs hallway. But I didn’t.