I’m not a person who feels a lot of pain. I hardly ever get a headache, rarely get even a paper cut. At one point in my life, when my biliary duct blocked, the doctor gave me pictures and looked at me sternly and said “You could have died, politely waiting out there in the waiting room. When this happens, come in immediately, show the ER people these photos and tell them you need this blockage cleared immediately.”
That one really did hurt, but I’m not much for groaning and writhing in pain, so I didn’t.
Today was a confluence of events. Yesterday, when the air conditioning people were at our house, all day, configuring and installing the new air conditioning system, the terrified and disoriented Qatari Cat spent the day in the large laundry room, with his cat bed and his food and water, and his litter box. It was a long day, and he was alone, and he could hear loud bumps and thuds, and he could smell strange smells, and hear strange voices. Therefore, when let out, he needed to snuggle, closely, to the one he thinks is his mother, i.e. me.
He curled into my arm and purred and cried about his long day and how scared he had been. He was still snuggling, closer and closer, during the night, as I was trying to sleep. He is a good sleeper, doesn’t move around a lot, but when he is snuggled up against me, it is hard to move. Now and then he will snore, or go into kitty-dream state, legs thrumming along and sub-vocal snarling, which can wake me.
Our normal water aerobics instructor was out, and the substitute was wonderful, but we did more repetitions of high kicks, jacks-crunches, and more high kicks; it was a great workout, different from what we are used to.
We really needed to clean our floors after the air conditioning crew, so AdventureMan took all the carpets outside for a good vacuum front and back while I tackled the tile floors throughout the main level of the house. Some of the grime was ground in, this wasn’t one of those quick swish washes but a lot of stoop and scrape, or hands and knees and scrub kind of jobs. While down close, I also noticed the base boards needed a swab, more bending and stooping.
I still had one appointment to go before I could kick back, and while waiting, I noticed my back was a little uncomfortable. By a little uncomfortable, I mean it had my attention, I couldn’t get comfortable. By the time I got home, it had my undivided attention. I know what works for me, back when I had a reaction to a root canal, I discovered Aleve, so I had some on hand.
When I went to take one, I saw this great big capsule. I remembered tiny little blue tablets, sort of ovoid, but I guess I had just grabbed whatever I saw and it happened to be a capsule. Swallowed the capsule.
There is a reason I don’t like taking medicines, and that reason is that because I don’t take a lot of medications, when I do, I can tell. It takes the edge off. I feel slow. I feel a little loopy. I feel tired. And then, by the grace of God, in an hour or so, I feel no pain in my back.
It wasn’t a bad day, just a day with some unexpected conditions. Scrubbing floors is not my favorite thing. In Kuwait and in Doha I had wonderful women who kept my floors sand-free, and sparkling clean. As I clean my floors, I found myself remembering them fondly.
AdventureMan popped his head in the door to tell me how much he likes vacuuming the carpets outdoors, where he can see the intricacies of the patterns. He can see I am grumpy. “I don’t really like cleaning floors!” I grump.
“Let’s hire someone to do it for us!” he responds, and my day suddenly looks a lot brighter. :-)
You’ve seen photos of Baby in the food dish, and Baby by the garage door. I opened the door into summer for the Qatari Cat, just the door, and propped the screen door tightly shut so QC could watch the birds and squirrels from the safety of the house.
In Qatar, when he was young and strong, he actually knocked a screen off and escaped. When we replaced the screen, he scratched a long rent in the screening and escaped again. He had a tree he would run for, and once on the wall – he was king of the roost. Only cheese or sardines would get him back again, and it could take hours just to find him before we could tempt and capture him.
Now, he is more content to be an indoor cat. At least, content most of the time. There are times he leaves a message telling us he still yearns to chase a squirrel or two . . .
While I was cleaning the kitchen and waiting for the last batch of cookies to bake, I whipped up a batch of corn bread for AdventureMan – no use in wasting a hot oven! It is a perfect, cold day in Pensacola. Perfect I say, because it really really is NOT fun baking Christmas cookies – or anything else – in a hot, humid kitchen. How did our grandmother’s and great great’s do it, especially in those voluminous dresses and no air conditioning??
The secret to truly great cornbread is to cook it in a cast iron skillet. You put the skillet in the oven until it is very hot, you take it out (using a pot holder, of course), melt a little butter in the pan, then pour the batter in. It will sizzle, and form a delicious crust. Pop the skillet back into the oven and in 22 minutes (at 425°F) your cornbread will be finished, with a toasty crust. If you want to guild the lily, you can swirl a pat of butter over the top, too.
AdventureMan dunks his corn bread in a glass of milk, which I find totally disgusting, but reminds him of when he was a little boy. It’s just a custom, I know, but I can’t look.
We have a pot of chili brewing, with the last of our home grown tomatoes:
The Qatari Cat is following AdventureMan around, telling him to lie down so they can take a snooze together . . . I think it worked. I can hear them both sleeping . . .
AdventureMan looked at the map. We had thought we would stop somewhere in Louisiana today, spend the night, but . . . you get this close, and with just a little effort, we could be home. We could pick up the Qatari Cat. We could have dinner with our son and his wife and our sweet little grandson . . .
We smile at each other, and head home.
We stop for gas in Jackson, Mississippi, and find a family run BBQ nearby, where lunch is quick, and delicious, and we are back on the road in no time. Traffic runs our way, we zip through Mobile before rush traffic clogs the tunnel, and head straight to the cat hotel to pick up the Qatari cat. He is So glad to see us. :-)
And so is the Happy Toddler.
Winter in Pensacola is mercurial, one minute the temperatures are in the seventies, and the next minute we are covering our more fragile plantings and hoping they make it through the freeze. This year we had hibiscus blooming that has suffered from the winter two winters ago, a very cold winter, and we weren’t sure they would survive – for two years!
When the temperatures go down, the Qatari Cat begs to go out into the garage (he remembers it is a very warm place) but two minutes later he is saying “I made a big mistake! Let me in!”
Last year we bought an electric bed for him. It doesn’t get really warm, not as warm as a heating pad, but it gets warm enough that he thinks it is heaven. He could stay in the bed just about all day, rolling around so that every part of him gets some of the warmth some of the time. He doesn’t leave it much except to eat.
I keep it in my office, at my feet. He dreams, snorts, shudders, moans and growls, and nothing I do bothers him in the least. He has found his happy place. :-)
“What a dumb cat!” AdventureMan says. “Every morning, he goes to the door and says ‘MEOW! Let me out!’ I NEVER let him out, but he goes to the door every morning and does the same thing!”
The Qatari cat sighs.
“I know he’s not stupid . . . ” he thinks, “I patiently go to the door every morning to let him know I want to go out. One of these days he is going to get it! I know it! One of these days he will understand, and let me out! All I have to do is to get him to understand just once, and then I will be OUTSIDE!”
Who knows what a cat is thinking? This morning, I found the Qatari Cat’s baby by my side of the bed. Sometimes I find him at the foot of the stairs. Never in the Qatari Cat’s chair. But when we came home, I saw this:
Before I left, my bible study group promised to pray for me, for safe travel, and for travel mercies.
What are travel mercies? Travel mercies are blessings you don’t even know you need, small interventions that make a big difference. So many times on this trip to Kuwait, I smiled, thinking “I know my friends are praying for me,” I could feel the travel mercies.
The trip down to the Mubarakiyya for dinner – a serious travel mercy. It wasn’t a life or death thing, and I didn’t even dare to bring it up, AdventureMan was so busy. And yet, we got there, we had a wonderful dinner with friends, we got to see the lights of the Seif Palace. Oh Wow, and thank you, Lord, for these blessings, these unexpected mercies.
Our trip home was flawless. Flights on time, and although we were on a flight I don’t usually like, it was fine. Sometimes on this late-night flight you’ll get a blow-hard or two, guys that want to drink and share all their insights and knowledge in a loud voice, long into the flight, when everyone else wants to sleep. Not this time. :-) This flight was quiet, even the babies were quiet. Everyone slept. And slept. And slept. Perfect travel mercy.
Schlepping through immigration and customs was about as painless as it can be, given that it is a pain-in-the-neck. More travel mercies, the kind you can fail to even notice – unless these little things go wrong, so terribly wrong.
“Welcome home,” our immigrations guy said cheerfully. We grinned. It is good to be back.
We got into Pensacola with enough time to run out to We Tuck ‘Em Inn to pick up the Qatteri Cat, who let us know how annoyed he was to be left behind. We knew – from experience – that dealing with his annoyance was waaaaayyyy better than dealing with a traumatized cat at the end of those brutal flights. He is in great condition, maybe a little bored, but happy, and his fur is clean. Mercy. Merci.
Home again, home again. Our son and his wife had left AdventureMan’s car at the airport for us, and had left a delicious chile, vegetables and dip, and apples in our refrigerator for us, such a loving welcome home. We were able to drop by and hug the Happy Baby before he shut down for the night. All is well. Infinite mercies.
By the Grace of God, and in his mercy. I thank God for my believer-sisters, whatever their faiths, that keep me wealthy in travel mercies.
I had to take the Qatteri Cat to a boarding facility today, and I had a really hard time with it. First, when I got home, he was all stretched out in his heated bed. I had unplugged it earlier, and I had not filled his bowl at noon, and I figured the combination of hunger and not-warm bed would encourage him to come downstairs, where I waited for him with his cage. I had brought the carrying cage out several days ago, because he always freaks out when he sees it, so I leave it out until he gets so he can walk past it without running.
But this time, I kept going upstairs to check on him, and even though his bed was no longer heated, he just kept stretching and turning over.
Finally, I took his bird/stick toy, and teased him a little, at which point he was wide awake, and chased me merrily down the stairs and around the house until we got to the cage, where I scooped him up and popped him in.
As we drove to the inn, he complained a little, but he was lying down in the cage and looked pretty relaxed. I had a big pit in my stomach. I felt bad about tricking him out of his bed and turning his toy into a manipulation to get him into the cage. I know, I know, I am over-thinking this and feeling bad over not much.
So we get to the inn, and QC goes right into his upper berth, a two room suite with a special covered area for his litter. He steps right out of the carry-cage and into his room, and doesn’t even look back. We fill his dish with lunch, and shut the door. The tech brings out the kitty-treats and QC’s eyes light up.
I don’t know which was worse, feeling bad about bringing him to the boarding place, or feeling bad because QC didn’t appear to mind it that much, LOL.