I’m not even referring to myself. I’m referring to my cat.
In this mess. Where I live is in the middle of Snow-mageddon. According to National Public Radio, I am currently experiencing the worst storm in one hundred years. In Germany, this would be nothing. Sure, maybe some of the railroads might be shut down, but, in the end, the Germans would merely dig out and keep on rolling. It’s normal. It’s life.
But, for where I am, this is the worst storm in one hundred years and my cat, who is an indoor-outdoor cat, was outside in the middle of it.
In the winter, Ugly-Cat (yes that’s her name, feel free to judge me. I at least try to make it better for her by nicknaming her “Pretty Girl) spends as much time indoors as possible. She’s pretty good about telling us when she needs to go outside, even going so far as walking up my body and gently patting me on the face to let me know that the biological clock is ticking and I have a limited amount of time before my carpet is turned into a kitty-litter-box.
I have launched out of my warm bed to make sure I comply with her requests.
Today, the various weather stations were saying something about one to three inches of snow accumulation. Apparently, they must have been thinking about something other than inches because I know that well over three inches have accumulated over the day. My son and I scraped the front porch this morning so Loki (who is really old and aching because of the cold weather) could go up and down the porch steps without falling.
Within an hour, we had over an inch of snow. And that was this morning.
So, Ugly-Cat did the loud meow by the front door. Time to go out she was telling us. I was upstairs, grading papers and could hear her. I shouted to the Boy and the Girl, telling them to let out the cat. They complied.
Video games were turned on. The Girl played on her iPad and I continued to grade Hamlet papers and Doll House questions with Parks and Rec playing in the background.
All was quiet and wonderful.
Currently, I am wearing fleece pajamas while sitting in my bed. I have the flannel sheets not the bed. And then a comforter. And a fleece blanket. And a crocheted blanket. I have plenty of layers.
Add on to that my computer and I have a very warm lap. No frozen digits in my room.
The oven beeped, telling me that dinner was cooked. The sun had set and everything took on an additional sense of frigidity and everything was good. I went downstairs, realizing that my room was empty of my kitty-companion (Ugly likes to hang out in my room and on my bed).
“Is the cat out?” I asked the Boy and Girl.
They confirmed my suspicion so I opened the front door and called out to her.
“Key-Key,” I shriek in a high-pitched voice that my husband hates.
“Kitty kitty kitty,” I say a little more clearly.
Concerned, I shut the door, call the kids to dinner. The Boy has a friend over, so I gave him the option to eat later (after his friend kindly declined dinner). The Girl and I slather butter all over our baked potatoes, forked warmed pork roast on to our plates.
Everything for me, at this point, is defined by the stages of warmth that it can provide for me. Everything at this point is nothing more than comfort and heat because outside is treacherous. A friend of mine whose husband is a police officer told me that her husband won’t come home until the end of his shift.
It’s too dangerous to drive from headquarters to home, not when his department is about an hour from the house. He even packed camping equipment for the other officers in case they had to sleep in the garage at headquarters.
Yes, it’s that bad. It’s that cold.
As I was heading back upstairs, I opened the front door.
I ate dinner quickly, didn’t bother savoring the food. My dinner prayer was one request…”bring my cat back home.”
I checked the front door again.
I found the cat’s food bowl, opened the door, and rattled the food around so that the cat could hear she had food waiting for her.
Called for her.
The only sound responding to my calls was the wind howling around the edge of the house. I can literally hear my house creaking as it shifts and seems to bend beneath the weight of the wind. Every now and then, the snow will hit the window with a little more ferocity and it’s nothing more than tiny crackles of sound bouncing off of the glass.
It’s just cold and cold and cold some more and somewhere, outside in it, my cat was sitting somewhere, cold and miserable. And nothing was bringing her home.
I prayed. For my cat. I know that many people might turn up their noses and think that I’m being stupid for praying for my cat. That’s fine. I’m used to being judged. I have to admit, as I have been writing this blog, all I can think about are the people who don’t have anyone calling for them, the homeless people whose lives are spent on heating vents.
Eventually, after thirty minutes, I opened the front door and Ugly-Cat was sitting right in front of the glass door, waiting for me to let her in. She darted up the stairs and I jogged after her, joyfully exultant that my cat had come home.
She jumped on my bed. I fetched a towel and gently rubbed off the clinging snowflakes, tried hard to hug a cat who thought I was assaulting her and was growling at me.
It’s hard to hug a cat who thinks I’m assaulting her. Growls turn into extended claws which can quickly pierce the fabric of a cheap towel and nearly dig into my skin. Fortunately, I am also quick at putting the cat on the bed so she can dig her claws into the blankets instead.
Right now, Ugly-Cat is sitting at the foot of my bed. She has tucked her front paws under her and she’s sitting in a pose that I makes her look like a muffin, all poofy and rounded. When she’s sitting like this with her front legs curled like serif-g’s under her body, I know that she’s content, she’s warm, she’s safe and knows that she’s safe.
But as I write this, I also feel grateful that I am in my own warm home, that I am in a place where I am able to stop and wear fuzzy pajamas and do a puzzle that gave me so much pleasure that I immediately took it apart and did it a second time (and lost a piece which really ticks me off).
And as I write about how grateful I am that I am warm and safe and comfortable, I also feel saddened for the people who are stranded out in this mess, for the people who are unable to find shelter from the storm other than a “warming center” or a shelter.
Shelters aren’t homes. They are a place that might warm someone but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are home.