An unrelenting, energy stealing, dry wind continues to dwindle my reserves and throw me into a torpor during the daylight hours. Today topped out at 107 at our house in the shade. My car thermometer read 110, but it has been known to lie.
Last night, after 10:00, as I sat mindlessly on the couch watching something unmemorable on the TV, I remembered just how much of television programming is virtually unwatchable. Between the strange MTV movie with a boy cutting off his possessed hand and John and Kate Plus 8, I found something to watch that had no lasting impression upon me other than the fact that I can not remember it.
Meanwhile, my black and white Shmobie cat came and lay down on the pillow above my head, letting his body become one with the furniture. He likes to sit down and rest next to me in the evenings and submits himself to some occasional fur petting.
My mind strayed to the wicked dry heat that cooked images into my brain while taking my kids out to get a smoothy in the late afternoon. We clambered into the truck, blasted the air conditioner on max, and I complained to the kids about the weather. Predictable, typical, unavoidable. Bumping down our single lane country road I was reminded just how bad the asphalt patch job on the pavement was. Sub-grade for sure since the truck leaps at the beginning and end of each black length of road resurfacing. So much for quality County work.
We bounced our way into town and pulled up at the light near Jack in the Box and I immediately noticed the median was on fire. The whispers of gray smoke simmering from the short red and blue flames on the tan bark were remarkable. I was stupefied as I pulled up next to the small blaze burining just outside my window. The landscaping was on f-ing fire.
With a touch of laughter in my voice I said, "Hey kids, look at that! The wood chips are on fire! That's how hot it is today." They rubber necked from their car seats but did not really know what to say, but I can't blame them. The thought of fruity drinks obviously froze their minds.
I am sure some careless, dumb ass, idiot tossed a cigarette butt out their car window. Ha ha. Real funny Einstein. Brilliance in the heat. Genius's are on the lurch. Beware California.
Pulling through the drive through I settled on mango flavored smoothies for the kids and a peach sweet tea for me. The thought of exiting my vehicle was akin to jumping off Niagra Falls, but then again that may have been a preferred alternative to the insane heat outside.
With frosty drinks in hand and happy kids sucking down something in between real fruit and sugar syrup, we merged back on the main road only to see an orange fire truck and four fully suited California Department of Fire employees putting out a blaze I could have stamped out with my foot. This was the miracle of our tax dollars at work.
Then merging into traffic I was simultaneously startled and impressed with the huge gray and black plumes that were erupting from the hills across the valley. With my eyebrows raised to my hairline I asked my little side kicks, "When did that happen, Kids???"
"What's that mom?" Wyatt wondered out loud from the back seat.
"What do you think that is, Wyatt?" I asked back. I figured I aught to see just how much my kindergartner knows. We've had quite a few fires in our area during his short five years of life. Last summer, helicopters were flying over our house for two weeks continuously with 500 gallon bags of water threatening to pull them to the ground.
Piping back like an eager bird Wyatt responded, "THAT'S a fire mom!"
"Yep! Right oh-son-of-mine! Well done." He's getting to be a smart but pesky little guy.
To be proud of your offspring is an inherent flaw I think all parents can not help; and to fall into the trap of of thinking your own child is bright and special is equally difficult to avoid. It try to maintain some level of impartiality with my kids. I was not surprised by Wyatt's conclusion, just assured that he has been paying attention to what happens in our little universe. And my attention thoroughly removed from the bright colors and erratic movements on the television screen allowed me to watch it and absorb nothing.
During my trip to the land where the brain ceases to function, my vision had returned to me and I noticed that Shmobie cat had some blood spots around where he was sitting on my couch. Bright red circles about one inch in diameter were imprinted on the green quilted blanket on which he was resting. Let the inspection begin I thought to myself. Fun times ahead, right?
I had a brief vision of wrapping Shmo in a towel to avoid a potential clawing, but decided that may be a hasty decision and not quite necessary at this moment. After all, I survived being spurred by a mad rooster not too long ago. And this was a tame house cat.
He had been acting more sluggish than normal so a close inspection of the largest member of our feline family commenced. Normally, weighing in at 18lbs there is a lot of cat to investigate. I picked him up and noticed right away that there were black marks on the tips of his white fur and he was covered in a layer of dust. No good with signs like this. More assessments of the leggy beast revealed a bald spot on his head and leg where fur was gone. Conclusion: This cat has been hit by a car. Which of his nine lives had been cashed in this time?
But the blood. I could not find the source of the blood. Maybe he coughed it up, but there was no sign of blood in his mouth. Mysterious blood. Strange.
After being handled Shmobie wandered into my room to hide under the bed. All he managed to scoot beneath the cream colored bed skirt was his head. The rest of his unnaturally long body and monkey-like tail were plainly visible. He was too sore scuttle under the bed; that means trouble.
"Shmo. I can still see you, " I told him after following him into my room. Windows wide open to the night were still not helping alleviate the heat of the day. I picked up my cat and put him on my bed so he could rest where no one would accidentally step on him. That would add insult to injury for my obviously distressed friend. All I can think is that my poor cat is feeling awful and almost died today. He appeared fine this morning and had all his fur.
"Well, rest my furry friend," I told him as I was turning to leave the room. Then he lifted his body to rearrange his lanky frame and there it was again. A round blood colored circle imprinted on my white sheets. The slow-to-warm florescent bulb in my head finally heated to full brightness, and I new where to look. The rear end. Nothing like claws, teeth and the back end of a cat to make you think twice about being their friend.
So putting a towel over the most deadly part of Shmobie, I pinned his head and upper body to the bed and peeked at the place below his tail. Pulling back the longer black fur that helps protect his buttock, I could see an open wound of the like I had never seen on any animal before. There was a hole approximately one inch in diameter that went into his rear between his cat butt and penis. And upon further looking, it was at least a fingers length deep.
Recoiling in terror, disgust and remorse I thought the worst. My cat is going to be dead. How is this cat going to pee?? He must have tore open when he got hit by a car.
Not knowing cat internal anatomy, I regrouped and thought about the situation. Maybe it's not as bad as it looks. The damn cat is still walking and climbing the furniture, albeit slowly.
Logic taking over, I decided what to do. Tomorrow. I will face this tomorrow. A hot, dry wind blowing through the screen of my sliding glass door was sucking the last bit of strength from my already fatigued body. My only question was, "What vet is open on Saturday?"
Part II to come. (BTW-I wrote this last weekend. I am not good at dates...)
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