You would think, given the fact that I only have to write one article per month, here, that I’d have plenty of time to come up with something interesting to write about. Alas, that is not always the case! Indeed, I continued my mental search for an idea right up until the day before this month’s deadline. And while I cannot promise that this article will grip you firmly by the hand and pull you in, I’m hoping that it will, at the very least, appease my editor. So here goes.
I was having a fairly decent lie in, this morning (as I attempt to do as often as possible, given that I have no “real” job to attend to), until I realized that the pet ducks who live in my back garden had been nattering more than usual. It finally occurred to me that the hubs hadn’t let them out as he usually does. And if no one lets them out of their pen in a timely fashion, you can bet that I’ll hear about it before, during, and even after I’ve opened the pen door. They’re obnoxious little buggers, and the girls are the worst: they quack an inordinate amount of trash talk at me multiple times every day. It’s as if I can’t do anything right. The arguments frequently (but not exclusively) center around their opinions about my care of them:
You’ve kept us much too long in the pen!
We’ve lost valuable worm-catching time!
Hurry along with that bowl of corn and pellets! We’ve been waiting forever!
Must you invade our space yet again?
And on in that vein. They seem to forget who fills that bowl with corn and pellets, as well as who cleans their pen and fluffs their straw on a daily basis. To their way of thinking, I’m little more than an incompetent scullery maid. Curiously, every other specie that’s in my care seems to view me the same way.
Naturally, I expect this sort of attitude from my four cats. Tabby Junebug, while not imperious by nature, has certainly perfected the art of begging: she’ll follow me from room to room, meowing insistently that she’s starving to death due to my callous inability to keep the bowl full of kibble. Hearing her, you’d think that she hadn’t had a decent meal in weeks. In reality, there’s still plenty of kibble in the bowl; she simply wants fresh kibble, not that stuff that one of the other cats slobbered on. When I tell her that cats in third world countries would be thrilled to have that slobbered-on kibble, she suggests that I send it to them with her compliments.
Ginger tabby Spanky meows insistently for a different reason: despite having three other cat in the household, he’s desperately lonely. Always has been. And no amount of attention from me satiates his need. In fact, according to Spanky, I rarely even do attention correctly. More often than not, I’ll pick him up and settle him in my arms upside-down, the way you hold an infant. I’ll tell him how much I love him, and his reply is always the same: Muck, Kelly! He’s simply not a fan of being held upside-down. If truth were told, he’s really not a fan of attention from me at all – unless it involves grooming him, or offering him a treat. He’d much rather get his love and cuddles from the one other cat in the house who really can’t stand him, Gracie.
Gracie Ellen Tripod, you may recall from previous articles, is our three-legged girl. She’s our youngest (if you can call her that, given that she’s 12-years old), and our friendliest. But she really hates Spanky with a passion. She hates his attempts at play, and she has no interest in cuddling with him. With humans, Gracie is a happy girl who loves to be petted. With other cats, Gracie is a solitary creature, and I find no end to the irony that the only other cat in the house she’s comfortable with is the other loner, Buddy.
Buddy, as you may remember, is my senile OAP, 15-years old, now. The veterinarian recently ran a battery of tests on him to see whether all his internal parts are still working. They are. Happily, Dr. C. thinks Bud’s in quite good health for his age, which comes as rather a surprise, given that Bud’s taken to yowling frequently over the question of whether that wall in the loo has always been there (it has), or whether it’s a recent addition, designed to confuse him (it’s not).
Meanwhile, oversized dog Munster requires a reasonable amount of mental stimulation, and a definite amount of physical exertion on a daily basis, which goes a long way toward explaining my otherwise inexplicable weight loss. I’m not complaining, mind; I’m more than happy to lose weight without the agony of having to go to the gym on a regular basis. But having to keep track of how many poo’s Munster has managed in a day’s time, and having to fit his exercise schedule into every single day, can be rather tiring. Some days, I want nothing more than a good cozy nap!
And while all the hoopla is going on inside, and out in the garden, there’s Bit the horse, living just up the road at the barn. We’ve had some lovely weather here, lately, the kind of weather that if you didn’t take advantage of it and go trail riding, you should be flogged. I took advantage of it three days in a row, and thoroughly enjoyed myself. I wish I could say the same for Bit, but he rarely enjoys leaving the property, and spends the entire ride wanting to go back and make sure his herd hasn’t been eaten in his absence. No amount of reassurance from me will convince him that they’re safe.
At the end of the day, when all the various animals have been watered, fed, and put to bed, there’s one last critter to be reckoned with – the hubs, who comes home from work and complains about why I didn’t have time to clean the house / cook the dinner / do the shopping / fill in the blank. Come to think of it, he sounds an awful lot like the ducks!