Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Tanned, Rested and Ready.

Ah, it’s good to be back.

Those of you who are new to the blog, or who don’t know me very well, might be wondering “I wonder if Quinn did something inexplicable or stupid during the week she was gone?”

Those of you who know me are wondering “I wonder how many of the inexplicable or stupid things Quinn did last week will be in the first blog?”

Well, for your amusement and confusion, I have created a slide show of my misbehavior from the last week. Please turn off the lights and grab a Red Vine or two from the common bowl. Get comfortable; this is going to take more than one entry.

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Oh, yeah, this one. Here I am in a suburban neighborhood, gathering twigs and putting them in my trunk. No, I’m not creating a giant nest in my backyard; I am attempting to appease the god of fire. I as I have mentioned before, my fireplace is a cranky and dyspeptic fireplace, capable of extinguishing the driest kindling or the most incendiary starter log without prejudice. However, through (much) trial and (endless) error, I have determined that the fireplace will create a reasonably attractive fire if it is fed endless small sticks (It also seems to like when I sing “The Cat’s in the Cradle”).

The problem is, commercial fireplace logs come in one size; logs. Apparently, other fireplaces like their meals of a reasonable size. The other problem is that I’m cheap. Two weeks ago, we had several days of high winds, which neatly denuded all the local trees of just the sort of small branches and twigs my fireplace likes. And they were free! The only cost was to my dignity!

When driving through quiet, tree-lined suburban neighborhoods, I have gotten into the habit of parking the car, getting armfuls of sticks and putting them in my trunk. Being as I am not entirely clear as to the total legal definition of trespassing, I try to keep my stick-foraging to the easement between the sidewalk and the street. But, if the sticks are choice, and the street seems deserted then, yes, I will head onto someone’s lawn and take twigs.

To that lady who might have been watching me from her picture window for several minutes as I scampered around her yard obsessively picking up miniature firewood, I am so sorry for any distress I might have caused you. However, once I spotted you staring at me, my weird guilty smile and my mouthing “May I have these for my house?” probably calmed your nerves right down. So, thank you for not calling the police; it would have been hard to explain.

(click)

Here’s me again, standing at my front door. Why I am making that strange expression is that I am shouting. What I’m shouting is the embarrassing part, not what I’m wearing [Although I would appreciate it if everyone forgets that I’m still wearing those pajama bottoms and haven’t relegated them to the rag bag].

I’ve had cats my entire life, and it is my considered opinion that they come in two variations; cats that would no more eat human food than they would eat human sunglasses, and cats who view an unattended plate as a chance to get a mouthful of Pad Thai. Lulabelle is unrepentantly in the “You gonna eat that?” category.

A while ago, Daughter determined that Lulabelle liked soy turkey. What made Daughter first test this hypothesis I will never know, but by the time Daughter shrieked “Mommy, come SEE this!” from the kitchen, she was leaning over with a small strip of beige dangling from her fingers, and the cat was on her hind legs, stretching precariously to get that precious gobbet of soy nectar.

Over the next few days, we determined that Lulabelle would walk on her hind legs for soy turkey, would dance for soy turkey, and would finish my taxes for soy turkey. I also noticed that when either Daughter or I said “Let’s get some soy turkey”, the cat would race to the fridge. I tried just saying “Soy” and I tried just saying “Turkey”; the cat regally ignored me and continued to groom her sphincter. It had to be the whole phrase, “Soy turkey”, preferably said in an excited “Whee! Isn’t someone the luckiest cat in the world!” tone.

To be specific, I would start the word “Soy” in the mid-range, gain an octave on the “O”, settle tenuously at the top of my singing range for the “Y”, skip upwards for a breathtaking second for “Tur-”, and come down again into the mezzo-soprano category for “-key!”

This way, the cat gets the double pleasure of a faux meat product and watching me look like an absolute lunatic.

We’ve had coyote sightings in the neighborhood at night lately, so Lulabelle gets to spend, at most, the morning outside; she then spends the afternoon inside, plotting escape routes. So, last night, when I went out the front door to check whether the sprinklers went on, she nimbly slithered under one leg, vaulted the next, and darted into the darkness. I shrieked and grabbed for her, but was rewarded with a single black hair stuck to my index finger, a mocking reminder of the Cat Who Would Not Be Caged.

I waited a few minutes by an open door, but she stayed hidden. I chirruped, which sometimes brings her running, but was rewarded with the sound of silence. Actually, double silence; the sprinklers didn’t go on either. Double silence created double exasperation. Something had to be remedied this evening, and it certainly wasn’t going to be the sprinklers.

I took a deep breath.

“SOY TUR-KEY!”

Still silence, but it felt more attentive somehow. She was under some plant, I could feel it.

“SOY TUR-KEY!”

Still nothing, although I was happy to note that my neighbors weren’t yelling for me to shut the hell up. Although it might have been fun if they had started yelling random food stuffs; maybe the couple next door could holler “Condensed milk!” followed by the elderly woman on the other side chiming in with “Canned Peas!”

And then everyone could come over to my house and ask why I’m stealing sticks from their lawn.

But where was the cat? Oh, wait. I needed ammunition. I walked to the kitchen, and got some of the goods (in case you have lived the kind of life which doesn’t involve soy turkey, and need a visual, think a thin circle of Silly Putty. I that also pretty accurately describes the taste). I walked back to the front door, and dangled temptation just inside the doorway.

“SOY TUR-KEY!”

Lulabelle moved so quickly that I felt the breeze of her passing me and the tug of the soy turkey being removed from my fingers before I actually registered her presence. She dragged the soy turkey to the corner and killed it in quiet triumph.

I sat down to count my fire sticks.


TOMORROW: A slide of Quinn walking on a major thoroughfare, and Quinn glaring in church. Both reflect badly on her.

10 Comments:

Blogger houseband00 said...

Mmmm...soy chicken.

Hi Quinn and welcome back!

9:17 PM  
Blogger houseband00 said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I couldn't see any pictures...or am I too dense and didn't get the humor???

9:53 AM  
Blogger Quinn Cummings said...

So sorry. The pictures only live in my mind.

11:43 AM  
Blogger Mel said...

Oh, how I missed you. Now I can quit picking my teeth and go on with my day.

10:43 PM  
Anonymous janiezip said...

now you know how hooked I really am.. I have checked every day for the last week!!!!. (Except of course when I wasn't here a couple of days) Quinn, hon, (sorry, I'm from Oklahoma, it's a habit) GLAD YOU ARE BACK. Hope you are all rested and well, and the family too. Can't wait for your next pics.

7:58 PM  
Blogger Jan said...

I've resorted to paying the neighborhood children small change for picking up the "miniature fire logs" that fall into my yard on a daily basis. How I wish you lived in my neighborhood!!!

8:51 PM  
Blogger Quinn Cummings said...

But, Jan, we'd be battling for the same sticks.

9:02 PM  
Anonymous beckster said...

After years and years with cats that would steal food from our plates, I have somehow ended up with 2 that would appreciate smelling what you are eating, but would never lower themselves to eat people food. Except, Pirates Booty. Found little black cat half in the bag the other day.

Very funny entry. I missed you!

6:11 AM  
Anonymous Melissa said...

I'm pretty sure what Jan means is that she pays the kids to pick up the sticks in her yard to be rid of them - not so she can use them. So if you live close enough to Jan, you might be able to pick up some pocket change along with your miniature firewood.

2:07 PM  

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