Friday, February 06, 2009

Weather Or Not.

Yesterday morning, the sun was shining, a few wisps of grayish cloud business over the mountains. The paper and weather.com swore we were in for it, rain-wise, by noon, but I’d been punked before. Many times, I had sent Daughter to school in enough raingear to protect the Lincoln Memorial because we were supposed to get some torrential downpour, only to pick her up in the afternoon, squinting against the bright sunlight, my child sullen and sweaty in rainboots and a hat. Clouds will do what they will, and even the most seasoned meteorologist can get it wrong. In order to dress Daughter correctly, I’d have to consult a higher authority.

I grabbed Lulabelle from her favorite morning activity of grinding her big kitty-butt into Consort’s pillow and took her to the back door:

QUINN: You want to go out?

Lulabelle arched and writhed in my arms.

LULABELLE: Woman, are you insane?

Using my forehead as a springboard, she raced back to her pillow. I shouted to Daughter, “Get the boots, it’s going to rain.” I’ve learned never to doubt the cat. Her weather-wisdom is mysterious, deep and unfailing. Then again, if something nearly killed me, I’d get pretty smart about it, too.

Almost exactly four years ago this week, the forecast was for serious rain, to last for days. Knowing how little she liked being damp, I encouraged our then-dog Polly to make one last bathroom trip late at night, before the rain came. The cat woke up, dashed from the couch to the back door and stared longingly into the dark.

“You don’t want to go out for the night, Lu,” I advised, “rain’s coming.”

Lulabelle sneered at me. “When I want your opinion,” she seemed to say, “I’ll tell you what your opinion is. I’m outta here.”

She darted off into the shadows, too excited about a night of mouse-eating and mayhem to even bother to slap the dog that was teetering back in. Within ninety minutes it started to rain. By morning, there were two foot-deep puddles on our street corner and a lap pool in the window box. What there wasn’t was a cat, nor was there a cat for the next seven days of nearly continuous rain. I worried, and then I worried a lot, and then I grieved. She might not have had any respect for us, but she liked us in a certain contemptuous way and our kitty-stars weren’t terrible; she’d have come home if she could. A house across the street was tenting for exterminating on the second day of the rain. It was all too easy to imagine that she’d crawled under the house for safety on the first night and had been gassed.

Two days after the rain stopped, I had taken Daughter to school and, walking out of the garage, saw Lulabelle on our doorstep. She had lost half her weight and wouldn’t put weight on one front paw, but she was home. The vet declared her remarkably healthy and the owner of a sprained paw. A couple of days of rest and boiled chicken to convince her to eat again, and she was very nearly her old self.

Except for rain.

Lulabelle no longer does rain. There is no mouse so luscious, no pug on a walk to be screamed at so tempting that it overrides her basic impulse to stay bone-dry. Lulabelle has determined that she has used up several lifetimes’ worth of luck, not to mention fur-moisture, and that prudence is the best path. For those of us who worried and cried for her when she was gone, that’s both understandable and laudable. The secondary benefit of always knowing when I need to carry an umbrella is just fun.

7 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Could Lulabelle possibly replace some of the LA meteorologists who are so often wrong? And I'm probably the one person who would like to see Lulabelle throw down in an accuracy contest against Punxsutawney Phil, but I'm sure she would never demean herself in such a tawdry fashion as to go up against a questionably psychic oversized rodent.

12:29 PM  
Blogger Char said...

Meterology is the one profession that say almost anything they want and we shrug our shoulders and think it's a crapshoot...and we allow it. And pay them. Amazing.

12:35 PM  
Blogger melissa said...

that lulabelle sounds like a handy, and fortunate, little beastie!

8:31 AM  
Blogger Mommy With a Penis said...

You talk to me about writing for magazines. This would fit nicely in Wet Cat Quarterly, or Felines Gone Wild. Seriously, you dig pets. Perhaps write on their behalf as well.

H

2:25 PM  
Blogger Michaéle said...

I definitely went into the wrong field of study. My current profession requires 100 percent accuracy in the medical reports I type. Weather guessers have no bar by which to measure their performance. What was I thinking?

3:48 PM  
Blogger Sara J. Henry said...

Just noticed that people who have bought your book on Amazon have also bought

-Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog DVD
-the FURminator deShedding Tool with 1-3 / 4-Inch Edge for Cats
-Mason-Dixon Knitting Outside the Lines

Maybe warn Lulabelle about that FURminator.

5:41 PM  
Blogger Robin Raven said...

I think that I'd trust Lulabelle more with that, too. :)

Hi from same reader with a different username and blog.

I still am so enjoying your blog. I have already pre-ordered the book (a bit ago, actually), and I am very excited about it.

Hope you do a LA book signing.

Take care,
Robin

9:55 AM  

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