Forgive me if I am a bit cranky, but that is what the exotic pet skunks said to me. The elder, smart-arsed cat said I am essentially a turnip.
The time is now eighty-two minutes since I emerged from my bedroom the first time, wearing too little clothes to stay warm.
So far, I fed two ungrateful pet skunks – twice. Sort of fed one cranky, finicky, decrepit old cat. Missed the boat in caring for my beloved, lame Newfoundland dog.
Oh… and I dressed – twice. The lovely new Edenpure heater being set too low during the coldest night of the year was the catalyst for all my problems.
Usually, I release the skunks from their den-carriers then shuffle barefooted around the kitchen with my strappy nightgown hanging off one shoulder like it is summer. The goal being to feed my sweet little princesses in the timely fashion to which they are accustomed.
Rule number one with exotic pet skunks, very old dogs and grandfather-like cats is to never break routine no matter how cold or less than glamorous you are.
Today, I let them out, poured skunk granola, shivered, and went into the bedroom for real clothes.
Two skunks followed, complaining and resorting to digging my bare feet to hurry me along.
“Mama is sure taking her own sweet time today,” Blossom said. Lacey shook her head and went back to bed to wait while Blossom continued to hurry me along.
Snuggies, the twenty-four-year-old cat, rolled his eyes. “What do these two know of time?”
I dressed, loving my soft pink velour pants, layered tee, brown wool sweater and socks. Slid into my slippers to protect toes from Blossom’s skunk digs and off we galloped to the kitchen for her really late breakfast. Milk on my granola to soften. Plated up their lightly scrambled egg, milk and fresh blueberries. Coaxed Lacey out to eat.
Pet skunk care tip: Mind you, always make sure skunkies are eating when doing anything where you do not want them to assist. Like feeding the dog, which is another story altogether. Also feeding the cat, doing laundry or going outside. I repeat, hyper-energy, super intelligent exotic pets must be eating.
My pet skunks were eating. So fed the cat on a plate next to them, took food to 130-pound Newfoundland dog on sleeping porch. Intent now, simply watch skunkies and cat eat while I eat, then pick up plates and intervene as needed. And take dog outside before work. Twenty minutes out of the bed and the day is humming along.
You can feel sorry for me anytime here. I used to be a Pollyanna. Today changed me forever. The reason I am cranky.
Was heading in the door to supervise their breakfast, but my snowplow guy showed up three hours early. Good thing I’m dressed.
Wade out door through the snow I was going to shovel when doggie went out. Am in my soft slippy slippers.
Give my plow guy the garden parameters for the year. “Don’t pile snow on flower beds, please, flowers need spring sunlight, not ice piles with a Newfoundland dog on the ice piles on the flowers.” As we laugh and shake on it, I slide onto my arse under his truck. Unsmashed but quite frazzled from the terror of it all, I come in with snow in my slippers, cold socks, wet pants. So much for gratitude. At least the snow is clean. Pants will be dry in a few…. hours?
Dog says he is ready to go out. “Wait for plow guy to finish,” I say, knocking snow from the slippers. I strip my pants off one frozen leg and peel embedded snow off the hem.
Do I hear the cat upchucking? Are the skunks in his food already?
Oh man, lots of windows. Snowplow guy can see me. I cover my abundant bikini-clad arse with the not-large-enough blue dog bowl. Wade through skunks to get in the door.
Shuffle through the kitchen with a pant leg dragging. No puke. (No no wait for it.) Pick up cat dish and see he only licked some sauce off. A new brand for him but the only can in the store last night… we live in the middle of nowhere… really. Not even the skunks wanted this food. And Snuggies would have smacked them to keep it if he wanted it.
In the bedroom, I take off my lovely soft pink velour pants. Notice cat’s upchuck streaked across the dragging pant leg.
Now you can say it.
Back to the kitchen with an armload of pink and white laundry. From this angle, I see the cat puke in the middle of kitchen floor. The sunlight enhances its aura. Drop laundry to go for cleaning bottle and paper towels before skunks track it too. And notice my first tracks of cat puke leading all the way to the bedroom. And back through it.
Step out of my fresh slippers and into more cat puke. Strip off that sock. I clean it all up and scrub the path only to feel through my other sock that I have stepped in it a third… or is it the fourth time.
You can call me a turnip anytime now. Take the second pair of slippers into bathroom to wash then redress. I’m okay. Life is good. Back to kitchen.
Remember, never break stride, never give them a chance, never ever turn your back.
Yes, skunks tipped over the can of pukey paper towels they did not want, digging for anything good in the bottom where there was nothing at all. I could have told them that. As far as the upchuck…. they didn’t want the food, didn’t play with the puke when they had the chance. Now they have tracked the mess in a circle. At least they were busy in one place.
I tucked one shocked skunk upside down under my arm, busy with the other getting her hands and paws washed in the sink. It can be done. Dry her, wash and dry the other. Tuck them in the den-carriers and shut the door.
Where is that cat before he barfs again?
The dog has stopped barking at snowplow guy. I go out to admire plow guy’s handiwork. Help my lame old dog to stand by using a towel for a lift. I smell it. I smell it, I smell it. Poor old guy was barking to go out more than at plow guy’s truck. Poor dog pooped in his bed. Washed his hiney, my hands, took the bedding out to freeze since my laundry will go in first.
Then I find cat upchuck on the bottom of the laundry pile I had dropped onto the kitchen floor. I look at the cat.
Now, honestly, the twenty-four year old cat is most of the time quite confused about where you are when you call or feed him, he is pretty much blind, cannot really hear. Definitely cannot smell or taste. We know that because he would never have eaten the sauce or any canned cat food which he spent a quarter-century refusing, preferring instead premium dry food, steak, shrimp and salmon.
Today he looks at me. Yes, he is sitting on the sleeping porch daybed rolling his eyes at me. “Mom,” he says, “Wasn’t it just yesterday you said, with sarcasm, to your sweet husband something about ‘live and learn’?”
“Next time puke in your litter box.”
“Of course, like I will remember that. Just gag me.”
“Living with my great-great-great-grandfather could not be more enlightening,” I said.
I went back inside and let my skunks out of their den carriers.
They charged to the kitchen like they had never been fed.
“Mama sure took her own sweet time getting us up today,” Blossom complained to Lacey.
I gave each of them a spoonful of my soggy granola.
A Breath Floats By Paperback —Novel with three pet skunks and two Newfoundland dogs in story Amazon.com paperback, Amazon Kindle version, or as an ESSA Books e book for $8.
Women’s Fiction Blog – more short stories – quite often about skunks, dogs, cats. Plus myths, dense observations and the lies we are told – written by a woman. Need I say more.