SMOKY MAMA & HER KITTENS II
8 day old kittens and Candy make Seven!
Moving Right Along, Literally & Figuratively
It's already been over a week; I can't believe how time flies when we're having fun!
A quick update on little Ms. Smoky Mama and her kittens. Now 9 days old; the beautiful babies seem to have doubled in size. Healthy and fat, these wee ones are destined to have a wonderful life with no wants.
As I watch petite Smoky care for her kittens, warm feelings of contentment rush over me. There is nothing more beautiful then the nurturing of a mother and her babies. Call it instinct or call it love; the act of caring for defenseless young ones by a protective mother is a wondrous sight.
No matter what the day might bring; or the week or month; the immediacy and urgency of our current circumstance recedes into the background as the simple pleasure of viewing this tender scene takes precedence and inspires hope as well as determination.
The overwhelming situation we face is going to be quite a challenge. Moving 2 humans and dozens (and dozens) of animals safely across 2000 miles from the Heartland to the homeland. And now, we have the addition of Smoky Mama and her 5 kittens.
A Little Background
Five months ago, I placed my downtown home in Independence, Kansas, for sale. Knowing that I was destined to return to the West Coast, this was to be the first step in many, to make this dream a reality. Scary and doubtful because of the downturn in our country's financial status and, thus, that of just about all of us; there seemed to be little hope of the sale actually happening. A very good friend of mine who owns a beautiful home here has been waiting a year for offers to purchase his home. So far, no such luck. "Upscale" homes are not moving, says my agent, Amber.
On October 14th; my downtown home in Independence is scheduled to close…that’s right! Even in this daunting, failing economy; and in the face of so much competition; my beautiful Victorian; proudly constructed in 1875; is just about to complete the sale! I am not only amazed and astounded, but pleasantly surprised.
Within several days of having returned from my month in Napa in August, I received a call from my realtor who informed me that a couple wanted to tour the home. I quickly cleaned, polished, shined and tucked away the remnants of everyday life into drawers and cubby holes, and awaited the anticipated viewing.
It was a terribly hot day; one of the warmest this year. I am willing to assume that the unrelenting heat of 2011 will go down in history as one of the hottest summers since records have been kept. I turned on all the fans; had the AC running at full, pulled back the insulated curtains but left the lacy ones which drape over the heavier cloth, hang freely so that the sun could filter through but not heat up the rooms. Because the day’s temperature was at a peak due to the late afternoon visit; I dropped the woven blind on the front porch so that the sun would not beat on the front door and the people would not feel that heat on their backs. When they entered the kitchen; I’d left a sweet surprise; iced tea, cold drink for the little one and cookies of several kinds. This was done with the idea of showing the house in all it’s lovely ambience.
Al and I sat in his truck down the block, wishing to catch a glimpse of the people interested in this home. Promptly at the appointed time; a woman and her young son arrived just as their realtor did. We watched as they entered the home; with our fingers crossed and high hopes.
They stayed almost an HOUR! Al and I were delighted! This is GOOD!
Long story short; within 3 days, my realtor called again, with the news that the wife LOVES the house and wants her husband to tour it. OK! Take two! Again with the cleaning, tucking, hiding and sweeping; more AC and treats….fingers crossed! It was to be another late afternoon appointment; scheduled after Al’s work hours so, again, we spied the ‘goings on’ from a distance, hoping and praying. This time, as previously, an hour passed before they exited the front door. Yes! Great news!!
We waited 5 days…no word. Oh no! something is wrong. I didn’t want to jinx it or appear overly anxious, so I did not call to see if any further activity had ensued. I HAVE to sell this home; the expense of all our rescues is adding up so, it sure would help. We continued to wait. The weekend passed; no word….well, this is not surprising; I thought; it’s a terrible time to sell; particularly in this part of the country. (Sales of new homes fell 6% in the month of August….existing home sales are faring about the same as new construction). Large employers have fled the area for cheaper labor sources south of the border; profit from sales of items produced have dropped exponentially; all in all, it’s a very bad period for moving property.
On Wednesday of the following week; there was another phone message from Amber, my realtor….”Kathy, they really like the house, and you have an offer…it’s a good one!”
I called back and met with Amber a few hours later. After several counters and counter offers; we agreed upon a price and inspections were soon scheduled.
This gorgeous old home passed all inspections with flying colors. No pests, no termites, no dry rot or faulty/weak foundation or structural issues at all! Of course, I knew this. No leaks in the huge basement which is a footprint of the 1st floor of the home and, combined with all new Romex wiring and PVC plumbing throughout; the house was deemed, by the inspectors, as being “one of the best we’ve seen.”
So, more papers signed and a closing date set…pre-approved for a loan, the buyers assure us that it is, essentially, a “done deal.”
Now the fun begins. Al and I have been clearing out the basement and I’ve already packed everything there is to be placed in boxes (most of this was done last trip in June).
I’ve been on a selling rampage, letting go; finally, of so many beautiful antiques. At last, I’ve come to a place where it is easier to ‘let go’ than to hang onto something that, in effect, owns me rather than I owning it. So, away with the very high back, 100 year old solid oak bed with the beautiful carving, antique oak armoire accented with “egg and dart“ wood embellishments, mahogany secretary with drop leaf desk sporting the “hideaway” secret compartment, and gorgeous wavy old glass…an incredible piece. Gone are the wheat back chestnut dining chairs and two old chests of drawers; one pine with 6 drawers; the other painted white with 6 drawers; two on the top side by side, accented with detailed beautifully carved touches…adieu!…also, a perfectly working gas stove; named “Direct Action,” with white enameled oven doors. And, a really cool Hoosier style kitchen cabinet with the slide out porcelain enamel cabinet/shelf of white with red around the edges, and flour bin. And, there ‘s more to say ‘goodbye’ to…I just don’t need to trek these things across the country,
And, who knows? My ultimate destination might not be home, sweet home…
Back to Smoky Mama and her kids. Six more lives to protect and provide for. Well loved and cherished; soon, there will be 6 more grown cats to care for.
Driving home on Friday night; after a long day of moving preparations; Al and I decided to pass by the temperature gauge on the main thoroughfare because the weather has taken a turn for the cooler and we were betting one another on what the reading would be.
As we approached the digital readout (you’ve seen this on another hub); we saw activity near a local church; people either coming or going to an event. What caught our attention, and frightfully so, was a calico cat laying just behind the driver’s side back tire of a van to which people were approaching. The cat seemed asleep or; God forbid; no longer living. Al stopped immediately and I jumped out and ran over to the kitty. She was deep asleep; almost unconscious. I bent down to rouse her and she appeared to be lethargic; with very little energy. I gently picked her up and, right away, felt that she was thin and her fur was matted and dull. She had a little discharge from her mouth. It was obvious that she was not doing very well.
I’d noticed this cat before. I had heard, through questionable rumor, that she was left behind, in the mass exodus which seems to be taking place in this part of the country. Many people do this. Departing in desperation, leaving behind house, belongings and, sadly, companion animals. I hadn’t placed much credibility into this particular rumor because I live in a “good” neighborhood and, I’d seen her over time, and did not notice, nor was I ‘looking for’ a decline in her health or physical appearance.
Now, it turns out, I was wrong….Almost dead wrong.
I climbed back into Al’s truck and said; “Al, she’s sick…let’s call the veterinarians.” He looked her over and concurred. A quick call to our wonderful Vets’ office and, though it was 15 minutes to closing time; they said “yes, bring her in.”
We did so. Turns out little Candy (Al named within a minute of holding her…though she did not know us and was being placed in a truck with a somewhat loud engine roar, while hurling down the street; this little cat made no aggressive moves or sounds ).
Al said’ “Candy..her name is Candy because she is as sweet as she can be.”
We arrived at the office and the Veterinarian took us right in. Tests for Feline leukemia and Feline Aids turned out negative. She registered no temperature; still, it was determined, during her initial exam, that she had “stomatitus,“ a serious dental disorder. No wonder Al came up with the name Candy! She did have an infection and needed attention right away. We agreed! We left her there to be hydrated and cared for overnight with a more thorough examination and a blood panel scheduled on Saturday, after she’d regained a little strength from the fluids and foods they provided. It was clear that she hadn’t eaten for quite a while. The next day, she was lively, happy and responding well. Her blood test results came back with the great news that she’d experienced no permanent harm from her illness; no organ problems. Next step; removal of bad teeth and more antibiotics.
I am pretty sure Candy can come home, today. She’ll live with Basil, our “foster” (we’ve had him 2 years now…I’m beginning to think it’s a permanent situation!! LO) old man of 21 years. Yes, that’s right! He is 21 years old. A beautiful big all white long haired gentleman who is doing very well for such an old cat.
So, now, we have Smoky Mama, Candy and the others to move back to Calif. Here, in the Heartland, sometimes; it feels as if there is no heart. Not for animals.
So, in the face of so much responsibility; and lives which touch ours so deeply that we have no choice in matters such as these; we'll “let go, and let God!” What else can we do?
More on Smoky Mama and her babies coming soon.