Thursday morning

A bright and lovely morning, and we woke to the intricate chirps and warbles of a mockingbird greeting the dawn. The air is clear after a couple of days of rain, and across the bay the hills loom blue against the horizon.

In the backyard, Vong, the guy replacing the retaining wall, is mixing concrete with a shovel in a large black container under the ironwood tree. He doesn’t seem to be measuring anything. I guess he’s done it enough to know what consistency it’s supposed to be, though I have visions of the stuff hardening in place and having to be broken up with a pick axe. I watch him out the window: he works steadily and with confidence. I am doom-saying.

Because Vong has been hauling things back and forth to his pick-up, I’ve corralled the cats so they don’t run out the front door, where the street is. The gray cat was easy, already sleeping on the wicker hamper in the bathroom where the heat flows past. All I had to do was close the door. The orange cat was locked up in the study for most of Tuesday when Vong was here, and again yesterday afternoon so he wouldn’t attack my 15-month-old granddaughter, who thumps him with such enthusiastic love and joy he believes his life is in danger. (“Meow meow” is the first thing she says when she comes to visit, only it sounds more like mao mao.) Orange cat had no intention of being locked up again. When I tried to pick him up, he fled through the kitchen, the living room, and halfway down the stairs. I chased him around for awhile, then lay down on the bed and read a book. Soon after, he wandered in, jumped on the bed, and curled up next to me. I rose softly and closed the door. Mission accomplished.

In the midst of my cat-corralling, a young woman staying at the up-hill neighbors’ house knocked on the door in near hysteria, saying she’d locked herself out of the house and left the stove on. I invited her upstairs, got out my laptop, found a list of locksmiths in the area, and gave her the phone. After five or six calls she found someone who’d come out right away and went back up the hill to wait for him. Forty minutes later, she knocked again, saying the locksmith couldn’t get in and could she use my computer to email one of the women who lived there. Back up the stairs again to read the paper while she composed, then, in the interests of avoiding more trips up and down the stairs, gave her my cell phone so she could check for a response while she and the locksmith waited.

An hour later, wondering if I’d ever see my cell phone again, I went down and out and up the hill to her door which…was open! The locksmith had just gotten her in. I guess the owner must’ve given him permission to do something more drastic. She returned my phone with a hug and fervent thanks. It occurred to me that in the old days of this neighborhood, I probably would’ve had a key to their house, or known where they hid one, and how much simpler that would’ve been.

So nice to get a call this morning from a sober friend I haven’t spoken with in a while. Always good to hear from someone so firmly grounded in her sobriety–it reinforces my own.

Life and hard times in Baghdad by the Bay.

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8 Responses to Thursday morning

  1. Haha, I love your descriptions of herding cats around the house. That sneaky orange cat…! Had to play some reverse psychology on him, huh?

    Happy Spring, Susan!

  2. Imogen says:

    The Orange Cat is the cutest thing ever, hiding like that behind the laptop. I laughed at you outwitting him: stop paying him attention and he comes to you. Cats are so gorgeous.

    I was thinking you were very trusting to let the woman into your house. Had you met her before? Sad sign of the times because i do remember the days when you knew your neighbours names we all looked out for each other.

    • sswl says:

      No, I hadn’t met her before, Imogen, but she seemed pretty harmless, though one day my instincts may lead me astray. I’d rather take a chance than turn away someone who needs help–that “what goes around comes around” theory of the universe.

  3. Lisa Neumann says:

    Yes, I remember having keys to the neighbors’ houses when we were kids. Today I am happy to say I trust one neighbor with my key. xox lisa

  4. cleo says:

    Trusting strangers, when to, when not to trust one’s instincts? I am with you – rather over trust, My “animal challenge” this week was when I turned around to a noise and found a big male vervet monkey eating bananas from the fruit bowl and then when i shouted at him he ran off with the mango I was planning on having for breakfast! Bet your granddaughter would be enchanted, but I am afraid I am not!

    • sswl says:

      Wow! A monkey in your kitchen! Seems madly exotic, but I suppose your monkeys are our racoons, which every now and then wander into somebody’s kitchen. My granddaughter’s still thrilled about the ones she saw outside their living room window last week, but a MONKEY! She’d never stop talking about it.

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