The misadventures of a first time father

Category Archives: Cats

© Copyright 2010 CorbisCorporationBefore our son was born, my wife and I were very active in community theatre.

Heck, that’s even how we met, both cast in the same show many, many moons ago. We were both, whether separately or together, in usually two shows a year, but devoting a lot of our time to the theatre where we met in other ways – working on sets for other shows, helping directors with auditions, clean-up days. We both even served on the theatre board in different capacities over the course of several years as well.

I have seen that place in so many ways – as a refuge for those in need of a place to fit in, a historical heritage carried on by one successive generation after the next, a source of frustration (mostly during some of my time on the theatre board, which at times felt like a second job with the amount of time spent there), and as a social hub.

Most of all, though, it was a tradition, a sense of history. The particular theatre where my wife and I met was formed in the 1920s and has continuously put on multiple shows a year ever since. To walk through its rooms, hand-made posters dating back almost a century hanging on its walls, you can’t help but feel a sense of history as you stand there. When I would see a poster from a show Meg and I were in I’d think, ‘we’re a part of that history now.’ It’s a pretty darn neat thing.

We were actually in rehearsals for a show the night Meg found out she was pregnant. I came home to find her unique method of letting the cat out of the bag (notes with clues, tied to the collars of our actual cats) and we didn’t have much time before having to race out of the house to rehearsals for Arsenic and Old Lace, this completely new world of impending parenthood freshly dropped into our brains.

We had spent the better part of our lives on stage in some role or another, be it at that theatre or elsewhere. Soon after we found out we were expecting, though, we realized, this was not going to work as-is. So, as much as we loved it, we decided it was time to dim the lights on our theatre participation, at least until the little guy is old enough to come with us, or heck, possibly join us on stage if he wants.

It wasn’t easy. When something has been such a large part of your life, it’s hard to suddenly not have a show to be rehearsing for or not go to those monthly meetings and see everyone. At first it was weird, now it’s become even weirder to think about trying to get back into it at some point.

A lot of people will ask us “are you doing any theatre?” or “are you coming back to the theatre anytime soon?”

The real answer is, we don’t know. I’m sure we’d have fun. It’s in our blood. Heck, it seems to be in our little guy’s blood even at the age of one. Who knows, maybe we’ll get him up on stage one day and we’ll be a family of performers.

It’s one of those things, though, that I think only time will tell. I mean, come on, all theatre people, deep in their hearts, no matter how much they say they’re done, are just waiting for that right script or show for the “comeback performance.”

In the meantime, my stock answer for people is always “well, he’s our big production at the moment.”

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Keyboard snipIn the past week, I have gone through more electronics than I do in years.

I’m not one of those gadget guys who has to rush out and buy new gizmos, trust me. In fact, before buying my most recent computer this winter, I had been using the same one for roughly ten years or so.

It was a little shocking when I tried to log in to my computer last week to find that I couldn’t type. I tried again, and again, and again, to no avail, until I looked and saw that the keyboard was no longer connected to the CPU.

In fact, the cord was severed.

However, even though this computer was brand new, one of my feline sons decided to bite his way through the keyboard cord. So, out I went to visit Best Buy, where I thought I hit the jackpot by finding a keyboard on sale from $21.99 to $4.99. I brought it home, plugged it in, and i was off once again into cyber space.

Until Monday, that is.

I had some things to take care of before work and thought I’d hop on the computer quick before I headed out. How wrong I was as it appeared, once again, that one of my little guys had bitten and severed the cord yet again!

Cord mouseThis morning, the mouse was the victim of the latest attack. This last one is fitting, I know.

I’m obviously writing from a computer other than in our household as a result right now.

So, I’ve ordered a wireless keyboard and mouse set (along with batteries to power them) that I’ll be trying once it arrives in the mail. I hear mixed reviews about them, but with three feline sons and one very human son who likes to get into everything, I figure it might be the safest bet to curb these sudden electronics expenses.


IMG_0490This is an open letter to a frequent friend.

It’s always hard to say goodbye, and often times the circumstances never allow us the way to say them that we truly wish.

You entered our lives very quietly, I’m sure like you came and went from so many others. It was in the grassy green of our backyard a few years ago that we first spotted you, lounging in the sun, shortly after we rescued our first feline son. We wondered where you had come from, and worried about where you were headed when you’d take off. At that time, though, you kept your distance, with good reason, I’m sure.

We lovingly nicknamed you Monster after noticing your extra toes. You were a polydactyl cat, much like those hanging around Ernest Hemingway.

As you appeared more frequently in our lives, and the temperatures turned colder, we did our best to make sure you had what you needed – whether it be a blanket, a box, or just some bits to eat, checking on you, or your quarters in our garage became part of my daily routine before work each day, especially in the cold winter, even when I knew you wanted us at bay.

There was a period when so much time had passed since we last saw you that my heart sank and we wondered ‘whatever happened to that Monster?’ In time, we realized you had moved on, perhaps finding a home somewhere to your liking.

Life went on, the seasons changed, and we welcomed two more feline buddies into our lives.

IMG_1686Then, one late summer day, there you were, after an almost year-long absence, sitting under my car. “Where had you been?” i wondered, and what brought you back.

It didn’t matter; we were just glad to know you were okay. In the months that followed, you showed us you were more than okay. You, this fiercely independent, domineering spirit, suddenly displayed affection, love, and need. I will never forget how overjoyed I became, calling Meg to the window when you walked right up and rubbed up against me, looking for some affection. After a few years of giving you your space, here you were, back, and saying you knew this place, and we, were okay. We could be your sanctuary.

And so it began. We bonded. Each morning, I’d head out to the car for work, and peek into the garage. If it was colder, or icy out, you’d often be inside, keeping warm, wrapped inside a blanket. In the warmer seasons, you’d often be behind the garage, but greet me at the door when I came outside to make sure you were fed or all right. By that time in our friendship, you were always more interested in getting pet, having some contact, than you actually were in any food.

IMG_1682Through the harsh winter, I fluffed blankets, and was glad to see you curled up in them out in our garage, and never knew if you ever got any effect from the hand warmers that I would leave buried in them for a little extra warmth.

As the weather this year began to warm and the snow thawed, you no doubt were spending your time out doing what you do best – living the life of a wandering cat. Your appearances became less, but when we did get a visit from you, you always greeted us with a rub, a meow, and a jump that so clearly said ‘please pet me, I need love,’ and we were more than happy to give it. My heart would always sink into my stomach, though, when you’d leave, and I’d worry about what would happen to such a kind soul beyond the boundaries of our yard.

This week, I returned home from work one night and stumbled in the driveway trying to find something in my phone, when, out of nowhere, you suddenly appeared. You meowed, as you often did, but you weren’t interested in food.

You were hurt.

I’d seen cuts and scrapes here and there over the course of your occasional visits, but nothing like this. Your ear down the side of your face, bloodied, you had a run-in you weren’t so easily able to shake off and you came back to a place you always felt safe.

For so long we knew that you were used to the life you had, and let you come and go, not wanting to disturb the balance of your life that seemed to make you so content.

This time, though, things were different. You needed help and we couldn’t let you just stumble off.

We scooped you up from the yard and brought you to our basement, with food and water to follow. You were so kind and accepting when Meg tried to clean your wounds with peroxide to try and help you, even for a little bit. I went to the store and got you a small disposable litter box to get you through this time until we could figure out what to do next.

IMG_0908With our three feline boys upstairs, curious of what was going on in the basement they couldn’t access, we knew, as much as we’d love to, we could not keep you ourselves. You needed help, though.

A quick phone call later and I got hold of the very kind Animal Control Officer, who said while he worked nights, he could come by in the morning. It was the only way you could get to the Humane Society, through him, and we knew you needed the help.

So you were our house guest for the night, which turned out to be a torrential downpour, with loud crackles of thunder sprinkled in for mood. We were glad you got to be away from it all and safe and dry below.

Going late into work, I waited for the animal control officer to arrive, and my heart shattered when we went into the basement together to find you. You were scared, and still wounded, blood still pouring down your head despite the previous night’s cleaning. You meowed that wonderful meow I’ve come to look forward to whenever I’d set foot in the backyard for our mutual meet and greets, but this time it had with it the sadness of a soul knowing they were in danger.

I couldn’t have asked for a more helpful response from the animal control officer, who was kind and patient both as we looked for you in the basement and getting you transported to the humane society.

As we parted ways, I held it together, but in the car, on the way to work, I could not help but break out into tears. My furry little friend, now on his way to get help, yes, but whom I would never again look out the back window and see lounging in our grass, or curled up in the garage. I knew it was selfish to think of what I would no longer experience, but it still hurt nonetheless. I felt as though we had given up one of our own boys.

Monster in GarageMeg, while just as sad, was, as always my rock, and pointed out that while I may not see you in the backyard, I no longer have to have my heart sink when you walk away to parts unknown.

The Humane Society says you’re doing well, and that some stitches will help heal your physical wounds. They also said how friendly you’ve been, calling you ‘very adoptable.’ I knew you would be and hope that, while it saddens me that our outside bonding in the yard and garage may be just a chapter in both our lives, that you will now be healthy enough to share all that love I know is in your little heart with a family that will give it back to you in return.

Farewell, my Monster. You’ve been a good friend. It may have taken us a little while to get to know each other, but in the end, we both showed the other our heart. Now, I hope that you will be able to receive all the love that you have to give to the rest of the world.

I’ll miss you, buddy.


We have had to do a lot of sterilizing lately.

No one is sick, but we have what you may call a “binky bandit” on the loose in our home. Binky being what we sometimes refer to our little one’s pacifier as.

At first, as we would reach for a pacifier and find it missing, my wife and I thought we might be losing our minds, finding them in odd spots throughout the house. Did we drop them, we would wonder?

Needless to say, we wouldn’t go popping them back in the baby’s mouth, and they’d instead get tossed into the “sterilization” pile for the next time we’d boil a pot of water containing pacifiers, bottles, nipples and the like.

Still, the mystery still waged on – short of growing legs themselves, what was happening to all these pacifiers. Was I sleepwalking? Egads, was the baby sleepwalking? If so, when did he learn to walk in these past five weeks?!

However, one morning, I awoke to hear some weird noises, like something being pulled across the floor. I followed the sound into the baby’s room, where I found, not our human baby, but our feline baby, Winston, looking up at me, with the pacifier in his mouth as if he were Maggie Simpson.

Now, I was unfortunately not quick enough with my camera to grab a photo of this bizarre sight. I wish I was, as I can not imagine how anyone would believe it otherwise. So you’ll have to settle for this “not as cool or funny” one from some time later.

There it was, though, our little gray guy – definitely the “baby” of our trio of felines, looking up at me as though this was perfectly natural for him to have a pacifier in his mouth like a baby.

Into the sterilization pile it went.



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