Dearly Beloved Cat, we say good-bye to you today. 15 years ain’t bad for an outdoor cat. Outdoor cats have become something of a 4-letter word these days. You can’t even adopt a kitten/cat (even though there are thousands locally bursting out of every shelter both private and public) without agreeing you will spay/neuter, keep every shot updated always, give heart worm medicine, and keep them indoors forever and eternity, but I digress! A cat is a cat! and Willa was just that (haha!). She was a cool combination of brown & grey tabby with a hint of calico-nothing fancy, but beautiful and unique in her own way. She was hands down the most easy-going cat I have ever had- after she pooped on our bed as a youngster and got the boot outdoors that is! Really, she required nothing. She even disappeared for 3 months years ago, only to return a bit skinny but otherwise just fine-on Christmas Day no less! So if she came to you for lovin’, you gave it to her because she never asked for anything and it was an honor to be asked.
She had her bed, litter box, food and water in the garage so she could be ‘inside’, safe, and warm (or cool) and then go gallivanting whenever and wherever she chose. And a walkabout was not uncommon for her in the warm months during her younger days. It was the perfect life for our cat in my opinion. Just like people, no two are the same and she craved the freedom to roam outside. She was simply happier with this freedom and it is natural to what cats were created to be and do-“presents” at the back door and all:-)
Willa’s hallmark for me has to be her conversation. She and I had a friendly banter that challenged my vocal chords daily. It went something like this, “where’s my food?”
“Give me a minute”
“You’re not moving fast enough!”
“I’m coming, I’m coming!”
“How ’bout now?!”
She didn’t only talk to me though. She would talk with any member of our family at meal time-her favorite past time, particularly in the last year of her life. However they never perfected the mimic of her “talk” as she trained me to do~
We all know cats are independent and have a mind of their own and Willa was no different. However the blessing of them getting older and slowing down is their seemingly increased affection for our love and attention which we gave and received a great deal of over the last few years. For an abandoned 6 week old kitten found in a field to 15 years with a family who loved her well by giving her the freedom to do her thing and welcoming her when she wanted to grace us with her presence, this was her best life. And to her we say, ‘thank you’. As always, animals, no matter what kind of owners they have, always give more than they receive~
We love you Willa! Thank you for all you gave us over the last 15 years:-)
Well, we are only a day into the trip and we truly could replace Gibbs with Griswald. Let me catch you up! Friday morning I was running last minute errands before we left and my transmission tried to take off without my permission, by mid afternoon, my check engine light was on. I got home to finish packing when Kevin walked in sweating. “Why are you so sweaty?” I asked so innocently. Turns out, his car wouldn’t start when he was leaving work so he had to be jumped off, only to have his car die in the neighborhood before he could get home. We headed down with my car to jump his off as I tried ever so delicately to tell him I wasn’t really sure my car would be much help. His car wouldn’t start so off he was to by a battery hoping that would work. As he was doing that, I was home pre-cooking a couple of meals trying win my RV wife of the year award first time out of the gate.
Meanwhile, multiple children are running around me out of their minds with excitement and anticipation because we are already behind their schedule of “leaving after lunch”. I finished cooking and packing everything I could think of and suddenly realized we may come home to neither of our cars working-Welcome Home! So I called a neighbor and she said she could follow me to drop off my car so it could be fixed while we were away. Kevin arrived home with his car-new battery did the trick temporarily. Before I left to take the car I asked him to crank up the RV so the air could get running-simple request, right? Well, the RV wouldn’t start. I kid you not. I couldn’t make this stuff up. After trying everything possible and getting on the phone with the owner of the RV, Kevin had to jump off the RV (with his new battery none the less-how lucky we were to have a new one on hand!). So, RV is started, air is running, I am out the door to drop off my car. I arrive back in the neighborhood with my friend to traffic-yes, traffic in the neighborhood. We look ahead to see what the hold up is. It is the “our” RV blocking the street in front of my house. At this point I told my friend I was getting out and going through the back yard so no one would see me. Much to my dismay, I didn’t escape to the backyard before my husband runs out of the RV door yelling, “It’s stuck!”. “DO WHAT?!” Yes, folks that’s all she wrote-tires spinning and smokin’ and a gorgeous beast of an RV stuck in our across the street neighbor’s driveway tail end taking up almost the entire street. Wahoo! I mumble something about putting our old carpet under the tires and head in the house, not sure what I am going to do in there other than avoid what is happening outside. I did decide to go and move Kevin’s jeep off the street so neighbors could choose an “off road” option around if necessary. As I did that a kind gentleman had just pulled up and was getting out of his car. As I drove the loop in the neighborhood, I started praying to Jesus, Mary, and every saint I could think of to come and get us out of this. Well they answered in a hurry because the gentleman that had gotten out of the car was working in the neighborhood and had a buddy and some plywood. The rest is neighborhood history with the added help of a couple of large rocks, carpet (Uh hmm), and some pavers. Finally, 5 hours behind schedule, we headed out of the neighborhood as Kevin called (by Kathleen’s request), “Forward Drive!! (instead of Forward March!, get it? oh boy we got a live one here!). So, with 6 hours ahead of us for the night, we were off. Amen!
At approximately 1am, we pulled into our first Walmart parking lot stay of our trip. Yes, you heard right-Walmart baby. We know how to do it right? Can you hear the twang in my voice? You’d be surprised how busy a Walmart is at that time of the morning. I seriously heard the choir of angels singing Alleluia and there were beams of light shining from that Walmart sign when we pulled in. Wow!! So after purchasing a blow up bed for Matthew (yes, we left the one we borrowed in Kevin’s sorry jeep!) we settled in for a steamy night’s rest. Trust me there is no double meaning in that sentence, the RV was simply outrageously hot but Kevin got a fan while he was in Walmart running for mayor yuckin’ it up with the manager. So, by 2am-ish, we finally crashed!
5:56 am- “What time is it Mommy?” WHAT?! Really, 4 hours of sleep? Oh well, we needed to head out early anyway, right? After a debate on trying biscuits in the convection oven, we opted for Chick-fil-A. I didn’t want to ruin my cooking streak on the first morning. Yes, I prepared dinner en route Friday night despite the day we had-see, RV wife of the year here! Off to Williamsburg. Had to make it by noon to pick up the rental car and we did without incident aside from still baking in the RV. Did I mention how hot it is in here? How do I have a right to complain but realistically how are we going to have no relief from the heat for 7 days? We got to the RV park, stabilizers out, slides out, water hooked up-ahhh . . . we made it! Just a minor meltdown from me when I realized the chicken casserole I pre-made was swimming in ice water at the bottom of our cooler. You see, the freezer is well . . . freezing! But the refrigerator doesn’t seem to want to work so, just get over it and add more ice to the cooler-happy times! A little lunch and off to the pool-wow, really blue, cloudy, and warm-hmmm . . . swimming in an RV park pool-yummy! But we all had a great time. Kevin had a breath holding contest by himself. And the girls rode on my shoulders so they could pretend to “walk on water”. Finally settling in to all of the warm fuzzy moments we had been looking forward to for this week. Back “home” for showers. All five of us took showers and I really felt almost human again. As I was straightening up, I happened to notice another thermostat in our bedroom. How do you get to our age and feel like such complete morons so many times in such a short period of time? Wow, and we are responsible for 3 children too! Anyway, 2nd air conditioner fired up and we are cool as cucumbers. Kevin, trying to prevent future breakdowns from me was still trying to figure out the refrigerator problem. “Ricky Bobby” had come to take a look earlier but to no avail. At the time, I tried to inject my knowledge of a “circuit breaker looking thing” in the back bedroom but no one seemed interested. As my sweet husband started trouble shooting, I mentioned it again. What do you know, when we opened it up, the refrigerator breaker was tripped. Go figure! With everything “fixed” with exception of avoiding hooking up/dumping the pooper like the plague, we were off to dinner. Yummy pizza at Z Pizza (Feingold approved none the less) and self serve frozen yogurt at Sweet Frog.
Things were going so well, we decided to push the envelope and take the kids Go Karting. They have never been and I was ready to beat the pants off my husband. What a blast! I smoked my husband and every other car on the track-had to take the final car on the inside, that’s how I roll baby! I later rode with Kathleen and I don’t think she will ever get in a car with me again. I think I heard, “I’m feeling a little stressed!” or something to that affect. It was hard to hear over the roar of the engines and the crowds chanting, “Girls Rule, Boys Drool!”. We finished the night off with Kathleen and Matthew riding their first roller coaster (kid size that is!). That was so entertaining! Heading home and all snuggled in (yes, snuggled because you see, when you run both air cond. units, your RV actually stays cold-morons!). It’s 11pm-gotta love vacation!
Alarm going off: 7:15am-OUCH!! Not a sound in the RV. If only we could just sleep in, but we have to beat the heat. Everybody up, biscuits, cheese eggs, and fruit for breakfast-really! We haven’t stepped foot anywhere and we are all dressed and fed. This is sooo coool!! Sooo cool, but guess what still hadn’t been done that isn’t so cool-you guessed it-emptying the pooper! And Kevin needed my help?! I did not sign up for this part, party’s over. Besides the horrid stench which just made me gag typing this, it really was no big deal. 7 hours at Williamsburg in 90+ temps. Never in a million years would I have thought we would have been there that long. We really had a great time despite the heat. Our favorites were the blacksmith (despite Kathleen’s torrential nosebleed!), the cabinet makers (my Dad would have died and gone to Heaven! and Allison was so amazed and intrigued-maybe the first female Norm Abrams?), and the wig makers. For some reason, no one was up for having their head shaved-surprising on a day this hot! As an added bonus, we stopped by the shoe maker who was a dead ringer for Russell Crowe and ever so entertaining as he took his “role playing” very seriously. However, when Kathleen asked him if he knew Paul and Maureen from Misty of Chincoteague, he was stumped! So inspiring to be in the same place as some of our founding fathers.
It’s so hard to comprehend, particularly for the kids, but they did seem quite impressed. After that much time in the heat we came back completely exhausted so I made it mandatory nap time. I was really just thinking about how tired I was, not the time of day (5pm). No one really protested and all was quiet on the RV front in no time. I woke up “a little while later” and looked at my watch-7:20pm!! I went to check on the kids-completely sacked out. Again, morons! 3 children still asleep from a “nap”, only an hour from when they would normally go to bed if we were home. Now what do we do with them? Let them sleep and hope they sleep through the night, wake them and listen to the whining and figure out how to entertain them until what, 2am? We opted for waking and it worked out great-dinner, dessert (more gummy treats than they have had in the last year, but it’s vacation!), and movie night, topped off by Matthew the Mexican jumping bean demonstrating his extreme hopping. That boy ain’t right! All together hanging out and just chillin’. Amazing how easy it is to forget how to “just be”. Another great day~
Off to Grandma’s for our annual visit. Fun in the sun at the beach and heated pool! This is usually a welcomed break from the Georgia February ick. Amazingly the weather at home has been beautiful the last week or so. We are looking forward to temps near 80 and lots of relaxation and quality time with Grandma. The kids have already asked if we can head to the pool as soon as we arrive. I want to be a kid again! I suppose we get to in a way by living through their sense of urgency and adventure. It is a beautiful thing.