Archive for July 2013

Pay Back Time   1 comment

Well, I finally won. Marcel is immunized against rabies for the next three years. He’s also minus eleven teeth! He beat his brother Marceau. Marceau  only had eight pulled when it was his turn two years ago. Over all, Marcel is  actually minus a few more since the vet said he’d already lost a few on his own. The poor boy is down to one fang – the upper right one. If you have any kittens, I advise you to have their teeth cleaned regularly – or brush them, whichever works for you.  Unlike the residents of the House of Mars, they’ll keep their teeth and you will keep your paycheck.

I used the brushing Marceau ploy that I mentioned in my last post. Of course that brought Marcel charging over  over, and his signature head-butting which always gets on my nerves absolved me of any guilt  I might have felt at nabbing him.

If you recall the reason they are named Marcel and Marceau is that the day I adopted them, they rode in complete silence for the forty-five minute drive home. Fellow cat owners will back me up when I say this goes against one of the cardinal  rules in the guide of feline etiquette. Well, he followed the prescribed rule last Tuesday. First of all he was thrashing about so much that  I had to hold on to the carrier with two hands as I took it out to the car.  And as for the sounds coming out of that carrier, let’s just say if he had been a child, I’d have been pulled over on suspicion of child abuse.

Surprisingly enough, he held no grudges when I brought him home that evening. He did dash off to safety under the bed upon being sprung from the carrier  but a few minutes later I looked up to see he’d ventured back.


As for Marceau, who’d been at home alone for the first time in his life, he was curious about the carrier…..


…..and he displayed none of the hissing that his brother showered on him when he was the one coming home  from the vet with hospital smells clinging to his fur. (But then we all know who’s the nice brother.)


Well, Marcel was just biding his time, conspiring with his brother. Saturday was payback time. They tried to give me a heart attack.  Act One was the warm up and if we were playing the game of Clue, I’d say “Marceau in the dining room with the screen door”.  Screen doors, being screen doors, one tends to let them close on their own. However this one is in a heavy frame so I always have to check it to make sure it’s securely closed since the brothers are indoor cats. Saturday morning I didn’t.


And of course, this was Marceau’s cue to stand up against it and stretch. The  door opened and closed  quickly. I don’t know who was more startled – he or I? He dashed back inside and, luckily I was just outside the door on the patio, having my morning coffee.  I jumped up from the table to close it. What was actually happening was that Marceau was assuming the role of a picador, those cruel clown-like characters who poke a bull to get him all riled up prior to a bullfight. And guess who was the bull?

I (El Toro) soon left to meet a friend for more coffee at my favorite “coffee-ing  hole”– The Peekskill Coffee House. When I returned three hours later, Marcel had managed to squeeze under the window to sun himself between said window and  the screen.  Although he doesn’t have the girth of his brother, who would think he could squeeze under an opening like this?


Well, he had and my coming home startled him,  and now he was having trouble squeezing back under the window. In Clue language (“Marcel in the dining room with the window screen.”) Recognizing his mounting panic, and doubting the stability of the screen. I rushed past ,and into the living room to assess the situation. Could he get back in on his own? I peeked  back into the dining room. It didn’t look like it.  He didn’t have enough room to maneuver. Could I go back and raise the window without him rearing back against the screen?  There was only one way to find out.

Bottom line  – yes, I could. But the whole episode left my heart pounding. (NO attack, but a workout.)  The first thing I did –

lower the window,


And  check the door.


There’s Still Time to Place Your Bets   1 comment

The match of the year is about to take place. Once again, I will attempt to bring Marcel to the veterinarian for his rabies shot. So far he’s the unbeaten champion, having eluded me year after year. Usually I’m so traumatized I  just give up and another year goes by, but I’m determined this time. I’ve been training for a month:


Usually he runs at first sight of the carrier. So I snuck it in one afternoon in June while he was sleeping . The method to my madness? Maybe he’d get used to it and start hanging out in it.  He did actually go in it – once. I think that’s in my favor, don’t you?

The other thing in my favor, although I hesitate to phrase it that way, is that Marcos is no longer around. Marcos foiled an attempt that seemed to be going my way last time.  I’d thought it out and fashioned a perfect plan of action. I made the appointment for 11:30 on a Saturday morning, knowing  that Marcel usually took a late morning nap on one of the dining room chairs. I’d have a cup of coffee out on the patio, reading  the  newspaper like I always do on weekend mornings; everything nice and normal so not to get in the way of his routine, or raise any suspicions. Then I’d mosey on in at about 11, and innocently sit on the chair next to him; just me, humming nonchalantly and reading my paper. And when I’d worked up enough nerve, I’d scoop him up in an instant and plop him into the carrier.

What I didn’t count on was Marcos. Just one second before I was about to make my move, he decided to wake up from his own nap.


In he came and situated himself between me and Marcel. If my target had been Marceau it would have been fine. It would be a welcome distraction since Marceau loved nothing better than headbutting the dog.


But Marcel?  Marcel’s goal in life was to keep as much distance as possible between himself and the dog,


But he always did it with cat class and cat style, so after a hiss, and a graceful leap, he was in the living room.  I lunged  for him…….and missed, which didn’t make things any better.

Up he went:


Aha  – no place to go. I had him………

………..Until I didn’t. On the way down the stairs, he twisted out of my hold like a greased slinky.  The race was on again!

And once more,  he chose higher ground.


And that was when the fat lady sang. No way was I going to kill myself over a rabies shot – whether I was breaking the law or not.

The appointment was in ten minutes. I didn’t want to have to break it and possibly incur a no show fee.  And that was when curiosity killed the cat, so to speak.  Marceau moseyed on in to see what the ruckus was about.

And the next thing he was on the vet’s examining table being diagnosed with a condition – obesity.


For that I paid good money?

Tomorrow morning will find me with a new scheme. They both grow ecstatic while being brushed. Ah-ha, need I say more?

The appointment is tomorrow morning at 9 AM, so there’s still time for you to place your bet.  Me? or Marcel? Odds are……..

No, on second thought, you know what the odds are

Posted July 22, 2013 by virginiafair in Cats

Tagged with , , , , ,

The Question of The Horn   3 comments

First of all I want to pat myself on the back for taking the high road and not naming this post “The Horny Question.”

I spent my late teen years in the Bronx. We lived just off of E. 233 Street which connects I- 87, also known as The New York State Thruway, and I-95 also know as The New England Thruway so E 233rd Street was a thruway between thruways, a four lane thoroughfare  traveled by trucks, buses, cars, motorcycles – you name it!

Now this was a long time ago. Ok a long, long, long time ago. For an idea how long ago it was, I would walk on  the street and guys in cars would honk at me. I told you it was a long time ago.  Horns honking at me in the Bronx, and I guess anywhere, were the equivalent of construction workers and corner hanger-outers whistling and making kissy-kissy sounds. I lived in Manhattan too and had my share of  these too. Did I mention it was a long time ago? In both cases, a lady (yes, I mean me ) ignored horns and Hey Babees



I believe the sound is called a chirp, but trust me, it’s a honk. I still ignore it.

Last month I spent a week in St. Thomas,  doing genealogical research on my grandparents. I was determined to immerse myself in St Thomian culture. That’s one thing I learned – Jamaica has Jamaicans, Puerto Rico has Puerto Ricans, St Thomas has St Thomians. So now I can say I’m half St Thomian. It’s more succinct than saying my father’s parents were born in St Thomas. Sorry, I Digress – back to immersion. I stayed at a bed and breakfast owned and operated by a St Thomian,


and  ate only  at restaurants frequented by locale people and serving everyday West Indian food.

One evening when I returned home, my host teased me  with “You’re not one of us, I see.” I was crestfallen. Seeing my face,  he laughed. “I saw you on Back Street, and I honked my horn,  and you didn’t even look. Down here everyone honks their horn to say hello.”

An elderly French gentleman I got to know had a different take. Although born in Paris, I guess he could be classified as a St Thomian, since he’d served as French Consul and  lived on the island off and on since 1952.  While giving me a ride home from  the Caribbean Genealogical Library, he too explained the horn/hello custom. But he added an observation. “People here honk to say hello – but especially when they have a new car.”

And who said the French have a touch of cynicism? Not me!


A Picture Can Inspire A Thousand Questions   2 comments

People ask me how I come up with some of these posts. I’d never really thought about it but I guess one of my models is, or was George Carlin. Mr Carlin often couched his monologues in the form of a question. In honor of George, let’s get going.

My stroll through Washington Square and Madison Square Parks inspired a couple of questions.


DSCN0715Isn’t it next to impossible to rent an apartment or buy a coop in Manhattan if you have a dog?

Some  buildings are more pet-friendly than others but even the most friendly usually have a two animal limit.So where do these people (and their three+ dogs) live? The only explanation I can come up is maybe it’s meant for dog walkers. If you’ve ever seen some of these intrepid people they’re sometimes calmly walking a leashed herd of  six or seven dogs.



Isn’t the city supposed to be a concrete jungle?


So why do Washington Square’s lilies look like this?



And The House of Mars’s lilies like this?


Why do Madison Square Park’s ???? look like this?


And The House of Mars’s ????? like this?

Could it be I’ve hurt its feelings by forgetting its name?


And why do their hostas look like this?


And mine like this?

I do have an answer for this one. I have deer. They don’t!




Hot Time, Summer in the City   5 comments

“Hot Time Summer in the City”

If you’re of  a certain age you’ll recognize that song by The Lovin’ Spoonful. Even if you’re too young to remember, (and as time goes on, I’m finding that when I say that, most people  – sigh – are too young). Now what was I saying oh yes, that you’ll recognize that band name as vintage Sixties!

Well I was in Manhattan on Saturday and, yes ma’am it was  hot time in the city. I hadn’t planned to cover it in the blog, but while walking through Washington Square Park, I couldn’t help but compare it to when I last passed through back in March  – when it was warm time, Spring in the city. If you missed that post, “Spring in My Step”, you  might want  to check it out  so you can see what I’m talking about. That would be… Spring in My Steps

Back then,  the fountain in Washington Square had been empty and bone-dry. But Saturday it was 83 degrees and ,


who says we, New Yorkers don’t  take cool where we  find it?


And if you can’t go to The Hampton or “Down The Jersey Shore”?


I wasn’t the only one passing through…..


The tourists were out in full force.


I always check out the doggie playground. In the spring, I’d stood there, getting a kick out of their interactions. It always reminds me of my kindergarteners. There are the bullies, the shy ones, the ones  that grab all the toys and run. But for some reason the doggie park was shut down.

But the dogs were out. Look at this poor guy.


Didn’t anybody tell him to leave his winter coat home?


This guy, on the other hand is not only dressed for summer,


he’s staying hydrated too!


On my way to Grand Central I walked through another park.



And I’m glad I did, their doggie playground was open,


but not exactly crowded.


These guys were taking a water break


And remember what I said about some dogs being big bullies? Well, here at Madison Square Park, they’ve leveled the playing field.


The little dogs can be bullied by one of their own!


And before I leave you, check out Ms Liberty!


Lookin’  good, Girlfriend!