The cats have had quite a week. They don't like hot days. They loll about, don’t eat their food, and look at me as if it’s my fault. They don’t mind the fans, but when I turn on the A/C in the bedroom, the kids skedaddle. It’s not a noisy air conditioner; I don’t know what their issues are. Put up with the A/C or live in 90 something heat, kids. It is, after all, the first summer for Chick and Wilbur – and it’s not even summer yet. But even the normally ravenous Millie’s not eating much in her third summer.
I'm trying to move them from the scoopable clay litter they've always used to corn. The regular clay litter (normal, non-scoopable that I've used for years for every other cat I’ve known) is what's in the bathroom box, and that's fine. They use it occasionally; it’s easy to keep clean, and doesn’t stink. The two boxes of scoopable litter in the living room, though, no matter what the advertisements claim, cause lots and lots and lots of gross dust. (Yes, three litter boxes. Three cats. They’re so spoiled, I know.) I changed one box to all corn litter (scoopable, ground fine so that it’s soft and fluffy, most importantly it doesn't create dust), and they checked it out, but barely used it. Texturally it’s quite different from the clay, and they just don’t like change. They kept using the dusty clay. So I tried mixing corn litter into the clay litter. They did not object and continued using it. Eureka, the corn litter made it much less dusty. When I mixed some clay into the corn box, they started using both. Perhaps eventually I'll get rid of the dusty clay scoopable litter entirely, but this is a better set-up already.
The cats chase a fly. I’m not sure if the fly is all over the apartment, but the two little ones are galloping from the front window to the back door, leaping over each other and the furniture and their tunnel, but it’s funniest when they leap over one another and crash in midair. Millie leaps into the fray, but Chick is really fast. The fly probably got in through one of the holes they’ve made in the screens when chasing prey that is outside. They don’t go outside, but that doesn’t stop them from attacking the barrier. Any one of the three will leap up on the back door and hang from his or her claws, and I can hear the screen lurch and ping. Little holes get a little bigger, in comes the fly, there go the cats.
By the end of the week it’s less oppressive, but today is surprisingly warm, appearing stormy at first, with NY1 promising a fairly May-like day, which would not have been unwelcome. The morning sped by, what with waiting to see if my main computer was alive after crashing from a Malware attack last night – would it have been so difficult for the remote technician to have typed “issue resolved, reboot” in the dialogue box instead of just that he’d broken the connection? Really, so difficult? And what if I didn’t have another computer on which to check email, how would they have expected me to find out that it was safe to try the sick one. Sigh. Then at the last minute I changed a box of cat litter, mixing approximately one part clay to two parts corn to keep the clay dust down. I managed to leave five minutes later than planned after my daily reconnaissance mission:
Search the apartment for one (there’s Chick in a box), two (there’s Millie in the window), three cats before heading out.
Wilbur had to be difficult. It’s as if he knows I’m going to search. In the bedroom closet I push hangers right, left, then split them down the middle and see him back there, hiding in those hanging shoe shelves that no longer hold anything but him and his sister. So much for my clothes – it’s become his castle keep.
Suddenly it went all over muggy, and instead of walking the mile and a half to the moviehouse, I waited for the bus. Big mistake. Twenty aggravating minutes later, three buses showed up at the same time at the same stop. This is not per alleged schedule and is why I hate the MTA. The lateness of the bus left me no time to walk the second half of the way, so I took the train two stops, arriving at the Midway in time for trailers. Once again, the trailer for “Cowboys and Aliens” looks just terrific – why can’t I help worrying the film will let me down? But that’s not what I’m here for today. Today it’s time for “Super 8,” a partnership of J.J. Abrams and Steven Spielberg, science fiction + kids with those two guys is a match made in Hollywood Heaven. More on that anon.
After the film, I wandered around the corner to see 71st Avenue closed to traffic, which was bound to be disappointing to the people standing in the bus stops. Down on Austin, a street fair was in progress. I was accustomed to these in Manhattan, on wider streets, and had never run into one here before, although I’ve since learned that there is a “Forest Hills Festival of the Arts” every year, with music and vendors along Austin Street. The usual sort of thing – jewelry, food, booths of local businesses, massages, more food, and the sound of music around the corner. An Americana style band sang songs by Lucinda Williams and others of that style.
The side street was filled with folding chairs, and some women rose from them and started to dance. I snapped a picture with my not smartphone and sent it to the cell of the only person in the neighborhood whose number I had. He texted right back saying his wife was down the street, past the Rite Aid, at their Temple’s booth. I headed on over. My friend, who always wears hats out in the sun, was hatless and sunglassless. Sometimes one should not listen to NY1 Weather on the Ones.
We watched the world go by, adults, children in strollers – the kind with a smaller child in a seat, and a bigger one standing behind would never have worked in my family. My brother would have kicked me in the butt for certain. Austin is a narrow street for a street fair, but still it worked, lots of people, and the occasional little dog being carried above the too many feet on Austin Street today.
It is evening now, and sitting on the patio as I type this I can see someone on the counter. “Hey, get off there!” I yell through the window screen. Too late. Wilbur has found an empty Ziploc bag that formerly held the last of the turkey franks, and now it’s his. He will share this peculiarly scented plastic with his sister, and I’ll eventually find it inside the tunnel.
As for “Super 8,” I’m still gathering my thoughts, one of which is to see it again, since I enjoyed it so much.
~ Molly Matera, signing off for Tony Time.