The laptop I bought on closeout for the kids resides on my breakfast bar.
When its not being used to play Minecraft or watching Justin Bieber and (shudder) Ke$ha music videos, it becomes a resting place for one cute gray polydactyl kitten. Did you meet Hemingway yet? No? Here. Readers, meet Hemingway.
Hemingway showed up in our garage about two months ago during a several week cold snap when the outside temperatures were hitting single digits. I opened the garage door to grab something out of the box freezer early one morning and a small furry gray shape went darting away from me and under the car. It was small enough to be either a very small cat or a very large rat, and it was dark enough for me not to be able to discern which. (Yes. I screamed. No. I am not ashamed.)
I woke up SG who came out to help locate and identify our newest houseguest. It took a little while but eventually we heard a very very tiny "meow" from behind the luggage. Hard as we tried we could not catch him and couldn't get him to come to us, so we started leaving the garage door slightly open and putting out food and water for him. We worried about his survival because he was so small, but every day the food we put out was being eaten, so we knew he was alive. I finally got someone to loan me a live trap and we put the food dish inside it.
Three nights later we managed to catch Coco, who was extremely unhappy with us over it. I reloaded the trap and forgot about it for a couple of days until SG went to get something out of the garage one morning and came back in the house with the trap full of a frantically meowing kitten.
Now I've dealt with feral cats before and they are notoriously opposed to being handled, so I fully expected to open that trap and have a spitting, hissing, clawing, ANGRY kitten come barrelling out of it. Instead, a little gray and white furball ran right into my arms, purring and rubbing against me as if he'd been waiting for me his whole life. I suspect he was very cold and very lonely and happy to have someone warm to cuddle with. He crawled up my shirt and it was then we saw his six-toed front paws and both SG and I knew he would stay with us. The name choice was obvious -- Ernest Hemingway is one of history's more famous Polydactyl cat fanciers, having been given one by a ship's captain. Polydactylism is a dominant trait, so that first cat became the founder of a large polydactyl cat colony. Hemingway's estate in Key West is currently home to around fifty descendents of that first cat. Polydactyls are thus commonly referred to as "Hemingway Cats."
(Hemi is the second polydactyl kitty to enter my life, and rather coincidentally, the first extra-toed kitty I had was also a gray and white boy I named "Crash Davis" after Kevin Costner's character in Bull Durham.)
Hemingway's origins are somewhat of a mystery to us. We are not aware of any feral cat litters in the neighborhood and none of the neighbors reported a missing kitten. He couldn't have been more than seven or eight weeks old based on his size, and his friendly nature isn't indicative of a feral litter. Regardless, he's part of the family now.
Yesterday I had to stay home from work to get an emergency crown on one of my back molars. Turns out 20-year old fillings have a habit of undermining the structure of your teeth, as I unhappily discovered at dinner on Saturday.
Hemingway was snoozing on the lid of the laptop on the counter as he is wont to do nearly every day when the kids aren't using it. If they leave the lid open he will walk and nap on the keyboard, which has mixed results -- either the laptop freezes up, which sends the kids into a frenzy when they try to use it later, or it sends out undecipherable emails to equally undecipherable addresses and opens odd websites.
I managed to snag an appointment to get my tooth fixed, but when I went to leave the house I could not find my keys. I spent a good ten minutes tearing the house apart looking for them. As I was frantically searching the kitchen counters. I lifted up a sheaf of papers on the breakfast bar, startling Hemingway out of a sound sleep. He levitated straight up, then landed with scrabbling feet on the counter, knocking over a glass of milk that Race Car Man had left unfinished. Now I not only couldn't find my keys, but a pool of milk was widening under the mouse, the laptop, my envelope with all of our tax paperwork and my Blackberry. Heavens to Betsy!
I clutched my Blackberry to my heaving chest, scooped up the laptop, gave it a cursory wipe, then threw a wad of paper towels down on the rest of the puddle and continued on my search for car keys. I finally did find them on the workbench in the garage right next to the driver's side door of the car; I must have left them there when I got home from dropping the kids off at their bus stop. I have no idea why I would have done that, except that I have been completely discombobulated ever since my tooth fell apart. I was already late for the dentist. After four hours in the chair getting my new crown installed, I completely forgot about the milk mess.
Last night when Race Car Man went to play on the laptop he gave me a round tonguelashing over the sticky mouse and milk-speckled lid which I had failed to finish cleaning. Sensory issues and sticky things are an endlessly bad matchup and typically grounds for screaming exceeding the sound barrier, so I count myself lucky he was only Complaining Loudly.
I wanted to tell him, "There's no use complaining over spilled milk," but I don't think he would have appreciated it. At least the laptop still worked.