Friday, July 06, 2007


We were reading Treasure Island last night when the cat meowed.

Sparkles is not a chatty cat.  He doesn't walk into the room like a Vegas entertainer and start greeting everyone, "Hey Rocco!  Good to see ya. Valerie! How's the family?" etc.

Appropriately (for a cat) he usually confines his vocalizations to serious situations.  "Hey! That's my leg!"  Or, "Dog!  There's a dog coming and I'm stuck outside!"  Also, "Other cat!  There's another cat out here and I need to be let in now!"  And let's not forget, "OPEN THIS DOOR RIGHT NOW OR I'M GONNA POOP ON THE CARPET!"

That kind of thing.

Last night, his meowing meant, "Some kid shut me up in the bathroom."  Now, this happens occasionally.  I've accidentally shut the cat in our closet before.  He's gotten stuck in the coat closet a couple of times on accident.  The key word here is accident.  But not last night.

I looked up from the book.  "Is the cat in the bathroom?"  Over on the couch, three of the boys gave blank stares.  But one looked sheepish.

Stephen (7) answered, "Yes."

"Did you shut Sparkles into the bathroom?"

Eyes downcast, "Yes."

"Let him out."

"But he'll scratch me or bite me."  Then he started to cry.

Well, crap.  First, it was bees.  Stephen hasn't been outside in weeks (except for the pool) because he's afraid of bees.  Actually, according to him, it's "bees and wasps and mosquitos."  

And now he's afraid to be inside with the cat.

"The cat won't attack you," I said, trying to calm Stephen down.

Jonah (6) piped in, "Yes he will.  He attacked me yesterday and scratched my leg."  Blue eyes sparkling, he grinned. Thanks Jonah.

I turned my attention back to Stephen. "Would you like it if I shut you in the bathroom?"  He shook his head.  "And neither does Sparkles.  Please go let him out."

As Stephen left, crying, Timothy (9) looked a little guilty.

So I said out loud to no-one in particular, "You know, the only reason the cat attacks you guys is when there's no food in his bowl."  Pause for guilt.  "Timothy, did you feed the cat today?"

"I can't remember."  Great.  A Clinton.

"Timothy.  Go feed the cat so he won't attack your brothers."

As he got up, grumbling, I heard the bathroom door open and then Stephen ran back into the living room and jumped onto the couch with me.  He was still crying, so I held him a little while.  Timothy returned, and we finished the chapter, said prayers, and they went off to bed.

After the boys were asleep, I let the cat out.  In the Summer, he prefers to spend the night outside rather than in my office.

On my way upstairs, I looked into Stephen and Sam's room.  Sam (4) was asleep, but Stephen was looking up at me.  "Where's Sparkles?"


"For all night?"

"Yes.  Good night."

"Good night Dad."

He closed his eyes and was asleep before I could even turn the light on in my room.

This morning, I waited 5 minutes to water my plants.  You see, there was a bee in the flowery bushy thing between me and the water valve, and turning on the water would have meant leaning over an area of high bee probability.

What's worse: it was a male carpenter bee, and they don't sting.  Still, I waited.  But I didn't cry.  Much.


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