You Can Take the Girl Out of the City… (cont)

Part Two: Sunday, or Darling I Love You But Give Me Park Avenue
It was close to bar time when we left the Brown Baer and drove even further into the country to Dee-Dee’s sister Cheri’s house where we would all be spending the night. Earlier in the week, Dee had suggested we bring a tent and camp outside under the stars. I thought it sounded like a great idea, mainly because that would leave more space in the air-conditioned living room for me and my inflatable bed.
For all their summer camp stories and Davey Crockett dreams, when everyone saw the big leather couches and thick plush carpeting in the living room, they had second thoughts about sleeping on the hard ground outside.
Dee-Dee stretched out on the chair and said, “This is so fun to have all of us together – it’s just like old times!”
“Exactly which old times are you talking about? When have the five of us ever all slept in the same room?”
“Oh yeah… I guess never. But still, it’s fun!”
While Natasha was still in the bathroom getting ready, we had all staked our claim on the various couches and plots of land. Cheri decided that since Nat was the smallest, she would get the love seat. She was not happy.
“So, Jenny… can I sleep with you on your inflatable bed?”
“No way! It’s just a little bed! I roll around a lot.”
“Oh, come on… I’m just a little thing.”
“You’ll spoon me!”
“No I won’t.”
“Look – you’re little. You can sleep just fine on the love seat.”
The debate went on for about ten minutes, until finally I looked over at Nat trying to fold her body into a pike position on the love seat, so I sighed, “Okay fine. You can sleep with me. Just stay on your side.”
“No, forget it now. I’ll just try to sleep here.”
I shrugged my shoulders and curled up to go to sleep. Somewhere around 3:00am I was startled awake by the most terrifying snarling and growling that I thought a bobcat had somehow broken into the house. As I fumbled for my glasses and Swiss army knife, I suddenly realized that it wasn’t a wild animal, but Seamus snoring. I turned to see if anyone else was awake, and noticed that Dee was no longer on the chair, and had likely abandoned us for the comfort of one of her nieces’ beds. Just like old times, indeed.
I took a few deep calming breaths and convinced myself that I could practice self-hypnosis to fall back asleep.

Okay, Jenny. First, your fingertips are heavy and relaxed. Now your arms are so relaxed…

…and your shoulders are loose and heavy. Your head is so relaxed, you feel like you’re lying on a cloud…
… your legs are so tired you can barely move them. All the stress is flowing out of your toes…
Oh for christ’s sake!
I contemplated giving Seamus an emergency tracheotomy, but couldn’t find a ball point pen or any rubbing alcohol, so I went to the bathroom to get some toilet paper to stuff in my ears. As soon as I got up, Nat’s head popped up from the couch.
“Nat… come here! You can totally sleep with me – just help me move this mattress somewhere!”
“Oh, thank god.”
We grabbed the air mattress and stumbled through the darkness toward the patio.
“Should we bring this outside?” I asked.
Natasha headed for the sliding doors, then suddenly jumped back.
“There’s something out there!”
“What? What is it?”
I couldn’t see a thing without my glasses.
“Some kind of animal. It’s either a hydra, or a bunch of cats. I just see one body and like half a dozen heads moving.”
“Shit. We can’t put this out there – we’ll be covered in cats and fleas and ticks in no time.”
We ended up squeezing the mattress between the wall and the non-functioning hot-tub, and fell fast asleep. That is, until about an hour and a half later, when I learned that in the country, the sun is about 10,000 times closer to the earth than it is in the city. I couldn’t understand why I was suddenly so hot, until I turned around and realized that both Nat and I were baking like ants under a magnifying glass as the blinding sun came through the floor to ceiling patio windows.
I threw off my blanket and tried to force myself to get at least another hour of sleep, but kept hearing this strange shrieking in the distance that sounded like something from the Discovery Channel.
“Hey… am I crazy, or is that a peacock?”
“That’s exactly what I was thinking.”
“Where the hell are we? Neverland Ranch?”
Eventually, Nat and I just gave up and went on the back patio to feed the hydra.
Shortly thereafter, we were joined by Dee-Dee and her brother-in-law, Joe. As we sat on the patio sipping coffee and eating cherries and cookies that Dee had brought as recompense for abandoning us, Joe started to tell a story about a neighbor whose cow was pregnant with twin calves. The entire time he was talking, I had one and only one thought running through my mind:
Please, please… whatever you do, do not let this be a story about a two-headed calf. Please… I’m begging you. Just not before breakfast.
Fortunately, there was no two headed calf, just two separate calves that had all their appropriate body parts. Joe said they looked like little dogs, they were so small. I liked the idea of puppy cows, and decided that maybe I could get used to this quiet, country living. What’s more adorable than a calf the size of a little dog? Not much, I’ll bet.
Just then, one of the kittens came bounding onto the patio from the bushes with a little toy in its mouth.
“Ohmigod! Look at the little grey one! He’s so adorable – look at him playing with that toy!”
Joe held back a laugh as he clarified, “Uh, yeah. I was kind of worried about that… I saw the mom walking around earlier with a rabbit in her mouth. I’m pretty sure that’s a foot.”
It wasn’t until later, when the grey and brown object starting gently rolling toward me in the wind, that we realized it wasn’t a foot, but just a big huge tuft of fur that had been ripped off the rabbit in the feeding frenzy that had occurred earlier. So, you know, it was much less disgusting than a foot.
As Dee handed me a lemon cookie, I looked down to see two of the little tabby kittens chasing each other and playing with some leaves.
“Ohmigod! Look at those little striped ones! I love how they keep attacking that leaf like it’s some sort of wild animal!”
This time it was Dee who stifled the laugh, as she pointed out that it was not a leaf they were playing with, but rather the disembodied wing from some bird they must have snacked on earlier. I set down my lemon cookie.
Killer instinct aside, these kittens were insanely adorable and we all struggled to convince ourselves that it was not practical to take them home with us. And that was when Joe revealed that he had been holding out on us all morning.
“Well, this is just the one litter – there’s about six more down at the bottom of the hill. They’re younger than these ones.”
I leapt off my chair and grabbed my camera, feeling safe in the belief that kittens who were still nursing could hardly take down a sparrow, or even a tiny mouse for that matter. Dee-Dee, Natasha and I all bolted down the hill to the big crate by their basement apartment where all the kittens were fast asleep.
“Ohmigod! Look at how many of them there are! There’s like a million grey ones, and just one black one… and look – there’s even a little long-haired brown one hiding under there!”
And that was when Dee-Dee leaned in closer and clarified that, in fact, it was not a long-haired brown kitten, but the decapitated torso of the rabbit dinner.
“OH COME ON NOW! What’s a rabbit carcass doing in there with the baby kittens?! Get that out of there!”
Dee-Dee just shook her head and said, “This is the country, Jenny. Get used to it.”
As we packed up our things and said our goodbyes, Cheri gave me perhaps the greatest compliment I’ve received in ages: “You’re getting so much better, Jenny! You’re way less disturbed by the torn up rabbit than you were by that baby mole being eaten alive by kittens when you visited us last time.”
I thought about it for a minute, and realized that she was right. I was way less disturbed – I could almost be a farm girl! At this rate, I could be delivering two-headed calves in no time. Just don’t ask me to sleep on the ground. I have my limits.
[the full litter on flickr]

11 Responses to “You Can Take the Girl Out of the City… (cont)”

  1. Iron Fist Says:

    For such cute little things they sure can slaughter the living crap out of the local wildlife. Why can’t they just eat cheezburgers like other kittehs?

  2. You can call me, 'Sir' Says:

    Ninjas. I knew it. Little furry ruthless killing machines.

  3. You can call me, 'Sir' Says:

    Ninjas. I knew it. Little furry ruthless killing machines.

  4. Cheryl Says:

    My girlfriend used to have two cats, one of whom would bring home dead rats and birds as “gifts.” The other cat wasn’t very coordinated, so he would bring home large leaves and shreds of palm fronds. So, see, you could be a country girl on a farm full of clumsy, urban hunters.

  5. jenny Says:

    vahid: no kidding! they’re all, “i can has live rabbitz?”
    sir: you totally called it. never trust a grey kitten. they’re all sociopaths.
    cheryl: aww, poor uncoordinated cat! he probably totally had a complex. maybe i can live on a farm, but find a cat who will leave starbucks lattes on my doorstep.

  6. kat Says:

    my grey kitten is most definitely NOT a sociopath. a megalomaniac, perhaps, but definitely not a sociopath.

  7. Anonymous Says:

    Dear Jenny.
    Peacocks! Hilarious! You’ve earned a John Deere hat and some dungarees!

  8. serap Says:

    Aha, now I understand the ‘no comment’! They are soooo beautiful though. My cat is uncoordinated and clumsy! I often get leaves, and once a very small slug, completely in tact and alive. I’ve seen him try to catch birds and its laughable, he miaows really loudly before he makes a run at them!

  9. shari Says:

    So…… Jenny shows up and suddenly rabbits start dying. Coincidence? ;)

  10. jenny Says:

    kat: are you sure about winston? sometimes it manifests itself late in life. i’m just sayin’… watch your back!
    vivian: sweet! i’m well on my way to owning my own riding lawn mower!
    serap: ha! he seems to be missing the “silent stalking” cat gene…
    shari: believe me – don’t think the irony of finding a headless rabbit was lost on me!

  11. dee-dee Says:

    i’m still laughing about the peacock, i thought there was only a wild turkey problem up there — who knew! the best was when i left to find a new corner to sleep in and you sat straight up and looked me in the eye and then fell back asleep…

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