Save Yourself (But maybe not)

Today is Day 04 following the Great Windstorm of 2017. Have they officially dubbed it a hurricane? To be honest, I have not been consuming much news this week, so if there’s a name for the storm that landed Sunday night, wreaking havoc across Northern New England, please clue me in.

We’re fortunate. I say “fortunate” because we didn’t have any trees land on our house or garage. We had a partial window shatter (the outer pane in a two-paned weather-resistant window facing the water), but no water invaded our domestic confines. Poor Lucy, our cat, slept about as well as I did Sunday night and early Monday morning, which means hardly at all. She’s been in recovery mode all week, sleeping during the day, rather than watching birds and squirrels from her usual perch in a window. Oh to be a cat like Lucy!

We have several trees lying on the ground. We had some water coming in around a vent above the garage and it’s leaking through the ceiling. This isn’t related to this storm, as we’ve had issues with this during prior heavy rains. Given that the summer and early fall have been bone dry, this hasn’t presented itself until re-surfacing a week ago. The property manager is dispensing his handyman to the house on Friday. Based on past practice, he’ll figure out what needs to be done while making an assessment about our window situation. I think the tree crew will be out next week, but that’s conjecture at this point.

We got electricity back Tuesday night. We were fortunate. Many CMP customers are still in the dark. Others are freaking out about their website. Perhaps technology can’t save us? It sure as hell can’t restore downed power lines. Continue reading

Not Quite As Dark

It’s been awhile since I felt excitement coming home after work. No, I’m not sick of my wife of 34 years, and I have no intention of parting ways.

Actually, for the past several years, I’m usually the one who has been working at home, or coming home long before Mary arrives from her job, or evening workout with SheJAMS.

I adore the cat we added to our home slightly more than a year ago. Lucy is always happy to see me, whenever I return.

This time of year, when I’ve put away my umpiring gear (and volleyball referee’s whistle), as well as hung up the road bike for the season, the approach of darkness has elicited something akin to that claustrophobic feeling that makes breathing difficult.

We are now in week two in our new house. As we unpack the assorted boxes and crates and begin rearranging things into something that feels like home again, returning home after work elicits anticipation and a thrill as I head towards our place by the cove.

Yes, December is the darkest month, but this year, it doesn’t seem as bleak as years past. A new town and a new place to call “home” has a lot to do with that.

Dogs and Cats

When our Sheltie, Bernie, died in 2009, Mary and I were crushed. Say whatever you want about animals not measuring up to the status of fellow humans—losing a beloved pet that has been an integral part of your family for 15 years hurts just like losing a human loved one.

He was the only dog I’ve ever had. When he was gone, it left a void in our household. Of course, life goes on.

Mary and I discussed getting another dog numerous times. The verdict was always, “we’re too busy,” and “a dog is like having a child.” The premise being—you can’t come and go as you please. Still, I missed having a pet around the house, especially as the amount of time I spent working at home increased.

A cat was never an option, or so I thought. I’m not sure why. We’d had cats when Mark was small and we even had a couple of energetic and enjoyable cats when we moved out to the country from Lisbon Falls in 1989. They were outdoor cats, coming and going as cats are want to do—until they disappeared—likely devoured by a wild animal in the dark. With Bernie’s arrival, we became a dog household.

When you live out in the woods and there are fields nearby, you are also in the midst of mouse country. One July evening this summer, I was up in my office writing and listening to baseball on the radio when I heard Mary scream. I went downstairs to find a mouse climbing the screen slider between the living room and our outdoor deck. We had a mouse in the house!

I managed to subdue the critter only to have another one show up in our kitchen this fall. Traps and other so-called mouse-control devices didn’t address the problem. Mary is pretty laid back and easygoing—except when it comes to mice living in the pantry. They had to go!

One morning I said to Mary, “you know the best way to get rid of a mouse, don’t you?” She looked at me, a question mark written on her face. “A cat,” I said, answering my own question.

It wasn’t long before she came home with a video of a beautiful chartreuse kitten residing at the Animal Refuge League in Westbrook. This kitten was a dead ringer for perhaps the best cat we’d ever owned, Shauna, who disappeared after we’d moved out to Durham.

Lucy perched on her cat house, watching the birds.

Lucy perched on her cat house, watching the birds.

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