Wednesday, November 19, 2014


ACT 2 - Scene 1

Setting:                Tuesday morning. The missus and mister’s back yard. The cat is still in the tree.

Missus:                 (On the phone) Hello. Police department? I realize this is a cliché, but can you send the fire department to get a cat down from a tree in my yard?

Dispatcher:         (Laughing) I’m sorry ma’am, we don’t do that.

Missus:                 Really. But I see stories with firemen rescuing cats all the time.

Dispatcher:         Only on TV, ma’am.

Missus:                 Who do you suggest I call? This cat has been up there since yesterday.

Dispatcher:         It will probably come down on its own.

Missus:                 Not so far. Is there nothing you can do to help?

Dispatcher:         I can send someone out if you like.

Narrator:             Ten minutes later, a nice policeman named Greg showed up at the missus’ door.

Const. Greg:       What seems to be the problem, ma’am?

Missus:                 Cat. Tree. 18 hours now.

Const. Greg:       Poor little guy! Not much we can do to help, I’m afraid.

Missus:                 No fireman up a ladder?

Const. Greg:       (Tossing tennis balls into the tree to scare it down.) No, we don’t do that as a rule. We can’t risk our personnel’s safety for a cat. If the animal is hurt or injured, we’d give it a go, but this one looks pretty content up there. Here’s my card. Call us back if it’s still up there in a couple of days.

Missus:                 Thanks for coming out, Constable Greg – and thanks for not making me feel like a crazy lady.

Narrator:             Constable Greg took out his little notebook and wrote in it for a few minutes before driving away.

Missus:                 (Muttering) Probably writing, “crazy lady.”

Narrator:             Feeling a bit frustrated, the missus got on the phone.

Missus:                 Hello. Humane Society?

Narrator:             She told them the whole story.

HumSoc:              It should come down….eventually. Not much we can do to help.

Narrator:             The missus made a cup of tea to mull the whole thing over and went up to talk to the cat from the opened bedroom window.

Missus:                 What now, Puss?

Puss:                     Mew.

Scene 2

Setting:                Tuesday evening. After dark.The missus and mister’s bedroom window.

Missus:                 (Calling to the cat) Puss! Enough already! Let’s call it a day and come on down!

Puss:                     Mew!

Narrator:             Only now, the meowing wasn’t coming from the tree.

Missus:                 Wait a sec. Where are you, Puss? 

Narrator:             The meowing was coming from what seemed like three directions all at once!

Missus:                 Oh, Puss! Are you down from the tree? Wait, I need to get a flashlight!

Puss:                     Mew! Mew! Mew! Mew! Mew!

Missus:                 (Searching in the darkness with the flashlight) Puss! I hear you! Come on darlin’! Oh, PUSS! You’ve got to be kidding me! Please don’t tell me you’re on the roof!!!

Narrator:             Sure enough. There was the cat looking down at the missus from the high peak of the two story roof. She beamed a light up into its green eyes – big as saucers.

Missus:                 Oh, Puss. Now what?

Puss:                     Mew.

Scene 3

Setting:                Wednesday morning, early. The bedroom.

Mister:                 It’s still too dark to tell for sure, but I went out and looked all around at the roof with a flashlight. I didn’t see the cat up there. I couldn’t hearing any meowing.

Missus:                 Oh, good. Maybe it’s gone. I hope so. It could have jumped to the porch roof and gotten down from there.

Mister:                 It was so cold last night. Maybe it finally decided to go home.

Narrator:             The mister had an early morning meeting and left for work before the sun was truly up.

                                As it got lighter out, that was when the missus spotted the cat. Perched, like a tiny, waif-like gargoyle at a corner of the roof under the tree branches.

Missus:                 (Leaning out the bedroom window to call to Puss) You poor silly thing! Why are you still up there? OK, this is getting serious.

Narrator:             The missus did what anyone would do in this situation: send out an email to all the neighbors.

Missus:                 Dear neighbors, is anyone who is not afraid of heights willing to help get a stranded cat off my roof?

Narrator:             Within a half hour a kindly neighbor from up the street had called.

Neighbor:            Sure, I can help. I’ll be down in a few minutes.


Narrator:             What happened next was a scene of ingenuity and bravery, with a result just shy of a miracle. The missus and the neighbor carried an extension ladder upstairs and shoved it out the bedroom window onto the porch roof. The neighbor clambored up to the high peak, but came down again, discouraged when it seemed like the cat was just out of reach.

Neighbor:            It really looks like it wants to come down. But I can’t get it. We need something to catch it in. I know! Do you have a laundry basket?

Missus:                 Absolutely! (Tossing onto the floor the freshly laundered clothing she intended to sort and put away that morning.)

Narrator:             Up the neighbor went again. This time with the laundry basket lined with a soft towel and some cat treats acquired for luring the reluctant kitty from its perch.

Neighbor:            Come on, kitty! You can do it! Come on, kitty, kitty, kitty!

Puss:                     Meowr! Meowr! Meowr!

Neighbor:            You know you want to. Come on! Just hop down!

Narrator:             The poor man’s arms ached. But he held the basket as high as he could. The cat poised to jump. But backed away, too scared to make the leap. It tried again. And backed away. On the third try, it landed softly in the basket.

Neighbor:            Hurray for you, cat!

Missus:                 Yay, Puss! (To the neighbor) OK, hand me the basket and come back inside. I’ll close the window so it can’t get back out there.

Narrator:             Riley was safely confined to the kitchen.

Missus:                 That was fabulous! We got it! Thank you so much!

Neighbor:            You’re welcome! Happy we could get the kitty down.

Narrator:             The neighbor went home. The missus and Puss looked at each other.

Missus:                 Well, Puss. What now?

Puss:                     Mew.

Scene 4

Setting:                Later that morning. Riley out in the yard. The cat inside the house. The missus on the phone.

Missus:                 Hello. Humane Society? I called yesterday about a cat on my roof. Well, it’s rescued now. Can I bring it to you?

HumSoc:              No, sorry. We are full. We can’t take any cats.

Missus:                 Well great, Puss. What do we do now? We’ve got that big dog that chased you in the first place! And look at you, your poor thing. It looks like you’ve been starving and out there for weeks. Here, have some tuna.

Narrator:             The missus did what anyone would do in this situation; she called the one person who she knew would come to the rescue.

Missus:                 Hi, what do I do with this cat?

Rescuer:              Just bring it to me and I’ll foster it until you can find its owners or we can find a nice home for it.  

Narrator:             The missus went out and bought a cardboard cat carrier and popped the poor scrawny little cat in for the journey to the rescuer’s office.

Missus:                 Don’t worry, Puss. You’re safe and warm and she’s such a nice lady. She’ll take care of you.

Puss:                     Mew.

End of Act 2


Narrator:             The kind rescuer took the cat to the vet who said that the poor little one is only about nine months old and has probably been a stray on the street most of her short life. She has already had kittens – who knows where they might be. Other than malnutrition and a cold, the cat is in reasonable health. It is a sweet natured little soul and very affectionate. The staff where the rescuer works named it Boo. They are looking for a good home.

Missus:                 Well, Riley, all’s well that ends well, eh? Uh oh, who’s that doggy out there? Is it on its own? Oh, don’t tell me! Wait….oh, there’s the owner! Ha Ha! Whew! Can’t handle another rescue today, eh, boy?

Riley:                     (That’s for sure, mom! By the way, where’s the cat at?)

Monday, November 17, 2014


Cat on a Cold Wet Roof
A domestic drama in two acts.


Setting:  Monday afternoon.  The mister and missus’ backyard.  Riley, the dog, snuffling around in the bushes. Suddenly, he takes off, clearly chasing something.

Narrator:             If dogs have bucket lists, Riley got to check a major item off his this week. He treed a cat.

 Missus:                What is it, Riley? Did you get a chipmunk?

Narrator:             Riley seems to think the world would be better off without chipmunks. Only, it  wasn’t a chipmunk. It was a cat. Riley's nemesis! And now it was clinging to the trunk of a pine tree, with Riley excitedly doing his version of the classic “dog barking at a cat up a tree.”

Missus:                 Oh my goodness. You got a Puss Puss!

Narrator:             Riley’s key word for “there’s a cat!” that makes his ears perk up and his eyes shine bright with the soul of his inner ancient hunter.

Missus:                 Pretty pleased with yourself, aren’t you, pal?

Narrator:             “Definitely, Mom!” He looked as happy as a dog that had treed a cat.

Missus:                 Come on, Riley. I know. You got a cat. You better come inside and let the puss get out of here.

Narrator:             The puss had different ideas —like climbing higher up the tree and parking itself on a large branch. The missus went out to check on it later.

Missus:                 Puss! Really? That high up? How are we going to get you down from there? (In a high pitched, sing song voice) Puss Puss. Come on Puss. Come on Kitty. Come on down.

Narrator:             Puss puss noises had no effect. The afternoon was about to become evening. The missus began to worry. And so she did what anyone would do in this situation. Post to her Facebook status.

Missus:                 Dear Facebook friends. Any advice on how to rescue a cat from a very high tree?

FB Friends:          It will come down on its own.

                                Call the fire department.

                                Leave it be. It knows how to get down.

                                It might be afraid to come down. Try putting a ramp up against the tree.

                                Leave a can of tuna in the garden. It will come down when it’s hungry enough.

                                Call the Humane Society.

Narrator:             Comments mostly trended toward the cat coming down when it was darn good and ready. But just to be extra cautious, the missus set out a can of tuna and made the mister put out a plank from the tree to the porch roof so kitty could just walk on down – call it a cat walk.

Missus:                 Come on down Puss! You can do it! Look! Here’s some nice tuna!

Narrator:             The missus called to the cat at intervals throughout the evening.

Missus:                 Puss Puss! Come on Kitty! See? Tuuuuu-na! Mmmm!

Narrator:             The cat didn’t budge. It just meowed.  A pitiful, help-me kind of meow that tugged at the missus’ heart strings.

Missus:                 Ah, come on cat! Please come down! It’s cold out! And it’s bedtime. Well, ok, then, maybe you’ll come down during the night. (Muttering to herself) Stupid cat. Still, could be worse. Could be raining.

Narrator:             It started to rain. Cold, near freezing drizzle.

Missus:                 Ah, Puss. For heaven’s sake come down.

Puss:                     Mew.

End of Act 1

Saturday, November 8, 2014

PC Power

My PC lap top is on life support this week. I was all ready to write its eulogy because I thought for sure it was a goner. It has been touch-and-go for quite a while now. But today it’s showing signs of life, now that it’s recharging and seems to be feeling much more like its old self again. Slow and cranky. Good old PC!

Some people are quick to replace recalcitrant or outdated devices. Others can’t resist the lure of the latest electronic gizmos which somehow compel them to line up all night outside the Apple store to make sure they get the latest release. Not me. I tend to form attachments to machines and other inanimate objects. I find it hard to say good-bye.

It was close with my lap top. The guys at the Geek Squad were not very encouraging when I rushed it to their emergency room after it crashed a couple of weeks ago. “Oh, wow!” the triage Geek said when he examined it, “2011! I haven’t seen one this old in a long time!”

“It’s only 3 years old!” I cried, “Please! You must be able to do something to save it!”

“Huh. Looks like your tech support contract expired a year ago. Not sure what we can do to help, Ma’am,” he said, shaking his head and taking a little flashlight from his pocket protector to check inside the battery housing. “You could try a new battery. But we don’t carry anything this old. You could go over to Batteries’R’Us.”

The guy at Batteries’R’Us looked it up in inventory. “We don’t have one, but I might be able to get it from another store. Can you leave it with me?”

I drove home with that helpless feeling that comes from leaving fate in someone else’s hands.

I tried to make friends with the iPad, the other lap top computer that lives at our house. Tearfully, I began to write my PC’s obituary. It didn’t go well. My hand reached out for the mouse that wasn’t there. My fingers stabbed at the screen to highlight edits — and missed every time. I began to feel repetitive strain injury flaring up in my index finger. The keyboard was so small! Oh, how I missed my PC!

I was filled with remorse for swearing at it for being so slow. But being slow only meant that its memory was so full! Full of all the emails and Facebook posts and online purchases and documents and photo memories that we shared together!

I missed its quirky keyboard with the letters worn away because of its ever faithful service for lo, these three years. Who needs to see the white painted lettering on the keys anyway?!? It might not have the E, R, T, Y, U, I, A, S, H, L, N and most of the C, but I taught myself to be a touch typist because of it! I would have learned to touch type in high school, but I was in Art instead and even when I took a three week summer program in typing, I had mononucleosis on the second week and when I got back to class they had gone from “AAAA” “SSSSS” “LLLLL” “KKKKKK” right to “The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog.” And I was lost! But, my dear PC, with you I was found! All those years of feeling like a steno school drop-out, erased because of you and your clever teaching methods!

I rejoiced when I got the call from Batteries’R’Us. They had a battery for my PC! Oh, joy! I drove like fury out to get it. With its battery transplant in place my lap top sputtered and started up again! Huzzah! I sent emails and checked Facebook. Oh, so good to have it back with me. I tucked it in at bedtime, but it took a turn for the worse overnight. Even though it was plugged in, the new battery was failing! Aw! No!

I unplugged it and said some quiet good-byes. I began again to write my eulogy on the iPad, but I needed an image stored on my PC. It was a last chance, but I said, “OK, old friend. Let’s power up one last time to see if you have enough charge to give me that photo.”

I couldn’t believe my eyes! The battery icon fired up again! To full charge! It’s a miracle! My lap top is alive! And I will never take my PC for granted again.