In my new home on the Western Slope the Dog Days of Summer took on new meaning over the past couple of weeks. In this older, lathe and plaster house we experienced some Sirius heat (forgive the pun).
Though I Googled the region extensively before moving, I wasn’t sure what to expect from summer in my new climate. This is the first (and for me unexpected) seasonal change. Still, even with the sudden heat I wouldn’t have guessed how perfect, how close to heaven as I can imagine this environment is for me – now that the evaporating cooler is up and running.
The transition wasn’t so smooth for the two elderly, long-haired cats we live with. The temps jumping from the mid-seventies to the nineties in less than a week, the poor pusses suffered for days.
We now walk to errands and shopping first thing daily rather than leisurely going whenever we see fit. During the second day of heat, we returned home to find the poor, old pusses flat on their backs on the floor where obviously they willed the cooler to start blowing relief. They’ve lived in the house all their lives, so they know the drill and had adjusted to Erin’s pace. Still, it was hot…
I was ready to crank the cooler up when temps were still in the 80’s at 23:00 hours. Even with dual fans in the windows and ceiling fans running for a few days, sleep did not come to me until the wee hours of the morning. Unless easy-going Erin is busy upstairs she is oblivious to the still mild heat. So I sleeplessly commiserated with mes mews those few days. …Until I noticed inside the house was hotter than outside in the early afternoon. Then we got serious.
During the first week of heat, Erin and I made several trips to the hardware store replacing weather ravaged parts on the cooler. I hate considering I may not be as mechanically adept as I used to be, but brother Edmund dropped by and fixed what I couldn’t figure out for days. So, we had relief on the sixth day. It’s all good; we had to adjust our routine to watering the flower bed and garden earlier with old school sprinklers anyway.
Although we were quick to prepare the cooler, we soon learned another new adventure lay ahead – for me anyway. Matted fur. So there we were on the floor with electric clippers, brushes and combs, and the rubbery oven mitt, cutting away the amazingly hard wads of fur and hair from poor, old Matty, the older, grey tabby.
Have I mentioned I’m allergic to cats – dander and fur? Or that they’re both long haired cats? True, I lived with my sweet Lucy Retardo for the eighteen years she reigned over our homes. And I cleaned, dusted and vacuumed daily. Every. Single. Day. Then there’s the barrage of immune support I now take (again), to lessen the affects. Living with Lucy taught me how natural foods work just as well as the prescription allergy medication and two other OTC remedies without all the almost comical side effects. Raw unfiltered local honey is truly a blessing – just sayin’ Though I walk even more to burn the additional calories, it works for me. Even without the dreadful humidity of North Texas, in the hot weather that’s love, people.
Granted, domesticated animals require a lot more work than the hummingbirds who nested for the second year on our front porch. But we learned they keep summer homes. Mostly to avoid being dive-bombed by the nesting family we simply use the side door. Still, the fur kids have already grown on me and we’ve established a routine that is helping us all live together more comfortably – I’ll spare you the details, but allergy sufferers can write me privately for additional helpful tips.
Caring for the earth and all life forms thereon is high on my priority list. Sure, with my almost obsessive vigilance to housekeeping I prefer to enjoy the Wild Kingdom and domestic animals in the great outdoors. Still, I adjust. It’s all about the love. Cats seem to fit a house with two old broads.
Today, in the quiet (with the cooler turned off), I often think of the many people I also love. Yet walking as gentle rain kisses the Western Slope I feel more content than ever before. Life isn’t quite perfect, but the lyrics come to me “…with two cats in the yard. Life used to be so hard…*”
“When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor. You made them rulers over the works of your hands; you put everything under their feet: all flocks and herds, and the animals of the wild, the birds in the sky, and the fish in the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas.“ Palm 8:3-8 (NLT)
From Our House, From the 1970 Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young album Déjà Vu