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Kitty’s Camping Experience | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on August 14, 2018:

Kitty on the dashboardLast week’s column ended with the comment that David was anxious to take our motor home, which is being made road ready after six years of sitting idle in our backyard, on a test run to a local campground to see what items other than the refrigerator and generator need attention. As it turned out, he was more anxious than I thought – last week we spent four days at Thousand Trails in Point.

After checking our calendar, scheduling an outing became a now-or-much-later decision since I will be recovering from rotator cuff surgery for the next several weeks. David opted for now, and I began making lists. Sunday after church we began shuttling back and forth between the house and the coach with armloads of clothes, food, and Kitty necessities. I almost backed out when David told me that I wouldn’t be able to use the refrigerator after all, but I simplified my menu plan and added an ice chest to my list.

One of the first things David did once preparations were underway was to get Kitty’s carrier out of the shed. In the interest of safety – both hers and ours – we had agreed that it was not a good idea to let her roam free while the motor home was underway. When he brought it into the house, David put the carrier on top of a box, and Kitty immediately gave it a good sniffing, stretching up on her hind legs to reach it. I put it down on the floor and opened the door, and she went inside and lay down. She was ready to go.

She rode quietly to the campground, but when we arrived and opened her door, she immediately disappeared. After we hooked up the water, electricity, and sewer and put out the slides, I went looking for her. I found her in the bedroom, crouched on a nightstand under a corner of the comforter. We didn’t see much of her until bedtime. She wasn’t interested in dinner, but when I brushed my teeth, she appeared in the bathroom, waiting expectantly for her nightly treats. After scarfing them down, she spent most of the night snuggled against my legs or lying between David and me.

We decided not to leave her alone in an unfamiliar environment, so Monday morning David dropped me at the church and took Kitty to the house. He said she took about four steps into the living room and collapsed on the floor as if exhausted from her ordeal. That afternoon when the three of us drove back to the campground, she was not quite as ready to go as she had been the day before. David had to coax her into the carrier with treats, and she whined a bit in the car. Once she was released in the motor home, she nibbled a few bites of kibble and disappeared into the bedroom again.

After the dinner dishes had been washed and put away and we were settled down with our computers, she ventured out of her hiding place, creeping warily through the hallway and scurrying back to safety at the slightest noise. She finally made it to David’s chair where she demanded constant petting and reassurance.

Each day she became a little braver, jumping up on the back of the sofa or the dashboard and inspecting the new scenery she discovered outside the windows. She spent most of the nights on the bed with us, but I did find her on the floor in front of the driver’s seat a morning or two. The last evening before we came home, she had become comfortable enough with her surroundings that we brought out the squirt bottle to let her know that kitchen counters and dining tables are off limits even when camping. She finally settled on the middle of the dashboard as the appropriate perch from which to survey and rule her new kingdom.

We’re all back home now after a successful test run, and we’re looking forward to venturing a little further soon. Kitty seems to have suffered no ill effects from her first camping adventure. Hopefully, next time she’ll adjust more quickly – and hopefully, next time we’ll have a working refrigerator.

Blessings,

Linda

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Moving past the roadblocks | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on August 7, 2018:

Push button

Several of my readers have asked how the saga of the motor home is progressing. You’ll be happy to know that, although we’re still waiting for news on the generator, some good things have happened and we are moving forward. In case you missed the beginning of the story, I’ll just say that when you let a motor home sit unused for seven years, it begins to deteriorate. It may still look good, but flipping a switch or pushing a button doesn’t guarantee that something good will happen. (more…)

A Tale of Kitty’s Tail (and Video)| by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on July 31, 2018:

Kitty plays favorites – she’s definitely partial to David and spends much more time with him than she does with me. That’s not really news, but it continues to be a source of disappointment to me – most of the time.

In the last several months, she has begun to warm up to me more. She sometimes rubs against my legs and then stands with her left rear foot on top of my left foot. I’m not sure exactly what that means, but she does it to David frequently, and it seems to imply some sort of ownership. She’s also allowing me to pet her more, and she sometimes asks me for attention, especially when we first get home in the afternoon. If she’s awake when we arrive, she greets us from the chair by the front door, pushing her head against any part of us she can reach, especially if it’s a hand. She used to save this kind of affection for David, but now I’m included as well.

Another new bid for attention involves my rolling computer stand and the TV table that has become one of her favorite napping places. Because of spatial limitations, the tables are close to each other, and the “mouse ledge” of the computer stand overlaps the edge of the TV table by several inches. When Kitty is lying on her TV table, she rests her head on the computer stand. This is no problem at all except when I’m using my mouse, and Kitty decides she needs my attention. Sometimes she tries to take the mouse out of my hand, and since she doesn’t always remember to sheath her claws, this can be painful for me. Other times she will put her paw on my hand and give that I-know-you-want-to-pet-me look. My typical response is to rub just above her eyes with one finger. She likes that until she doesn’t, and then she bites me.

For quite some time, one of Kitty’s favorite places to lie has been the back of the sofa where David usually sits. It’s high enough to allow her to look down on her loyal subjects, and it’s close to David. It’s also fun to dig between the cushions and the back of the couch unless, of course, David has the spray bottle close at hand to give her a squirt for scratching the furniture. Lately, she has been spending some time on the back of the love seat where I sit. Her favorite place is right behind me. That puts her in the perfect spot to swish her tail and whop me upside my head. Who knew a fluffy tail could pack such a wallop.

Occasionally, instead of lying lengthwise along the back, she lies across it so she can look out the window better. She scoots her backside down until she’s sitting on my shoulder. It’s nice and cozy, and she allows me to lay my head against her like a pillow from time to time. Thankfully, she chooses the left shoulder instead of the sore one, and I enjoy the closeness – until, that is, she swishes her tail. Then, instead of hitting me in the ear, she gets me in the face. Oh well. I guess since I’m number two in her affections, I have to take what I can get, even if it seems like I’m getting the bad end of the deal.

Blessings,

Linda

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It isn’t easy being green – or left-handed | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on July 17, 2018:

Its-not-easy-bein-green-w-KermitAt the church where I work, there’s a twelve-month calendar on the wall behind my desk along with a multi-colored collection of dry-erase markers. The idea is that each staff member and each ministry uses a different color so it’s easy to see at a glance what’s happening on any given day. The problem is that we have no color key on the calendar, so we don’t always use the correct marker. One day last week, Pastor Jason came into my office to make note of a few days he is taking off in August. He stared at the calendar for a few minutes.

“I don’t remember what color I am,” he said. “I think I’m green.”

“It isn’t easy being green,” I quipped. When he looked confused, I continued, “You know – Sesame Street – Kermit the Frog.” (more…)

Roadblocks | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on Tuesday, July 19, 2018:

roadblocksLast week I wrote about our project to get the motor home road ready and about our less than successful beginning. Actually, we checked the first task off the list as a success when the new house batteries enabled us to turn on the lights. However, our first two attempts at finding LED bulbs to replace the halogens netted us two postage bills for returned items. This task was temporarily put on hold in favor of the generator.

You may remember that, although the new house batteries didn’t get the generator fired up, a new fuse did – but not for long. A magnet of some sort shattered into several pieces causing collateral damage in the process. When I left you last week, David was researching replacement parts.

He was not pleased when an RV dealer told him that parts for the almost twenty-year-old generator were no longer available. Since then, he has found that the dealer was either mistaken or dishonest. He has found the parts on-line, but as feared, they are not cheap. Now we have a decision to make: do we buy parts hoping we can find someone who will install them for us and hoping that fixes the problem; do we buy an entire new generator; or do we buy a portable generator. David doesn’t make decisions quickly, so he moved on to holding tanks. (more…)

Spike is a good boy | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on June 5, 2018:

Cows by the gate

The girls gathered at the gate one morning to give us a friendly send off.

This past week, David and I were house, dog, and cow sitting. The house sitting is the easy part since all we’re expected to do is to make the house look lived in. We try not to make it look too lived in, but just enough to encourage any passing burglars to move on to a less lived-in house. The cow part is pretty simple, too. Since we are still basically city folks, our only job is to count noses on our way in or out. This time there were only four noses – the older ladies were visiting a friend in the hopes of expanding the herd.

The third part of the job is where I usually get my writing material. Spike, the Great

Spike is a good boy

Spike surveying his kingdom

Pyrenees mix who rules the house, is friendly and frisky. He’s also big and strong, and he has a mind of his own. The last time we stayed with him, I took him for a walk on his leash. Even though he has more than sixty acres in which to run, the sight of his leash sends him into a frenzy. His favorite route is up the driveway to the road, to the end of the property, and back to the house. Even though David once clocked him at over twenty miles an hour, when he’s on the leash, he’s content to amble along at the walker’s speed – unless a car comes along. (more…)

Kitty’s New Game | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on March 20, 2018:

Cat DoorAnyone who has pets, especially curious cats, knows that these animals have a thing about closed doors. They have a strong desire to be on the side of the door where they’re not. It’s the pet version of “The Grass Is Always Greener” – that thing that causes cows and horses to stretch their necks between strands of barbed wire to try and reach one scrawny dandelion while standing in a patch of lush green clover. It was also probably the inspiration behind the invention of the pet door that so many of us have installed in our homes. (more…)

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