Thursday, January 13, 2011

Joueaux Noelle... {meow}

It was a dark and stormy night. No, really it was! OK, how about this; twas the week before Christmas, and all thru the house, a new creature was stirring, and she is no mouse. No? Well, then lean back, get a cup of hot cocoa, and I'll relate how my beloved Barbara and I came to be found by a just too adorable kitten.

It all started the week before Christmas. Up here in The Hundred Acre Woods By The Inland Sea, it's *almost* guaranteed that we will enjoy a White Christmas. This year certainly lived up to The Weather Channel's considered opinion that we indeed would have snow. Not enough that they sent out Jim Cantore, or even Mike Bettis, but a good, old fashioned White Christmas to be sure. If you're across the pond, in Merry Olde England, or Scotland, you probably have some not so fond memories of that blizzard. I know of more than one dear friend that complained about bitter cold, stiff wind, and too much snow. Over here, in contrast, that's simply another wonderful day Up North. Yeah, we're used to it, and actually enjoy it. We even have a saying here, "There's no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing choices". Oh, and we mean it.

In fact, there are people that will blithely choose to don Arctic Survival Gear, and go traipse thru the woods to a blind, in hopes of stocking the freezer with fresh venison. Happily, your humble narrator already had his freezer stocked, and so didn't feel the "Call of the Wild" to go on such an aforementioned misadventure. But two of our hale and hearty (and young) nephews did feel that call, and so drove up to spend the weekend with us. Blizzard be damned, they are men, and deer will be bagged. Well, with a true Northern Michigan Blizzard (40+ mph winds, heavy snowfall, no end in sight, repeat daily as needed) they wisely chose to spend most of the time indoors.

To help ease their pain and frustration, that fateful evening, we bundled into Steve's pickup truck (hurray for 4 wheel drive) and snow plowed our way to Rosie's Place. Rosie's is known far and wide for having the best burritos and pizzas within an easy drive. We were just about the only crazies in the place as most sane folk stayed at home that evening. So we noshed on a great pie, and a pitcher of beer, and very much enjoyed each other's company. Both Steve, and his brother Edward are made of sterling stuff, and we enjoy them immensely.

Soon after warm, satisfying meal, we decide to brave the blizzard once more and more or less "snow plow" our way home. {cue music} We slowly proceed, and Barb decided that we should divert from the normal route, and take a back road as it might be less windy? You see, the wind was still whipping about 45mph, and the visibility was just barely beyond the hood of the truck. As we crawl down the road, thru the deep and deeper drifts, we spot some red flashing lights ahead in our path. {music intensifies} We inch along, and stop a couple of car lengths behind a small car, with it's Hazard Lights blinking. Whew... well the nephews decide that we should render aid if we can, and we trundle out. Turns out the car belongs to neighbors, and yes they were stuck. since they had a cell phone, they had called for a tow truck, and it's arrival was imminent. Well, we couldn't just leave them, and uh oh, our truck can't turn around either! So no real choice but to wait for the wrecker, which would pull out the car in front of us, and we'd follow in it's tracks.

Well that was a nice plan, wasn't it? Only problem was that the tow truck arrived *behind* us! But the driver smartly stopped quite a ways, and walked up to survey the situation. Which, as we had guessed, was impassable from our rear. Plan number two; he drives around the country block (getting semi stuck at least three times) and arrives in another 45 minutes or so, from the front. Now we'll get somewhere! Good thing as we all had to take turns warming up in the truck, in order to avoid frostbite and freezing appendages. Speaking of which, two of us really, really, really had to go (pitcher of beer?) and believe you me, I have never, ever been so concerned about freezing *that* appendage before!

Well, Mr Tow Truck Driver decides that no, he can't even get the car out from the front! In fact, there is no way for him to recover that vehicle with all the snow it's in (?!). Great. Hey, we're hearty folk, we can deal with this! So we pile the neighbors into the truck, and the rest of us walk along the truck to guide Steve in his quest to drive in Reverse to where he can't see. {ok forget the music, you get the idea} It takes a few running go's for him to clear the truck, but he still has a good quarter mile to backup before he can turn around. So we form an escort to guide Steve rearward along his snow covered way... inching backward, neck craning, eyebrows furrowed in consternation.

He finally gets to a nice wide spot, and starts the cautious Y turn procedure, and the escorts huddle for warmth. I was the last one of the walking warriors, and as I approached, I heard a very distinct, pitiful mewling! I called for the poor kitty to come to me, but could not see thru the dark, into the trees where I heard her plaintive calls. So, I hustle over to Barb, who has a flashlight, and she then scurries back to where I had stood. Soon enough, she comes waltzing over to the truck, with a precious bundle of black and white fur tucked in her jacket. The young kitten would either cry loudly, or purr even louder all the way home. This miserable creature had endured one of the worst blizzards we've seen, and appeared to be quite happy, healthy and very much at home with us. She greedily chowed on food, and guzzled water loudly that first night. when she wasn't busy endearing us to her oh so cute face and vibrato purr.

We put out the word to neighbors and nearby friends, in fear there was a child missing that special Christmas Kitten. No word made it back, and Noelle, stayed put in her new abode. The two other cats were appropriately put off by the new intruder, and Ace the DufusDog made friends quickly. It's amazing how quickly we all adapted, and how cunningly she stole our hearts! Each moment to be treasured, by turns either a black and white tornado, rampaging thru the house, or a completely limp noodle in our lap. She grew a bit and settled in.

And then last week it happened, something we never expected... our new kitty went into heat. No good deed goes unpunished my friends, and this was no exception. That, however, is another blog for a different day. Suffice it to say that even tho Noelle is clearly not broken, she has an appointment to get fixed.