Posted by: jevcat | December 27, 2010

Adventures of an Intrepid Cat Caregiver or Is there a Feminine Form for “Nanook”?

Over the Christmas weekend, a dear friend who lives a few blocks away asked me to care for her cats, one of them a senior citizen needing medication morning and evening.  Of course, I said “Yes” – I’ve done it before (as has my brother).  It’s just that my cat care-giving has never coincided with a blizzard before.

I made my first visit of today late morning.  Snow was just beginning, and being a person who loves snow, it was pleasant walking up (according to my new pedometer, .40 of a mile distance) with a few lazy flakes drifting down, and back, when enough snow was beginning to accumulate that it made atmospheric swirls on the pavement before me.

Within an hour, however, it was snowing sideways – something it continued to do all day.  Winds whistled, and kitten George exhausted himself trying to follow the movement of the flying flakes with his head (I fretted briefly over whether kittens can get whiplash) and leaping at the window in a futile effort to capture them.

Evening came and time to make another trek up the hill.  I bundled up – knitted hood, long scarf wrapped around my neck and tucked into the top of my old knock-around jacket, water-proofed hiking boots replacing the sneakers of earlier, thermal gloves – and announced to my Beloved that I was setting off.  If there were windshield wipers for glasses, I’d’ve taken those, too.

I stepped out of our building into a world of white.  A holiday weekend Sunday meant walks had mostly not been shoveled or salted.  The wind blustered, piling up snow in some places and sweeping the sidewalks almost clean in others, but mostly the snow came up to mid-calf.  My boots, alas, come only a few inches above my ankles.  I decided what I really need is boots the height of a dominatrix’s, only with cleats instead of just spike heels.

But I do love snow, and lumbering along acting as my own snow plow, I was smiling at the absurdity as I passed a man coming in the other direction, also smiling.  He shouted over the wind, “You like this?”  I answered, “Yes!” and he grinned and called back,
“There ought to be more people like you!”

Huffing and puffing and pausing for breath, I made my way to my friend’s, calling my Beloved to let him know I’d arrived, took care of the kitties, and started back, first calling my Beloved again to let him know I was on my way back, so if I didn’t return in a reasonable time, he could send out the cats and dog like St. Bernards with little kegs of brandy.  Downhill is easier, but at one point I missed where a curb line was under the snow, setting off a series of snow acrobatics worthy of a snowboarder, if less graceful – all flailing arms and dipping staggers – before I finally landed upright and still on my feet.  My footprints from the trip up had all but disappeared.

Approaching a corner at the halfway mark, crosswinds creating almost a snow tornado effect, and I kept an eye on overhead branches.  At one point, it was almost a white-out condition.  I arrived home looking like some version of the abominable snowwoman, coated with snow head to foot that dropped off in clumps as I walked through the door, rather like one of those horror movies where the creature disintegrates before your eyes.  Clothing was shaken out, boots removed – and emptied of snow – before I sat down with my beloved and our friend and upstairs neighbor to a dinner of meatballs (mine), spaghetti (our friend’s), and broccoli, followed by leftover apple pie and other Christmas goodies.  All we lacked was a fireplace to toast marshmallows.

And tomorrow, when it is still meant to be snowing, I get to do it all again, while wondering if it is legitimate to give yourself a snow day when you’re doing freelance work from home …

Next stop:  Everest!


  1. I think the feminine form is “Nanette.” There should, indeed, be more people like you but I’m not one of ’em. I hate snow, but do enjoy reading your good-humored account of your adventures in this blizzard. I’ve often wished my glasses had windshield wipers but dominatrix boots with cleats never occurred to me.

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