Thursday, 16 August 2012
How I Became a Cat Lady in a Trailer Park
By Marcy Belson
I am a dog person. From my first little cocker spaniel named Honey to my last dog called Ye Wee Beastie, I have adored my little dogs.
When Beastie died after 16 years, we decided to give it up, no more dogs. We don't have a fenced yard and we are getting too old to walk a dog in the rain and snowy times. We have both fallen/ Gordon broke eight ribs while he was walking the dog down the black iced driveway.
One day, here came Karen, our neighbor, with a young cat, yellow striped and looking much as my first childhood cat Puff had.
Karen said, "Hold him for a minute" and then, "Wouldn't you like to have him?" telling us that he was a neighborhood cat from a family with too many kids and too many cats to care for properly.
The cat had come looking for food several times and she was concerned. The family told her, they would gladly give him away. Long story, short version, Zippy moved in with us.
I believe I have trained Zippy well. He only eats four times a day and he has learned to awaken me when it is time for the 6:30AM meal, again when it is 12 noon, 5PM and 9:30PM, he marches in from his roost on the sun porch and announces he is ready to be fed.
He is the guard cat, watching for stray flies, bugs and spiders. He expects to be brushed, scratched behind his ears and have his nails clipped.
I am now the Cat Lady.
In 1993, we moved to Oregon. We rented houses and apartments. My joke is that we lived in every Zip Code in Salem; not far from the truth.
We were living in an apartment, ground floor. Our upstairs neighbor wore heavy boots (a female bodybuilder). I was working full time and she was disturbing my sleep.
That is how we became trailer owners. My husband contacted a realtor after reading about a mobile home for sale. That particular place had sat empty for a few years. Three people had died there, all from complications from liver cancer. When the realtor would tell prospective buyers, they would smile and leave the property. I didn't mind. After all humans die everywhere; it's part of life.
When I came home from work that night, Gordon told me about the place and asked me to go look at it. We rushed across town, since the electricity was not on, it was winter and it was dark early.
We had a flashlight. I can't believe I agreed to buy it after only seeing the interior with a flashlight. But there was another interested buyer and the price was right.
We moved a day or so after Christmas and we did it ourselves. We did hire several college students to help with the heavy furniture that we moved with a U Haul truck. The remainder of our belongings traveled in our cars. It was a very long week, both cars broke down. Everything that could go wrong, did.
The good news was simply that we had moved so many times in the past ten years, I had culled out a lot of our frivolous unnecessary inventory. I had filled a green lawn trash bag with photos from our trips. If it didn't have a person in the photo, I threw it out. If it did have a person, I only kept one of each person other than our immediate family.
I had sold our wedding china, extra dishes and pots and pans, all the nice things I had moved from California were now history. Do I regret it? Yes, but it was a necessary decision at the time.
Gordon had prostate cancer, we had moved into our RV for the year of his recovery and I was not willing to pay for a storage unit.
But now, I have a permanent home again even if it does have the appearance of a railroad car. Plus, I have a ornery cat named Zippy aka Bubba. If you come to visit, he may not bark but he will let me know you are at the door. Not a bad life, not at all bad.
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