Cat House

You gotta love neighbors. One of ours is very particular about his property. VERY particular. I'm being diplomatic here, so work with me. Our neighborhood is transitional. It was once quite nice, and then quite scary, and now is seeing a very welcome resurgence due to some significant investment on the part of the nearby University and the inherent charm of the era in which the neighborhood was built... think gumwood trim and leaded glass and beautiful hardwood floors. This particular neighbor and his wife have lived next door for forty years or more, are older (about retirement age) and they are very alert to all things going on in the vicinity. Are you getting the picture?

There are quite a few stray cats around here, and while the Mr. and I don't feed them, we are happy to have them take refuge in our yard. We've never had a mouse in the house and that's saying something up here! Our neighbors all around seem to feel differently. Some even set traps and take the captives out to the country to get them away from the neighborhood. Now... over the last couple of months, we have come to realize that someone in the house next door has taken to putting out plates of food for a litter of kittens that cropped up over the summer. This behavior is definitively out of character and really kind of sweet.

Imagine my surprise when I looked out of my bedroom window last week and see this sitting in my neighbor's driveway:

Less "Build it and they will come" and more "If you keep feeding them, they'll never go away so you might as well build them a tiny house for the winter." What you are looking at there is a kitten house, custom constructed in the same yellow vinyl siding and black shingles as the house and the garage and the storage shed. It has since been moved to the side of the garage where it sits like a proper little addition. I wonder if they got planning permission for that?


Other People's Nightmares

Obviously, the big news from the last week was Hurricane Sandy, eclipsing even the election insanity. Having lived in Florida, and having a number of close friends who lived through Katrina, I will admit that I thought the lead-up to Sandy's landfall was over-hyped. It most certainly was as far as OUR city is concerned (though we did have some potentially serious situations resulting from power/phone outages, all seems to have resolved quickly and smoothly). Clearly, the coast is another story. 

In spite of the severity of the situation, our friends in the NYC/NJ area appear to have been fairly lucky. As often as I think of them while they begin putting things back in order, I'm thinking of my friends who lived through Katrina and the aftermath in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. What has it been like for them to watch this unfold?  

In the midst of all this, one of my coworkers' husband is dying. She is older than me, but too young for this. I have only seen her twice since he went into hospital, but both times I was struck by how lost she looked. Have you ever noticed how hard it is to NOT hug someone who is crying? I can't help but think how I would feel in her shoes and I find it hard to fathom the depth of that loss, or perhaps I simply don't want to.