Using my Superpowers for Good (Or Rescuing a Stray Cat)

The first time I heard it, I thought it was the cry of an injured animal. The next time, I thought it might be the wail of a small child. Unable to take it any longer, I yanked the curtains open to see what was making such a dreadful sound.

I expected to see a grotesque mythological creature whose limbs had been torn off and was bleeding from the mouth, but instead it was just a cat. And it looked okay. Fine really. So, why was it screaming like a small child who just got their iPod taken away?

A few days later the cat was hanging out in my backyard, and I got a glimpse of his backside. Oh, that’s why. He wasn’t neutered. An unneutered stray cat. Great.

Using the special sense that allows animals to identify me as a sucker for their cute little faces, he quickly realized that my backyard was a good place to take up residence. He proceeded to spend his days eating the food I put out for him and either lounging in the sun or yowling as he paced around the house. Obviously, I’m the encourager of bad behavior.

stray cat

Here he is lounging with my cat.

This began in August and didn’t stop until February. By then I couldn’t take it any more. The temperatures had been dipping well below freezing and he began crying at the door, desperate to come inside. So, this is what I did:

1. I waited for my husband to be out of town to take action. This would have been much easier to handle with his help, so naturally I tackled it on my own.

2. I got my trap and set it right by the window so I could watch the events unfold, aka stare at the trap all day, using my telepathic powers of suggestion to get him to go in it.

Flashback: I tried to trap a yellow-bellied marmot two years ago, which conveniently led to me having the perfect sized trap to catch the cat. See, things do happen for a reason. Or perhaps I have precognitive superpowers, as well.

3. Like I said, I patiently waited for him to cross the yard and, well, walk right into my trap. He he.

4. After almost catching two squirrels and my own cat, he finally went for the bait. The trap didn’t trigger, though. I knew from my marmot trapping experience that this was a problem. If he got full without triggering the trap, I’d have to try again another day. Or worse, if the trap was triggered but he managed to get out, I may never be able to lure him in again.

5. I tried to use my telekinetic abilities to trigger the trap, but I was having an off day. So, I opened the back door and startled him into triggering the trap–just as I had planned, or so I told myself.

cat in trap

Here he is in the trap. I don’t think he was very happy with me at this moment.

6. I celebrated for a second and went into full animal rescue mode. (Yes, in addition to procrastination-panic mode and spousal-manipulation mode, I also have animal rescue mode. I’m quite versatile). So, I prepped my car and donned my non-regulation animal trapping gloves.

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My husband’s snowboarding gloves. I’m sure the people at the animal shelter were impressed.

7. Then I was forced to use my superhuman strength to carry the cat. The cat weighed strikingly more than my cats and was thrashing about in the cage. Certain I would be scratched and die from some rare cat borne illness, I held the cage as far from my body as I could and set him in the back seat of my car. Don’t worry; my use of superhuman strength was discreet so that I didn’t call attention to myself. The last thing I need is to end up helping people move.

8. I wasn’t sure what kind of music he enjoyed, so I kept the radio down and talked in that soft, calm voice that lulls all animals into a state of relaxation. You know the one I mean.

9. At the intake center of the Denver Dumb Friends League (DDFL), I explained our situation. This time I used my verbal powers of suggestion to sell all his good qualities and explain how he would make a wonderful pet. I did so well, I almost walked out with a new cat.

10. The man explained the process and reassured me that they would do their best to get him adopted. He also said they might be able to do a TNR (trap, neuter, return) if he wasn’t a candidate for adoption. I made it quite clear that I would be happy to take him back and let him live in my yard. I entered spousal manipulation mode as I pondered the cute little cat house my husband would be encouraged to build for the backyard.

11. For the next month, I used by ability to obsess over things to check the DDFL  website at least daily, sometimes hourly, to see if he was on there. With each day I began losing hope. His little face never appeared on the adoptable cats page and I hadn’t gotten a phone call asking if he could be returned to my yard. I tried to convince myself that they were busy socializing him. Who knew how long he’d been living on the streets? But I had a terrible feeling that he might have been euthanized.

I began to question whether I did the right thing. My superpowers were only supposed to be used for good. What had I done?

I’ve wanted to write about this experience for some time, but I didn’t want to do it unless I knew there was a happy ending. I was perusing the Internet yesterday (instead of writing this post) and that’s when I found him. He’s up for adoption!

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His adoption bio. It compares his life to a book, which is strange because I’m a writer. Cue mysterious music.

I will now use my telepathic powers of suggestion to persuade someone who lives in the Denver Metro area to take a trip to the DDFL. Everyone reading this: you’re getting sleepy, very sleepy. (Wait – that’s hypnotism. Oh, well. It could still work.) You’re on a beach, with the sun shining down. Then a cute brown tabby jumps in your lap. You fall in love instantly and begin filling out the adoption papers…

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Mardi Gras 2014 – A day of rain, costumes and life lessons

Mardi Gras walking krewe st anthony ramblers

Our parade/walking krewe rolling through the Quarter. This was taken last year or the year before. It was warm then.

Last Tuesday I was put to the test. I was pushed to the edge of my physical and emotional limits. I didn’t participate in a triathlon. Or even host a dinner party (we all know how trying that can be). I was in New Orleans for Mardi Gras.

Yep. Three fun filled days in the Crescent City.

I learned some things during those three days and I’d like to share them with you now.

But before I do that, I must dispel some of the New Orleans Mardi Gras myths.

1. You need to show some skin to get beads. I’m not sure why this myth continues to be perpetuated, but it is the furthest thing from the truth, unless you’re on Bourbon Street. But even then you can score beads without flashing anyone. In reality, you’ll get way more goodies during the family friendly parades that run throughout the city. We’ve gotten so many beads we’ve left bags of them behind and I’ve never lifted my shirt once.

There, I just had to get that off my chest (hehe).

2. Mardi Gras is an adults only event. This is totally untrue. Kids line the streets of the parade routes and dress in costume just like the adults. And you’re actually more likely to get good beads and stuffed animals if you have kids with you. No one can resist their cute little faces.

Mardi Gras costume aquatic family

A lovely aquatic family out for a stroll.

You might wonder why you would need so many beads and stuffed animals. I once wondered the same thing, but now I know the answer: for your Mardi Gras tree, of course.

mardi gras bead christmas tree

We left our Christmas tree up and covered it with Mardi Gras beads and some of our best catches. It’s quite festive.

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Our plush Hermes H that we caught last year.

mardi gras zulu coconut

This is a prized possession: the Zulu coconut. It’s not a real coconut, but it’s still really cool.

mardi gras muses parade oyster

I was handed this during the Muses parade last year. It says “the world is your oyster.” Another a prized possession.

3. It’s always warm in the South. Ha! The South can be colder than Denver, Colorado. Nobody wants to believe me when I say such things, but it’s true. Denver is dry and has more sunshine. A sunny 45-50F day and you might be outside in a tee shirt (well maybe not me, I’m a bit of a wimp). In New Orleans, I’m usually wearing my winter coat, with a sweater and long underwear.

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So, this year we booked a last minute trip to New Orleans and then fretted about our costumes. Costumes? Yes, costumes. And not just any old costumes. I mean costumes. You have to compete with this paper mache frog and a crawfish boil:

mardi gras costume frog monteleone

I love how the frog is just sitting there like it’s totally normal for a frog to be at the bar.

mardi gras costume zapps monteleone

Yes, that is a dress made out of chip bags.

mardi gras costume tomb

A very creative New Orleans tombstone/crypt.

mardi gras costume crawfish boil

This crawfish was part of a crawfish boil and was wheeled around the city in a giant pot. The dog is not part of the boil. He was dressed as astronaut and either got tired or there were too many people around so he ended up in the pot too.

mardi gras costumes pompa loompa

A gaggle of Oompa Loompas.

mardi gras costume queen of hearts

My cousin Lindsay and her fiancé dressed as the Queen of Hearts and Mad Hatter. They found another queen so we had to snap a picture.

mardi gras walking krewe st anthony ramblers

Parade members stopping for a break in the French Quarter.

So, we decided to recycle our costumes from two years ago and went as Alice in Wonderland and the White Rabbit, but I needed something to embellish my costume. I couldn’t wear the exact same thing I’d worn two years ago. It would be like wearing the same dress to the Oscars twice. Insanity, right?

mardi gras costume alice in wonderland

Our versions of Alice in Wonderland and the White Rabbit.

This is where I will share what I’ve learned.

Lesson #1 – Even though I’m usually right, every now and then my husband is right.

So, to embellish my costume, I decide I want a sign. After a little prodding, my husband very begrudgingly builds it and I decorate it (because no one wants a bland sign).

Over and over he repeats that he “will not carry the sign.” He insists that he will end up holding it, and he refuses to.

I, of course, roll my eyes while he isn’t looking. Does he really think I’m so lazy that I can’t carry a 4 lb sign? That I will become tired of holding the masterpiece I’d worked so hard on?

Well, he is wrong. I am going to dance with the sign and wave it proudly over my head. It will be in all of our pictures. He is going to be soooooo thankful I made that sign!

But there is one problem. It’s freezing outside.

I gaze sadly out our hotel window at 9:00 in the morning and the streets are deserted. I slide an extra layer of leggings over my pantyhose and wear two long sleeve shirts under my dress.

We step out of the hotel and immediately go back for my coat. Then, three blocks later we buy umbrellas.

Now I’m carrying my sign and the umbrella.

Crap. My fingers are already freezing and it’s annoying having to hold two long objects over my head. (Can you see where this is going?)

We make it to Frenchman street and everyone is packed inside the bars. Usually there are people partying in the streets. But not today. We meet these nice folks, though, also dressed as Alice in Wonderland.

mardi gras costume white rabbit

About an hour later our parade arrives. Oh, yeah. That’s the other thing.  We’ll be marching with the St. Anthony Ramblers. Outside. For like 4 hours.

By that time my husband has relieved me of the sign and fastened it to his belt. He says, “I told you so” only a few dozen times. Sadly, my beautiful sign is only in one picture. And no one was thankful I’d made it.

mardi gras costumes alice in wonderland

Lesson #2 – You can rain on my parade. We march from the Marigny to the French Quarter with the brass band playing. We dance. We laugh. Occasionally, we huddle inside for warmth. We see people we have’t seen in over two years and we make new friends.

It becomes what Mardi Gras always has been for me: A chance to live in the moment. A chance to forget everything and not think about what you have to do a week from now or even an hour from now. A chance to just be happy and celebrate.

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Like this. Look at the joy on these faces.

Soon there is ice forming on my husband’s cup, surrounding his fingers. And my toes are completely numb.

In case you’re wondering it was 39 F. The record low for Fat Tuesday was 38 F, set back in 1899.

But we came out and celebrated all the same. We didn’t let the cold and rain stop us.

Lesson #3 – But next time, I will pack a warmer costume just in case. Like a yeti, or an eskimo or lumberjack.

Lesson #4 – Remember to always look on the bright side. Moving forward, it’s likely that we’ll never have weather this cold and icky again. So, it can only get better from here.

Lesson #5 – This will be one of those days we always remember. It’s like when you’ve got this vision of the perfect day and then things don’t turn out like you planned, but now you’ll always remember the day you froze on Mardi Gras. See how I can spin things so positively!

P.S. This is what the sign looked like at the end of the day.

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See the broken spot on the bottom. That’s where the handle used to be attached to the sign.

He always had it out for that sign.