“Parker’s getting a puppy.”
We were sitting at the kitchen table, a bit of a familial miracle these days, when my younger daughter’s announcement fell in my lap, along with a forkful of mashed potatoes.
Jon eyed me cautiously.
“Huh,” I said, gulping the wine I promised myself I wouldn’t indulge in (again), “a puppy.”
The baby fussed in his high chair, arching his back, his new special talent.
“It’s not fair,” S whined, her (not so new) special talent. “She gets everything…they have a pool and a bounce house and did you know they’re in Disney right now? Disney…as in World,” as in obviously this needed further clarification.
“I did,” I said, making a modest attempt at cleaning the great potato plop from my lap. “That’s nice, right?” I said, eating my words as quickly as my chicken.
“Yeah, so great. Maybe next they’ll win a million dollars. Oh right, they already have that.”
A little green pea, like a missile whizzed by my ear. Brinna and Roy, the friends we loved to hate were in Disney as in World, as in another thing they were having that we weren’t. Like Brinna’s new jacuzzi or her extensive kitchen reno or her very ample supply of “me time.”
It’s a small world after all, except it’s not because they were getting a dog and we were still very much dogless.
“Well, it doesn’t matter, does it; because you’re getting a cat.”
My husband started choking; at least, I thought he was choking, like how much of that wine did you drink already, Les? Never mind, there’d been no prenup on the matter or that we were in a rental or how I was going to acquire, pay for and furnish said feline.
“Maybe Roy and Brinna could bring a cat back from Disney,” Jon joked later. “They probably get an extra carry-on.” He took great pleasure in holding that canary in his mouth for a hot minute but I told him there was only room for one comedian in this family and hopefully it would be the cat because none of us are particularly funny; and considering we couldn’t afford a Pembroke Welsh Corgi or her direct flight from Missouri, I supposed this would have to do.
But as quickly as I delivered this promise, I also exhausted all my options… Facebook 411-ing it, appealing and applying to local rescues, and crossing my fingers so hard that carpal tunnel felt imminent. This was turning into a bit of a catastrophe, no pun intended.
“They’re getting the dog on Thursday,” Jon whispered during another “Mad About You” marathon. The baby was asleep on my lap.
“Such a gruesome day,” I said, glancing down at my phone, noticing a series of frantic Facebook messages peppered with creepy cat emojis. “It’s my mother,” I told Jon. “I think she found a cat for S.” A Cat for S. It made it sound like A Pocket for Corduroy, something nice, wholesome and not at all like the episodic epilogue that ensued my fervent and equally frantic Facebook message back that, yes, we were interested and how soon could we get her, (hopefully before that Pembroke Welsh Corgi who I was relatively sure they’d already named Mitzy touched down at JFK in her bedazzled collar and cashmere overcoat).
I’m a jealous person. It’s not something I necessarily like to admit. But every time I’m confronted with an inground swimming pool or a purebred Pembroke, I feel forced to cross-examine myself, my life, and the fact that I am not rich with postgraduate degrees, prefixes, or penthouses, nor do I bare a striking resemblance to Idina Menzel and so, a cat, who I’m pretty confident I have more in common with than Brinna, will have to do.
The kitten was five months old, fixed and female. She was also feral and living in some woman’s garage. In Brooklyn. “Do you think we could walk it… like on a leash? Like at the farm? I found a leash on Amazon. ” It was the Saturday before the (gruesome) Thursday Pembroke Princess was set to arrive and we were waiting at my parents for Feral Fiona to be delivered.
S nodded, hardly looking up from her phone; as if people didn’t have enough material on us already. “Yeah. Let’s wait on that maybe.” After ordering two litter boxes, litter, multiple food dishes for hungry and thirsty, a cat bed, dry food, wet food, kitty toys, (sadly, she’d have to wait on that bedazzled collar), I was a little maxed out. The cat might have been free but her accessories certainly weren’t. We named her Nala, which means successful but really should mean illusive because she literally spends all her time hiding since we brought her home; but aside from that one night she tried to pull a reverse Santa up the chimney, she seems to be “feline fine”. (Sorry. I couldn’t resist.)
Maybe one day we’ll take her for a walk on the leash we didn’t buy. She can meet the Pembroke Princess of Port Washington and try not to drool as she regales her with “tails” of Tuscan trysts and how nobody knows how to do a good Pembroke pedi these days. But I’m putting my money on Nala. We’re mad about her. She’s bedazzled us and seriously, if she could make it in a garage with no prefixes, no pool and not even a pile of potatoes to her name, she can do anything. Those Brooklyn chicks are tough, man.
Columnist Lesley Kirschner grew up quiet, in the woods, and devoid of siblings so her hobbies quickly became reading, writing, and talking to inanimate objects. She also spent a considerable amount of time doing voice-overs for her dolls and watching too much daytime television–channel 3, sometimes channel 8, if the weather was good and the antenna wasn’t acting up. She was in attendance at school, graduated from a very much not notable college not worth mentioning, and was transplanted to Wilton with her husband, Ambler Farm‘s Farmer Jonathan and their (baby makes) three children almost a decade ago. Although she never quite found her calling in life, other than perhaps the doll voice-overs, which in hindsight were eerily convincing, she’s happy to try her hand at writing and is thankful for the support and community she found on Facebook’s Buy Nothing Wilton. Lesley realizes while this is all very exciting, she’s not winning a Pulitzer so she’ll wrap it up and be quiet. She’s had a lot of practice.