Friday, March 20, 2020


Well... shit. Here I was going along, having survived stupid mopes invading my home. Beating up two muggers, getting past essential tremors and burying a companion who was one of the best people I ever knew. I had generally just stopped writing, because my viola playing had more or less taken off again, and I was getting to play challenging things in orchestras like the Tampa Bay Symphony. I was also getting out and about again; I'd recently become an Inspector for the Clerk of Elections of Hillsborough County and was working all of the General, Primary and Special elections, when one of my online viola students, whom I'd been teaching for several years, thought we'd make a pretty good team in life together. I wasn't averse to this idea; I'm not someone who wants to spend the rest of my life alone, but I'm not looking for just any old body either; we share much of the same outlooks and values and have the same quirky sense of humor. Since irl match-ups have been so horrible, I thought this might worth a shot.

"Wolf" was the unwitting matchmaker

Since we were very familiar with one another and talked several times a week, I thought “why the hell not”; I packed up my computers and my viola, “Wolf” and headed to South Carolina, to live with a man, I'd never met irl. Being legally blind, I was having trouble getting rides to the TBSO, and fed up with all of that, I quit. My newly-minted fianc√© assured me that all the rides I ever could need would be provided happily and he's been great with that. We set up house in the country, filled it full of cats, with a dog for security and three birds, just for the hell of it. We run a sort of half-assed cat rescue for tuxedos, in memory of my poor Bootsie, ("Bootsie's Retreat") who was so cruelly treated by my ex-husband, that he died of starvation, less than a month after I got him out of the house that I was forbidden to enter, when we divorced.

My ridiculous dog, Ripley, wallowing on the bed, I just spent 20 minutes making. He's also a riot.

The cats are a hoot; tuxedos HAVE to be the clowns of the cat world. We fostered one tiny two-month old kitten, named “Eddie”, or “Eddifur” as I call him. The night we brought him home, he was introduced to our husky-hound mix, “Ripley”. Eddie looked at Ripley and did the puff-up-walk-sideways and backed into his little kitten house. He was so tiny, he couldn't figure out how to un-puff himself, so he circled around backward about three times, before he figured that shit out. Later on that night, after James had fallen asleep, this tiny creature proceeded to cavort all over James and turn somersaults, when his itty-bitty claws got caught in the blankets. James slept on, and I cackled much like Muttley in delight, as quietly as I could; it was so funny.

Eddifur, in front, photo-bombing Allie. Eddie is the sweetest boy and I call him "son". He's really a gentle cat. His favorite pastime is to "supervise" in the kitchen.

A week later, we adopted another tuxedo, named Allie, for “Allie Cat”. She too, puffed up and walked sideways when she saw Ripley. The most notable thing that she and Eddie did together, other than multiply exponentially in the mischief department, is they showed me the meaning of good housekeeping, and by that, I mean, unplugging appliances, when you are through using them. One calm evening, when all was quiet, James, Ripley and I were all tucked up nice and snug in the bed, snoozing away, when HOLYMOSESONACRACKER! SOMEONE DROPPED A 747 ENGINE IN MY HALLWAY!

"Allie", alias "KittenMcGrabbyPaws". This is the squirmiest, grabbiest kitten I've ever had. She tries to stand up and walk on her hind legs like a little person, and she made up this game one day, where she grabbed my hand, walked me over to a box (sorta on her hind legs), sit down, and then grabbed my hand and led me away from it, only to repeat said action. I know not what the object of the "game" was. She looks like she has wool on her hind legs, so naturally, all of our little darlings suffer terribly from "catwool", whatever that is...

Nope; it was just two tiny kittens assing around the vacuum cleaner and they turned it on. This is one of those big ones, that will suck up the entire living room, if you're not careful. The kittens, of course became ghosts. My hilarious friend, Alex, asked, “Did you turn the kittens into ghosts for that, or did they just evaporate?” Ha ha. “They just evaporated”, I answered. James observed “At least this is different than them Singing The Song Of Their People at 3 am!” Sort of, I guess?

A short time after that, James came home from work, and as he opened the front door, he says “Mary! How did the kitten get out of the house?”, and he was bent down picking up a tuxedo kitten, about the same size and configuration of our two. I hadn't been outside the house all day, so I at first thought “Hmmm, this is James' sneaky way of getting another kitten in the house!” I said, “Look behind me, here are our two chuckleheads!” and he looked. He was probably thinking, “Hmmm, this is Mary's sneaky way of getting another kitten in the house!”, but he brought this kitten in, who was about the same age as the other two. The kitten was in distress; hot and frazzled. James gave him a bath and we called our county's ASPCA. Both of our kittens had been vaccinated, but this one had not, so we weren't worried that this new kitten would make them sick. When it was apparent that the shelter had no room for him, we figured we were in for a penny; in for a pound and added him to our brood. James named him after my father, “Glenn Wallace”. The exponential quality of mischief-like behavior continued, only instead of four, we now had nine little busy-bodies and boy, are they something.

"Glenn Wallace" or just "Glenn" or "Chucklehead" or "Asshat" (which applies to all 3). Smarter than hell. He knows his name and he bonded quickly with me. His idea of a good time is to snooze in my lap all afternoon, even if I'm practicing.

About this time, I thought up the idea of a “Tuxedo Rescue” and mentioned it to James as we were driving off to the Walmart. He smartly returned with, “Hey, we're really close to the Harris Psychiatric Hospital! Would you like a short stay there?” After a good laugh, he said (being the compassionate soul he is)
“Maybe there's something to this idea....”

We started looking at all the shelters in our area for tuxedos. We found a blue-and-white one recently. Her name is “Misty” and she was in a situation where the people hoarded animals. She has no teeth, and must eat soft food. She's just the sweetest thing and will play if she thinks no one is looking. She and Glenn are the smartest, with Glenn being scary-smart. He knows hand commands and they all know their names. I guess this is my dotage. Not bad, coming from the 'hood and a horrid situation. We look constantly; they are few and far between...

Misty is tiny, tiny, tiny. I'm not sure if she was malnourished when she was young. I do know that she was only spayed a year ago -- she's six years old -- and has had at least one litter of kittens. She's really a good cat, and sneaky fun. You have to catch her at playing. 

My health is better than it's ever been; I've put on fifteen pounds and I feel great. I'm playing well (I'll get to why I'm writing now in a moment), after I fell and cracked my elbow. But, I fell and cracked a rib and I broke my hip and had it replaced in October of 2018. I had the fastest recovery and rehab EVER then, as I lived alone and you cannot show weakness in the jungle of Nebraska Avenue. I can still kick the shit out of people, but have no reason to do that anymore.

Glenn is also the longest cat I've ever had; he's a full four feet, when stretched out. He has really long whiskers, so I sing to him, "Scaramouch! Scaramouch!... CanyoudotheFandango?, in a high voice and he looks at me like I'm an idiot.

Anyway, I joined a new orchestra, here in the Carolinas; the Foothills Philharmonic, conducted by the wonderful Kory Vrieze. we were practicing “Scheherazade”, much to my delight. We did such an awesome job with it in 2015, with Mark Sforzini and the Tampa Bay Symphony, and we were going to do just as fine a job here.

Alas, a thing called a pandemic intervened. Coronavirus shut down the orchestra, along with the rest of the country. I've worked at a tertiary care facility, and did so for four years. Virology always fascinated me and I understand disease vectors. I knew six weeks ago, that I would be in a quarantine of my own making. I'm at high-risk, and I've survived too much awful shit; had so much good luck, that I cannot continue to bank on that happening indefinitely, so I ran right to my doc's office and we did our shorthand discussion: “triage”, “shortages of supplies”, “out-of-date infrastructure”, “lack of leadership” and so on. I was supposed to take a trip out-of-state to meet my fianc√©'s parents, later on in the summer. Since they are elderly and since I am high-risk, none of this is happening. It's no one's fault; it just is.

However, now that I am blogging again, I can also freely express my total dismay and contempt for what I see happening; not only in our own government, but around the world. I do feel that our so-called President has finally found himself in a position that he cannot possibly lie or backpedal his way out of and his actions, even before his taking of office have been treasonous, illegal and immoral. I will never accept what he has done to our Supreme Court, and his minions within the Senate and Congress, should all be held liable. This is the kind of thing that in times past, would bring about Revolution; line 'em up against the wall, shoot 'em and start over. Lenin had it right.

Anyway, I'm back, and while I'm happy in my life and having a great time, I fear for our WAY of life. Looking forward to #a-to-z-challenge!


Viola said...

So glad to meet you on the page again! I stopped blogging for the time being to write a cancer memoir, mounted on blogs and notes and poems. It is going well, about 66,000 words, 11 chapters. With your permission (I know you are insanely busy, as you like to be) would you, perhaps, become a reader when it is done?

I approve heartily of your happiness, and your catery. We only have Puccini, but he is getting old and moth-eaten, and I am missing the company of cats Hopefully he can have a pleasant old age, and when he is gone (he is hard wired to eat little fuzzy things) Isolation agrees with me, fortunately. Congratulations on your engagement! And your ever-present sense of adventure.

Love, Viola, aka Miss V, aka Just Another Viola.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Wow, what a big change in life. Congratulations. Sounds like you are really happy.
Your cats are funny. Like to see that one walking on his hind legs. I guess if I was a cat, I'd know where to go for a home!
Good to hear from you.

ViolaFury said...


Thank you so much for stopping by! I would be honored to be a reader for you! Keep at it and let me know when you're ready for me to assist! I am so humbled by what you have accomplished! You look lovely, "just another Viola". You do know there is no such thing, especially as it applies to you! All of my love, angel! VF

ViolaFury said...

Alex! I have been trying to get back to #IWSG, but had been really busy with symphony schedules and such. Now, I'll be back with my funny cat stories. They're always up to something. Kitten McGrabbyPaws is the one who stands up on her hind paws and tries to walk around. She does much better when I hold her little "hand". Glenn always wakes up, looking like he had a rough night out, so he gets teased a lot. They're all fun, and total angels most of the time. Yes, I'm happy and happy to be back here, too. See you at #IWSG, Alex and thanks so much for reading! <3

Kani said...

Your writing is so vivid! I'm reading this with the kitten (really 2 years old now) nuzzling next to me. He is a terror when he's awake, but such a sweetie when asleep. Gotta love cats!

ViolaFury said...

Kani! Thanks so much for reading and for the hilarious video! My husband says, "No!" to buying clothes for the cats and a fashion show. Dern it! That would have been amazingly funny! All four are doing fabulously well and have fit in quite nicely. I haven't seen any others in this area. We think Glenn's mom is owned by the guy across the street, who probably took her in out of kindness. She was just roaming around and we were going to try and trap her, but guy across the street has taken her and had her spayed and she's collared now, so she has a home. I'm glad; that's the most important thing. I looked at that video about a dozen times. "Guitar cat" is my favorite, loool. So great to hear from you and glad you're reading! Stay safe and give my love to your wonderful husband! Mary <3