Tuesday, May 9, 2017

What Does One Do When One's Calling is a Wrong Number?

I used to believe my calling in life was to be a steward of animals and possibly plants.

I also used to believe my calling in life was to be a writer, but taking care of plants and animals seemed a lot easier.

I don't think I believe this anymore.

God called upon man to be steward of Earth, tending to its vast array of plant and animal life.  We have failed miserably as a species due to our ambition, selfishness, and complete lack of regard where "lesser" living things are concerned.

I have failed miserably in my personal calling due to a complete lack of talent when it comes to raising living things.

Now, please don't panic.  I have not murdered my cats or Tess, nor have I accidentally killed them due to not taking care of them properly.

But I do seem to be doing something wrong. 

My cats are unhappy.  The more I feed them, clean their litter boxes, and buy them toys the more unhappy they become.  I'm not sure if it's because they are spoiled and have me wrapped around their paws, or if I'm just not feeding them the right food, cleaning out the litter boxes enough, or buying the right toys.  The cats are now proud owners of a four-story kitty tower, crinkle tunnel, a fun toy that looks like a Frisbee with a ball rolling around in it, various catnip mice, a fishing pole toy, and more rubber balls than one can play with in a lifetime.

The other day while vacuuming I came across no less than three foil-wrapped chocolates shoved either under the refrigerator or the stove.

Even though my cats have an infamous amount of toys, they seem to prefer digging chocolates out of my glass candy jars and batting those around the kitchen.

The new kitty tower was a gift from California Guy back when he thought it would be a fabulous idea to load up three cats and drive them two hours to his place so we could all spend four days of Christmas together.

He has never suggested moving the cats again unless it's permanently to new living quarters.  He finally brought the kitty tower to my house.  It's huge, blocks the TV from one angle, and the only cat who actually will have anything to do with it is Willow.  To be fair, Percy does appreciate the scratching posts, but he would rather perch on top of the refrigerator.  Puckett's favorite spot will always be the dog bed.  When Surina visits, she sleeps on Surina's bed even thought it's not nearly as comfortable or as squishy as Tess' bed.  I think she does it to make a point.  All beds belong to her (including mine).

The food has just been a nightmare.  I feed my cats I/D.  Willow will only eat Natural Balance, salmon and sweet potato formula, so she gets fed separately and I have to put her bowl up when she's done.  When I leave town for a night, she's pretty much screwed.  I put her bowl in her cage and leave Percy's bowls in the kitchen, but I just KNOW the little asshole finds her bowl, hogs out on it first, and then goes to eat the rest of his food.  Willow must get something because she doesn't act starving when I get home, but in three litter boxes there are no less than three piles of diarrhea each due to the fact that Percy's stomach can't handle Natural Balance.

And on top of all of it, they just get crankier and crankier with me, blaming me for all their problems.  Percy, I'm sure, blames me for his stomach issues rather than just admitting that he can't eat Natural Balance and has to make do with I/D.  I have zero sympathy as I'm in the same boat.  I had to give up gluten, most dairy, and I can only have coffee and chocolate in very limited quantities.

Tess got in the trash the other day which is only the second time in nine years she has done that.  She has toys, food, water, chew bones, and she's not even food motivated.  There was no reason for her to get in the trash, and she didn't eat anything out of it.  She left a mess and one avocado pit with scores from her teeth that must have escaped and rolled down the stairs because I found it in the cats' water bowl.

So she has every toy a dog could want, but she prefers to chew on an avocado pit?  I'm lucky she didn't try to swallow it and choke to death.  Clearly the poor thing was bored to death, a suitable complaint given it's been months since I've walked her due to my own health issues.  I'm not doing right by my dog, so I've been walking her again ever since that episode.

Never mind about her notorious behavior in the car this past weekend when we visited California Guy.  She was a worse nightmare than usual.

As for plants, it is once again growing season.  I planted three containers of herbs and three containers to start cantaloupe seeds.  Three weeks ago.  Only the basil has sprouted.  everything else is giving me the finger and staying hidden for another month until the really nice warm weather comes.  I also planted carrots seeds and some peas.  Right before a huge thunderstorm hit flooding my boxes and washing out my seeds.  I haven't killed my houseplant yet, but it was on the verge of dying before I realized the poor thing needed a serious pruning and probably also a repotting. 

I'm afraid to repot it.  I know I'll end up killing it.

And my little crabapple tree that grew in the corner of my yard?  Dead.  Something happened to it last summer and its leaves never came in very well.  As soon as spring hit this year it remained looking all skeletal and twiggy with only a few of last year's dead leaves still hanging on.  We had to chop the poor thing down.  It used to be so beautiful and would blossom every spring.  I was going to twist colorful lights around it and have yard parties in the summer.

It's getting to the point where I kill everything I touch.  I have a black thumb, not a green one.  One of my coworkers left me all her plants when she resigned and moved to another state.  I have four plants in my office I fear for.  If another coworker wasn't helping me water them, I think they'd already be dead.  I have these visions of grandeur to grow a bountiful crop over the summer.  All I ever seem to yield is some carrots and a few peas.  I can't even grow a zucchini and EVERYONE can grow a zucchini. 

Meanwhile I'm just pissing the pets off more and more. No matter what I do I cannot make them happy.  They shoot me accusatory looks every time I walk by. Puckett glares at me if I try to sit on the couch. I can't walk into the kitchen without at least two cats giving me the song and dance about how I don't feed them enough.

Steward of plants and animals?  Yeah, I think that ship has sailed and sank. 

Writing?  Well, one story I wrote did just get accepted to be published in Chicken Soup for the Soul.

Incidentally it's about my cats.

I left out the part where they find me lacking and inadequate.


Willow loves her new cat tree.


The basket is her favorite feature, though she is the only one who fits in it.

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