Wet Summer - By Mizeta Moon

Finding a spot to sunbathe that summer was like being part of a fleeting romance on a cruise ship. A few caresses, a few warm kisses, then abandonment. The kids wanted to set up a lemonade stand but that wasn’t practical when the rain seldom let up. A brief window of brightness would run and hide until several days later, then repeat the pattern. Sitting inside all the time led to lots of frowns and a restlessness that defied satisfaction. You can only play Monopoly so many times before it becomes boring, and when your only exercise is eating you get sluggish and fat. Doing yard work became next to impossible due to long wet grass clogging the mower blades and its wheels leaving muddy ruts in its trail. Perennial flowers were slow to bloom in an omnipresent overcast. At times it sounded like a crazed drummer was practicing their chops on my roof. By mid-July low lying areas were standing pools, and creeks and rivers were well beyond flood stage. I kept expecting to see salmon migrating up Main Street and spawning in the park.

August was warm and led to the irrepressible nature of kids breaking out swimsuits and their SlippySlide, then frolicking in the continued downpour. Rather than feel put upon, I valiantly wiped up muddy footprints when they came inside and laundered dozens of soggy towels. At least they weren’t glued to devices and on their way to becoming sedentary introverts, although I’ll admit I was looking forward to school starting and providing a respite for me. I’d be able to go back to the office during the week and return to being a full-time parent on the weekends. Just before Labor Day I was put to a test of my compassion and tolerance due to a visitor arriving on our doorstep. A pregnant, half-drowned cat was curled up on the mat when I stepped out to check the mail.

People have often called me hard-hearted for not adopting pets. They’ve banged on about how I’m cheating my kids by not having a dog or cat they could bond with without understanding how severely I’m affected by their presence. Red eyes, constant sneezing and breathing constriction aren’t a good trade off for taking on the expense and responsibility for their care. As soon as the kids saw the cat they begged me to let it come in. Their pleading eyes and voices rocked me to the core but my mind was telling me I should call the shelter and have it picked up. To my credit, it only took an hour of coercion before I made them a deal. It could stay in the garage if they took full responsibility for its care, never let it in the house, and washed their hands after every encounter. I knew there would be incidental contact with hair clinging to their clothes but as long as they tried hard to spare me I’d give it a shot. And, besides care and feeding they’d have to go online and find homes for the kittens when they were weaned. They eagerly set up a bed and a feeding bowl, then fawned over the refugee for an hour before I called them in for dinner.

Fortunately, the universe decided that I needn’t suffer unduly for my act of kindness. A week after the kittens were born, momma cat chose to relocate her family. On one of the rare days of sunshine she carried them away while we were out shopping and the garage door was open. Evidently, nursing the kittens elsewhere was more desirable than enjoying our accommodations. Of course, the kids cried and looked around for her but she was nowhere to be found. I called the feral cat people so they could keep an eye out, then spent the evening consoling the kids. It finally quit raining the week school started and being around other kids quickly refocused their attention. Momma cat became a fond memory and life moved on. If the subject of pets ever arises again I plan to suggest a household robot. Circuit boards and plastic won’t make me sneeze


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