If it isn’t one thing…

The car finally came back (reportedly with a clean bill of health) on Thursday.  Crises were neither abundant nor present during our vehicle’s absence.  The weather made a good facsimile of being fine.  All the Whos in Whoville were happy…until the car started squeaking (in the same rhythm as the previous waka-waka) on our way to TARBET, TARBET, TARBET, TARBET this morning.  I am assuming it started squeaking TODAY, but it might have been squeaking since Thursday and Dada (with his tinnitus and general hearing loss) might have not been aware of it.  “I guess if it continues, I’ll give them a call,” he said.  I groaned…he heard that.  “OK, I’ll call them.  I might not have noticed before…you’re right.  We did pay a lot of money for the repair.”  TGG chimed in from the backseat that, with all the rides he’d been getting from the courtesy vehicle at the dealership, people were starting to talk.

We got to TARBET, TARBET, TARBET, TARBET and, lo and behold, the window on the passenger side got completely and utterly paralyzed…in the OPEN position.  Even J was horrified by this.  The van that has been like Old Reliable since we bought it over ten years ago, and which had never required more attention than new tires, brake maintenance and oil changes, has suddenly decided to act like me when the hot flashes attack.  We sent the “boys” ahead while we tried to coax the window to close.

I tried not to laugh out loud when TGG asked if we’re getting a new car.  I managed to only giggle when he asked how much money we can afford to sink into the van’s repair at this time.  Ah, he said…

The truth is that we can’t complain.  Sophia has given us ten years of very reliable service, and this was bound to happen sooner or later.  It’s happened later, and later happens to be as inconvenient as sooner.  It’s also something we’re going to have to deal with, and whatever we do is going to be OK in the end…

Now, the other thing that is a problem is J’s relationship with Zelda the cat.  We understand that those two have been at odds for nearly a whole year now, and it’s understandable.  Zippy Z is sort of creepy looking with her abundant dark fur and her really big yellow eyes, but is mainly OK with her presence…until he’s not.  Last night, for example, he waited until it was dark out to let her out of the house and out into the big bad gulch where the critters roam all day.

Since we first let them out, the cats have returned -tongues hanging out and covered in all manners of debris- to plop on the floor as if they’ve just been chased by the hounds of hell.  We think they have, in fact, been chased by wild turkeys, whistlepigs, and possums…  Zelda cannot hear an imitation of a turkey’s gobble without leaping in the air and running for cover.  Thank goodness J hasn’t figured this out yet…

The trees have started to pale and shed leaves, but ever so slowly still.  We see more pockets of bareness than we did before, and the backs of the houses across the gulch are visible here and there.  The mercury has been dropping ever so slowly, and we now need jackets in the evening and early morning hours.  Some of our plants have gasped their last, and we’ve had to gather gardening implements and store them.  A “draft dodger” has been fashioned for the gap in the front door using an old blanket.  Thank goodness my fingers are better and I can once more wield needle and thread without cursing, or this project would have taken longer.

The goal of a few weeks ago was to move; the goal now is to be ready for cold weather.  My grocery list for next weekend includes a lot of ingredients for soups and stews, and all the blankets in the house have been washed and made accessible to one and all.  J is happy that his predictions have been accurate; he seems to enjoy the power to predict weather with accuracy.  I don’t blame him; if I had the ability to know if it’s going to rain or be cold, and if it didn’t depend on my knees and shoulders aching, I’d be styling!

Tomorrow is an early-release day.  We have agreed, J and I, to work on laundry today and on crafts tomorrow.  The other day I went to the store and found some autumn-related projects that he looked at with interest and set aside when I told him “on Monday you’ll be home early.”  My plan is to get him to do the run at the usual time (three-thirtyish) and work on the crafts shortly after he arrives from school.

Last night J and I had a disagreement over his releasing Zelda into the wild after dark.  He tried to charm himself out of being scolded by saying THANK YOU and GOOD EVENING repeatedly, but I explained that Zelda was in danger out there.  I took his iPad and showed him OWL, FOX, WOLF and ZELDA.  He said THANK YOU, and I said that there was no way he could finagle an OK out of me over this one.  STORY?, he asked.  NO, I said, NO STORY.  I explained that what he had done was wrong, and it was mean to let Zelda out to where she could be hurt or disappear.  After a few times of me repeating this (and Dada backing me up,) J finally figured out that what he had done was not nice, and that we were pretty upset.

In the end, Zelda came in (covered -again- in debris and with her tongue hanging out.)  We put her in J’s TV room and he looked spooked, but realized that peaceful coexistence is a must in this household.  When the anxiety of disappearance and recovery had died down, I read him TWO stories…

Early this morning, I could hear J humming in the kitchen.  I pretty much expected to find him roaming around while Zelda scampered outside in the brush, or waited patiently for someone to open the kitchen sliding door for her.  Instead, I saw J at the foot of the stairs, Zelda purring and rubbing up against his legs.  He was, quite obviously, less than pleased with all the feline attention, but he took it with as much equanimity as he could muster.  When he heard me say good morning from the top of the stairs, J looked up and said GOOD BOY…and then PLEASE?  I scooped the cat up, and he petted her through gritted teeth…

Yes, I said, good boy, and I sent her upstairs to cuddle on our bed.  An hour or so later he had shoved her out the door again, but the sun was out and the critters were not as much of a problem…I’m sure, as with everything else, we’ll figure this out eventually…

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