house rules

December 24, 2006

Knowing to expect a zoo of a household is one thing. Adjusting to the reality of it is another. The zoo I am referring to is that of my home—or at least the home of my mother that is, by nature of it being hers, mine as well. Obviously, this is not the home I grew up in—when she married, Mom moved to New Hampshire with my stepfather. But it being my mother’s home, it is now endowed with all the qualities that made our home what it was when I was a child as well . . . cats and dogs abounding, clutter reigning, and happy insanity all around.
My own tendency is towards a decidedly more calm environment . . . if I am honest, I should probably admit to being a neat freak, in what I hope is a laid back sort of way ☺ It is something I think about more often when here at Mom’s place, understandably.
At any rate, what I was going to write about was my initiation into the nature of home as it is here. I arrived late Wednesday night, and my brother picked me up at the airport for our long drive out into the “sticks” where home is now. I went straight to bed that night, sleeping in the neighbor’s guest room, thanks to a shortage of beds here. So when I woke up in the morning, Mom had left for work already and the rest of the house was asleep still. As a quiet-morning person, this was fine with me. I started the coffee, cleared a spot at the table, and opened a book for some morning breakfast table reading.
As soon as I sat down with my coffee and cereal, I felt a jolt behind me. Leaning back in my chair, I discovered that Poldi [a very cat-like cat, with a long history at this house and, previously, at my sister’s] had joined me in my chair. I absentmindedly nudged him down and returned to my breakfast. A moment later, a motion drew my eyes up to the table in front of me, where I saw that Poldi was now on the table, walking towards me. Daring to presume he should not be on the dining room table, I then ordered him “Down!” with a wave of my hand. He promptly turned on his heel and jumped down . . . or rather, he made a motion as to appear that he was jumping. Instead, he paused when on his haunches and stealthily peered back towards me. I didn’t realize this until I looked up again, and realized he was still there. This time I stood and lightly smacked him, assuring that he completed the move. And I returned, again, to my breakfast . . . another motion in the corner of my eye . . . This time Poldi had quietly made his way up on the opposite corner of the table, where piles of papers and knickknacks nearly kept him from being visible. Not near enough, however. I still enforced my own rule that time, but I also was rather amused at his almost-successful enforcement of his rules in this pet-ruled abode.

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