Baby Cat

Our home on The Woods Drive, in El Cajon, was built on a hillside and was, of necessity, a multi-level home. Additionally, the developers had worked around the giant boulders that were scattered throughout the area and included them in the landscapes. If a boulder was in the way of a fence, they just fenced right up to it, cut a board to fit the contour, and continued on the other side. Knowing this will help you picture the dramatic events that occurred the night Baby Cat came to live with us.

The house next door was downhill from us. Our back deck was even with the ridge of their roof. The person who lived there was a nice little lady, a widow, and a grandmother. She lived by herself most of the time but sometimes had a teenage grandson stay with her when he was having trouble getting along with his parents.

Pat and I were working out in the yard one Saturday when the neighbor lady yelled at us. She wanted us to see the cute little kitten her grandson had brought with him that morning. We went over and saw the cutest little black and yellow cat with very unusual markings. We talked for a few minutes, petted the kitten, and went back to our yard work.

A few days went by and we hadn’t seen the neighbor lady. Pat asked another lady about it and learned that “grandma” had a stroke and then went to a rehab facility. After a couple of days, the grandson was ordered to return home to his parents.

Another day or two had gone by and Pat and I were caught up in our regular routine. We went to bed one night at the regular time. It was summer and since our bedroom windows were 25 or 30 feet above ground and not accessible, we left them open. Pat was awakened a couple of hours later by a crying noise. She got up and went to the window and heard a kitten meowing loudly and with anxiety. Figuring that it was that little neighbor kitten, she went downstairs to check. She stepped out on the back deck and heard the kitten’s cries coming from the back yard, next door. It was a bright, moonlit night so she went down the steps into the yard. The kitten was still crying, and she wanted to get to it, but the fence was 5 feet tall. Fortunately, this was one of the spots where a boulder, at least 8 feet in diameter, had been incorporated into the fence. The boulder had enough bumps, cracks, and crevices that it looked as if it could be climbed, so Pat started up. Being in her pajamas and bare footed, she was hardly dresses for rock climbing, but she decided to give it a go. She slipped a few times but reached the top and slid down the other side into the neighbor’s yard.

Pat could still hear the kitten crying. The sounds seemed to be coming from under the deck which was about 2 feet off the ground and open, all the way around. She moved slowly along the edge of the deck trying to protect her feet. She got to the place where the kitten’s cries seemed loudest and got down on her hands and knees and peered under. The moon light was bright enough that she could see and sure enough…there’s that black and yellow kitty with the big eyes. With a sigh of relief, Pat reached for the kitty but was brought up short by the sensation that she was being watched. She turned toward the end of the deck and there were two big coyotes watching her! OH, my gosh! Pat says she understood for the first time what it meant say “I was so scared, the hair on my arms stood up!” Grabbing the kitty, she got to her feet and started backing away. The coyotes just stood there, watching. Reaching the boulder, Pat started climbing. This side of the rock was slicker and since she had the kitten in one hand Pat was slipping and sliding and her anxiety level was getting higher as she tried to get to the top. The coyotes had moved a few feet as if to get a better look at her. She finally made it to the top, slid down the other side, and ran to the stairs. When she got up to the deck, she turned to look, and the coyotes were still staring up at her. She shuddered and went in the house and closed and locked the door.

The next morning, I was up first and as I entered the bathroom I heard a noise coming from the shower. I opened the shower door and there was that little black and yellow kitten! There was a towel on the floor for a bed and she had a bowl of water and some cat food. I wanted to keep moving so I could leave for work on time. I did my stuff and went on to the kitchen and got the coffee pot started. In a few minutes, Pat joined me in the kitchen and I said to her “There’s a kitten in our shower.” She replied, “Yeah, and you slept through all the excitement.” Then, she proceeded to tell me the story I just related to you. After hearing all the exciting details, I was amazed that she and the kitten hadn’t both ended up as a midnight snack for those coyotes.

We discussed what to do with the kitten. The “grandma” was going to be in rehab for an extended period and the grandson had abandoned the kitty and left her for the coyotes so we concluded that we should keep her. We already had a mature cat, Ms./Rambo, so we got in the habit of calling the little one “Baby Cat”. She grew up to be a mellow and loving cat-person and we enjoyed her company until she passed away at the age of 16.

Dave and Pat Thomas
January 13, 2018

 

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Izzie 6b: Still In The Game

Our cat, Isabella, plays Hide & Seek with the same joy and passion as she did five years ago. She made up the game and still only plays it with Pat. I told you about this in “Izzie 6: Chase & Hide & Seek” and Lizzie 6a: The Games.” The girls are a little older, Izzie being 14 and Pat being 80, but they still play with gusto.

Thanksgiving has come and gone so our Christmas tree is up and all the decorations are in place. Last evening, Pat and I were watching television when suddenly we heard Izzie come galloping down the hall. When we are outside, and she is hunting lizards she can run through dried leaves without making a sound. But, when she wants to play, she can sound like a herd of wild horses.

Izzie raced on into the living room, came to a screeching halt, and started prancing around. She made eye contact with Pat to make sure she was watching and the dashed behind the recliner. Pat responded to her cue and jumped to her feet, not letting on that we had seen Izzie sneak over behind the Christmas tree. Next, Pat goes into her search routine. She goes around the room looking behind chairs, under the couch and behind doors. Pat carries on something terrible. ” Where’s my Isabella? Where’s my cat? I can’t find her! “She goes down the hall and peeks into the bedroom’s. “Where’s my Izzie?” After a couple minutes of this, Pat comes back and sits down. “I can’t find her. I give up.”

We sit there quietly and watch TV for a couple of minutes. Suddenly, Izzie leaps out from behind the Christmas tree. She makes a big deal of it. She extends her claws and kneads the carpet, making a popping sound as she pulls her paw back. Finally, she prances around, and I’d swear there is a grin on her face like a little kid. “I won, I won!” We clap and cheer and let her enjoy her big moment.

Dave Thomas
December 9, 2017

 

Fun Is Where You Find It

Sometimes you have to create your own fun. You’ve probably heard about the scam where you get a phone call and some kid says he is calling from Microsoft. They have been getting reports that your computer is full of viruses and may crash at anytime. The guy says that you need to get rid of the viruses and he will guide you through it. The idea is for him to get you to enable the “Remote” function so he can take control of your computer. Once he has control, he will download everything you’ve got and look for private information he can steal and use. We got another of those calls yesterday. I didn’t recognize the Caller ID so I decided to have some fun. Pat picked up the fun in another room and listened in.

The phone rings. Me: “Hello”. Scammer: “IS this David Thomas?” Me: “What can I do for you?” Scammer: “This is Microsoft calling. We are getting many reports that your computer has been attacked by viruses. Sit down in front of your computer and I will guide you through…” Me (interrupting): “OH my God! What is happening? Is it going to blow up?” Scammer: “No, Mr. Thomas, it won’t blow up. Sit down in front of your computer and I will guide…” Me (interrupting again) “Oh my God! Is it going to catch fire? I don’t know what to do!” Scammer: “No, Mr. Thomas, it won’t catch fire. Sit down in front of your computer and I will guide you…” Me: Oh, I’m an old man! I don’t know what to do! I’m getting a headache! I feel sick! I’m going to take a nap. Good bye!” I hang up. Pat and I are laughing our fool heads off and the phone rings. Pat answers and it’s the same guy. Scammer: “I need to speak to Mr. Thomas.” Pat: “I think he’s having a heart attack! I’ve got to call 911.” And she hangs up. Pat and I are laughing again. In a few minutes the phone rings again. Pat answers and it’s the same guy. Scammer: “I need to speak to Mr. Thomas>” Pat: “He’s having a heart attack and they are just putting him in the ambulance. Oh,oh…they are leaving for the hospital. I’ve got to go!” and she hangs up.

This was more fun than a barrel of monkeys. We got some laughs and tied up this moron for a few minutes so he couldn’t pester anyone else.

Dave Thomas
December 6, 2017

 

Patio Talk 5

Patio Talk 5

Matrimony: A Resume Builder

We just celebrated our 60th wedding anniversary. We don’t know how 60 years passed so quickly but it happened. but As you can imagine, it comes up in conversation. I’m not going to bore you with the details but will tell you how this started.

I got out of Navy boot camp in May of 1957 and went home to Augusta, Kansas on a 30-day leave. My friend, Jack Watson, fixed me up with a date with Pat, a girl he worked with in the Auditing Department of Sears Roebuck in Wichita. On that first date I realized that she was “the one”. She was cute and smart and sassy so I told her I was going to marry her. She probably thought I was nuts.

I sold my car when I enlisted but fortunately, another friend, Johnny Luding, solved my transportation problem. Johnny was working 2nd shift at Boeing and I would ride to work with him, drop him off, and go pick up Pat. At the end of the evening, I would drop Pat off at her place and go back to Boeing and wait for John to get off work. The 30-day leave whizzed by with Pat and I seeing each other as much as possible and getting acquainted.

When my leave was up, I reported to Naval Air Station Glenview, Illinois, located just outside Chicago. I would be there for 4 or 5 months while waiting for orders to school. Upon reporting to the base, I was assigned to the Information and Recruiting Office as my duty station.

There I was, ready and eager to get married, and no money. At that time, you came out of boot camp as a lowly E-2 drawing $85,80 per month. I needed another job.

I’ve always enjoyed working and sometimes had 2 or 3 jobs at a time. If you’ve been reading my stories you know that I’ve had a variety of jobs. During my pre-nuptial days at Glenview I added at least 3 job titles to my resume. The first spare time job was as a Watchman or Security Guard. Like most Navy installations, Glenview had what was called “4 Section Duty Scheduleand every sailor was assigned to one of the four sections and had to stay aboard the base on their duty day. There were a number of jobs that had to be covered, all things that were necessary to keep the base running. Security was a major item and there had to be a duty driver to carry people and paperwork around the base and people had to be available to man the phones. If a sailor had a hot date or some other compelling reason to leave the base, he could hire someone to stand the duty for him. I put out the word that I would stand duty at a reasonable rate and had quite a few takers.

The hardest watch and the one that most guys wanted to get out of, was the mid-watch (midnight to 4:00 AM) at the hangers. It’s hard to sleep for a couple of hours, get up and stand a four-hour watch, and then go back to sleep. I charged $10.00 for the mid-watch and got all the business I wanted. I didn’t mind it because the summer nights were warm, and I could look at the airplanes.

When walking the hanger watch, you had to carry a Watchman’s Clock. It was a large clock, several inches in diameter, with a strap on it so you could loop it around your neck and shoulder. The “post” or “beat” took you around the hangers and at strategic places there were Key Boxes containing a key that you had to insert into the clock you were carrying. This recorded that you were at the right place at the right time as you walked your post. At the end of your shift, the person you reported to could to check the clock and know if you had covered the ground as you were supposed to.

2004

The next job title I acquired was “Baby Sitter”. As I said earlier, I worked in the Information and Recruiting Office. The department head was a LCDR Sanford. Mr. Sanford called me into his office one day and asked if I would like a babysitting job that evening. I immediately said yes, and he filled me in on the details. The Executive Officer (2nd in command) of NAS Glenview was a Commander Valley. He and his wife had to attend a function that evening, and their regular babysitter had been called out of town. Commander Valley and his wife felt much more comfortable having a babysitter for their 15-year-old daughter than just leaving her on her own. The job was located on the base, so transportation wouldn’t be a problem. The Captain and the Exec were both provided with houses on the base.

That first evening went well. We played checkers and watched TV and listened to records. Commander Valley had purchased some kits from Radio Shack and built a terrific hi-fi set. It was a nice evening and the daughter was a very pleasant young lady. When the Commander and his wife got home that evening they told me that they would be busy the following Saturday and they could use my help. Their daughter wanted to play a round of golf and she needed a caddy as well as a babysitter. I carried the golf bag on Saturday and did two more evening stint s before the regular sitter got back. It was a pleasant way to earn a few bucks.


2007: 50th Wedding Anniversary

The 3rd job title I picked up is a little harder to figure out. The closest I can come is “Ironer”. Probably, the next best would be “Washerwoman” but I didn’t wash anything for anyone and I don’t want to be referred to as a woman. The ironing job was much like taking candy from a baby. One evening at the barracks, I had washed my civilian clothes and was ironing one of the shirts. An iron and ironing board were available in the barracks for anyone to use. Thanks to my Mom, I knew how to use them. When I was a little kid, she said she wasn’t going to turn me loose in the adult world unless I could take care of myself. She taught me basic cooking skills, how to clean house, how to wash clothes and iron, how to darn socks and sew on buttons, and a lot of other stuff. So, as I ironed my shirt in the barracks that evening, two guys came in. They saw what I was doing and one of them said “Hey, I’ve got a date tonight, will you iron a shirt for me?” I said “No, I’m not ironing your shirt, but I’ll let you use the iron.” He said, “I can’t do that but if you will do it, I’ll pay you.” “How much?” “I’ll pay $2.00 a shirt” he says. ‘It’s a deal!’ I say. That’s how I became an Ironer. These spoiled kids I lived with in the barracks didn’t know how to do anything for themselves, so I easily grabbed several customers.

So, there are three little money-making jobs I added to my repertoire. Pat was busy and extending her range also. She was working her job in the Sears Auditing Department and while figuring out our wedding was learning things like “Event Planner” and “Budget Director” and Purchasing Agent. She shopped for wedding rings and with her Sears 10% discount got mine for $12.00 and hers for $10.00.

 

Pat at 77, G-Grand-daughter,
Quetzal, at 22 months.

In October, I was transferred to Norman, Oklahoma to attend Aviation Prep. School prior to being sent to Memphis to attend Aviation Electronics School. While at Norman, I took and passed the test for E-3 and I think my pay went up to $99.00 per month. Veteran’s Day was coming up and we decided to take advantage of the 3-day weekend and get married. The time passed quickly, and I hitch-hiked home. We were married on November 9, 1957.

After 60 years, I think I’m qualified to say a few words. Marriage is two people doing the best they can for each other, every single day.

Here’s Pat at 78

Dave Thomas
November 14, 2017

 

Patio Talk: 4

Patio Talk: 4

Pat’s step-dad passed away and she was going back to El Dorado, Kansas to help with the arrangements and attend the funeral. It was a busy time at work so I decided to stay home. Our firefighter son, Doug, said he could work it out with his job and he would be glad to go. Fortunately they could book a flight for the next day. It was September, so they were both dressed in casual warm weather clothing. Pat was wearing tight jeans and high heels and Doug was wearing shorts and a tank top. As was the current fashion on both the east and west coasts, Doug was wearing a fanny-pack containing his billfold, sun glasses and other necessary items.

The flight went without a hitch and they soon landed in Wichita. They rented a car and drove to El Dorado where they spent the night in a motel. The next morning, they went to a restaurant for a good breakfast to start a busy day. Entering the restaurant, they found it busy and noisy. They soon found out what was causing the commotion.

The table next to them was occupied by a bunch of guys having a good time. They all looked to be in their 60’s, deeply tanned and wearing bib overalls and John Deere ball caps. They were busy laughing and razzing each other. Obviously, they were good friends and Pat heard one of them say that this was a weekly get together. They had probably all done a half-day’s work before coming in for breakfast. They carried on, telling their stories and entertained each other and everyone else in the place. Pat noticed that a couple of the guys were watching her and Doug and whispering back and forth. She was aware that she and Doug looked different than the locals. She also realized that they may appear to be an older woman and her boy-toy companion. Doug could certainly play that part. He is good looking (like all our kids) and heavily muscled from years of weight lifting.

The rest of the men kept talking and laughing and were telling wild stories, probably to see what reaction they would get from Pat, Doug, and the rest of the crowd. For example, one guy says “I baled and stacked hay yesterday and I’m sure stiff and sore this morning. Guess I’m getting old.” “I know what you mean,” the guy next to him said, “I’m only having sex with the wife 3 or 4 times a week now. Old age is hell!”

Pat and Doug finished their breakfast, got up, paid the check, and were leaving. Suddenly, the loudest guy at the neighboring table jumped up. “Hey,he yells, “That guy forgot his purse!” Mortified and red-faced, Doug retrieved his fanny-pack and headed for the door. Apparently, a fashion statement on the west coast can be misunderstood in the Midwest.

Dave and Pat Thomas
October 28, 2017

P

Patio Talk: 3

Pat reminded me of this story. She told me about it when it happened and as one of the participants remembers it better than I do.

It was probably 1997 or 1998 and we were on vacation. It was Pat and I and our grand-daughter, Michelle. Michelle would have been 11 or 12 at the time.

Pat’s friend Charlotte and her family had a beach house in Galveston that they graciously let us enjoy for a week. We had flown into Houston, rented a car, and driven on down. We were looking forward to a few days of just hanging out on the beach and vegetating. When we went into town, we tried to see and do things that Michelle would enjoy like Moody’s Gardens, Joe’s Crab Shack, and the seawall. Our days at the beach house were relaxing and fun and we re-charged our batteries while there.

We drove back to Houston and caught a flight to Wichita. We planned to visit Pat’s aunt and cousins and drive on to Augusta and visit friends. Our flight to Wichita would be in a commuter plane, one of those 10 or 12 seat puddle-jumpers. We climbed aboard and got on our way. When we got close to the Wichita area, the pilot’s voice came over the intercom telling us that an electrical storm was passing through Wichita and we would have to circle for a while before we were allowed to land.

Pat says that after we had been in the holding pattern and making circles for quite a while, Michelle leaned over and whispered “I have to go to the bathroom.Pat pointed out the restroom which was up forward, just behind the pilots. Michelle went forward but immediately came back. “What’s the matter?” asked Pat. “There’s a big window right beside the toilet and anybody can see inwhispers Michelle. Pat whispers back Who do you think is going to be looking in?” “Oh” says Michelle as her face turns red and she heads back to the restroom.

Dave and Pat Thomas
October 16, 2017

 

Patio Talk: 2

We were talking about the latest Geico Insurance commercial. It’s about a guy playing a triangle solo while dancing around and gyrating like a rock star. It’s a hilarious performance. I commented to Pat that I remembered the kindergarten music class try-outs. Everyone wanted to play the triangle because it was the only thing that had a musical sound. I guess I was a total loser because when I finished my try-out with the triangle, the teacher took it away from me and gave me a wood block. Pat confessed that she was a loser too. The teacher took the triangle from her and told her she would be playing the sticks. We can’t help wondering how different our lives might have been if we could only have played the triangle.

Dave and Pat Thomas
October 13, 2017