The drawing for a free advanced reader copy of Stone Cold Case ends August 16, 2015 at 11:59PM. That is this Sunday.
I love my three granddaughters, but I always imagined I'd have a grandson, too. Maybe that will happen for my stepdaughter. It's not too late. Until then, I have Mr. Cat, my grandson.
I can't complain. My daughter and her husband decided three kids filled their home quite nicely, thank you. Many folks my age are impatiently waiting for their offspring to give them the much coveted grandchild. I've already got those bases covered.
I maintain my perspective concerning my grandson. I mean, I realize he is a cat. But he's a very handsome, clever, and brave cat.
I was recently entrusted with his care while my daughter's family went on vacation. My son-in-law installed a cat door in the garage. Mr. Cat is a ferocious hunter. He loathes being cooped up indoors for lengths of time. I figured he was set. Food and water in the garage, a little swinging door so he could go slaughter songbirds. What more could a manly cat want?
His people. I let three days pass before checking on him. Mr. Cat was frantic. Where were his people? Had I done something with them? Something horrible?
I petted him. He covered my hands, arms, and ankles with love bites that bordered on assault. He had the essentials of life, and freedom to roam. I decided I had better visit him one more time before the kids got home.
Two days later I walked to their house. It was blistering hot. I opened the garage door. No Mr. Cat. No wonder. It was a furnace inside the garage. I called. I waited. I whistled. I waited. I watered flowers. I waited.
With a churning stomach, I returned home. Later that evening, I came back. No Mr. Cat. I suffered an anxious, guilt-ridden and sleepless night imagining my granddaughters' faces when I told them their brother was missing.
The next morning, I drove by. Was it my imagination, or was some food missing from his dishes? Had he returned in the night, or had some other cat eaten his food? I went to work, sick at heart and wondering if the kids would notice if I found a similar cat at the humane shelter to replace Mr. Cat.
No. Mr. Cat is unique. He cannot be replaced.
I was a jittery mess all day, until it was time to leave. I rushed over to their house. With trembling hands, I unlocked the front door. Was that a noise I heard, coming from the garage? I opened the garage door.
Here came Mr. Cat, cool as Steve McQueen. I greeted him. He tried to play aloof, but he quickly encircled my legs, meowing and purring, shuddering with kitty relief that one of his people had come back. He gave me a love bite on my arm that required a paper towel to staunch the bleeding.
I brought his food and water dishes indoors. No more garage, Mr. Cat. I couldn't take the stress. He did not object. Whatever adventure had kept him from home for that agonizing long day and a half must have been a doozy.
I can sleep tonight, knowing that my grandson is safe indoors. What will I tell my daughter when she returns? I'll tell her what all grandparents say after a particularly trying episode of babysitting. Mr. Cat was no problem. No trouble at all.
Post script: I did tell my daughter about Mr. Cat going missing temporarily. Her response? He does that all the time. Next time, I'll still worry. It's my prerogative as a grandmother.