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Feral Purrfessional – Part 2

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Where we are: Katie Kitty has been given a scholarship to Mid-America Animal Tech. She plans to become a Feral Purrfessional to provide medical care to the feral cat population. Her mother is uncomfortable with Katie being so far from home. Read the first part of the story here.

Katie: Mama, did you get the train tickets to school?

Mama: Yes, I did. I bought three – you, me, and Charlene. We leave at seven tomorrow morning. We won’t get there until the middle of the afternoon. I really don’t like how far away it is.

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Katie: The train takes longer than driving, because it stops. I think you’ll really like it.

Mama doesn’t seem convinced. The next morning the three Kitties arrive at the depot. Katie has been so excited that she hadn’t noticed how many bags her mother brought with her.

Katie: Mama, why are you bring so much stuff? I think you have more than I do! Are you planning to stay?

Charlene: Of course, we’re staying overnight. We can’t see anything if we don’t leave the train station.

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Katie: Good point. But you only have one bag. Mama has (counting) six. What is all that stuff?

Mama: I brought snacks for the train. And towels and personal items in case you forgot anything.

Katie groans.

Mama: And I brought some of those special salmon cakes you like, in case you get hungry at school.

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Katie: Mama, they have a cafeteria.

Mama: I know, but you might not like the food. And I brought extra school supplies. Just in case. And your stuffed mouse. And your favorite pillow.

Katie: Mama! I don’t need all that stuff! You’re going to embarrass me.

Mama (hurt): I just thought you might miss home and want some special things to help you adjust.

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Mama starts to cry.

Mama: I’m just so upset to have you moving out. You’re my baby, and I want you to be safe and happy.

Charlene glares at Katie.

Charlene: Can’t you just be nice? We all know how excited you are, but you are leaving home. Besides, someone will eat the stuff. Mama’s a wonderful cook. And you probably did forget things. You are pretty scatter-brained sometimes.

Katie: I guess you’re right. I do always seem to forget something.

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Turns to Mama and hugs her.

Katie: I’m sorry, Mama. It sure looks like you went through a lot of work for me.

Mama: It wasn’t any trouble.

They take their seats on the train. They weren’t too far out of the station before they were all curled up asleep. It seemed like no time before they heard the conductor calling their stop.

Katie: See, Mama? That wasn’t so bad.

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Charlene: It’s pretty here. It doesn’t even really look like a city. All the trees and flowers.

Mama: You’re right Charlene. It’s much prettier than I expected.

Katie: We need to find the shuttle to the campus.

She looks around and sees a van marked “Mid-America Animal Tech”. They find three empty seats. Ten minutes later, they stopped at a building with a sign that says, “Feral Purrfessional Dormitory and Lab.” Katie bounces up.

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Katie: This is it! My home away from home. Hurry!

Katie runs up the steps to the building. By the time Mama and Charlene have gathered everything together and get in the door, Katie has her room key and a set of house rules.

Katie: Hurry up! I’m on the second floor.

They follow her, carrying the bags. As Katie struggles to open the door, it’s pulled open by a handsome tom.

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Tom (laughing): You must be Katie; Elise’s new roommate. There’s Elise over on the bed.

Katie and Elise look each other over, rub heads, and begin to chatter. Meanwhile, Mama and Charlene appear at the door out of breath.

Tom: My goodness! Are you Katie’s sisters? And what’s in all those bags? Let me get them from you.

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Mama Kitty blushes.

Mama: No. I’m Katie’s mother and this is her sister Charlene.

Tom: My name is Edgar and I am Elise’s father. Unfortunately, her mother died in an accident, so I’m playing Mom today.

Mama: That’s so sweet.

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Edgar: What is in all those bags you were carrying? It smells delicious.

Mama: Those are salmon cakes I made for Katie, but she says she doesn’t want them. Would you like one?

Edgar: That would be purr-fect. I’m starving.

Mama gets out the salmon cakes and prepares a plate for Edgar. They are talking and don’t notice the younger cats watching them.

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Next week: Conclusion. Will Mama Kitty be comfortable leaving Katie at school?

Pictures courtesy of Google Images

 

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2

If I Were in Charge: Parents in Public

Every once in awhile, I run across a child I would like to throttle. Or to quote a customer, “That’s the reason they invented birth control.” In more rational moments, I know it’s the parents I want to go after. So I created my version of “Crime and Punishment.” Unlike that story (for the three of you who have read it), my penalties are not intended to cause any actual harm.

Snow is falling an inch an hour; there’s already several inches on the ground. The schools are closed. The roads are a mess. A woman comes in with her two children to do her weekly shopping. There’s a reason the schools are closed, and you are the only customer in the store. Penalty: the next two times you are late for work, your car won’t start. No one will come get you because the roads are so bad.

You have brought your child shopping. She is old enough to enjoy the idea of shopping with mom (unfortunately, every time I’ve seen this it’s been a woman). However, mom is on the phone with a friend discussing another friend or talking about what they will be doing later. The woman is so focused on getting her groceries and talking on the phone that the child is totally ignored. You are treating the child like she is just one more task for you to handle.  Penalty: the next time you are out with your friends, you lose your voice. After a little while, they pretty much forget you are there.

You have brought your child shopping. You see an old friend that you haven’t seen since the soccer game two days ago. (I know this because one of your topics of conversation is that game.) You and the friend start talking about various things. Time starts to go by. Before you know it, you’ve been talking for ten minutes. While your child is standing around with nothing to do. Penalty: at the next soccer game it’s raining, your friend had to work, and your phone won’t work, so the only thing you have to do is actually watch the game.

You are shopping and concentrating on what you are looking for, not paying any attention to the child. The child is nagging about something. You continue to shop. You do not address the child to find out what she is trying to tell you. Penalty: get home and realize that your child was trying to tell you that you forgot to get the milk that you needed for dinner.

On the other hand – you are shopping and your child is nagging and whining about nothing or being told that you won’t buy something. You ignore them, hoping they will stop. The rest of us have to listen to them because you won’t address the issue. Penalty: you’re locked in a room full of howler monkeys for an hour. Extra time: If you escalate the situation by allowing them to scream or shriek without addressing it, you will be with the monkeys for two hours.

The child wants to help. You tell him he can get the milk. He gets a gallon of milk out of the cooler. He’s not strong enough to hold onto it and drops it so the container breaks and there is milk everywhere. The child is devastated. Small children need to be given tasks you know they can do in public. They don’t know the rest of us think the parent is the idiot, not the child. Penalty: when you decide to take a yoga class, you discover the night of the first class that your outfit makes you feel like a cow. The only spot is in the front, and you spend the rest of the class wondering if everyone thinks you have a big butt.

The child wants to help. You tell him he can get the string cheese. He brings back the wrong brand. You tell him you want the kind you always get. He goes back and gets the right brand, but the wrong type. You tell him you want the sticks not the strings. He looks at the cheese he’s holding that says “string cheese”. He looks at what you are pointing at, and it says “cheese twists”. He’s frustrated and so are you. Penalty: your boss invites you to an important dinner meeting with a client at a French restaurant. You are sure you ordered stew; the waiter brings you a cow brain.

You stand in front of a cereal display with your child. You ask the child which type of cereal she would like you to buy. She tells you a name. You tell her that she doesn’t like that kind. She tell you that she does. You tell her that she doesn’t like that, she likes another kind. She tells you she doesn’t like what you are holding. You put it in the cart anyway. The child can’t figure out why you asked her opinion in the first place. Penalty: you go to get your hair colored. You tell the stylist that you would like to be medium-blonde. When she is finished, she tells you that she decided to make your hair deep auburn because she knows you will like it better.

Christmas Bonus Situation – You’re tired. Your child is tired. The child is crying. You are snapping at him. You can’t remember what you want to buy. You tell him that if he doesn’t stop crying, you’re going to take away all of his presents/he won’t get the special toy he wants/etc. You are not making the situation better. A child who is that tired is not going to respond to threats. Penalty: your company is having a holiday party for a customer. It is after work, and you don’t want to go. You have a million things to do, and you don’t really know most of the people anyway. The boss tells you that if you don’t go, it will be written up for your file, and you will not be eligible for the promotion you want.

Now all I need is the howler monkeys and a genie to make the rest of it happen. Oh yeah, and a video camera to see if the parent’s expression matches the kid’s.