August 02, 2012When you bring in a new addition to the office, you hope that everyone gets along and things start running smoother and more efficiently. What you hope doesn't happen is the newcomer causes disruptions and keeps other folks from getting their work done.
We have a newcomer in our office, Grace, and unfortunately I can't say that things are running smoother since she arrived. It seems that Grace needs a lot of attention and, if she doesn't get it, she makes more noise than a one-pound kitten should be able to make.
Of course, if Grace wasn't such a noisy kitten we never would have been able to add her to the staff, and we almost didn't. It was late on Wednesday, July 11, after we put the paper to bed, and I was watering some thirsty plants before closing up shop and going home when I looked out the back window and saw two guys messing around with my car. I couldn't figure out what they were doing, but when one of them saw me looking out the window he waved at me in a manner that said, "We need help," not, "We are breaking into this car so go away." I went out the back door and one of the guys said there was a kitten under the car, which happened to be my car, and asked if I had a flashlight.
I went back in the office, got the Muse and my car keys, and provided flashlights. This guy said he had been chasing a tiny kitten across the parking lot and was sure it was under the car. We looked and looked, and I opened the hood to make sure it hadn't gotten up in the engine. Looking for a little kitten at night in a parking lot with a hundred places to hide is a recipe for failure, and we failed.
The young men, Conner and Dillon, had been a half a block away at West Market Street United Methodist Church and heard the kitten crying. They said she was so loud that at first they thought it was a baby. They had discovered the kitten in the alley but had not been able to catch it and had chased it under the car, and one of them was convinced the kitten was still under the car somewhere.
They left and we headed back into the building. At the top of the stairs, just before she opened the door, the Muse heard the kitten. Then I heard her too, and she was definitely under the car. This time I found her. She was on the inside of a wheel, and being a brownish-gray, scrawny one-pound kitten, she blended in really well. Even after I saw her I wasn't sure it was a kitten until she let out a loud cry. I reached under the car and grabbed the kitten, which I then handed to my lovely assistant, the Muse, who put the kitten in a box. The kitten immediately leapt out of the box and was gone. We couldn't find her again, but the next morning one of our neighbors showed up with a shoebox with Grace curled up inside. Our neighbor has two dogs in a small apartment, and adding a kitten seemed like too much, so she brought it to us.
So for two weeks now we have had a new full-time employee who is currently asleep under the couch. According to her veterinarian, Grace was about four weeks old when we found her and she had an upper respiratory infection. The vet cleared that up with some antibiotics and Grace is now all over the place, until she runs out of juice and then she finds a good spot for a nap, like in a flowerpot in my window.
Just about everyone up here has tried to work with one hand and hold Grace with the other, to varying amounts of success. Everyone except Scott Yost that is. Scott is an agnostic when it comes to the various dogs and cats we have in our office.
Our dog Mina, who passed away a year ago, had a visual impairment that prevented her from seeing cats. The vet said it was something that we would just have to learn to live with. If a dog couldn't see cats there was nothing in medical science that would help them, but it drove our office cat, JJ, to distraction.
Scott has a similar problem. Sometimes he catches a glimpse of JJ, when JJ repeatedly bangs his head into Scott's leg looking for a little attention. And sometimes when Butler, the large lab mix that Erika brings to work twice a week, knocks Scott down in the hallway, he will admit to catching sight of something out of the corner of his eye right before he went down. But for the most part Scott simply doesn't see the furry creatures we have running around up here.
Earlier this week the Muse came in my office and asked me a question. While we were talking she looked over and saw Paul Clark halfway under a table in the corner of my office making kitten-calling noises, which are never very masculine. The kitten is immune to kitten-calling noises, but we all make the attempt.
Since JJ weighs about 15 pounds and will bite humans who outweigh him by 150 pounds or so, we were hesitant to introduce the two. However, it seems JJ is a very attentive big brother. He plays with her as long as he can stand it, and then runs off and hides.