I wrote this blog post a few weeks ago, but hadn't posted it yet. I do that a lot, write things, but wait to post them for a while. I have a lot on my list, I like to sit on things sometimes, I wait for my boyfriend to read it, whatever....in this case, I needed a new photo, so that took a while and I hadn't posted this story yet. About the cats, which is funny and I like my title a lot, but anyway, I digress....I waited to post, as I normally do, but then this happened. The shit hit the fan in every way possible. The world is experiencing a pandemic first hand. In today's world of modern medicine and space travel and internet and all the things are can manage to accomplish, what the ever loving fuck. I thought last winter was hard and I cried a lot. I did not see the end until it happened, and then I was OK. All of a sudden, I had caught my breath for a minute, and then a virus takes it right back.
"They Literally Broke My Heart"
Those cats. Such a topic of conversation. Every. Single. Day. Who knew, when I asked my farmer friend up at the Market if she had an extra kitten, an orange and white one please, for us to keep the mice at bay in the shop, how many phone calls, signs, conversations, photographs, abductions, stories, and events surrounding our two shop cats, would transpire for the next few years.
"Andre the Giant" as she was named by my children, is our older cat. She is missing a paw, but she has all four legs, so she hobbles around all over. I thought the missing paw would keep her from jumping on the shelves of glass, but no, she actually gets around pretty well and is quite agile, missing a paw or not. She goes outside all the time, gets very crabby when we try to keep her in, and I have found her with birds, cicadas, and lizards in her mouth and have had to help them escape her grasp. She loves to play in the rain and the puddles, and she acts like a pretty good social media model in the connector between the buildings, lying in the gravel in wait for an unsuspecting passerby to come and giver her a belly rub. People are surprised by her friendliness, calling the shop all the time to tell us she is out there. We know, we love her, and we think she is quite possibly the best cat out there, and we are happy to let her explore the world. In fact, I am waiting to find an affordable go-pro for her, so we can get a glimpse of where she goes and what she does sometimes. We have made up stories of her having other families and building forts in the creek, but we just aren't sure.
And then there is "Mandy Patinkin" who came to us about a year later, aptly named in honor of the second best pirate ever. An apprentice's father posted her photo on facebook, the litter had been left behind a school, and I saw her cute black and white tuxedo markings and said "YES PLEASE!" I really felt like Andre really needed a friend in there. She was alone at night, and while she is definitely a loner and loves her space, I think Mandy was the best addition to the place. They didn't get along at first, for a few weeks I would come in every morning expecting bloodshed. But now they get along great, Andre goes outside most days and roams, and Mandy just sits in the window, lays in the sun, and waits for customers to come in just to pet her, she has no idea that people come in for things other than her. She is super friendly, until she is not, and then she goes to hide up on a shelf somewhere and watch the world go by.
People ask all the time if they break stuff. It happens once in a while by accident of course, but generally speaking, they do not. One night, I think after being taunted by people outside, Mandy walked back and forth in the front window and knocked a bunch of my work off the shelf. Breaking about $1000 worth of my stuff was hard, but it only happened once and I thought she had learned her lesson. In fact, last week, I posted a photo of her on social media, up high on a shelf surrounded by my work, and boasted about how they do not break stuff. Karma really is quick sometimes.....
Not even one week later, I leave for the night with two sculptural hearts I have bought from Sarah on the counter, set up in a way I don't think the cats will mess with. I bought them as gifts, one for my father and one for the cardio unit at Baptist Hospital. They got his pacemaker and heart working normally again last month, he had a scary incident in the hotel lobby and spent almost a week there, but they got him fixed up so he could safely travel back to Milwaukee. It was a stressful week indeed, and I thought the heart would be a nice gift for the folks at the hospital, it has a vase component to hold flowers even. But alas, in the morning I walk around the back of the counter and my heart is broken. Literally, on the floor in pieces, red glass covering the cats food bowl and water dish, they both look at me sheepishly blaming the other one. I understand I cannot prove it, the cameras don't cover that spot in the shop, but based on previous behaviors, I have a feeling I know who it was. They had broken my heart, literally. Luckily, she had another one in the annealer, almost ready to go. I paid her for that one, recognized the karmic a-hole that it is, swore I would stop posting on social media knowing full well that's not going to happen, and moved on with my day. Such is glass, such a good teacher it is.......
FOOTNOTE - for now, the shop is closed to the public. We are all currently healthy, but we need to keep our community and our crew as safe as possible and we are taking all precautions. Please contact us through any digital channel if you wish to purchase glassware, and you will be informed as soon as it is safe for us to host any public programming. We hope everyone stays safe and healthy through this very complicated and challenging time.