Last Friday, hubby was away for work, and I had clinic at 7:30 am. I have to drive into the Big City, so I usually leave the house really darned early. I was tiptoe-ing about, in the dark, trying not to trip over one or the other cat. The cats are often underfoot, but that morning they were being ridiculous. I also remember thinking it felt really cold in the house. I shrugged it off, as I was just waking up, and still half-alseep… Darned cats….
Generally, I can count on being able to shower and dress while the kids are still asleep. Then, Nana shows up, and we pass off child care, me on my way out the door with my travel mug of coffee.
Unless one of the children wakes up extra early… as they did last Friday.
Babygirl cried out. I froze. Sometimes she’ll roll over and go back to sleep…
But no. She stood up and started rattling the bars, so to speak. I went in to her, lest she wake up Babyboy.
I picked her up and noted that her hands and cheeks felt cold. Was it really cold in the house or was it just my imagination?
I wrapped her in a blankie and we ventured downstairs, me very acutely aware of the ticking clock. I’m supposed to be in shower by now…
The thermostat read 59 degrees. What? We never keep it lower than 65, with two little ones to keep toasty warm…
I tried doing an override on our fancy new thermostat, to no avail. I cursed out the fancy new thermostat.
My mom came over at 6 am, ostensibly to let me get out the door, but this morning I was still all bedraggled, in PJs, with a fussy baby in a blankie. The three of us made our way to the basement to look at the heater. It was very clearly not on. Then Nana, in all her brilliance, noted what the problem was: the emergency on/off switch was set to “off”.
What? Who would have done that? I certainly didn’t. But we switched it back on, and the heater purred back to life.
OK, OK. I ran to get showered and dressed.
Once dressed, I ran around the kitchen trying to get my coffee and lunch together. Our fat cat jumped up onto the counter at precisely the same instant as I set my travel mug down to doctor it up.. and then there was a mess. Ugh. I plopped kitty onto the floor perhaps a tad too rough for comfort… I didn’t thrown him across the kitchen, but I think I would have liked too… Nana noted (with some disapproval) that maybe the cats were cold, too, and that’s why they were being pains in the butts.
Ugh. I cleaned up the mess and got out the door.
On the highway, traffic was much thicker than normal, very slow. I cursed some more…
Then I saw what the problem was. There was a police cruiser parked in the fast lane, just in front of, and protecting, a badly injured coyote.
This was a section of expressway overpass, with concrete borders almost right up to the traffic lanes. The coyote was lying right up against the fast lane concrete border, almost on the line; it was resting with its head on one paw, and you could see how awkwardly the hind half was lying, suggesting at least a broken leg, if not spine. In a flash I had an image of the coyote being hit, maybe by more than one vehicle, overnight… injured and unable to walk, it must have scrunched itself as far back as possible against the concrete, inches from fast-moving traffic.
Its eyes were open, but it wasn’t following any of the movements of cars pulling past. It was alive, but barely, with an expression of, truly, beyond misery. This was the apathy of an animal that is just waiting to die, and for whom death would be a blessing.
I made a quick prayer: Please God, let someone come and euthanize that poor coyote soon.
Once at the office, I tried to put that image of the coyote out of my mind. I was able to touch base with hubby via emails. We decided to make a list of all our servicepeople to hang in the kitchen, as I learned that morning, if we had actually needed a heater guy, I would have had to go upstairs, find the file with service receipts, and dig through until I found one with our heater guy’s number on it. THAT is not realistic.
We also realized that it was my fault the heater was off. I had let Babyboy come down to the basement with me the day prior, as I did laundry. Usually he plays with the toys in the bin that we’re rotating down from the playroom… But he must have flipped the heater switch. Ugh, scary. No more trips to the basement for Babyboy.
I also reflected on how badly I felt about tossing the coffee-spilling cat onto the floor… He was fine, but seeing that suffering coyote made me want to go back in time, and cuddle with our big fat spoiled rotten pain-in-the-butt cat.
It wasn’t such a bad morning for me after all.
And I still remember that coyote, and feel so badly for it.