I have a dream. A backyard patio with grass, flowers, spring in the air, birds chirping, the animals lounging around, coffee….you know….that stereotypical relaxing backyard scene. Our neighbors on one side have a lovely, if plain. On the other side, there is a much more exotic, busy yard with flowers, statues, windmills, chimes, and planters for more of the same crammed into a small space. It’s eclectic and not something I would want to deal with, but it’s amazing in full bloom.
We had a dirt and rock pit type landscape going with a lot of weeds. Mancandy doesn’t care about it. At all. As long as the grass (what little there is) doesn’t get too high (only because the HOA will send nasty letters that piss him off) he couldn’t care less.
Last year I was excited that our neighbors had an old patio set they gave us. Wanda, the coolest neighbor ever, came over in the blazing summer heat to help me sand it down and spray paint. We were so sweaty we couldn’t stand ourselves and I thought really hard about having a heat stroke, but the result was a somewhat decent looking set (if you don’t get too close to it). I harassed Robert into getting more strapping since a lot of the original had rotted and snapped. That strapping is still in a roll someplace in this house. Until the strapping is on cushions are pointless and sitting in the chairs is a test of faith in gravity’s lack of hold on thine rumpage. It is also insulting when you stand up and see how far the few straps that remain stretched out to cradle said rumpage. I have plans, but it’s a very slow and frustrating process when the Mancandy drags his feet getting on board.
Not to be deterred, I was determined to enjoy time outside after work yesterday. It’s still light when I get home now that the time has changed and it was gorgeous weather. We’ve been in the seventies, sunny, no humidity, etc., the past couple days. I’m aware the hellish heat is coming so I stay outside or by open windows as much as possible. We took the pup for a walk and the two “normal” cats came with us. We had our tiny puma patrol. They were quite pleased with themselves.
As we came back to the house I suggested evening coffee and outside time. Bell can’t do much in the way of running now that her back legs are in such back shape, but she loves laying outside and telling off anyone she notices. Or thinks she notices. The cats enjoy vacating their bladder and bowels in the one area of dirt we optimistically spread grass seed on every so often. You know, relaxing stereotypical stuff. We spent our time arguing about global warming, arguing over which cat is the best hunter (we both though Neo but he assumed Tsuki didn’t hunt because she didn’t bring back kills while Neo assumes we’re too stupid to hunt for ourselves and brings back little dead bodies all the time), and agreeing that we hate most people.
We really were relaxing and beginning to think about dinner. The weather was gorgeous, the dog was happy, one of the cats was entertaining us; pouncing and playing as if he was finding moles, arching his back and crab walking, it was pretty awesome. I was sure I was making headway with ideas to improve our “outdoor living space”. He was pretending to listen to me, happily jabbering about planters and a raised bed for veggies when Tsuki started belly crawling through the yard away from us, quickly picking up speed. I had time to say “oh crap” while Robert sucked in his breath to curse. A couple of mockingbirds had been scolding the cats the entire time we’d been outside. After a couple unsuccessful attempts to smack them the cats settled back to ignore them. I was scared she was going after them again, but instead, Tsuki launched herself into one of the huge bushes (it’s a bush but it’s probably….9 feet tall and 6 feet across….superman vegetation). Neo, the other cat, started hauling butt that way. Tsuki let out a hunters scream at the same time birds explode everywhere, also screaming. It sounded like we’re skinning animals alive, the sheer volume of sound was incredible.
We could hear something screaming at a higher pitch as if in excruciating pain and the dog starts trying to run that way as Robert and I also take off across the yard. The two adult birds are shrieking in defiance and raining down bird rage as they swoop and smash themselves into a blur I took to be Tsuki. Fuzzy running things that I eventually realized were fledglings, unable to fly yet, haul ass across the yard, Neo in pursuit. I yell at the dog to stay out of it, scream at Neo to knock it off as Robert gets to the bush Tsuki has disappeared into and starts kicking and yelling. More birds explode out and there’s so much noise and motion I can’t tell what’s what. Neo is startled by my manic scream and pursuit that he pauses to stare at me and the fledglings have a chance to get into taller grass past the walking trail. Mom and Dad bird are about to have heart attacks between the cat assaulting their feathered children and the humans yelling and scrambling and the other cat running after more children. Tsuki has crawled all the way to the center of the bush and we can’t get to her nor can we tell if she’s got a baby bird. I couldn’t hear any noise from her direction so I figured if she had one, it was either dead or close to it. I turned my attention to saving the rest of them. Neo was having a full excitement induced weirdo attack. He was puffed up, darting at anything that moved, running back over to stare and hiss in Tsuki’s general direction, and basically look insane. I’d gotten Bell inside and we tried to corner Neo. He was not having it.
At this point, the neighbors have heard blood-curdling screams of pain and fear, our screams of anger, excited barking from a big dog, cats yowling, and now us yelling KITTY KITTY KITTY as if that will coax anything to come to us. The only chance those babies had was for us to get the stupid cats inside. Eventually, Robert resorted to a controlled pounce and snagged Neo. I had door duty and made sure the dog stayed in while the cat was tossed in. The treat jar was grabbed and more “KITTY KITTY COME HERE YOU ASSHOLE CAT WE WERE RELAXING!” ensued. Tsuki, amazingly, became interested enough in the idea of treats to stick her head out and was also pounced upon.
We found ourselves with wide eyes, clutching our coffee, standing in the kitchen panting, while the cats stalked each other, hissing and poofing with excess adrenaline.
Stereotypical relaxing outdoor space activity.