Being on a squeaky tight budget, of course, means cutting corners, cutting up credit cards, and cutting out coupons. So what to do about hair cuts? Like so many fashion divas, when I feel a bad hair day coming on, I want a haircut and I want it NOW! But some weeks, just being able to glean a little milk money from under the sofa cushions is all I can hope for. So what's a hip blogger chick like me supposed to do when money's scarce and that threadlike growth from the top of my head is absolutely screaming for a trim?
Not to worry! I just leave it to my cat, Schmokers. Come to find out, she's one of the best barbers around. She works nights and early mornings. And she's cheap, too. All she wants in return are a few tuna-flavored kibbles in her dish and a clean litter box. I can afford that.
I happened upon Schmoker's unusual pasttime (she appears to consider it a career, and who am I to judge?) this last week. It all started with a dream, actually. I was dreaming that I had a large, black spider clinging to the top of my head, much like a large hat with tendrils , and I just couldn't shake it. As I slowly awoke from this ghoulish nightscape of the mind, I realized that it was not a woolly mammoth of an arachnid I was sporting, but it was Schmokers, nibbling and yanking little strands of my hair with her teeth. With a rough lick or two on my face (a feline facial?) thrown in for good measure. Costs less than Almay mascara remover, I might add.
At first, I thought it was a nervous habit Schmokers had acquired; it was storming, and I figured she was just wigging out over the thunder. I shared that delightful musing with my hubby.
"Darling," I said. "It was so funny...Schmokers was chewing on my hair this morning. I think she chews my hair when she's nervous."
"Thank God she doesn't prefer eyeballs," he offered.
But it occurred to me this bright, sunny a.m., as I brushed Schmokers, alias Edwina Scissorteeth, from my head once more, that hair nibbling from her feline perspective is truly an act of love and caretaking. It is no different than when Schmokers and her kitten, Flower, bathe each other. Schmokers loves Flower. And Schmokers loves me. And she wants to take care of me like she takes care of Flower and like Flower takes care of her in return. Classic mother-daughter bonding, at both the feline and human level. Either that, or Schmokers merely hates my hair and thinks I'm odiferous and in dire need of a bath. Hey, either way, it's all good. And free.
Yup. Me and the Schmokes are good pals. Have been since she came tiptoing up our driveway out at my mother-in-law's farm early last fall. She's a Tortoise Shell cat, and she is by far the sweetest cat I have ever known. I felt sorry for the little stray, made her a shelter out of a basket, some blankets, a plastic tote, an old camping cot and a sleeping bag, and she claimed it as her digs right away. Then the little dear wound up pregnant (obviously she was doing more than chasing mice in her spare time), and when the day came for her to bring those six adorable little kittens into the cold and cruel world of stray farm cats (we're so connected, I just sensed it was time), well, I took pity on her.
I've given birth, and the thought of pushing out six kids in the hollow of a tree stump or behind an old barn just didn't sit well with me.
So I drove her in to my house in town, made a nest of towels for her in the bathroom, and just in the nick of time, I might add. Within the hour, she gave birth to Flower, Elliot, Oliver/Olivia and three others (whose names I cannot recall at this point because blogging has fried my brain). Two Torties like Schmokers (girls; Torties are always girls), and four little yellow balls of fluff that look like their no-good, deadbeat dad who hasn't seen Schmokers since the day he had his way with her.
Anyway, I kept Schmokers and Flower (named after that cute little skunk of Bambi fame; she looked like a baby skunk when she was born). Much to my hubby's chagrin. But Daniel loves them (he watched the kitties being born), and I think the tenderness the cats bring out in him is a powerful anecdote to the violence thrown at him at every turn in the music he listens to, the video games he plays, and the movies he manages to see -- and the news -- despite my vigilance.
Besides, when all else in my world seems to be crumbling around me, there's just something about having Schmokers and Flower curled up in my lap, snuggling, or Schmokers nibbling on my noggin cuz I'm her "mommy/baby", that soothes and comforts me. Adds warmth to that Big Chill we call Life. Oh, if only Schmokers could talk. I'd ask her what she is thinking when she is "cutting" my hair in the still of the morning. I know what I'm thinkin'.....how is she at manicures?
Hey, I'm just tryin' to save a buck.