Like so many fashion divas, when I feel a bad hair day coming on, I want a haircut and I want it NOW!
But these days, with a son in college, just being able to glean a little milk money from under the sofa cushions is all I can hope for let alone afford getting my coiffed blonde strands clipped.
So what's a high-maintenance blogger chick like me supposed to do when money's scarce and my hair is screaming for a trim?
Not to worry! I just leave it to my cat, Smokers. 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 happened upon Smoker's unusual pasttime (she appears to consider it a career, and who am I to judge?) a few years back. 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 Smokers. She was nibbling and yanking out little threads of my hair with her teeth.
At first, I thought it was a nervous habit Smokers had acquired; it was storming at the time, and I figured she was just wigging out over the thunder.
Later it occurred to me as I brushed Smokers (alias Edwina Scissorteeth), from my head once more, that perhaps hair nibbling, from her feline perspective, was an act of love and caretaking. It seemed similar to Smokers and her daughter, Flower (yes, I have two cats), grooming each other. Classic mother-daughter bonding, at the feline level anyway.
More than likely, though, it's just Smoker's way of saying "Get up you Lazy Mary and FEED ME."
Fact is, me and the Smokes are good pals. Have been since she meandered up the driveway at my mother-in-law's farm several years ago. She's a Tortoise Shell cat, and she is by far the sweetest felineI have ever known. Daniel named her Smokers for her smokey-colored fur. Made purr-fect sense to me.
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 her tiny babies into the cold and cruel world of Iowa 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 a litter of 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 our 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, Olivia and three others (whose names I cannot recall at this point because time and sleep deprivation have fried my memory). Two Torties like Smokers (girls; Torties are always girls), and four little yellow balls of fluff that looked like their no-good, deadbeat dad who hasn't seen Smokers since the day he had his way with her.
Anyway, I kept Smokers and Flower (named after that cute little skunk of Bambi fame; she looked like a baby skunk when she was born) because I couldn't bear the thought of the mother-daughter separation anxiety they would inevitably suffer if I split them up.
Besides, during those times when all else in my world seems to be crumbling around me, there's just something about having Smokers and Flower curled up in my lap, snuggling, that soothes and comforts me. Adds warmth to that Big Chill we call Life. Oh, if only Smokers could talk. I'd ask her what she is thinking when I wake up to find her "styling" my hair in the still of the morning.
I know what I'm thinkin'...wonder how much she charges for a mani/pedi?