The geekyfamily consists of four human members, (Mum, Dad, Geekygirl and Geekyboy), one canine (Geekydog, the chow/retreiver mix) and two felines (Silvergeek and Orangegeek, regular moggies, one marmalade and white, one silver tabby and white.) Brothers, the cats have been with the family longer than I have. Geekydaddy, upon buying his first house (the one we now live in), decided he had lived without animal companions for long enough, so went down to the SPCA and brought home two kitten brothers in need of a home.
As an aside, just in case you are wondering, yes, I was lucky enough to marry a man who already owned a house in San Francisco. In fact I went house hunting with him on some of our early dates, something that seemed very strange for a girlfriend of only a few weeks, but which turned out rather well, since I had input into the choice of what would ultimately be my home too!
But the cats were the first step in Geekydaddys settling down process. Soon followed by the eviction of his long time room mate (sorry Steve), to be replaced by a live in girlfriend (me), a wife (also me), the dog, and then the kids. I think we are done expanding the family for a while, until the children start requesting iguanas, hamsters and stick insects, anyway.
Last week though, we were worried that the family may have lost a member. Silvergeek has always been an independent cat, but since a traumatic vet visit, he had not returned home for a week. A roamer, this cat owns a four block radius of our neighbourhood, often coming home with the scars to prove his streetworthiness. He lives mainly outside, but always comes home at 5.30 for his soft food. He personifies "cat" with his independence and aloof nature, his love of cuddles but only on his terms (pet him a microsecond too long and he bites your hand), and the tendency to take a bit out of your toes while you are sleeping (I'm convinced he is checking to see if we are finally dead enough to eat) He often sleeps on Geekygirl's bed, which sounds cute, but actually he has a tendency to stretch his languorous twelve pounds across the length of her small toddler bed, pushing her onto the edge and causing nighttime visits because "the cat is in my whole bed, Mummy".
Still, Geekygirl, when in one of her adorable moods, loves to chant out "I love the whole family; I love Mummy, I love Daddy, I love my brother, I love geekydog, I love Orange geek and I love Silvergeek". Always in that order (though of course using their actual names).
Last Monday we had a huge storm. Silvergeek always comes home when it rains, but he didn't appear. Geekydaddy loves this cat dearly, he has a special place in his heart, and he was starting to get quite depressed, as was I, assuming that he had met an untimely end. I spent that evening making "lost cat" fliers, and also posted emails to the neighbourhood groups I am part of. That night when geekygirl recited her "I love the whole family" chant, my heart sunk. How would we break it to her that the cat was gone? We didn't even know ourselves what had happened, how could we help her understand. Would she think us so careless that we might one day let her or her brother wander off and get lost forever?
Fortunately we have a wonderful childrens book "Six dinner Sid" about a black cat who is "owned" by six different families, each ignorant of the other. I read the story that night and broke it to her that we hadn't seen Silvergeek for a while, and that maybe he had found another family to live with, like Sid. I was rather hoping myself that this might be the case, and planned on telling myself that story if it turned out we never saw him again.
But on Tuesday evening we got a call from a neighbour on the email list. The wanderer had been sighted, just a block from our house, sheltering in some bushes! She enticed him into her car, and brought him home! We were so thrilled. He wolfed down his food, and we lavished him with love and petting.
When I informed Geekgirl the next day that Silvergeek was not lost after all, she was delighted. "Where was he?" she asked. I told he was playing in the bushes near one of our playgrounds, and she said to me "No he wasn't. He went to Trader Joe's to get groceries"!
If so, he didn't bring anything home for us!
The geekyfamily are happy to be complete again.