Putzer the Attorney and I were sitting in my sun room this morning drinking coffee when she got a text from her husband James in Walla Walla.
“Don’t forget your wallet,” it read.
“Do you get tired of hearing that?” I asked her.
“Yeah, it’s gotten annoying.”
Of course you’ll all want to know what that’s about. It makes reference to a time several years ago when Putzer came to Seattle fairly often in connection with the corneal transplant surgery she had in both her eyes. Since I live a few miles from where the surgical rehearsals, drama and cast parties took place, she often stayed with me before her appointments.
After one of these visits, I put her on the bus to the airport, and skipped off to meet my friend Nancy for our weekly walk around Green Lake. Putzer got to the airport and discovered she did not have her wallet with her. She couldn’t get a hold of me because I was blithe-ing my way around the lake. When I got home from the walk, the wallet was sitting on my dining room table and my answering machine was blinking.
Putzer was on the flight to Walla Walla when I left her the message that I had her wallet. By the end of the day we had established that Jim who was visiting his father in Abbotsford, British Columbia could pick it up at my house on his way back to Walla Walla. And I heard all about the pat down and interrogation at the airport.
So that’s what that was about. I can see where it would be annoying. If it were me and people were still teasing me about two years later, I’d be crying.
It’s interesting that this has become the story about how Putzer left her wallet at my house with the entirely unfair suggestion that if she isn’t teased about it several times per visit to Seattle she might do it again. It hasn’t, for example, become a story about how she got through airport security without I.D. because she doesn’t look like a terrorist or how fortunate she was that Jim was to be in Seattle within a day and could pick up the wallet. It’s not about what a Luddite I am that I didn’t even own a cell phone, let alone own one but not turn it on, which is the case with me now.
This week Putzer was here for A Situation and once again I was being blithe. I was visiting a friend on Camano Island, and staying in a very comfortable beach house, eating good food and romping with dogs on the beach. Putzer had been given a key to and the run of my house.
I had made my usual arrangements to have my neighbors feed my cats. Gwen, who knows something about just about everything takes the morning shift and Bill comes over around 5:00. The cats go without their Peking duck meal for elevenses when I’m gone. It’s really too much to expect neighbors to understand, let alone indulge them three times a day. I asked Bill and Gwen to carry on as usual or at the very least, check to see if Putzer, the attorney-at-law, mother and grandmother was managing okay.
The truth is I didn’t think she had the proper attitude about my cats. In the first place she tends to treat them like animals as opposed to Fur Persons. Secondly she likes to tell a story about a time she stayed with her daughter and heard the cats scratching on the door of the master bedroom door at 4 in the morning. Her son-in-law got up, staggered into the kitchen and fed the cats. At 4:30 they scratched on the bedroom door again. Her daughter got up, staggered into the kitchen and fed the cats.
“What’s your point?” I ask, stony-faced.
Putzer emailed me before this visit to comment that she had never actually been apprised of the cats’ eating schedule. She’s right. She hadn’t been. The reason for this dates back to a sarcastic question she once asked me, something along the line of “Do you just feed them continually?”
I wrote back and said that they each get one scoop of dry food at 6 AM and one at 5 PM. For their elevenses they get one can of BFF Tuna and Shrimp in gravy, and one packet of BFF Tuna and Duck (hence the Peking duck reference) split three ways. Give or take the odd dribble of kibble when their whining gets to me. But she wasn’t to worry. Gwen and Bill would manage all that. And I would be home sometime on Saturday to resuscitate them if they were anywhere near starvation. She didn’t need to do anything. She could just have her sarcastic comments and smirking stories to keep her company.
Putzer wasted no time expanding to fill my house with her stuff on Friday afternoon. She was so relieved after untangling The Situation that she foraged until she found the really expensive Scotch and had two drinks. She fed the cats. Bill came over and was told everything was under control. I assume it all happened in that order.
When I came home on Saturday afternoon, Putzer told me she had had a time finding the cat food. I pointed to the huge jar of kibble that juts into the passage between the living room and the kitchen.
“This?” I kicked at it. “You couldn’t find this?”
“No, I found that,” she said. “It was their elevenses. I didn’t know where the Peking duck was. And Gwen didn’t know either. But I finally found it.”
“You gave them their elevenses? You didn’t have to do that!”
“You know I can feed cats?”
Gwen came over later and the three of us made further inroads into the Scotch while hearing about the cats and the Peking duck and the further adventures of Putzer, the Attorney. She left this morning. The house looks empty after she clears out and it’s quiet except for the cats whining at me to feed them. Putzer leaves me little reminders of her visits. I find her eye drop single-use vials all over the house. It was just the one time that I found her wallet.