When one mows the lawn on a windy day when it hasn’t rained in a long time, one gets a lot of dust on one’s face.

Friday afternoon when we were out doing outdoor country things (Fred was cutting the back part of the lawn with the tractor, and I was cutting the front and side lawns, and the part of the back lawn near the house), we noticed that Newt’s eye was red and infected-looking. I thought it was possible that he’d just gotten dust in his eye (we also did some planting in the vegetable garden and Newt likes to roll around in the dirt), and it was late in the day before we noticed it anyway, so we didn’t do anything about it.

Saturday morning when Fred showed up at the house, he reported that Newt’s eye was looking much worse. He got out the yellow pages and started calling around Nearville (which is about five minutes away), trying to find a vet that was open on Saturday. He managed to find one and reported to me that he’d told the vet what was going on, and the vet said we could bring him in “around 8:30.”

“He said he hadn’t made it in to the office yet,” Fred reported. “Even though the ad said they open at 8. He also sounded a little drunk.”

I was somehow elected to take Newt to the vet, so we boxed him up and put him in my car.

Poor Newt was scared to death and did NOT like being in the carrier, in the car, and moving. He howled and howled all the way to the vet’s office, and I was glad it was only about a ten minute drive.

I pulled up to the office and found that it was a scary little run-down two-room building. I wondered for a moment whether I’d ended up at the wrong place, but the sign on the side of the building told me I was where I needed to be. I got out of the car and grabbed the now-silent Newt in his carrier.

From inside the building a very tall man called out to me and had to repeat himself twice before I could understand him. He was wielding a mop and while the place was small and run-down, it was cleanish. Cluttered and messy, but cleanish. He seemed more than a little surprised to see someone carrying a cat, and in retrospect I wonder just exactly how big the clientele at this particular vet’s office is. (My guess: not many repeat visitors.)

Having no idea whether he was the vet, I told him that my husband had called, cat with an eye problem, blah blah.

“Well, he’s not here yet,” the man said. “Would you like to drop him off, or wait?”

I couldn’t imagine dropping poor terrified Newt off, so I told him I’d stay if that was okay. He told me to have a seat and went back to cleaning.

Sitting on the table in the waiting room was a small long-haired orange cat, and as s/he got up to greet me, I realized s/he was missing a front leg. S/he was friendly and well-cared for, though, so that was a plus.

I waited only a minute or two before I heard a loud vehicle pull up to the building and a minute later a man who was about five feet tall and had a bit of a bowl cut going on walked through the door.

He looked at me and looked at the carrier and said “What’ve you got?”

“Cat with an eye problem,” I said.

“Did someone call about him a while ago?” he asked. I nodded, and he told me to follow him to the back. We went to what I guess you’d call an examination room, a small room, open to the rest of the office, with a stainless steel table piled high with a bunch of crap (crap as in junk, not as in literal crap.)

“Why’s these syringes here?” the vet called to the other guy, who called back something I couldn’t understand. He moved the box of syringes to the side and told me to go ahead and take Newt out of the carrier.

Newt, who hadn’t wanted to BE in no carrier, suddenly wanted to be in the carrier more than anything in the world, and as I pulled him out, he grabbed onto everything he could to stall his removal.

The vet wandered off and then wandered back and leaned over to peer at Newt.

“Which eye is it?” he asked.

If I were Fred, I would have said something snotty like “The red and swollen eye, maybe?”, but I’m not, I’m a nice girl (to strangers) so I pointed to the afflicted eye. He peered at it, opened the eye and glanced at it, and said “It’s infected.”

In short order, he put some ointment in Newt’s eye, gave me the tube of ointment, and gave Newt a shot.

Newt protested vociferously the entire time.

I got Newt back in the carrier, told him to stop being such a big baby (I’m all heart, aren’t I?), and asked the vet how much I owed him, wrote him a check (I was a little surprised he’d take a check, to be honest), and was on my way, Newt singing the entire way home.

You know how in movies and books, they often have a character who was a doctor and he did something boneheaded or stupid or accidentally killed someone he had his medical degree taken away and he ends up in some back-alley apartment giving medical attention for cash and then something happens and he’s the only one who can save the world and he hems and haws and in the end he saves the world and redeems himself?

I think the little vet might need someone to come along and demand he save the world. If Will Smith is looking for him, he’ll be sitting in the reception area of his run-down little clinic, watching TV on a tiny set that only tunes in to one channel.

(By the way, Newt’s eye seems to be getting better. I don’t plan on revisiting that vet again, though.)

Newt snoopervises Maxi, who is checking out all the tadpoles we have in the pond.


The spud spent Friday night at Crooked Acres because we were under the impression realtors might want to show the Madison house Saturday and they usually start that sort of thing early so rather than have to get up and out of the house early on Saturday, she opted to stay at Crooked Acres.

(The house was only shown once on Saturday. SIGH.)

After I got back from taking Newt to the vet, I got my gloves on and wagon out of the garage, and started loading wood into the wagon. Fred finished the wood shed months ago, but the majority of the wood has been sitting on the cement slab in the back yard ever since. Since it was semi-cloudy and coolish on Saturday, I decided it was time to get the wood moved so I could set up the table and chairs we’d brought over from the patio in Madison.

I was in the process of piling up the first load of wood when the spud came out and offered to help. I told her where to find a pair of gloves, and then she and I spent the next couple of hours moving wood.

If she hadn’t offered to help, I’m sure it would have taken me all frickin’ day.

Where the wood was, before we moved it. Eventually there’ll be a deck here.

While we were moving wood, the woman who’d sold us the house came over to see how we were doing (she was visiting her brother, who lives in the house next door), and Fred offered to give her a tour of the house.

A while later, her father came over to talk to Fred, and mentioned that he thought after seeing all the work we’d done on the house, she was feeling homesick for it.

There have been issues with the house, but I have to say I’m absolutely loving it more every day.


By the way, we found out where Maxi came from. She apparently belonged to the family who owned our house. The owner said that they brought her home along with their other cat and named them Dixie and Pixie. Pixie (Maxi) took off and hardly ever came around again (she said) and so they thought she’d found a new home. When Fred asked if Newt could possibly be her kitten, she said she didn’t think so, that they’d found homes for all her kittens, and the orange (buff) cat didn’t sound familiar.

But I distinctly remember her asking, one day before we closed on the house, if the black cat and the orange one had been around while we were there. Maybe she just forgot. Who knows?


Vegetable garden, April 1st. There’ll be a picture on the 1st of each month – that’s the plan, anyway.

Dogwood in bloom.

Sugarbutt cools his belly.


2006: No entry.
2005: No entry.

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