Months ago I blogged about loosing my beloved cat Hacker (the viola case-sleeping cat), and then about signing up for "Operation Noble Foster". I know very well what it is like to have to foster beloved pets while our job takes you elsewhere while they cannot follow. Well, I finally got a "hit". Yesterday I received an e-mail from a woman named Laurie needing foster care for her kitties during her basic training and "AIT" (Advanced Individual Training).
Laurie drove 3 1/2 hours from Monroe, WA tonight to my house tonight - WITH her cats (Elvis and Pricilla) for the "meet and greet" and "Hiss and Spit". She is my age and is enlisting into a medic speciality (she has previous training in this area). She seems quite nice. We spent the evening discussing cat care requirements, feeding, vet care, "child support", etc...
Tommy (my cat) ran up and hid under the bed as usual when she came over. She let her cats out of their carrier and began exploring the house while we chatted. After some time, her cats made it up to the bedroom where Tommy was hiding. We both snuck up there to see what would happen when her two cats and Tommy finally came face to face. Her cats peeked under the bed... there was a hiss, a second hiss, a rumble, one more hiss, then it was over. Tommy came downstairs half way, but was more concerned about Laurie being there than the other two cats. I think there will be no problem with an "integrated household" :)
Elvis discovered the favorite cat place - right on top of my viola case. It gave him a good view up the stairs to watch Tommy. Pricilla sat up on the landing upstairs, while she and Tommy made "eyes" at each other (no more hissing, but they kept a respectable distance between each other). Laurie's cats discovered the fascinating birds that nested on my front porch. That provided about 20 minutes of entertainment.
Then the final test - how would her cats react to music? I played a scale on the piano, and Pricilla went running for cover - terrified, skidding on the hardwood floor. Elvis, still sitting on my viola case just looked at me.
So, it is now official. Everyone passed the "hiss and spit" test, and the piano test (more afraid than a tendency to climb on it. Laurie gave her stamp of approval on the house, Tommy, and my "cat sensibilities".
I am now the proud foster mother to Elvis (the black and white cat) and Pricilla (the tabby). Laurie will be passing their care to me a day or two after I get back home from China/Interlochen. It will be an honor to care for them while Laurie begins her training. This may be extended if there is an overseas deployment.
Soon, the real fun begins... How will Elvis and Pricilla react to hours and hours of practice on the weekends and "Chamber Music Night" ? Will Elvis sleep in the viola case or "leave the building" ?
Time will only tell.
I *thought* that I would have a musical break this summer. My CO did it's last concert in May, my last lesson until fall was in June. However, I find that my musical schedule is still overflowing over the summer.
Lesson nights have been replaced with another local CO that does "readings" in the summer time - open to everyone. I'm subbing for another CO (concert is tomorrow - if I get permission from the CO, I'll record it and maybe post a "clip" here). There are still quartet nights, and other informal musical get-togethers. Then there is Interlochen later next month. My personal practice continues to be limited to weekends.
One thing good about being a violist, and ONLY a violist: no matter what level you are at, you are always in demand. Keeps life interesting.
My mother told me recently that I *finally* figured out what I wanted to do with my life. And I mean my "life" - NOT my career (which I already have). Something that I can enjoy not just now, but later in life after I finally get around to "retiring". Mom's always right - even when you are pushing 40 (I mean 29 for the 11th time).
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