Thursday, June 5, 2008

Responsibilities - taking over for the Mommy

Thursday, just after Peep’s mid-day grooming, she began thinking again about how she could be a grown-up cat. She knew that using the poo field was out, and she didn’t want to be a bossy cat, even if grown-up cats were bossy. “What could I do that would make the Mommy proud of me when she gets home?” Peep asked herself. She walked around the house, thinking that maybe something she saw would give her an idea.

Hmmmm, there were a lot of those smushed white tubes in the glass dishes that Mommy always emptied. Those were the things that Mommy and Daddy put in their mouths that then turned into smoke. She’d considered seeing if she could make the tubes turn into smoke, but the smoke smelled so terrible, she’d decided against it. Mommy’d empty them into the garbage if she was here, but I can’t carry that dish to the garbage. “Oh, I wish I had thumbs”, Peep thought to herself again.

“Maybe I can’t empty the dish into the garbage, but are there other things that the Mommy does that I could do? The Daddy doesn’t do them as much, and even though the Mommy has only been gone a pawful of days, the house doesn’t look as nice. I know – I can find something that she does and then when she comes home she’ll see how nice the house looks!” With that, Peep ran around the house, considering various house chores.

“Make the bed – maybe, but those covers are so big and I’m so little. Laundry – no, I can’t open the door to the laundry room. Vacuuming – hssss, no! I can’t stand the sound of the vacuum.” With that, Peep skidded to a stop in front of the kitchen counter. Even from the floor she could see that there were a lot of dishes on the counter. “I bet I could wash those dishes! I could use my claws to scrape the food off of them and even scrub a bit with my paws if I need to.”

Peep jumped up onto the table, and then vaulted onto the counter, skidding into some dishes which crashed into the sink. “Oops”, said Peep. “Well, at least more of the dishes are in the sink now. I was wondering how I could get them all in the sink. I don’t think any of them broke….”

Peep stepped into the sink, balancing on two plates, a bowl and a mug. The footing was a bit shaky, but she moved until she could use her head to push up on the faucet to turn it on. She jumped back quickly, so that she didn’t get wet. “I do want to wash these dishes, but I’m not a water cat. I want to stay dry, except for maybe my paws.” She walked carefully along the back of the sink after the water had splashed over the dishes for a minute or two, and standing on her hind legs, she pushed the faucet handle down, falling into the sink in the process. “Bother! Now I am wet.” Actually, she was just a little damp in spots, but in Peep’s mind she was a soaking wet cat.

Peep tried to scrape the food off of the top plate while standing on the edge of the sink. That didn’t work, because the plate was too low, so she lay on her belly, and stretched her front right paw out to clean the plate. It was slow going, but she was able to use her claws to loosen a stuck on bit of something that was very dry and crusty, and then used her paw pads to mostly remove some red stuff. “Well, it may not be all gone, but at least it’s spread around and less red. It’s kind of pinkish, and I bet it will rinse off when I turn on the water again.”

Peep turned on the water and watched as it ran right over the pinkish area on the plate. It didn’t seem to be washing off at all. She watched it for another minute, and although the stain didn’t lighten, the sink did appear to be filling up with water. “Bother!” Peep said again. “Now, Mommy always uses the liquid in the yellow bottle when the dishes are dirty. Maybe if I put some of that on my paws, I could get it clean.”

As the sink continued to fill, Peep considered what to do next. She decided that if she knocked over the yellow bottle, she could get a little of the liquid on her paw and scrub the plate. Yes, that would work perfectly! So, Peep knocked the bottle over. Unfortunately, the Daddy had just opened a new bottle, and dishwashing soap ran all over the counter. Instead of being able to dip one paw into it, Peep found herself standing in a pool of dish detergent. She took one step towards the sink and slipped a bit on the gooey detergent. “Hellllp!” Peep meowed, as she scrabbled for footing. She managed to stop sliding, only to notice that the sink was almost full of water.

Peep knew she had to think and act fast. She braced herself and leaped towards the faucet, to turn it off. The counter and her paw pads were so soapy that she didn’t get a good start to her leap and found herself twisting sideways as she flew towards the faucet. She landed on her back on the top plate, right in the pinkish smear and under the full force of the water coming out of the faucet. In shock and fear she leaped back up, and somehow caught the faucet handle with both paws, pulling it down. Once it was off, she landed on her back again in the sink as her slippery paws slid off of the handle. She didn’t land on the plate, but next to it – right in several inches of soapy water.

“I hate water, I hate soap, I can’t get out of here, oh WHAT am I going to do?” Peep wailed as she flailed around in the sink. She managed to get herself upright, standing partly in a bowl that rested on the bottom of the sink. At this point she was soaked to the skin, and a bit on the soapy side. She testing her footing, found that it was solid, and leaped onto the counter. The counter, of course was covered with soap that was now dripping steadily onto the floor. Peep slid across the counter, ricocheted off of the end of the stove, and landed on the floor.

The back door opened just then, and the Daddy walked in to find a kitchen disaster, with Peep in the middle of it. The sink was full to within an inch of the top, the large dish detergent container was on its side with soap leaking onto the floor, and there was a wet soap-slicked cat cowering on the floor in shock. “Peep, you didn’t need to try to do the dishes, I would have done them myself”, the Daddy joked to her, as he picked her up in a large dry towel. As he dried her off, and looked around the kitchen, he tried to figure out why in the world the sink was full of water, and the soap was all over.

“Were you thirsty, and tried to get a drink of water? Your water dish looks pretty full, so that’s probably not it. There’s no good food on the plates that you would have tried to eat, so I guess you must have been trying to do the dishes. I know that Mary Rose isn’t here to do them, but you didn’t have to do them!” He rubbed the towel all over Peep, carefully drying her off. A few spots that were particularly soapy needed to be rinsed, but the Daddy realized that Peep couldn’t take too much more right now, so he just took a wet cloth and rubbed the soap off with that.

“Oh, I’m sorry that you miss your Mommy so much, Peep”, said the Daddy. “I miss her too. We’re just going to have to try to get by until she gets home. But – please don’t do the dishes again!” He picked Peep up, carried her into the living room, lay down on the couch and put Peep on his chest. He dried her off a little more with a fresh towel, and she began to purr. Closing her eyes, she decided that she’d be a grown-up cat some other day.

Image courtesy of Steve Wall -

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