Friday, August 8, 2008

Tomato guts

It was a beautiful day. The sun was out, the temperature wasn’t too hot, and the Mommy comes home tomorrow! Peep was so excited she couldn’t contain herself. She bounced around the house, jumping on furniture, batting her toys and chasing them around and generally being skonk-bonk. She wasn’t quite sure where she’d gotten that word from, but that was how she described the way she was acting. Peep hadn’t had a nap in over four hours, which was probably a record for her. She hoped she’d quiet down soon, or she’d be so tired tomorrow when the Mommy got home, she’d probably sleep through it. Then again, she might not. The house had been so quiet while the Mommy was gone, and as soon as she came back it would be full of conversation and laughter. Oh, she missed the laughter.

Peep bounced out the cat door to go look at her turnip seedlings. She leapt over Rudy, who was as usual sunning herself, and invited her along to check the turnips. Rudy got up sedately and followed along at a more reasonable pace. “Peep, you’re going to wear yourself out. If I hadn’t known you were an adult cat, I’d look at you and say that you were a manic kitten.”

“I don’t care! Mommy’s coming home tomorrow! She skidded into the garden, slamming into a tomato plant, causing one very ripe tomato to fall to the ground, where Peep promptly stepped on it. It turned out to be an overripe tomato, and Peep didn’t so much as step on it as in it. “Eeewww! Tomato guts! I have tomato guts all over my leg. It’s slimy and my foot is stuck. Help, help, help!”

The Daddy heard her frantic meowing as he walked out of the garage and came over to investigate. He found Peep with her leg deep into the overripe tomato. “Oops. I guess I missed that one. You’ve found a bad tomato, Peep. Here, let me help you.” He carefully lifted her up. The tomato was too heavy and plopped back down to the ground after sliding down her leg and briefly getting stuck on her foot.

“Ick, ick, ick. Get it off me Daddy – it feels so slimy and disgusting!” Peep was staring at the offended leg with disgust. For that matter, so was the Daddy.

“Man, that’s a mess. Tomato guts almost up to your tummy, Peep. Let’s go inside and I’ll clean you off. I doubt you’d like to lick rotten tomato off yourself.” He walked into the kitchen holding Peep and put her down on the counter. Grabbing a paper towel and a cloth towel out of the drawer he first cleaned off as much tomato as he could with the paper towel, and then scrubbed the leg with the moistened cloth towel.

“I’ve heard of using tomato juice to cut skunk smell, but I don’t know what you’d use to cut rotten tomato smell. You still don’t smell too good.” Daddy stood back and looked at the woeful Peep.

“It’s not a pleasant smell, Daddy, especially for a meat eater. Can’t you please do something?” She shook the damp leg as though it might help, which of course it didn’t.

“How about we use some soap on it, and then I’ll rinse that off. I don’t think I can spray you with Fabreeze, even if I had any. You wouldn’t like that any more than smelling of tomato. How do you get yourself into these messes, Peep?” Daddy proceeded to wet a washcloth and put lots of soap on it. He scrubbed her leg until it had a white lather sock and stopped to look at it. “Hmm, if I gave you two of these, you’d look like you were wearing long white gloves. My mother used to say that to me in the tub when she gave me a bath. I think she always wished that one of us was a girl. Guys aren’t interested in long white gloves.” He rinsed the cloth and sponged the soap off time after time, until the leg didn’t get sudsy when he rubbed it. It also smelled much better by that time. “Just a hint of lemon, Peep. I think we can live with that, don’t you?” He dried her off with another towel and put her on the floor. “There you go, Peep. Good as new.”

The whole embarrassing incident had calmed Peep down from her manic state. She thanked the Daddy and went back outside at a normal walking pace. Rudy was lying on the walk and when she saw Peep she burst out laughing. “You looked so funny with your leg covered in tomato! I don’t think I’ve ever seen a cat step in a rotten vegetable before. Well, at least we know that we need to be careful in the garden now.” Rudy kept chuckling as she got up and they went back to the garden.

The turnip seedlings were doing just fine. They had grown to almost two inches, and almost all the pebbles had seedlings next to them. Rudy found by shifting one pebble without a seedling that they’d put the pebble on the exact spot where the seed was, and a tiny seedling was stuck under the pebble. She moved it to the side and hoped for the best. “We’ll be okay as long as the Daddy doesn’t pull them out as weeds, Peep. They’re looking pretty good, don’t you think?”

Peep thought they looked great, and that the Mommy would never need to go away again, because they had enough seeds left over to plant turnips for years. Life was going to be very good from now on.

Photo courtesy of dougalug -

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