Visit from in-laws stressing out Ezzard the cat

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 3, 2006

The in-laws are visiting this weekend, and that’s not meant to sound as dreadful as it might.

I get along well with my in-laws.

My father-in-law and two sisters-in-law, along with their four children between them, came in Thursday night and are staying until Monday. I love to entertain guests, but I haven’t quite figured out how to mesh that with my (undiagnosed) obsessive compulsive need to keep everything in my apartment neat and in its place.


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When you’ve got five adults and four kids in a tiny, two-bedroom apartment, keeping things neat and in their place is practically impossible. And besides, I don’t want to seem uptight.

And then there is Ezzard, the cat. She hates strangers n that means anyone but me and my husband. When we have visitors, she makes a mad dash under the bed and stays there until she knows they are gone. That’s OK when we have people over for a few hours, but this will be the first time we’ve had guests for this length of time.

She might make an appearance late at night, snooping around sleeping bodies. But other than that, she’ll huddle in the dark until one of us goes into the bedroom and closes the door. When she knows she’s safe with just us, she’ll slowly stretch her way out and greet us with a meow. A kind of whiney one like, “What’s going on and who are these people in my house?”

The other problem is, my nieces and nephews don’t quite understand that she doesn’t want to play. They all have pets that are friendly and allow themselves to be held. They want to know why Ezzard won’t come out, and they poke their heads under the bed calling to her.

And she’ll just stare, her big green eyes glowing. She might let out a low growl. That combination usually scares the kids.

Aside from the chaos and the crazy cat, we should have fun this weekend.

A few thoughts

on cell phones…

The process of writing a story about the darn things stirred up some agitation I didn’t know I had toward them.

I have one friend and former co-worker who might as well superglue her cell phone to her hip. It is always on, even while she is at work, and she makes a mad dash to answer it before the first ring can finish its shrill alert.

It’s as if God Himself is calling with the key to salvation. That, or someone notifying her she just won $100 million in the lottery. I never understood that desperation to answer each and every phone call. Where is the fire? What is so important that she must interrupt her work and every conversation to answer that phone?

I guess I felt a little insulted when she would choose another conversation over one we were having. And I get irritated when perfect strangers are yapping away on their phones, cutting me off in the grocery store or on the road. I guess I can live without strangers offering a polite “hello,” but don’t treat me like I don’t even exist. That’s what happens when people get on their phones n the rest of the world disappears.

Maybe that is one of our society’s problems. We spend more time talking to people far away from us instead of reaching out to those around us. Such technology certainly makes the world smaller, but can still keep us isolated.

But I have to admit I often do the same thing, and I usually feel naked without my phone. If I leave the house and accidentally forget to bring it with me, I’m at a bit of a loss. Honestly, I’ve made it such a habit to make phone calls on my way home from work (so safe, I know) that I’m not sure I could tolerate the drive without it.

Well, that’s not true. Sometimes I’m tired of talking n and listening n and the silent drive home alone is the one peaceful respite during my day.

I often wonder how we became so addicted to cell phones. And I worry that I’m going to develop brain cancer from the radio waves that penetrate my ears and head.

I guess it’s like the old saying goes… you can’t live with them, but you can’t live without them.