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It’s 6:30 a.m. and I’m chatting with my sister on the telephone, her time being 8:30 a.m. “How can you be so energetic and ready to talk so early in the morning?” she asks.
I tell her I usually wake up in the four o’clocks. I wait until 5:15 to get up, and then I let the kitties out of their room. I hope they’ll be happy with 15 hours of freedom until they have to go back in again. They usually are.
“I like routine, therefore they like routine,” I say to my sister, smiling on my side.
“Well, that’ll work magic when you go in to fight the tiny flying monkeys tomorrow. If you like routine, that’ll make it easier and faster.”
My sister also suffers from Tiny Flying Monkey Syndrome, though hers is under control. Mine is not. It seemed like cortisone injections worked for this, and changing medications was good for this. It seemed like the more you stayed active, the more you would see the tiny flying monkeys fly away.
But that is not always the case, and my sister and I are cases in point. This sister and I are physiologically the same.
“Hey,” she says. “What are your plans for the rest of the day?” It’s at times like these that I wished she lived in Arizona, not Minnesota. We could cover up with afghans on the couch and eat pizza and watch stupid stuff.
“Well,” I say, “there is so much to be done. My drip system is broken again, so I have to call my yard guy. I tried to pretend that I didn’t see the problem for a couple days, but today I had to admit it.”
“Bummer. Where you’re going, you’ll be trained to recognize problems right away." I immediately feel like I’m going to a concentration camp.
“The airline that sold me that ticket to Mexico with insurance doesn’t want to honor the insurance! They are so hassling me!”
“Well Katie Mohler, you will be better able to handle that hassle when you get home from the Tiny Flying Monkey Academy. It won’t even seem like a stretch to download those forms and get them signed.”
“By the frickin’ President?” I say. We both laugh, knowing how hard this game is to play.
“I’m just scared,” I say to my sister.
“I’ve been that scared,” she says back.
Knowing that the dynamics and the handing-out of treats will soon change in my home, I let my roommates outside this morning with a bit more abandon than usual. I had already chased away Leo’s biological mother—his lurking mother, always in my oleanders—so it was just me and the kids. I did everything I usually do: empty the kitty litter bin, fill the bird feeders, water three spring plants that are still hanging on. They could turn into bushes! This excites me.
I turn to my crew and notice that everyone is scattered. Are they on leave yet? No. “Report to the main station!” I call through the bullhorn I keep there just for this reason. “Report to the main station!” I bellow again.
This scares Lucy inside, and makes me able to reach Sara, who likes to prowl prowl prowl. “Hey baby,” I say to her, dragging her out of the oleanders by the scruff of her neck. I need to say “hey baby” less, but Sara is used to the way I talk. She knows she gets a treat later.
I throw her into the house and go hunt for Leo. I don’t have to hunt long, because a long lean black cat with serious eyes is looking at me from the bushes way across the yard.
“Hey Sweetpea. I love you. Just so you know, your older sisters are inside the house because that’s what we do around here.”
Leo stares back at me, a million yards away, and begins to wail. He wails and whines and tries to make his tiny-roar heard. Maybe he realizes that he can only be fully appreciated behind the walls of our own home.
When he’s afraid enough, he comes trotting over to me, through the yard. “So like, where's my surrogate mother, the brown-striped one?” he huffs as he passes me, going into the house. “Where's the black one I’m used to?”
We still enjoy a brunch of pancakes and omelets, and the Sunday paper.
My yard is broken. An airline is screwing me over. The tiny flying monkeys are back, and I’ll be lucky to have any kind of oatmeal tomorrow before I leave.
This is the kind of day I’m having, while my children live in royalty.