Thursday, June 17, 2010

Life at the petting zoo!

So, this is the week my DH and his 4 brothers converge at our house from various corners of the Midwest and make their annual pilgrimage to our cabin in Northern Minnesota. Once there, they fish, commune with nature (and wine and beer), eat, and in general, do what brothers do when they get together which mostly consists of giving each other a hard time, reliving childhood memories (Mom always liked you best!) and laughing. A lot. I love that they are able to have this time together each year … but it doesn’t happen without a little ‘volunteering’ on my part.

Since two of the boys are bachelors, and both of them have dogs that means they have to board them somewhere, right? This is where I come in. “Sure, I’ll take Fuji (a yellow lab) and Babe (a Brittany Spaniel). Bring them down.” Which was followed by grateful thanks and a, “Do you suppose I could bring the horses, too?” from brother John.


Okay. It’s not that odd – considering we also have 5 horses of our own and, yes, they, too, have to eat when “Dad is gone.” And in the general scheme of things, what’s 2 more ½ ton mouths to feed anyway?

So, I am the zoo keeper this week – and did I mention we also have our own dog, Margaret, a Brittany Spaniel and Buddy and Sly, our two house cats. For anyone who’s counting, that’s 12 critters total – not counting the barn cats who are as wild as march hares and won’t hold still long enough for me to count. Whew. (that's house guest, Babe, BTW, making herself at home on the loveseat in my office as I type this)

All I need is a monkey and a goat and … well, I really DON’T need any more furry creatures. These guys demand all of my time that I can spare (petting, petting, petting) and frankly, I need to be writing a book.

Speaking of books - you may all remember that RISK NO SECRETS, book 5 of my Black Ops Inc. series has been out on the shelves now since mid-May. SECRETS features Wyatt – Papa Bear – Savage, former CIA operative, current BOI team member and a hot, hunky alpha hero (who’s also a southern gentleman). The book is set in hot, dangerous El Salvador, features a kidnapping, a deviant Mara Salvatrucha gang leader and a romance that has been hanging fire for too many years. And just as a reminder, I’ve posted both a video book trailer and an excerpt on my website if you want to check them out – . In the meantime, thanks to everyone who has already gone out and bought the book and placed it at the #9 spot on the New York Times best seller list and #8 on Publisher’s Weekly! Woo Woo!

Okay, back to the zoo. So tell me – are you ‘critter oriented’ at your house? If so, do you sometimes feel like they are letting you stay in their digs as opposed to you letting them stay in yours? Margaret – yes, that's our dog's name – has a lot of idiosyncrasies. For instance, if you sit, she must sit beside you and you must pet her or ‘the paw’ will drive you nuts. The cats, on the other hand, can take it or leave it when it comes to ‘lap status’. Unless I’m in the bathroom. THEN, if I’m on the throne, THEY MUST be on my lap. What’s up with that?

Any critter stories you’d care to share? Any thoughts on books? What you like? What you don’t like? What you think about authors who miss their deadlines and don’t get the books on the shelves when they’re supposed to – which might just happen to me if I don’t get back to work on THE BOOK that is due … yikes … really soon now.

(photo caption - Sly: Attitude. I gots it!)

Okay. I’d better get back to work. But first, oh, geez, it looks like I’d better pet someone … such sad eyes ….


krisgils33 said...

Too funny. I think you should get an alpaca! We currently have 2 cats and a dog. At most, we've had 2 of each. My funniest pet story is when my husband and I were moving in together after only dating a few months (we've been married for 19 years now, and lived together for 3). He said "you know, when I was a kid I was allergic to cats. what will we do if I'm allergic to your cat?" Needless to say, at the time, I was way more attached to the cat than him, so I told him if he was allergic, he would have to move back out. He didn't really like that response, and I was only half kidding, but it obviously all worked out in the end!

Cindy Gerard said...

LOL, Kris. Clearly you had your priorities right back then :o) So glad it worked out for you, the cat, and the hubster :o)

Leanne said...

Cindy, you are a saint! Can't imagine caring for that many. We are low-maintenance here. One little 4 1/2 lb dog who we adore. She's on the futon with me right now.

HUUUUUUUUUUGE CONGRATS on the success of your latest! So well deserved!

And MAJORLY love that pic of Sly. I'd love to meet that cat!:)

Michele Hauf said...

Too funny! And here I thought I was the only one who couldn't 'sit the throne' without a cat passenger. So weird.

Hope you broke out the bubbly to celebrate your awesome rise on the bestseller list?

Cindy Gerard said...

Leanne - give little Bijou a hug for me. 4 1/2 pounds. The lab weighs around 80 - she's a real lunker :o(
And Sly would love to meet you too - on a non-attitude day :o)

Michele - So glad to hear it's not just my cats who have a 'throne' fetish. Geesh. it's so weird.

And thanks guys on the congrats. There may have been some bubbly involved in the celebration :o)

Liza said...

Currently no pets for me. I'm highly allergic to cats and feel my apartment isn't really fair to a dog. I would hate to keep a dog in a kennel all day while I'm at work. Hope to buy a condo in a few years with a yard so I can get a dog. At least that way the dog could run around a bit while I'm at work.

Cindy Gerard said...

Hugs, Liza on the allergies. I know people who want pets so badly they take a series of allergy shots - for like 2 years or something - in preparation. Hope you get your condo someday soon so you can have your doggie :o)

Dianne said...

Hi Cindy! I love your blogs! Did anyone ever tell you that you have a way with words? :o) You see the twinkle in every moment. Love that picture of Margaret....hi Margaret...she is sooo funny! I think that is awesome that Tom and his brothers can spend some time together each year..I'll bet they have a great time! And I know that you love being the zoo keeper! Boo goes to the "beauty shop" today (should be me!!!!!).

Leanne said...

Ohhhhh Cindy, I forgot. You are the pet whisperer. I once had the pleasure of having Cindy visit me at my home back when I had two dogs and she charmed both of them. It's one of her super powers. Uh-huh, she tries to play it down, but she's got it going on. Just thought you guys might like knowing that.

Cindy Gerard said...

Hey Dianne .. thanks. I had fun with this one. Give Boo a big hug!

Cindy Gerard said...

Leanne - you have outed me :o)
Yes, it's true. Critters seem to love me. Not sure what that says about me since most cats and dogs I know select their 'buddies' by the way they smell. Hum. And then again ... hummm.

lois greiman said...

Right there with you, Cindy. Currently have a friend's horse and a son's dog, with a friend's dog coming shortly.

And the Times List!! You're amazing!!

Cindy Gerard said...

Hey Lois. I'm so glad I'm not the only critter nut out here :o)

gigi said...

Hi Cindy,
What a sweet person you are to take in more guest pets.
I would rather have the pets visit than the people.
I am a pet person. I have an English Springer Spaniel whose birthday is next week. She will be 11. She is my baby and has the run of the house.
I have an outside cat that we rescued 14 years ago. She is a fantastic mouser. The geese (Jack and Rose) had a half dozen goslings in April and I have been feeding them since they showed up. One duck named Fred that is very demanding. He will walk up to the back porch steps and let you know that he is hungry. I have a mama raccoon that visits the cat dish every night and finally our bat box is full of bats. We counted 41 coming out of it one evening last week. They are suppose to help with mosquito control.

Love the picture of Sly he oozes of attitude.

Christie Ridgway said...

Oh, I get the zoo! And what fun for you dh and his brothers. I've had 3 yellow labs at one time under similar circumstances and had to watch going from room to room and on the stairs because We All Must Travel Together. That pack thing, I guess.

On my animal front: Just a few minutes ago Goblin the cat had something cornered in the dining room. Sent Son1 down to ck it out (I was afraid it was a big bug or reptile) and she had somehow found a finch escapee from our aviary. Or engineered his escape or something. Son1 rescued said finch, returned him to aviary (and we need him, we have 2 other adult finches and 5 babies in the nest who clamor to be fed) but now Goblin is furious with us. She already has boxed w/Hank the lab in her temper and killed and eaten a fly.

catslady said...

What a lovely blog - on brothers and our furry friends. I always say the more the merrier. Unfortunately, I just went through a horrible illness that I wasn't prepared for with my dearest cat, Ollie. I raised him with a babydoll bottle when his mother (a feral) and he were covered somehow in motor oil. She just passed in January at 15 and he was just 13. I can't help but wonder, especially with this horrific oil spill going on, that maybe it had something to do with it.

Cindy Gerard said...

Gigi - I bow to you. You have sooo got me beat. What fun. Well, except for the bats which I am SURE are misunderstood but still. I just got a shiver.
Now baby goslings - I could totally get into them :o)

Cindy Gerard said...

Christie, I so hear you on the pack mentality. If I leave my office - for ANY - reason, it's like a furry parade. They cling to me like little sand burrs. Of course, their daddy's are gone and they're feeling a little insecure but these group hug bathroom visits are just a little much :o)

I am fascinated by your aviary and your baby birds. Would love to hear more about them ... maybe at RWA. Maybe in a blog post sometime. The DH has been making noises about getting a bird. I'm not so sure. I am, however, seriously thinking about getting a salt water fish tank. anyone have experience in that area?

Cindy Gerard said...

oh catslady. I'm so sorry for your loss. Those were two lucky kitties to have found you!

Helen Brenna said...

Catslady, so sorry about your kitties. They were lucky to have found you.

Cindy, you're a trooper. I'm dog sitting for a friend this coming week, so we'll have 3 dogs here. It'll be interesting but not as chaotic as I"m sure it is at your house!

I have to close the door to the bathroom when I'm on "the throne" or I'll have 2 dogs AND one of my cats cruising by. Can you blame them? You're a captive audience in that sit! LOL

Cindy Gerard said...

LOL Helen. so glad to hear yet another rank and file member of the cat/bath club.
And yes, Margaret and the 'guests' join me too. This is one of those times when i really wonder what they're thinking ... or maybe not :o(

Kathleen Eagle said...

Ah, Cindy, the pictures remind me of a Brittany (liver and white) we had early on in our journey. Our oldest was then an only child--age 3--when one of my favorite series of professional photos was taken in a park with Brit, who loved to sit beside his boy and smile for the camera. He really did smile!

Cindy Gerard said...

Britts are a very special breed, Kathy, I agree. But then, I never met a dog i didn't like.
Margaret isn't a smiler though. She's a worrier. Seems to have a perpetual anxious frown on her face. She's such a sweetie pie

Debra Dixon said...

OMG! I love that cat! And the dog is a scream.

My assistant is a dog person and by that I mean she breeds Labradors, has Cavalier King Charles Spaniels and always has a herding dog of some kind. Right now it's a Beauceron.

She brings two dogs to work. It's a rotation between about 6 of them as to who gets to come that day.

Cindy Gerard said...

Awe, Deb, that's so sweet that you let her have a 'bring a pooch to work day'.

As for that cat - he also goes by Fang as he has 1 tooth (count it: ONE) left in his mouth. he contracted some kind of a gum infection when he was little and the vet had to pull several teeth. I thought he still had several left until he went in for a check up last year and the vet discovered that all that's left is that one fang. doesn't slow him down in the food department either :o)

Brenda E said...

Babe looks like she feel asleep keeping an eye on something behind the loveseat. Is that where your desk is? Too funny!
I would have a zoo if I had more time. As it is, I've always had at least one dog. My funniest dog story is the time we brought a Christmas tree into the house. Our German Shepard walked over to it, sniffed it, and lifted his leg on it. I think he said, "Thanks for bringing the bathroom inside for me!"
Thank you for your books! I'm re-reading the Black Ops series before I read your latest. You make me want to go out and find myself a warrior!

Cindy Gerard said...

Brenda - LOL on the Shepard and the Christmas tree. 3 wise men, several Shepherds tending sheep and one Shepard watering the tree. too funny.

So glad you're enjoying the books!

Cindy Gerard said...

PS Brenda and I took the photo while sitting at my desk so she was less than 3 feet away. Fugi was on the floor near by and Margaret was sleeping at my feet. Buddy was sprawled on the fleece throw I always keep on the corner of my desk and Sly was pouting outside somewhere. He does NOT like Fuji or Babe and he makes it abundantly clear by boycotting the house - except for breakfast and dinner time :o)