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We expected he’d stepped on something sharp or had been injured roughhousing with our other cat. We were concerned he might have an abscess. Poor baby.
Our attempts to examine the paw resulted in him hissing at us and threatening to bite. Obviously, he was in terrible pain.
Suddenly I felt bad for refusing to share my strawberry yogurt with Pete that morning. It’s his favorite treat. The guilt was overwhelming.
I called the vet and fortunately they had an immediate opening. We coaxed him into the pet carrier and whisked him away to receive the medical care he deserved. We prayed we weren’t too late.
After the doctor examined the patient, he confirmed our cat had a sore paw. He assured us it would probably be fine in a few days and gave us a syringe filled with medicine. Just squirt it in the cat’s mouth, he said. Or on top of his favorite food. He sent us and the cat home to take a nap.
When we got home, I scooped a spoonful of strawberry yogurt into a pretty little bowl and mixed in the medicine. I sat the bowl on the floor and called kitty-kitty. Pete hobbled over to the bowl like a dead man walking and sniffed. I held my breath. When he began to lap up the yogurt I breathed a sigh of relief. Maybe he’d make it after all.
The moment he finished the yogurt, he licked his lips and scampered off into the living room. He found his favorite ball and had himself a rousing game of “Pounce the Ping Pong” – a game that requires four fully-functioning paws. It’s a fast-paced game, violent at times, and he played until he wore himself out. Then he jumped up on the couch for a bath and a nap.
Amazed that he’d made such a quick recovery, I googled the name of Pete’s medication. I had to know more about this miracle drug.
The more I read, the more I realized we’d been scammed. Turned out, the clear liquid in the syringe was nothing more than a kitty aspirin. It hadn’t even had time to kick in before Pete began romping around like a three-year-old on a sugar high.
I still don’t know whether to be mad or impressed that Pete is that smart. All I know is it cost me $56.00 and Pete got the yogurt he wanted. All I can say is this: Don’t mess with me, cat. I’m on to you…
It started when I went to a writer’s conference. Each attendee was given a tote bag with the American Christian Fiction Writers logo on it. It turned out to be pretty handy to carry around the hotel. I loaded it with pens, a notepad, the workshop schedule, free books and bookmarks I picked up, business cards, my book proposal, coin purse, lipstick and other personal items. When I got home I kept all my writing-relating stuff in it for when I wanted to, say, go to Panera and spend a couple of hours writing away from dusty bookshelves and the crumbs on the kitchen floor.
Then when we went on vacation it became my fun-stuff-to-do-in-the-car bag. I tossed in a couple of novels, a book of Sudoku puzzles, magazines, 3×5 cards for jotting down interesting recipes, Pez and a bag of wintergreen Life Savers (my secret indulgences), and a couple of audio books I rented from the library in case the two monkeys in the back seat got restless or starting bickering. In a gift shop I found another cute bag with a brightly colored geometric design to carry all our souvenirs.
When we came home from our trip the washing machine broke down before I finished the first load of laundry. I loaded three baskets of sweaty t-shirts, muddy jeans, dirty socks and underwear into the car and headed for the nearest laundromat. I packed my new tote bag to take along. Instead of watching sudsy clothes go round-and-round, I started a new novel, worked three Sudoku puzzles and finished the bag of mints.
Eventually, I got tired of using the same two bags each time I wanted to take a bag somewhere. I started buying cute bags whenever I saw one. Soon I had five or six. I hit every thrift store and garage sale in a twenty mile radius. My collection grew to eight or ten. My family threatened to intervene.
This time of year, I can hardly walk through Target without feeling the pull. Who can’t use a cute new candy-striped or polka-dot bag to take to the pool? On every family outing I’m expected to take along a box of granola bars and a couple of bottles of water. What am I supposed to carry them in? I’m not about to use a crumpled brown paper bag when I can sling the snacks over my shoulder in style, encased in an insulated lime green bag with little white starfish. Am I right?
If you ever hear a rumor that I’ve been captured and carted off to rehab it won’t be because of drugs or alcohol. Oh, no. It’ll be the bags.
I got two pieces of good news recently. First, I’m a semi-finalist in the American Christian Fiction Writer’s annual Genesis Contest in the Contemporary Romance category. Second, a magazine editor that I sent a short story to emailed me to say she “loved my story”, but she said she has a backlog of fiction. She asked permission to hang on to my story for a while. I’m not stupid, so I said yes.
Despite these bits of good news, things are still in limbo. I’m waiting. Will my contest entry make it to the finals? I won’t know until the end of May. Will the magazine editor decide to publish my short story? I don’t know. I’ll have to wait and see.
I’m tempted to hope and dream and pray about what I wish will happen—and I do—but not during every waking hour. I can’t spend that much energy on it and still be productive. I have to keep working on and submitting new ideas because I love having possibilities out there. Knowing that any day I could get a phone call or an email with good news. So yesterday, I submitted a short story to another magazine and I finished a second story to send to the editor who loved the first story I sent her. I’ll submit it next week. Then I’ll have even more possibilities out there. Meanwhile, my agent is trying to sell my first novel which is another possibility out there.
It’s hard to wait. I don’t like it. But I have found that the more possibilities I have headed toward an editor’s desk, the easier it is to wait because all my hope isn’t wrapped up in one project. One rejection won’t cause my world to crumble because I have other possibilities out there. My hope remains alive and it’s easier to shrug off one failed attempt because the optimist in me keeps waiting for the good news I know is coming sooner or later.
So I stay busy finishing a new book, writing a new story, submitting my work, because every now and then, instead of a rejection, I get a letter or email that says, “Congratulations!” And that is so worth the wait.
The one who stays on the job has food on the table; the witless chase whims and fancies.
Proverbs 12:11 The Message
What are you waiting for?