cat-fightYesterday one of our shop cats took the opportunity to have a batch of kittens while I was at the firehouse. This cat, commonly referred to as SkunkButt, is an industrious little beast. She knows full well that I was aware she wasn’t just “getting fat” and that soon our place would turn into a damn nursery; with that in mind, I was making a concerted effort to keep her silly, manipulative presence out of the house. So she waited until I was gone, then slinked around and tapped into my wife’s maternal instincts and snuck in to deliver her package. RIGHT UNDER OUR BED. Complete with all the “extras” that come with giving birth. And I was rewarded with the sobbing phone call from the woman I call my wife, but who is now referring to herself as a “grandmother”. Great.

This wonderful little addition to our under-bed carpeting brings to mind all of the times in my life that, despite the best laid plans, I have been shanked by fate. Tragically,the numbers are beginning to add up. Where one party sees a “beautiful” moment when life has begun anew, I know who is going to be left to clean up the mess. I might add that it’s a little more than disturbing that I am now being outmaneuvered by felines. Apparently, our bedroom is a much more appealing place to toss a litter than a shop full of tools and machinery.

As a parent, I should know that all plans are fluid and most likely mean diddly squat when it comes to execution, but somehow this is a new low. I can really appreciate the Dirtbags’ working theory that, yes, they ARE all out to get you. He’s the worlds’ greatest conspiracy theorist, which is one reason that the number of firearms he owns is a complete secret, even to his immediate family. Of course, the downside of this is that he is the first to blow a gasket when his world of order gets compromised by anyone, his own children included. On the other end of the spectrum, my world of chaos just seems to consume any sort of semblance of normalcy at every chance. One look in my office, and most folks think that I am in the process of moving. I’m a little suprised she didn’t have the kittens on my printer just to spite me.

How we react to the speed bumps that life throws our way is one way that character is defined. Each of us has the opportunity to act as a sail in the wind, constantly adjusting to fit the situation, just as each of us has the opportunity to shoot the bird at the wind and then act indignant when the mast swings around and clobbers us right in the face. I choose the latter, time and again with predictable results. It is not a path in which I take a considerable amount of pride, but like Skunkbutt’s maniacal instinct to give birth where it will piss me off the most, I, too, am driven by forces that baffle most people. What makes perfect sense to me in an absolute fit of manic productivity can often be construed as downright insane by my peers; take my idea of moving to Alaska on a whim as an example of said behavior.

I suppose at the end of the day we are fools to think that we truly are the masters of our fate, captains of our souls. That’s just a crock sold by romantics the world over. We may make choices, and we may influence events in our lives but at the end of the day we are nothing more than the results of those choices. There are times when I wish I had made better, more sane choices. And then there are days when I come home to a litter of kittens under my bed.