I looked at the clock. It’s 10:40. The day had certainly run so fast, but I still have a few more thing to do. In the backyard, The Whiskers’ Syndicate had started to snooze. Some silhouette still pops up and turn, looking around, and small shadows are galloping against the two lamps that are left lightening. Though I don’t know who are still playing this late at night, but it seems like, they haven’t run out of battery.
Ten days ago, we started our repairs, with around 500 short of the full fund we need. I can’t wait any longer. The days had turned from thee storms a week into five, and as we sink deeper into the rainy season that will end next April, there will be more to come. So while we still have the sun, I’d start the repair anyway.
A few men who comes through some recommendations never made it near the contract. Either I hate them or the cats were too horrified of them. Construction is still the world of Mars(es) here, and like Mars, they live in the space where woman is not suppose to know or able to do what they can, so woman should shut up and sit nicely.
Not this woman, though. I inquire in detail of what they are capable of doing and how they do it. What are their education background, and if their past clients are reputable. Most, like I thought, learn it from experience. Engineering school is expensive, plus, that stereotype that men should be Supermen in order to not being humiliated (or have the right to boast) to their women.
Well, not this woman.
When I finally grow tired of fruitless search, I turned to my feet, and go from company to company and give them my situation, my budget, and see how they handle it on paper. Most just show me beautiful designs with hundreds of million to build, the other has no clue. Except for the last two.
When the second before last entered my house, they find it very clean. Nothing. No dust, no trash, no furniture;
Even I think it’s too darn quiet.
I tried talking to them in the backyard as they told me their plan, but it’s so very quiet you can hear the wind.
I saw Bobtail, Kansai and some others peeked on me with huge, round eyes, crumpled together under the bamboo bushes, and those eyes sent me their message. As I guide them out of the house, I saw others, under the lemon tree, behind the washing machine, and bury themselves under the laundry, and they all echoes the same message.
“We hate them”
Sure, I have to listen. Those people are going to spend quite a good amount of time in my house so I don’t want to torment the cats more than I am now with the lack of drainage and incapability to raise fund. Besides, though I earned my Bachelor degree in Psychology with flying colours from one of the best university in the country, those cats are better psychologist than I am.
And heck there are 50 of them telling me the same thing.
A week later there’s another. I kind of think that they failed too, I give up, and just called the developer’s repairmen.
Cooper peeked out, stare at them with his high and mighty eyes, and jumped out leisurely trotting toward us.
At first I thought he lost his mind, but more follows after him, and some of the cats ended up sniffing their boots or just sit a little bit to the side and watch, but not with that huge, round eyes crumpled together like grapes.
So we made a deal, and the work started after Chinese New Year.
We started by clearing out the wild jungle:
Then we dig some trench for a foundation of the corridor.
We are going to close up part of the left side of the backyard and turn it into a corridor, so I don’t have to be Mary Poppins who jumps and skips through the backyard with an umbrella and a basket of cat food every time it rains.
And then, it will add some space for the cats to hang out in the cool of the highland’s rain without having to rush and cram themselves in the cattery.
We will move the water tower to the other side, so it’s more spacious. We will leave the lemon tree and have a void in the middle of the corridor for air, and for my personal fear that those manly guys will rip the lemon tree apart if we move them and it will be dead. I love lemons, and look at those juicy rounds hanging on the branches like Christmas ornaments!
Actually, it’s just me being a romantic. When we first moved into the house, I planted a small lemon tree that later become the kittens’ favourite toy, before it grow thorns. When the tree became “untouchables” the cats like to lounge about under its shade, and the lemon tree become our backyard icon. It survived the flood that first swept us in 2012, and now it is the sole survivor of the two floods in November and December 2013.
With time, the lemon tree represent the harshness with which life come to us, and embodies the spirit, perseverance and faith that we keep as we continue our journey, and the hope that like the lemon tree now, our effort will be abundantly fruitful .
The new water tower will be there
The water tower is as iconic as the lemon tree on its own history. We got it with a grant from SPCA International when they choose us as Shelter Of The Month in August 2012, when we moved into the house and by then haven’t got running water.
There is a question of why I insist the corridor to be on the left side of the backyard. Isn’t it just easier if we just make it on the left? Cut the bamboos and we have one straight line, clean and clear.
This is my answer:
There’s a small hook at the left side of the wall, and at first it was covered with wire mesh so cats can’t go out to the street through the roof. However, more and more cats grow out the makeshift cat fence and use the hook as climbing point to go out. It is all right if they just lounge on the roof, either ours or the neighbours; but I will be in trouble if they decide to roam the valley not far behind the sanctuary, or worse, to the front and onto the street.
Rexie II climbed from the hook, walking around the perimeter of the house and lounged on the other side of the house
Blossom followed suit
If I made the corridor on the right side for convenience, I will have to spend more money fencing the hook, so I just make the corridor on the right side and the roof of the corridor will block their way up to the roof, and since there will be nothing on the right side to be used as a stepping stone, cats won’t go out and onto the street, and I can work in peace.
So… we put down the tank…
Move the tower to the other side…
So far so good.
No kidding, we’re doomed. But that’s another post. Just hang in there for a second and we’ll get there in the second part.