Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Ninja Cat Burglar Meets His Match

FIRST A NOTE TO FRIDAY SHOOTERS -- I have just removed my Friday shootout which I posted too early and then realized I was a whole week too early.  So I'll work on a Match It for tomorrow and repost the Work Shootout next week.  Some of you, I realize, have already seen it.  Oh well. 


"In the middle of the night
I go walking in my sleep
From the mountains of faith
To a river so deep
I must be looking for something
Something sacred I lost
But the river is wide
And it's too hard to cross"

                        Billy Joel

Wandering at night is not quite that deep or philosophical or dramatic with me.  I just wake up sometimes in the middle of the night and realize that I'm probably not going to go back to sleep until sometime later in the day when I can sneak in a long nap.  (Which may be one of the reasons I wake up in the first place.)

3:30 am is usually my cutoff point.  If it is earlier than 3:30, it's worth doing one of my "fall back to sleep exercises."   My favorite one is to lie in bed and compose a poem.   I've written some of my best poetry during those times; unfortunately, I can never remember any of them.

If it is after 3:30 am, I grab a Coke from the fridge and go up to my office to check email, look at the overseas stock markets and futures prices, play with Photoshop, or just randomly browse the Internet for weirdness.

In order to go from the bedroom to the kitchen and then up to the office without waking up the rest of the household, I transform myself into a ninja cat burglar.   With three adults, two children, two dogs, and two cats in the house, stealth becomes my middle name.  
I'm extremely adept at finding my way through the dark house. I've lived here long enough to be able to move through the house with my eyes closed. This will be a valuable skill if I'm ever afflicted with blindness. I may not know that my shirt clashes with my pants but, at least, I'll be able to find the bathroom.

The dogs are the number one challenge.  There's no telling where in the house they have decided to sleep.  I'm not even sure they make a conscious decision.  Our dogs sometimes just walk along, get bored, and fall asleep wherever they happen to be.   But if they wake up in almost total darkness and realize there is a human in the room with them, they assume it actually is a ninja cat burglar and dutifully begin barking although in their case it is more like yipping.  

If that doesn't wake the neighborhood, I make it worse by shouting quietly (which is a trick in itself), "Annabelle, Daisy, it's me!  Be quiet!  It's only me!"  

The cats are the number two challenge.  I've come to the conclusion that our cats never sleep unless they are lying on top of me.  (Which may be another reason I wake up in the first place.)

The cats don't care if it's me or a genuine cat burglar.  They just assume that somebody has entered the room in order to scratch them behind the ears.  So they meow with impatient anticipation.   And our cats are very accomplished meowers.  I've even considered having Bill, the huge white Himalayan,  try out for the Metropolitan Opera.  I'm sure he could project to the back of the hall.

The last, but certainly not least, challenge comes from the grandchildren.  They set booby-traps everywhere.  Even blind, I know the location of every single squeaky floorboard in the house.  But I do not know where they have left their toys. 
And nothing spoils a good nocturnal sneak like avoiding the squeaking stair but then stepping barefoot on a small plastic triceratops.  

"In the middle of the night
I go crashing down the stairs
through a mountain of toys
To the barking dogs lair.

I must be looking for something
A can of Coke that I lost
Now I've wakened up the household
And they're bound to be cross"


  1. Great story, great poem, and I love there's not a single photo for the Shootout!
    Me too I'm a ninja cat burglar in my house, though there are no dogs, the cats are already awake because they're the ones who woke me in the first place, and the only plastic dinosaurs are my own. But I'm with you on the whole nighttime walkabout thing!

  2. LOL

    '3:30 am is usually my cutoff point. If it is earlier than 3:30, it's worth doing one of my "fall back to sleep exercises." My favorite one is to lie in bed and compose a poem. I've written some of my best poetry during those times; unfortunately, I can never remember any of them.' - a story told over and over by many insomniacs who are poets, like me!

    I wrote an entire short story yesterday from 1 till 4 AM, read it last night and thought, "I must have been asleep"...

  3. The pain of underfoot Legos is quite astonishing. I don't think I ever stepped on a triceratops.

  4. I'm up reading your blog at 4 ish am--does that tell you why I think this is hysterically funny? BY THE WAY--you should keep a pen light and a notebook and pen next to your bed for those middle of the night ideas. I'm always glad when I do==I get my best ideas that way.

  5. Cat burglar? Add another hat to that cute little head. How many do you now wear?

  6. This sounds so familiar - he wrote at 5 a.m. on his second bout of getting for the day. I decided against it after an hour of being up at 2.30 a.m. Glad I did because I got a whole fifteen minutes sleep since then... It's even stranger when you are staying with someone - as I am at the moment - creeping round unknown houses is a real art. Ouch, just stubbed my toe again. Glad it wasn't a tricerotops...