Sunday, October 19, 2014

Our Tenth Anniversary...

...isn't in rich, are we a pair?

Mewer came home with me from the Friends of Homeless Animals shelter in Aldie, Virginia two Sundays before Halloween, 2004, after adopting me there a week earlier. So, by my calculations, today is our tenth anniversary.

In the bay window of Mewer Manor
The event followed a close to two year period of being cat-less after losing my sweet little pal Rumpkins in late 2002.

I finally knew it was time to start looking for a new furry companion when I found myself actually stopping in the supermarket to look at...boxes of cat food. I'd just been bypassing the pet food aisle all the while, until one evening, when I was stopped in my tracks by one of those great Purina Cat Chow box photos of a cat lovingly interacting with his human.

The cat in the photo was gray and white, looked to be a young male and he was nose to nose with a most attractive brunette. They were obviously enjoying each other's company. I'd have gladly taken both home!

So, the cosmic message that it was time to find another little furry sidekick having been delivered by that supermarket serendipity, the process began on the computer with lots of looking at profiles and photos of kitties looking for a new forever-home.

Mewer’s winning photo and enticingly written "bio" told me he and I were a very likely match.  I went out to see him and found we were, so on to the application.  Once approved, I would drive out the following week and take him home.

On finding some long-lost photos of my little boy… 

Normally, I'm careful to share only my best images in the uncharted wilds of cyberspace, but here I'll make a rare exception.

In 2004, I had only a fairly basic digital camera, a little Pentax point-and-shoot, but I thought it would be less intimidating than breaking out my heavy artillery EOS-1 film SLR in taking some “first pictures” of Mewer, who, on that first evening at least, seemed a bit timid in his new digs.

Now, those first Mewer-pics were not great art, but they certainly were special, as they documented Mewer’s transition from timid…to relaxed…to “in my face.”

All in, oh, just a couple of hours.

The first indication I had that Mewer-and-Me would be a great pairing was in my studio.  I was introducing him to his new surroundings, after making sure he knew where his bathroom was. That is on the lower level of my house, as is my studio.  So after determining he liked my choice of cat litter, I invited my “little boy” into the studio, where I had some work to do.

I was auditioning a new recording.  It was one of the more dramatic Shostakovich symphonies, the Eighth.  As the music was ramping up with Slavic fury – at pretty much concert hall level I had a momentary flash of caution: Might this be too unsettling for my new housemate, so soon after bringing him home?   I mean Shostakovich isn’t your basic new age wind chime sonata, if you catch my drift. So I look around to see if Mewer had maybe split to find a hiding place away from the onslaught of the thundering symphony orchestra being pushed by a hundred or so watts per channel into my big monitor speakers.

Then I look behind me and see he is all curled up on the chair in front of my mixing console.  Guess Mewer digs Shostie…

"Oh, yeah, think I'm gonna like it here." (Check out those chompers!)

Now this is, of course, a good harbinger of compatibility, as, in addition to enjoying some fairly forceful symphonic music, I’m into a fair number of movies that might just include a wee car chase…or a big ol’ explosion or five. And my audio system for that application also has a big powerful amplifier pushing some large speakers to, shall we say, realistic levels.

So, not only does Mewer curl up in my studio chair, in line with the Shostakovich onslaught; but later, as I’m working at my desk, he decides bonding with his new human pal should include jumping up on top of daddy’s desk.  Can you say “irresistible?”  

Mewerism No.1: "Any place I plop my furry little bummy is home."

Of course, the little Pentax must be at hand for some basic grab shots of my big new kitty strutting about my desktop, stretching out atop my papers, mistaking my water glass for a finger bowl in his ritzy new digs…and stretching out to watch Jay Leonhart’s “The Bass Lesson” which I’m playing on my laptop computer.

Now, when a computer goes hiccup, the photos stored on it might just go “poof.”

Those first shots of Mewer were stashed on a laptop that had such a hiccup a few years later. Yep, p-o-o-o-f.  Like they never existed.

Well, I was sure I must have saved those shots…somewhere they’d be lurking on some un-labeled CD or other.  But they were elusive, and, truth to tell, I’ve done any number of technically superior photos of Mewer since that first evening together in ’04, so I can’t say there was an obsessive quest to find them.

"So, am I as handsome as my shelter pic or what?"
Cut to this month.  I’m going through an old pile of stuff and come upon some inkjet prints, tucked inside an old magazine.  They’re not even on photo paper, as in 2004, I was not yet seriously into printing my own images.  But there’s the pic of Mewer on the studio chair…and on my desk…and, yes, looking at his shelter photo – the one that attracted me to him on the FOHA website – on my laptop! It’s not too sharp, as Mewer was in the process of ambling over to look at the kitty in the laptop and got too close for the camera to focus properly. But, what can I say, the pic is sorta special.

So I plop the non-photo-paper sheet with its four Mewer-pics on to my scanner and make a file from which I can (sorta!) salvage – and this time save – these special images.

As I say, not great art, but keepsakes I’m glad to have had another chance to enjoy. Thanks for letting me share them on our anniversary.

Mewer is now either thirteen or fourteen years old. The shelter said he was about three; his vet took him to be about four. Incidentally, one of the things that attracted me to Mewer besides his sweet funny face and engaging personality was his broad tomcat chops, which the doc explained was the result of his getting "snipped" well into adulthood (at least, it got him off the mean streets and into a safe shelter so we could find each other!) Well, 13, 14...hardly matters. As I tell folks, he's just a big overgrown kitten.

Exhausted after entering  his many engagements in his Day-Timers, Mewer chills to the dulcet tones of the Cookie Monster (from the 2004 "Mewer Desktop Collection")

Ain’t he handsome?

©2014 Steve Ember

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations Mewer and Steve! The story is charming....precious photos...deserving of celebratory milk in a silver bowl...and a silver goblet of bubbly for you, Steve! Your shared interest in music, movies, photography, studio work...and just hanging amazing. May the good life continue for many years to come! Cheers! SG

October 20, 2014 at 10:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lovely story, Steve! Mewer has a clone out at Friends of Homeless Animals His name is Pokey. He has the same grey chin and white blaze, and adorable chubby cheeks! He is waiting for an awesome adopter just like you!

October 21, 2014 at 11:58 AM  

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