The Great Porch Board Replacement Project continued today.
Hick donned a glowing orange hooded sweatshirt and commenced to prying with the temperature hovering around 37 degrees this morning. The Pony enjoyed a brief reprieve while assisting me with a beans-and-ham delivery to my mom, a T-Hoe gassing, and the weekly grocery shopping. I know he did not mind waiting until the weather warmed up. Yesterday he was all decked out in camouflage pants, orange-and-gray shoes, white socks, a red-and-white striped shirt, a navy blue hoodie with tan fleece lining, and beige women's Isotoner gloves. No. It was not his Halloween costume.
All night I worried that the animals would plunge to their respective tragic, sad, unfortunate, untimely, unnoticed, just-deserved, and long-awaited demises. Juno was my prime concern. She's a flighty girl, gallivanting to and fro with abandon. Ann the black shepherd is just plain not-smart. She's always anxious, so I figured she would roll the whites of her muddy brown eyes and give that hole a wide berth. Tank the beagle has intermittent, mysterious back problems, and has been observed walking on two legs. That's right. TWO legs. I refused to believe Hick, then I saw it for myself. Opposite corners. He could run better than he could walk. However, he's been in some kind of four-legged remission for months, so I was pretty sure he would not topple down below.
The cats are another story. Genius the orange tabby, the brains of the outfit, has previously returned after a month-long disappearance, cheats death daily by getting under Hick's feet, and appears to have many lives left. Dusty the crumpled-eared gray tortoiseshell comes and goes, mostly avoiding people unless she wants that nasty ear scratched. She might have slipped through the giant crack. Simba the tan tabby is too evil to succumb to a mere hole in the floor, so I figured I would see him live to taunt the likeable pets another day. But that black-and-white tuxedo cat, Stockings, who weighs about 40 pounds and avoids us like the plague, only using us to supply him with $80 worth of generic Meow Mix every month, was not on my worry list.
Those cats are all virtually indestructible. They run along the rail overlooking the ten-foot drop as insouciantly as if they were running across a cheese field riddled with mice. Every now and then, one puts a foot wrong and disappears momentarily over the side, only to pop his head up over the edge and drag himself purposefully back like that metal T-1000 man with the hook arms in Terminator 2 piercing the trunk of the car John Connor was in, pulling himself right up on it.
Our flying felines can't wait for me to pull T-Hoe into the garage. Hick's hanging ghost pants be darned! These cats hop onto T-Hoe's rubber bumper, onto the slick, slick black hood, up the windshield, onto the roof, up onto the open garage door, into the rafters, and weave through that elevated maze like Ms. PacMan without the noise. You might wonder how they gain purchase on T-Hoe's smooth slanted metal. CLAWS! I have a feeling the insurance company will not believe those marks were an act of nature.
Upon my last project inspection, all boards were in place, save the one directly under the rail. It remains rotten. But I usually don't shove my foot under the rail when I walk across the porch.
Now if I could just keep the chickens from pooping on the side of the porch by the BARn...