That last calls for explanation. I often keep a saucer of olive oil for Rannie Wu in an out-of-the-way corner of the kitchen: she likes olive oil, it's good for her, and there's never much in the saucer unless I've just added more, usually by request.
But Huck was in a rambunctious mood and had cornered the venerable (and slow-moving) Random Numbers Wu in the olive oil corner; she had panicked, struggled, turned, and ran her tail through the half-full saucer several times.
I heard the spat from the basement. By the time I limped up the stairs, Tam had broken it up. I went back to sorting and folding and it wasn't until dinner was ready (it had been simmering while I folded) that I noticed dark, crescent moon-shaped stains on the hardwood floor and figured out what had gone on. Wiped those up, found more, found blotches on the ceramic tile in the kitchen and realized the Rannie needed found and cleaned up. She objected mightily to having her very oily tail wiped down with paper toweling; I turned down the stove burner under dinner -- Eggs Pomodoro in a thick, ragout-style sauce that had plenty of meat and vegetables -- and asked Tam, "Can you wait five minutes?"
She said, "Sure," so I got a folded square of paper towel damp with dish-soapy water, told the robot, "Alexa, set a timer. Five minutes," ("TIMER SET. FIVE MINUTES.") and shut Rannie and myself in the washroom. There was a lot of pathetic complaint, most of it from her, as I scrubbed her tail in both directions, worked up a lather, and rinsed her off in warm water under the tub spout. Now I had a wet, unhappy elderly cat and the air-conditioning was running -- so I dried her with a hand towel. She was still damp and complaining, so I took a bath towel and made a cat burrito. The timer went off right as I opened the door, the swaddled cat in one arm like a baby.
|TAMARA KEEL PHOTO|
The Eggs Pomodoro was good; there was a new episode of The Expanse to watch while we ate and Rannie curled up on the couch between us, leaning into my hip, grooming desultorily and occasionally reaching out to rest a paw on Tam and blink up at her, oil-free in the tail department and at peace with the world. Mr. Huck sulked on his fancy cat-perch in the corner the entire time.