Q. Have you ever put a mouse into a suit of armour?
A. If there was one question that I have been asked the most, this is the one. I have not put a mouse into a suit of armour. I have, however, tried it with one of my cats, and have the scars to prove it.
When he was a kitten I gave him one of those string ornaments to play with. He used to bite the edge of it, and it would flip, almost going over his head. One evening, as I was hosting a dinner party, one of my guest said, “Kitten! What have you done?”
I had nightmarish images of the kitten dipped in paint and looked under the table, to see this tiny black kitten with a giant white bubble on his head. After dying with laughter, I pulled it off the poor thing. Five minutes later he had it back on. Our best guess is that looking through it makes him think of tall grass. When it still fit over his entire head, I painted it like a jack-o-lantern for halloween. None of my guests believed me that he liked it.
He’ll greet me at the front door with it on, occasionally falls asleep wearing it, and will run from one end of the house to the other with it on. I bought a twelve-pack of the balls, because he does wear them out. And yes, he can take it off on his own. He’s an odd, odd cat.
If it weren’t for the fact that so many editors have a strong aversion to cat stories, I would totally write one about Marlowe and his helmet of invisibility.
I got in around 10:20 last night. -E- met me at the airport and drove me home. It was really good to see her and I hadn’t really realized how much I’ve missed her company till I was back in it. The house was much as we’d left it. The kitchen floor, which we refinished shortly before leaving the country, has mellowed to wonderful golds and ambers.
The trees still have fall foliage here. Reds and yellow are everywhere, and the weather is clear. In Portland. In November. It’s like a welcome home present. Our cats, Maggie and Marlowe, seem to remember me. I honestly wasn’t sure if they would or if they would care that I’ve come back. They were very affectionate and clingy last night.
I woke up around 4:30, but was able to get back to sleep until a more reasonable hour. I got up around 7:45, which is not bad for jetlag. Now, I’m sitting in Fuel, my favorite coffee shop. I had an egg and cheese bagel for breakfast with a decaf mocha. Do you know how long it’s been since I’ve been able to order a decaf anything without wondering if they would have decaf?
Back at the ranch, our wonderful tenant and cat-sitter has gotten a new job out of town, and is moving out in mid-October. I come home at the end of October, which means that our cats will be without the attention to which they have become accustomed.
They have a self-feeder and waterer, but we need someone to come over and give them some laptime. So, if you know me well enough to know where I live when I’m not in Iceland and would be willing to go on the cat attendent rotation schedule, will you drop me a line?
I did some yard work today, including planting the raised bed/wine barrels in the front yard. Rob went down to the studio to edit Christmas Carol. And Don Dougherty stopped by for wine and cheese. It was nice to see him. The weather was so nice that we actually sat in the back yard. Lovely.
I am now going downstairs to remove the cats’ food bowls because Maggie goes in for surgery tomorrow morning. She’s not allowed to have food after 8pm tonight.
(Tor Books — August 21, 2018) Continuing the grand sweep of alternate history laid out in The Calculating Stars, The Fated Sky looks forward to 1961, when mankind is well-established on the moon and looking forward to its next step: journeying to, and eventually colonizing, Mars. Of course, the noted Lady Astronaut Elma York would like to go, […]