In the spring, I took a look at my calender and kind of went, "Oh shit." We have a lot of plans. The plan was to be busy little bees all summer, and then I decided to top it off by painting the inside and outside of my house, de-cluttering, and completely rearrange everything. I may or may not have lost my mind.
Between my cousin, a friend, and my brother-in-law getting married, that took care of 5 weekends. I had visitors planned for a few others, so really, my first truly free weekend would be in August. Maybe a lot of people live like this, especially once their kids get older, but this was my first time having such a busy summer. It was weird. Really, I'm NOT that popular.
Right about the time I realized all of our commitments, we decided to send the girls back to daycare. This involved a lifestyle shift in that I now was responsible for getting them up and out of the house every morning, instead of just me getting to work every other day showered and dressed on time. (The other days I work from home, shower optional.) So, yeah. Everyone else does it, but for me, it was a really rough transition.
I backed my van into Matt's van, twice. And then I took off my side mirror with a mailbox.
I lost my camera. The one that simply cannot take a bad picture. The best camera EVER. And then I found it. And then I broke it.
I lost my wedding rings. Yep, you heard right. My wedding rings. And also the ring that Workaholic gave me on my 21st birthday that I wore every. single. day. I remember the last minute I saw them, but there was a lot of movement in between now and then, and well, let's just say that I have not given up hope.
So it really should not have come as much of a surprise to me when I lost Sampson.
We were at the lake. It was late. I was exhausted. It had been a long couple of weeks. I just wanted to go home. The house was a disaster. Workaholic and I looked at each other, and he said, "You know what? I have to come back here tomorrow night. I'll just clean up then."
He was leaving in the morning, and I left shortly after he agreed to clean. This was no time to let
him change his mind! Sampson had gotten out and I was too tired to look for him before I left. We agreed to leave him in Michigan for the few days that I'd be gone, besides...Workaholic would be back that evening.
That Monday was hard. I was exhausted, the girls were exhausted, life felt even more out of sorts than normal. So Workaholic came home to help me that evening instead of going back and cleaning. And that is when he told me that he left Sampson outside.
"Umm...why would you do that? I hope he is there when we go back!"
He wasn't. I had been gone three days.
A feeling of dread overwhelmed me. I just knew that a coyote had gotten him. Workaholic just knew that some little 8 year old girl had found him and hid him in her closet so her parents didn't know that she had taken in a cat. He encouraged me to walk through the nearby woods and put up flyer's around the trailer park that is behind our cottage. "He'll come back."
That was 6 weeks ago.
At our small lake, someone writes a newsletter that gets delivered to all lake residents on Fridays during the summer. I kept telling myself to put a LOST CAT ad in the newsletter, but also thought, "What is the point? Even if someone has him, most people in the trailer park don't get it and I already put out lost cat flyer's. He's gone. Yet another thing I lost."
But then a guy lost his turtle. His turtle. And he put a LOST TURTLE ad in the newsletter. And I thought, "What the hell? Might as well give it a try."
So I sent a picture and ridiculously descriptive ad to the editor and waited. A whole week.
On Friday while at work, my cell phone rang with a number I didn't know. And they left a voicemail. HE'S BEEN SPOTTED! And then I got another call from a number I didn't know. HE HAS DEFINITELY BEEN SPOTTED!! And then a third and a fourth call came. The fourth call was the jackpot. Not only had this girl seen him, but she had played with him regularly and recently. Apparently the extremely friendly portion of my ad was the clincher.
On Saturday morning, I went and picked him up. He had tuna breath and I swear is fatter than when he left. Apparently he didn't go into the trailer park, he went through the woods and headed south, visiting anyone who would have him. And lots of people saw him, and played with him, and fed him. The young teen girls who captured him and handed him over were giddy with excitement. They'd seen him a lot over the course of the last few weeks, and were so happy that he had a home to return to. I was just hoping it really was him and I wasn't bringing home the wrong cat again.
For the first couple of hours after we got home, he was a bit skittish. And to be honest, I really don't know where he was. But then I found him on Sam's bed, and petted him for a few minutes. I wanted to hear his squeaky purr. (have yet to hear it) After that, he came out and parked himself on his spot on the couch and didn't move much for the next 36 hours. I guess sleeping while out in the forest all alone may not be that easy. He needed a good long nap.
I cannot tell you how happy and relieved I am that my family of seven is all back under one roof. (Well, sort of. We got home last night and Sampson ran out the door tonight. I guess he just couldn't handle not having a taste of the wild. Even after a 6 week walkabout.)
Even though Sampson disappearing was pretty much Workaholic's fault, I still felt like I shared some of the blame. It was something else that I lost. But he is back! And he isn't broken! (that I know of) I know that we can't keep him inside all the time, he just won't have it and would be miserable if we forced it. But I hope that from now on, when he takes off, he can either find his way home or at least I try a little bit harder to look for him. He's a part of our family and I'm so grateful to everyone who helped him get back home.