I saw little Napoleon TWICE in two days! At first I was ambivalent about it. After all, this lively little fluff ball brightens my day every time I see him. On the other hand, I'm really pulling for his humans to get consistent, full-time work before it gets too cold. Sleeping in a tent by the river is not healthy and not safe -- especially not with a Chicago winter on the way.
Thursday I saw him with his male human and got more of the story. Yes, Dad is doing an internship as a window washer in Indiana. And he has to put in a certain number of hours with a supervisor before he can legally make the full hourly wage. But he has nowhere to live in Indiana, so he's dependent on a friend who travels back and forth to Chicago. I mean, they're homeless. They don't have a car and he can't afford a hotel room in Indiana. So he lives in his friend's car and is dependent on his friend for rides. When his friend returns to Chicago, so must he. His new boss is very understanding of Dad's unusual situation and is supportive, allowing him to spread his internship over the month (where, I guess, most employers would insist it done in a week). He hopes to soon have a marketable skill and begin making $15 to $20/hour. Then he can afford to send for his wife, and Napoleon, and live indoors at a shelter that allows animals until they have enough to get an apartment. His wife is trained as a beautician and once they're living indoors, where she can bathe regularly and keep her clothes clean, she will take the boards to be licensed in Indiana.
Then we started talking about my book, Helter Skelter. He is a fan of true crime books, and knows that Ann Rule is the author of the definitive book on Ted Bundy, The Stranger Beside Me. I found a free copy of an Ann Rule book at my local Free Little Library. I will carry it in my purse until I can get it to him.
All the while, Napoleon slept. Blissful in his dad's lap.
Then today I ran into Napoleon with his "mom." Dad's in Indiana for at least the next few days. She says she's afraid of heights, so she's not crazy about his new career, but he's so enthusiastic about being able to make steady money that she's happy for him. She told me that Napoleon was vaccinated this morning. A kind stranger prepaid it with her credit card and emailed the vet a photo of the kitten so he'd know who to expect. Isn't that great?
She also mentioned to me how much her husband likes talking to me. "The lady with the short hair," he calls me. I was touched. I certainly haven't spent $100+ on shots for them. I think that in the last month I've given them $20 in total, and a can of cat food -- the flavor that my Connie girlcat had rejected. Not a great investment. I think he just likes that I treat him like an equal. We talk cats. Now we talk books. He tells me about his career aspirations. I haven't asked him how he got here -- why a well-spoken young man is begging on a street corner and sleeping with his wife in a tent -- though I'm dying to know.
Today, when I've been so worried about Hurricane Irma and my friends in Key West, cat fur works as a tonic. I'm so grateful to see and play with Napoleon, and to come home to my own two cats.