The Search for Findus
By Noel Anthony
My youngest daughter has two cats. Well, one is a cat, and the other...Im not sure what he is.
The first cat, Max (short for Maxine) is fat and lazy, but sweet, gentle, affectionate, quiet and lovable. The other cat, Findus - a German word meaning devil incarnate, is a mean, sly, huge, meat-devouring jungle cat that eats a lot, sleeps a lot and poops even more.
The cats like to bring our daughter for a visit from time to time. Last year, they came for the Christmas holidays. And what should have been a joyous time was overshadowed by the fact that Findus was upset. We had to be quiet because it was a long drive and he had a headache.
Both cats are scared of pretty much anything and will run like the devil from anyone entering our home. On December 27, my wife and daughter were gone to Walmart, while my daughter's boyfriend and I were at my computer, downloading stuff and updating my gadgets. We were downstairs in the rec. room, when I heard my nephew and his wife come through the door.
My nephew is a big man, 6' 2" and about 250 lbs or so, and when he came in Max ran under the couch and Findus ran downstairs. Findus didn't expect this unknown person to follow him, so he kept running until he found a place to escape - an opening in the wall in the laundry room where the water lines come through for the washer.
I knew where he had gone, but we couldn't find him. My daughters' boyfriend and I searched for four hours, until I finally had to give in and start removing gyproc. I removed 10 feet of it - still no sign of Findus. Now convinced he must have somehow gotten outdoors when our visitors came in, my daughter (who had returned with my wife), her boyfriend and I went outside to find him. "Findusssss! Findussss! Come to Mom!"
I didn't do any calling. I just listened and grinned a lot. "The devil has left the building!" I thought. "My daughter will get over it in a few days. Down to one cat. That's a 50 per cent improvement - wait a minute! Oh darn! She'll be off on stress leave now! She'll lose her job over this! She'll move back home with Max and probably two more cats to replace Findus! Oh double darn! This can't be happening!" I started yelling, too: "Here Findus! Findussss! Come to Poppy! Poppy loves you! Come home, Findus."
Returning inside, my daughter shone a flashlight inside the wall. She saw a reflection of an eye looking back at her from above. Then two eyes. He was sitting comfortably on top of the window box, and under no circumstances was he prepared to move. He wouldn't even come out for treats. Finally I gave in to my daughter's pleas and removed the window box. Findus was gently removed and the world was right again.
Months later the laundry room is still in a mess. The panel box is in the laundry room, and we decided that since the wall is already torn out, it's just as well to get the wiring upgraded - at a cost of about $3,000. It reminds me of the time our refrigerator gave out about 18 years ago. We went looking for a new one and came home with a fridge, stove and dishwasher. But we didn't have space for a dishwasher, so we enlarged the kitchen to accommodate the new cabinets (which we needed to accommodate the dishwasher), and we needed a new hardwood floor and a new table set.
Final tally for a new refrigerator: $12,000.00. Our latest adventure, lost cat: $3,000. Sounds about right.