Reflections on a Day off

Reflections on a Day off

A Story by Amy Zdunowski-Roeder

Ruminations on the creatures who inhabit my house


One of the many perks of being a freelance makeup artist, or a freelancer of any kind actually, is that unless you have signed a contract to work “X” amount of days a week, you most likely have scattered days off. After sitting behind a desk for almost fifteen years, I welcome this lifestyle and the ability to “get things done” during the week as opposed to cramming all of my chores into a weekend.

I too am the owner of three cats. Well I should say that Joseph, Zane and I are the proud cat parents of three interesting felines who I get to spend ample time with when I have time off. All three are rescues from Brooklyn, even Miss Kitty; my five-year-old Zane’s cat was valiantly rescued in Greenpoint, Brooklyn from a fate behind a Chinese food restaurant, by two of our dear friends quite far from our residence in Jersey City, New Jersey.

The oldest cat is my cat, Mister Pickles a.k.a “Mither Pickles” because for some reason Joseph and I though that if he could talk he would certainly have a “Lithsp”. “Mither” is the handsome, fifteen year old male tabby and the elderly “Catriarch” of our mouser family. Also born in Brooklyn, he is quite arrogant, chuff and determined. He most especially desires to eat all the other kitties wet food every morning- just because in his mini-mind, he is the “Bully-Boss”. He also does have a certain swagger that sometimes gets mistaken for his well formed, low-riding, sagging tomcat belly.

The middle cat is Joseph’s cat, a regal seven-year-old male, also a Brooklyn tabby named Cryin’ Ryan and he definitely lives up to his name. Crying is his favorite past time, especially at 6am while we are all sleeping and undoubtedly in the good part of our dreams. “Rye Rye” as we call him, is quite skittish and unsure of all people (even if he has known them for years) and I truly believe he suffers from Seasonal Affective Disorder. During periodic changes, he becomes quite gloomy and uninspired. You can definitely see it in his demeanor. If there were sweat pants for cats, he would be decked out on the couch in them for weeks on end. The only thing that gives him some kind of levity during this time is when we let him drink out of the bathroom sink. However, if only there was some sort of light therapy, psychotherapy or even a support group we could take him to, what a difference I’m sure that would make. One can only dream.

Now the only animal left is Miss Kitty, who as I mentioned above, happens to be a beautiful, spritely, grey one-year-old sassy female who absolutely lives for my son, Zane. I truly believe she thinks Zane is her child by the way she nurtures him, sleeps with him on his bed, follows him around, licks his face, etc. Whenever someone meets the lovely Miss Kitty, I always hear “what a beautiful cat” and honestly, I think she knows exactly what we are saying as she looks up with a certain satisfied twinkle in her sea green eyes. One of the gripes we have with her is that she has a disappearing act that she does on a daily basis, which, in all honesty, has gone so far as to have ruined our New Years Eve last year.

Joseph, Zane and I were so excited to spend New Year’s at home, watching Ryan Seacrest and the thrilling ball drop. Joseph even went out of his way to build a stylishly inventive balloon drop with a string for Zane to pull when the clock struck midnight. In conjunction to all the “drops”, Joseph and I have a tradition of going to Russ & Daughters in the Lower East Side and buying a small tub of caviar and Bellini’s to ring in the New Year with our champagne at midnight as well. So we had started the champagne at about 6PM. I then cooked a beautiful steak dinner for the three of us, and at about seven thirty, I turned to Joseph and asked " “Have you seen Miss Kitty?” He says “Hmmm Good question, I haven’t actually seen her in a bit.” So then for the next FIVE HOURS we tear the house apart, top to bottom, frantically searching for her and she is nowhere to be found. We look outside. We hunt the neighborhood and I call around asking folks if they had seen my kitty and please with them to let us know ASAP if they do. I go so far as to call my Psychic Medium friend who keeps telling me she’s not far which is encouraging but not as helpful as I had hoped. 11pm comes, 11:30 comes and finally it’s Midnight. We don’t open the balloon drop; we don’t open the caviar, instead wipe our eyes and go to bed sad, defeated and feeling helpless.

Four-Thirty am rolls around and Joseph gets up for some reason and then wakes me up and I say “What’s wrong?” He then says “SHHHHHH” Completely baffled I’m like “SHHHHH?????? I was sleeping! That’s as SHHHH as it gets! Why did you wake me up? To SHUSH me???? He said “NO NO LISTEN!” “So I listen” and in the faintest, smallest, farthest part of my ears I hear, ‘mew’. It was so faint; it could be mistaken for one of those noises that a house makes with no explanation. Joseph says, “Did you hear that?” and off in the distance a infinitesimal ‘mew …” from the petitest voice anyone could ever hear. Just then we get up and search for the feeble sound and finally decide to take the bed apart. We have drawers in our bed frame and sure enough, where the four corners of the drawers meet, underneath a box spring and a mat with no air or breathing room, is little Miss Kitty. We were overwhelmed with happiness and joy because honestly it’s a phenomenon she didn’t suffocate after nine hours wedged below a bed with no air pockets. Miracle Kitty has returned to us! WHAT A FIASCO!!!!!! I said to Miss Kitty in the kindest most relieved voice possible “I hope you know you are GROUNDED forever!”

The next day, New Years Day, we conducted a lunchtime balloon drop with a caviar and Bellini brunch and all was right again in the Roeder household.

So here I am, today, and it’s one of those days I am off. I haven’t got anything done and I am sitting, staring out into the beautiful backyard adorned with Halloween decorations, pumpkins and hanging skeletons. I see Mither Pickles basking in the cool October sun. I hear Rye Rye crying at the door to come in and drink out of the bathroom sink and sure enough Miss Kitty is nowhere to be found.

© 2017 Amy Zdunowski-Roeder

Author's Note

Amy Zdunowski-Roeder
I wrote this is jest today considering my story from yesterday was so serious. Any constructive criticism is always welcome :)

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Added on October 3, 2017
Last Updated on October 3, 2017
Tags: Today, Day Off, Cats, Living with Animals, Funny, humorous, Reflections, New Jersey, Jersey City


Amy Zdunowski-Roeder
Amy Zdunowski-Roeder

Jersey City, NJ

Hello! Writing has always been a part of my life, in many forms and configurations. In conjunction to my job as a Makeup Artist, Hairstylist and Groomer. I have felt my unbridled need to write mor.. more..