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The Sassy Sandpiper: Cats, Clutter and COVID-19

MR Wilson | Sassy Sandpiper | TB REporter

The Sassy Sandpiper undergoes another month of life during a pandemic.

By M.R. WILSON, Columnist, Tampa Bay Reporter

Far be it from me to trivialize the need for face masks, but this is funny: – Bless Kay’s little pea-pickin’ heart and pass the Merlot. How are you doing now that another month of the COVID-19 Coronavirus Era has passed?

This has been a time of increased respect for veterinary medicine practitioners, as four of my cat family have required attention.

First, the youngest member, Verna, caught a “cold.” Bruiser had a gastrointestinal infection; Alpha, a flea allergy and dirty ears. Ohm couldn’t pee.

By the time Ohm needed help, the ParkView Animal Hospital in Lealman had implemented a COVID-19 risk protocol: Bring kitty. Consult on phone with staff while remaining in car. Techs come out to get the patient, then return him once a diagnosis and treatment plan are made. Even payment arrangements are done via phone.

Interestingly, stress was a factor in each case, including renovation at a house across the street—which included not only hammering and nail-gun firing, but demolishing trees, chain saw noise and the thunder of falling trunks. All that racket rattled feline nerves.

I honed my skills cleaning ears, administering tablets and liquid medicines from  syringes. I invested in cat-calming diffusers and patched up my own wounds delivered by unhappy and unwilling patients. Thankfully, we’re all on the mend.

Once the cat health emergencies stabilized, I could have focused on in-home projects like spring cleaning and my favorite, “de-cluttering.” But I’ve more or less resigned myself to the fact that I’m a messy introvert by those standards.

My bookcases are still overloaded, despite recommendations by tidying guru Marie Kondo. Thirty books? What, is she nuts?

bookcases | Sassy Sandpiper | m.R. Wilson

Some of us feel compelled to accomplish monumental feats with “all this free time” we have. Learn a new language. Take up a musical instrument. Start a garden. Write that novel. Learn to cook.

I’m more inclined to wriggle free of that sense of obligation and fortify myself with knowing all anyone needs to do right now is stay safe, healthy and survive, as eloquently described by the Rev. Roger Ray, pastor of the Christian Community Church in Springfield, MO.

It’s become most important to make peace with uncertainty. We may be in this for the long haul. Be grateful in the present moment, treasure the past and hope for the future. (It’s not going to look like anything we can imagine.) Listen to some awesome music while you’re at it.


MR Wilson | Sassy Sandpiper | COVID-19 | Tampabay News | News Tampa

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