Sunday, October 04, 2009

There's a Raccoon in our Basement

For the past 5.5 months, Paloma has been telling nearly every man, woman and child we meet (including her pre-K teacher and class) that we have a raccoon living in our basement.

An announcement that was usually followed by silence and puzzled looks. Paloma's speech is quite clear now, and generally people don't know what to say.

The raccoon is actually Kumba (koom-bah) my brother Adam's humungo (and that's being nice) orange fluffball of a cat, who has lived in our basement, along with my brother for the past 5.5 months.

The elusive Raccoomba

I'm guessing after a quiet and solitary existence in my brother's former apartment for the previous 4 years, 5 children, 3 dogs and 2 other cats were a tad bit overwhelming to this pampered puss. As such, Kumba rarely ventured from his secure spot in the basement for the first 3 months of his residence.

So elusive were Kumba sightings, and so skittish was he that usually we only caught a brief glimpse of a poofy tail vanishing into the basement. Paloma actually thought Kumba was a raccoon. And thus she bestowed the name "Raccoomba" on him.

Truth be told, I have not mentioned of my brother's living with us to many people. Mainly because the reaction I would get is, "5 kids, 3 dogs, 2 cats and now your brother and his cat? Are you crazy?"

Which I would take great offense to. I'm a big sister, and he is my baby brother, and I'm overprotective. So I would get really cranky when people acted like there was something insane about helping the guy out. Sue me.

We took Adam in because he was down and out-- no place to live, no bank account and no decent people on a day to day basis. No way would I ever turn my back on him. A good person with a heart of gold, he needed a place to heal, recoup and pull himself up by the bootstraps. And he needed an adult strong enough to tell him "how it is" without being worried about whether or not he would be upset or pull away (and he never became upset or pulled away when I freely gave my opinion on many of his situations.) I called it "Real World Bootcamp" in all good fun, but the truth is, that what it was in many regards.

So in just under 6 months, Adam successfully graduated Bootcamp, and he moved his things into a small studio apartment, less than two blocks from our home. The rent is less than 25% of his takehome pay, and it faces east so it gets a lot of bright morning sun. His little patio has a view of a grassy field and a tree. I'm a big believer that fresh air and sunshine help lead to (or at the very least, promote) positive mental and emotional health.

This is such a bittersweet time for me. I should be so happy that he is doing well and moving on (and I am!), but I am mourning his absence.

The kids LOVED having Uncle Elmo live with us. I was a bit worried about how he would be able to handle all the noise and chaos in the house, but it turns out, he thrived in it. He played soccer, baseball, pushed swings, and helped rollerskaters. He mowed the lawn and cooked awesome food.

He even put on one of our dress up evening gowns to get a laugh from the kids.

In our society of arm's distance families, how lucky are my kids to have had their awesome, tatted, pierced, fun Uncle Elmo to live with us for nearly 6 months?

We were all so spoiled to have him here. Adam is the youngest child in our family, and has no brothers. Cliff is the oldest boy in his family, with only sisters. I think it was such a good thing for these two to bond, connect and live as brothers.

After all, I can't do all the dumbass boy things that boys are so fond of. Like trying to out-macho each other by eating uber-hot organic habanero peppers straight from Sarah's garden.

This picture cracks me up. He looks like some dorky suburban white guy flashing some gang symbols. But actually, it's just Adam trying to die from a hot pepper with a sense of humor.

And here's Cliff trying to flush the capascin pain from his mouth.

This is exactly why I think it is so important for boys to have at least one brother.
And why I think we were anything but crazy to have my brother move in.

Thanks Adam, for all the great times.


Anonymous said...

First, I love that big chunky Morris-the-cat lookalike, well... Morris with retirement weight. :)

Your brother has been a pleasure to have around and I hope he continues to stop by frequently. Hopefully, he'll give a positive recommendation to Jimmy and Bruce so that they'll be willing to live with us next! :)

Sometimes it takes guts to be stupid. I just had to show how hot those peppers were. Special thanks to you for not providing video, which has the great audio track of my impression of a cat after it has been hit by a semi-truck (oooh! oooow! I'm dying!). The pic was damage enough.

Smart- knowing that the pepper you are about to eat is uber hot.
Smarter- the gardner that knows better than to put one of those bad boys in one's mouth knowingly.

-Mr. Not-so-photogenic-when-I-am-in-pain

Me said...

I too, am an older sister and have a younger brother that looks like he and Adam would be good friends. Or at the very least, be tattoo buddies. He moved in with James and I at a very horrbile time in his life. I was never prouder than the day he got on his own feet and moved out. I was also pretty sad. It is bittersweet.

What a wonderful time for your kids to have their Uncle living with them-I'm sure those will be happy memories for them. I love your attitude about family.

I hope you're all recovering quickly from the sickies!