Apollo and Athena

Irene was scheduled to have a spa treatment session and I agreed to go along with her and wait.

We found ourselves at a ‘discount’ location where Irene was able to get an online coupon for the session. The location was in a lower socioeconomic area and the neighborhood houses were old and in many cases, reworked with patchwork additions and homemade fences.

The spa location turned out to be one of the residential houses and that was fine, but we were immediately humbled by the surroundings we found ourselves in. The business was family owned and they were a wonderful family with a lot going on at their home, which was also their business.

As we drove my truck up the narrow roadway to the house, we noticed a few other vehicles parked in the make-shift dirt parking lot across from the place of business and a row of houses. Apparently, this place received a lot of business, which made us feel good because we knew that many of the families in this neighborhood are perhaps not as ‘privileged’ as the zip code area in which we lived.

For this trip, we didn’t bring our dogs Bonnie, Clyde, or Noel along with us, but we did bring our cats Apollo and Athena. Since I was going to wait for Irene during her session, I also brought my Kindle so that I could read to help occupy my time. Upon arrival, I scooped up little Apollo and little Athena and carried them along with me in my arms. We crossed the sparsely covered with gravel dirt roadway to the front gate of our destination.

The gated yard entryway was merely a low picket fence and visitors were free to simply reach over to unlatch the closure which held the swing door closed in its place. The walkway from the gate to the house/place of business doorway was a quaint narrow and winding path made from one-white small stepping rocks. The whole time I could not help but think ‘wow, this is interesting’.

The front door was located at the back end of the small house’s similarly small concrete porch way. The door had one of those old fashioned door knockers at the upper center portion, along with a small ‘decorative’ window above it. It was apparent that at one point in the past, this door was purchased as an upgrade to the houses’ front facade. I appreciated that fact.

We rang the typical old house doorbell, located adjacent to the door. The doorbell was what used to be a ‘standard’ doorbell in years past. It was approximately three inches in diameter affixed to the wall by two opposing mounting screws. It’s profile was a raised dome with one one small black button in the center.

Upon entering the house, we were located in a small room, which then led to another small room. It seemed to me that the two rooms used to be completely individual rooms but at one point most of the adjoining wall was opened up to make one larger room, that still held a distinction of two separate areas.

Irene check-in at the front desk, that was actually located one one side of the room. There was quite a bit of ‘activity’ at this place of business, so apparently they did well enough despite their lower income business location. It was apparent however that this place was still a ‘mom and pop’ location where all family members helped out with everything.

On the other side of entryway saloon-type doors was the kitchen/work area where the family’s son and daughter were working but at this point, I did not know what they were doing. I just knew that everyone was busy because there was a lot of movement throughout the house with employees, family members, and customers.

The old house was situated raised floor, which meant there was a very small crawlspace underneath for plumbing and electrical purposes. The floor was not carpeted but was covered in 12″ square linoleum tiles. Nothing fancy, but had most likely been installed many years ago. As a result of the house floor design and treatment, every step taken produced a rather loud step-step-step-step sound that really couldn’t be avoided even if one was only wearing socks.

I was comfortable enough to set Apollo and Athena on the floor so that they were able to roam within the house freely on their own. They would stay together, as they always did, because although Apollo was quite large and hefty in size, he was a complete ‘scardey-cat’. I knew they would settle in a bit so I wasn’t worried.

Irene was taken by her masseuse person for her treatment and I knew that my wait would be lengthy but that was ok. Doing my wait, I not only read, but I also did a lot of people-watching. Customers coming in, customers finishing up and chatting, customers leaving. This place of business seemed to have a steady clientele with a lot of ‘regulars’ so everyone seemed to know everyone else which produced a relaxed, comfortable and inviting vibe. Even as someone who was merely waiting in the working ‘lobby’, I thought that was pretty cool.

At one point during my wait I decided to walk around the premises, which was encouraged to do because the owners and employees were treating everyone else like family. My walk included inside and outside of the house and I discovered that this place of business was also a working farm. There were many large black cows and a number of sheep, all of which were seemingly hungry.

In the front yard, there was a tree that looked like a great climbing tree, so I began climbing. When I was about 5 feet off the ground, all of the multitude of cows migrated to the trees base and started to all nip at me as if they were hungry. The weren’t trying to bite me I guess, but they were attempting to grab hold of my clothes and possibly my body because it sure seemed like they were trying to eat me. There were also many sheep who congregated and were trying to get to me as well. I ultimately managed to escape them and managed to make it back into the house. To me, it was like a zombie movie because the cows moved slowly yet they were trying to get at me but I was able to escape them.

While in the house I decided to help everyone out and wash some of the candle dishes that were stacked against the counter wall in a side kitchen-like area. The countertop was the old-fashioned yellow/greenish colored ‘jello’ printed corian-type surface. The small candle glass dishes, approximately three inches square had slightly upturned corners and were self-standing. As I washed the used candle dishes, I peered out a side window to my left and saw a number of people in the home’s backyard. I assumed the backyard gathering were extended family members of the home. There was a large BBQ smoker in use and many people were having a great time. Flames from the smoker rose along with billowing mesquite smoke which all amounted to a wonderful aroma.

The front side of the backyard fence was built up by the homeowners using ‘typical’ wooden fence planks in order to provide a greater level of personal privacy. The fence addition was not professionally constructed and looked rather poorly constructed, but it served the purpose and humbled me further as I had another visual representation of lower socioeconomic-economic status. I knew my living status was at a higher level than the place of business and neighborhood that I was visiting, and this current experience filled my heart for those who are happy, and live happily within their own means, regardless of socio-economic status.

After I washed and restocked the candle dishes, I entered the side kitchen area that was semi-closed off by pivoting saloon-type doors. Inside the kitchen room was a son and daughter and three dogs. This room was not a kitchen used for cooking, but rather one that was used to prepare goods and services used daily by the place of business. The countertop in this room had a reddish countertop with metal-beaded trim along it’s edges. The room was also used to prepare food for the place of business’s three dogs. The dogs, two large and one small were ranch-like dogs in that they were free to wander throughout the property and received a lot of pets from everyone. One of the large dogs looked like a white lab and had a pink collar. The dogs name was Cookie. The other large dog was a rottweiler (name ?) and the small dog was small-medium sized. They all hung out together like Bonnie, Clyde, and Noel do around the house.

One of the adjacent rooms had many house pets such as hamsters, rabbits, and other animals (?) that were in their own cages. All of the pets were very interesting house pets that all had names, and they were all well cared for by the family. While I waited, I walked around the room to check out the wide variety of atypical family pets.

During all of this, the spa’s owner walked in after having just showered. He was a very large guy, but not overweight and had long dreadlocks that he was still toweling off. Everyone knew him and he was essentially walking around greeting everyone and ensuring that everything was running smoothly. He and I started talking and I followed him into the kitchen-work area where we were met with his son and daughter who were preparing food to feed the dogs.

We were at the spa for quite some time and Irene finally walked out and was (almost) finished. She just got her hair washed and rinsed and was using a blow dryer which didn’t take long. Afterwards, she said that she’d wait in the truck while I gathered Apollo and Athena.

Apollo and Athena were now in the pet room and were wandering around all of the exotic pets. Athena, the curious one, squeezed her way into one of the cages. Apollo, the no confidence follower, managed to squeeze himself into the cage behind Athena. Worried that they had gotten into the cage with another animal, who fortunately wasn’t paying any attention to them, I rushed to get them out. Athena squeezed out from the cage when I knelt down and called her. Apollo, who tried to follow Athena, couldn’t manage to squeeze out behind her so I had to bend the cage wires and scoop him out.

I now held two very large and rather fat cats comfortably under the grip of my left arm. On my way out the door, I realized that I needed to put on my running shoes. So I slipped them both on, while managing the two cats in my arms. As I moved around to negotiate donning my shoes Apollo and Athena began to squirm but was able to hold on to them. Done, until I saw a belt on the table surface that I thought was also mine. Now I needed to reach for the belt which turned out to not be mine but in the process, Apollo and Athena slipped out from my arms and left me. They didn’t run, they just walked away.

Upset that I was, I realized that although I no longer had with me Apollo and Athena in the physical sense, they had already gone to kitty heaven. But I was able to feel them, hold them, and talk to them once more and that thought made it OK for me to let them go. I felt their warmth and they were able to feel me and the comfort I provided for them.

I was comforted in knowing they were together as brother and sister, forever. I will see you later kit-tens.