doodle by andre: ousted from the house(ted)

IMUST GO TO MY ROOM, WITHOUT SUPPER OR FURTHER DELAY. Right now—to my room. Which apparently is no longer in the house, mind you, but in a 12-by-11 shed out in the backyard, a shed that was here when I arrived 25 years ago, did temporary duty as a spare storage space, and then for the last nine years housed Jack the Demon Cat, until he recently got a bigger idea. But now I must go to my room, and write a new book (yes, not my “new” book, but another new book) and apparently I will be doing it somewhere other than in my house, er, his house. Oh, heavens, this is confusing. But here’s the scoop:

As part of my “new” life here, trying to support myself by writing and some other freelance jobs, I sold another book that’s due at the New Year. Uh-oh. What I can tell you about it is this: The garden features as the main character, and there will be a good-sized dose of woo-woo. More on the book, and more photos of my new “home office,” a.k.a. Jack’s former home (below), to come shortly.

But I have to get cracking, after months of rumination and preparation. So if you’re looking for me? I’ll be out back. In the shed. You know, the one that I’ve been relegated to since someone in a tuxedo took charge here. He swears he’ll wake up and actually do something from time to time around the Big House; should I take him seriously?

Thanks to Andre Jordan, my doodling friend with his own wonderful website, for this depiction of the moment that’s upon me–and wish me writing luck.

  1. Florence Wiley says:

    Ah Margaret – You are like a breath of fresh air. I’ve just begun to explore your blog and will be spending a lot of time here! Your new book will be ordered as soon as I finish this note. Re: your tux cat I lost my 19 year old tux, Hershe, the day Ronald Regan’s funeral was held. I really believe that this particular coloration marks them apart from all their cousins. Hershe was so clearly the queen of the house. She looked upon all other residents therein as clearly inferior! Now she visits me in the still of the night. Her footsteps upon my bed and her feather weight pressing against me. It really freaked me out when I looked and realized that what I felt wasn’t her successor next to me! I was alone! Then, after my heart stopped racing, I smiled and realized that she had, at last, found me.

    1. Margaret says:

      Welcome, Florence. Yes, I cannot imagine any cat but a tuxedo, after knowing Jack. Last night we sat up together most of the night during crazy wild storms; he tries to be brave (so do I). I hope that you will enjoy the book and be back in touch again soon.

  2. Allison says:

    In 35 years of marriage, we have always had a tuxedo cat–first Bogey, then Sylvester and now Marley (as in Bob Marley). They truly are their own “breed” and whether they are our sole owners or co-own us with other cats, they have a certain way of doing things and woe to the miscreant who forgets the rules!
    Thanks so much, Margaret, for your wonderful book, and I look forward to your next one!

  3. S says:

    Hi Margaret, love your blog. I had to laugh when I read this post. We have Barney the tuxedo cat and he is definitely king here. And we too have a 2 storey heated cat house but not because Barney won’t share. It’s just that in summer, I’m always either in the garden or in my screen house which I refer to as my “fort”. We just got it this year and it’s such a great refuge between gardening jobs. I have found that it’s far more convenient to keep my most used tools in there than in the more distant shed, so it’s looking more like a garden shed than a screen house these days. It’s a great place to journal and rest and just enjoy the views of the garden.

  4. Ali Mac says:

    This is so cute! Love it :) I am a first time commenter, but I just wanted to say that I love your blog. I have recently started a vegetable garden, and your blog has helped me a great deal! Thank you :)

    1. Margaret says:

      Welcome, Ali Mac. So nice of you to say hello, and share the link.

      Welcome, S. Barney sounds like he and Jack might be separated at birth. :)

      Welcome, Allison. You said it re: the tuxedo “breed”. Quite distinctive creatures.

      Hope to see you all again soon.

  5. Kristina says:

    So excited for your new book!!! I quickly read your first book and am now reading it again, savoring every bit! You are living my dream! :)

  6. Terryk says:

    This can only happen to a cat owner (know this from experience!). But look at that boy! He melts my heart everytime you post a photo of him.

  7. Dee says:

    Gone to your room, huh? So that’s where you’ve been. Good luck with the new book; I’m greatly enjoying the first one.

  8. Katherine says:

    I have five tuxedos- four vixens and one very unruly baby boy tuxedo! They are the light of my life and I swear my hubby and I are their pets, rather than the other way around! I can’t wait to see more of the new space and Jack! He is sooo cute!

    1. Margaret says:

      Welcome, Karen. FIVE? FIVE? (Fainting now.) I have trouble keeping up with the commands of my one. But I am nevertheless jealous. Hilarious.

  9. Nadine says:

    I’m lucky: my cat hasn’t taken over the house. Hey, there’s a clear division here. My teeny tiny she-dog has the control of the house (yes, that’s right), and the cat has to do with the garden. He’s welcome to come in and have his afternoon, or 12-hour nap, depending, and he’s allowed to stay in on winter nights. Animals are funny.
    Looking forward to your next book, and particularly thrilled about the prospect of more on woo-woo. ;-)

  10. Sheila says:

    My mother’s tuxedo cat, Mindy, came to live with me in a decidedly dog-centric house when mom could no longer care for her. She has taught the dogs good manners and loves to be outside with me when I weed the garden. Flagstones in the hot sun are her friend … a wonderful place to nap and a version of a hot stone massage, I suppose.

  11. Lisa says:

    My calico definitely rules the house. She is very particular about the time schedule. Her dog must be taken outside at 7:20, don’t think about sleeping in, HER DOG NEEDS TO GO OUT NOW! Even if he is trying to sleep in too. At least she isn’t getting us all up to play at 5:00am anymore.

  12. Judy says:

    Just had a discussion of “and I shall have some peace there” with our small book club so no can’t wait for the new one.

  13. Margit Van Schaick says:

    Yoddah is my tuxedo cat, and what a handsome boy he is, just like Jack! He’s very co nfident, happy, loves to go outside in the day-time, and comes when called! Can’t help but love a tuxedo cat—That’s exciting news about your new book–any more hints a out the subject matter? Wish you all the best with erupting!

  14. Margaret, I just finished your most recent book. I drank it up in great big gulps, missing subway stops in the process. Having only momentarily crossed paths with you at MSLO, I found myself rooting for you with each step of realization that the definition of you was so much bigger than whom you were employed by. I’m looking forward to your next book almost as much as I look forward to your blog updates. Now that I have my own (first) garden merely minutes from yours, you have become a teacher and a guide to my new-found obsession. Thank you and peace! Elizabeth

    1. Margaret says:

      Oh, Elizabeth. Thank you! And you are “minutes from” me!?! Sounds like a reunion in the making.

      Thank you, Judy, for saying hello. Wish I could have come to your book group “virtually” (I love visiting clubs via Skype, which I do for free when invited. FUN. :)

  15. Marty says:

    Margaret, I’m excited to hear about your new book. Oh my the pressure! But what a lovely place to write. Wishing you writing luck.

  16. Patricia says:

    Your Mock oranges are way ahead of mine. Your plants look beautiful. Don’t you have bugs? I found a columbine today that was like a skeleton. Just overnight. Couldn’t see anything on it. A bug or a bunny. Would a bunny do that? Otherwise everything is green green green after a lot of timely rain. Filling pots with flowers and just enjoying it all.

    A new book? Wonderful. Bring it on.

    1. Margaret says:

      Hi, Patricia. No bugs at the moment, thankfully (at least not on the mock orange). Columbines — forget it. Is it the columbine sawfly? Ugh. I have all but given up on growing columbines.

  17. Kate says:

    Can’t wait to read your newest book. Any chance you might want to have your own store on this website? With the current prices ($186) your previous book is commanding on Amazon, I would much rather buy and have the rewards go directly to the author.

  18. Mary Murphy says:

    Hello Margaret: I’ve recently discovered your garden blog and it has quickly become my favorite! I love the photo of your “Jack” – he is quite a character. I’m also a devoted fan of Tuxedo cats. Our very first cat “MItze” was a tuxedo, who adopted us at our vacation home in Pennsylvania. She obviously did not like where or with whom she was living, and every time we arrived on a weekend, she was waiting to run inside our house. After several months of this we decided to take her back with us to our apartment in Forest Hills (Queens), NY, and she was as happy as could be. She had been neglected at her former home – she was full of Fleas and had Roundworm, so we were happy with or decision to “rescue” her and took excellent care of her. She became the love of our life. Sadly, she passed away in 2000. However, after some time, we adopted another female Tuxedo – our “Jenny” – who, at the age of 9 years old, was left behind by her owners who moved. Thankfully, a rescue group had her and we connected with them and brought “Jenny” home. She lived with us for 11 years, and passed away recently at the ripe old age of 20! She was a very special cat and ran the household with a velvet paw. Tuxedo cats are a very unique breed and all are wonderful. Happy Gardening and good luck with your new book. Please give “Jack” a tickle under his chin from me. Mary Murphy, Tarrytown, New York

  19. nora says:

    Hi Margaret;
    My cat Sebastian doesn’t own a tuxedo, but he thinks he owns two greenhouses, one car and one house. You see Seb is an outdoor cat who is 8 years old and has a lobby going to be an indoor cat.
    His most sucessful attempt at being a house cat was when he “blew his ACL” anterior cruciate ligament (it usually happens to elite athletes and BIG dog breeds) and got “six weeks cage rest” inside during the winter 2009.
    He has now learned how to open our side door when it is unlatched and if he reads your blog, I know he will be encouraging me to write a book.
    Andre’s doodles have now become a staple “screensaver” of mine. Keep up the great work Andre!

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