227: Running Into a Brick Wall

Our school is putting on a performance of Annie, the musical, in a few months. As the resident art teacher, you’d know that I would be asked to help out (read make) the sets for this play. One of the requested backdrops for various scenes is a brick wall for the orphanage that Annie lives in for a time, before she is rescued by Daddy Warbucks.

This is Morocco. They have fabric stores, but they are all in larger cities at least an hour’s drive away. And there is, of course, no budget for this play – it IS a school, remember??? So, where do I get fabric for the backdrops? I go to the local souk, the flea-cum-farmer’s-cum-yard-sale weekly event that is held here in Ifrane on Saturdays and Sundays. The bigger souk held in my own town of Azrou (which I’d rather go to because it is cheaper), is held on Tuesdays, and guess when our school, in its infinite wisdom, chose to hold its weekly faculty meetings in the afternoons after work, effectively preventing ANY of us from EVER being able to go to the souk there?

Anyhoo, I went to the souk I CAN go to, and purchased four white sheets, hoping that would be enough. Then we went to the auditorium where the play will be held, and I got to spread out the sheets on the floor to see if they would be enough – no. EACH one of the three backdrops required for this play will need four sheets – 12 sheets in all. So, I went to the souk again the next Saturday, and bought four more – all that were offered. It IS a flea market, and what’s there, is what’s there each week – no guarantees. This still leaves me four sheets short. I am short-sheeted, no pun intended.

I still got started on the work, though, since I hate to leave stuff until the last minute. That is why it is so annoying when someone brings me something in the morning that they tell me that they need by the afternoon – of the same day. DUDE. Did you not know for some time that you would need this, and you waited until the last possible minute to ask me to do it??? I’M BUSY – do it yourself. I have a previous committment. Not sure what this committment was, but I got one, and because of it, I am not gonna drop everything else to do this little job for you that you waited until the last minute to get to me. I did not give birth to you, so I have no vested interest in helping you out.

I have completed one sheet’s worth of brick wall, and have sewed on (by hand) the second width of wall, and started painting the bricks on it, too. Bricks are boring. I work on the computer until I get bored (I AM ADD, after all) and then I paint bricks until I get bored with that, then I go back to the computer. Slowly but surely, the brick wall is taking shape, and I am getting my papers graded at the same time. If I can only get the students not to “help” me paint, I might actually finish this brick wall on time.


150: OK, Enough is Enough

snow 007I am the local cat lady in our neighborhood here in Azrou, a smallish town located in the Middle Atlas Mountains in Morocco. This is a noticeable thing, since many Moroccans consider cats to be a nuisance. Our cats have collars (that is unusual to see) so they are obviously someone’s pet (that is also unusual to see). Most Moroccan cats are strays living by their wits and luck, not to mention their nine lives.

Sport Model (orange) with several siblings, in mom’s lap for pets and cuddles.

When we moved into our apartment, we already had five cats. These adult kitties we, their kitty parents, duly walked up and down the apartment stairs several times (our apartment is on the third floor) so that they would all know which door was home. Then we would allow them to go outside in our relatively quiet neighborhood whenever they would go to the door and ask to go outside: Me-OUT, me-OUT.

When they return from exploring, they come to the door and ask to be let back in. Our neighbors in the surrounding buildings see this happening, so they all know that we have cats: not one or two, but several. Recently, we had several days of rain, so most of our cats stayed inside, being cats and loving warmth and dryness as they do. During the night, I had heard a cat meowing – but I already knew all of OUR cats were safely inside, so I did not get up and investigate. Saturday morning dawned wet, but not raining for the first time in several days, and some of our babies wanted to go Me-OUT. When I opened the door and let them out into the hallway, they almost immediately returned. This usually means that the door downstairs is closed, and the window beside it (which the cats will also use as a door) is also closed as well. So, I went downstairs to open one or the other so they could depart on their morning rambles. That’s when I discovered the problem.

The window AND the door were open. Our cats were stymied by a hissing kitten in the doorway. Our babies are usually pretty polite, and avoid confrontation (THANK GOD) most of the time.  They were unwilling to cross this hissing, scruffy stranger. So, I reached down and picked up the little thing (he actually let me – unusual) and my cats went on their merry way. By then, little bit in my arms was purring madly. So, resigned to the inevitable, I took him upstairs. On the way up the stairs, I noticed a strange scent, and I buried my nose in the fur of the kitten: he smelled rather strongly of women’s perfume.

Now, I am not stupid. Not too much anyway, and I was able to piece this scenario together pretty quickly. Somebody (female) in our neighborhood found this friendly little kitten somewhere, and because he was friendly (unusual in Morocco) they picked him up and took him to the only cat orphanage they knew of: my house. *sigh*

Sport Model is doing just fine, thank you. He makes TEN cats. Anybody want a sweet kitty?