Grandma Meow Moses lives in an assisted living apartment downstairs from my sweet Sven, Tuna our tuxedo cat and myself.
As the only employee at her home and the one who was complaining about some litter tracking and an unkempt rear end, I was assigned to call and make an appointment at the beauty parlor.
Grandma was not looking for a Brazilian wax or anything fancy. Just a bubble bath, a bottom shave and a blow dry.
You see, age has finally caught up with this church going beauty queen in dreadlocks and a peace sign pearl necklace.
Everything was set until the lady on the other end of the line said, "Okay then, just be sure to bring proof of vaccination to Ms. Moses' appointment."
There was a moment of silence.
"But," I said.
She went on to say, "It is important in case she were to bite me. If that were to happen, she would be held in solitary confinement for ten days, at your expense, and I would have to give myself extremely painful Rabie shots, also at your expense and."
"Grandma is a Feline Rastafarian. She does not believe in doctors or vaccines. She says that if you cannot fix it with a little Ganja and Vicks, it ain't fixable."
"I am sorry ma'am," the lady said. "I will not be able to help you, unless she changes her mind."
I will spare you the details of what Grandma hollered before admitting that she would have bitten that woman in the ass for sure.
But Sven and I will be able to afford a trip to Rome if she ever settles up with her swear jar debt.
"I should take that bitch to court!" is how she ended her rant. "It is my religious right not to be vaccinated! I thought this was a free country!"
"Calm down, Grandma," I said. "I studied to be a beautician back in the day. And I ain't afraid of no rabies."
I did always look at the stylish haircuts in magazines at the salons while waiting my turn for a trim.
And sometimes lies are necessary.
I penciled her name in to my busy schedule the following morning, but thought it best not to tell her in advance since she didn't necessarily take to the dingle berry trimming and failed laundry tub soak, that my sister Louisa and I tried before I made the fateful call to the beauty parlor in the first place.
The element of surprise is the best way to go when it comes to Grandma Meow Moses.
So the other morning when she wandered up the stairs with pearls in place and was lapping up her daily ration of milk, while her nemesis, Tuna, was out cold in a basket of towels on the other side of a closed bathroom door, I filled the left side of the kitchen sink with warm water.
I scooped her unsuspecting ass up and lowered it slowly into the sink in a gentle headlock sort of a manner.
There we were.
The two of us.
"Sven, we could use your assistance," I called to my husband who was in the loft reading.
"What am I supposed to do?" he said when he saw our predicament.
"Maybe you could hold Grandma still while I give her a shampoo. I want to keep her bottom side soaking as long as possible."
We did the best we could, considering our limited training, but when Grandma had had enough she had had enough.
I caught her wildness in a bath towel mid air and quickly wrapped it around her.
The two of us sat on the couch for awhile and I cooed in her deaf ear and she hissed into mine.
After I had had enough of her cussing, I sprang her loose and put on some dry clothes and noticed that she spent the rest of the morning toweling herself off with her tongue.
"That is good practice there, Missy," I said. "You should do a lot more of that."
That evening Grandma was all fluffed up and cuddly on the couch next to me, except for some shampoo parts that missed the rinse cycle, and we watched a movie together, just like nothing ever happened.
"But, how is her butt?" asked my sister.
"Louisa, that is personal," I said.
"You better get that hippie freak vaccinated."