A Lesson in Managing Expectations

The kitten that almost was ours, among several adorable kittens on South Street.
The kitten that almost was ours, among several adorable kittens on South Street.

The adage, “under promise and over deliver” never rang more true than when the subject at hand has to do with kittens, especially when it comes to kittens, and even all the more relevant, when it comes to kittens. Of all the things that are particularly irresistible in this life, six-week old kittens might hold a monopoly on number one most irresistible thing, ever.

Top Reasons Kittens Are Irresistible

  1. They’re travel-size for your convenience. Provide them with a warm, snuggly spot in your jacket and they’ll happily go with you any where.
  2. Their meows are auditorily calibrated to provoke irrational urges to posses and care for them. The tone of a kitten’s meow is such that you can hear it from miles away.
  3. You can pick a kitten up and stick it to your shirt like velcro.
  4. Once you obtain a kitten, they provide you with countless hours of entertaining antics.
  5. When grown, kitten become cats and are the ultimate companion animal – small, relatively quiet, fairly clean, and independent (can be left alone for the weekend).
  6. Purring is one of the best sounds ever.

So, last night, walking home from the Pumpkin’s after school facility, we didn’t stand a chance when we heard the meows. There they were, six beautiful six-week old kittens, born inside with no signs of health issues. Beautiful, snuggly, kittens. I wanted to pick them up all at once and mash my face into their furry goodness. I settled for one, ginger tabby, which proceeded to bury itself into my jacket and fall asleep, with its little tail sticking out. If I had the $20 the lady with the kittens was asking for, in my bag, it would have been all over.

It didn’t help that the Pumpkin was promising her next five birthday and Christmas presents along with everything in her piggy bank in exchange for the kitten.

It didn’t help that I have always wanted a ginger cat (ours are brown tabby and solid black).

I needed strength and a dose of common sense, from the one person who a) wasn’t with the kittens and therefore not vulnerable to their irresistibility, and b) has done nothing but talk about the pending Shiba Inu puppy for the last six months. I sent the picture above to my husband who replied, “Sure.” We seemed to be only $20 away from a beautiful little ginger tabby – the cat I’ve always wanted. But we needed cash so we had to leave the kittens, momentarily, intending to return.

A funny thing happens when you remove yourself from the temptation, which is why I never carry cash. Logic starts to settle in. On the way home, to check if we had enough spare cash for the kitten, I started to think of the outstanding bills, the unpaid parking ticket, how the Pumpkin needs new tights and the husband needs new work boots, and gas for our upcoming trip to New York, and slowly I came to my senses.

Unfortunately, I had already told my husband, who instantly realized that he really, really wanted the kitten. Also, unfortunately, the Pumpkin had already played with the kitten and was getting progressively desperate in her bartering. Therefore, I had to deal with being the “worst mommy in the universe,” and now say we could in-fact not get the kitten.

Eventually, logic and common sense won, but it was a slow and painful application. It would have been more prudent to apply the project management practice of managing expectations when it comes to kittens. Do not ever, ever, EVER!, say a new kitten is a possibility unless you really, really mean there will be a new kitten in your house within the hour.


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