Puhi for President! I’m With Him!
It’s been just over four months since the Family Arkenberg returned from our two-year European adventure. Jim has settled into his work routine, establishing strong bonds with new work mates. Sadie, our Golden Retriever, loves the return to her old garden as seen in smiles and the spring in her step. Sadie roams the lawn’s large expanse and reclines on the soft grass in the sunshine. Sun and grass were rare in Brussels. The return of her energetic bark comforts me as she announces to passing dogs and neighbors, a return to her yard. I’ve settled back into a disciplined writing routine which makes me very happy.
I recently completed the initial draft of my fourth book, Two Towers. Before I tackle a heavy edit of that memoir, I’ll take a short break to dabble in shortstories and begin my fifth major writing project. For my next writing project, I’m considering two stage plays or an anthology of Brussels-focused short stories. I’ve yet to migrate back to my Barrington Writers Workshop but will do so soon. I miss my friends and fellow writers as I do my writers group in Brussels. Although, I’m excited to have a short story, Hollywood Calls included in a soon to-be-released Anthology of works by the Brussels Writers Circle.
As for our house, it’s in pretty good shape. Our tenants were good, but we did come home to a broken wash machine, dishwasher, and a few out-of-order light fixtures. A little paint, and new furniture to replace those pieces we sold or donated before our move and the place is almost as good as new. We still haven’t found dining room chairs. In recent weeks, our attention has turned to the garden. A heavy spring clean included crisp edging of beds, weeding of renegade tree sprouts and generous heaps of mulch. Many shrubs didn’t make it. And unfortunately, the stubborn and unsightly weed, Creeping Charlie has taken hold of large patches of the lawn in our absence.
We’ve also discovered more post-storm water accumulation in the yard. Apparently, in her quest to create the most perfect garden since Eden, our neighbor has elevated her yard. The result has dammed the natural flow of water, trapping storm runoff in our yard. We certainly miss the eighteen foot brick wall that separated us from our neighbors in Brussels.
And the Arkenbergs are back in the houseguest business. In four months, we’ve had four sets of houseguests. That keeps pace with our 23 sets of houseguests in 24 months in Brussels. Our visitors have an International flair, coming from Buenos Aires, London and… Terre Haute.
But what about the newest Arkenberg? We’re often asked how Puhi has made the transition from Bruxellois to Yankee. As you recall, Puhi dropped into our garden in Brussels one day and began a campaign to impose himself into our lives and hearts. After his initial outdoor forays in Brussels, Puhi became bolder, becoming skilled at opening the door from the garden. He’d scurry through our apartment and nestle in our laps for the evening before returning home, across the garden wall, for the night. When we moved back to Chicago, we knew we couldn’t leave him behind. Barbara, our Slovenian neighbor who gave Puhi his name which means ‘Fluffy’, knew as well. A wall couldn’t contain the determined feline immigrant.
However, we were all a bit nervous. How would Puhi do in America?
I’m pleased to report that Puhi loves America. He’s embraced the role of Country Squire. To be fair, healthy doses of pampering have aided his acclimation. Jim has spoiled Puhi with a designer perch and scratch post. Puhi has an electric water dish that aerates his water. He dines on salmon pate for breakfast and dinner and finds his litter box cleaned after every use. He’s transitioned into the role of spoiled indoor cat remarkably well.
Puhi isn’t the only immigrant with a Slovenian name to be living the American dream.
The former Melanija Knavs, now known as Melania Trump, also did well as a Yankee. But I think I’d prefer to see Puhi as First Cat rather than Melania as First Lady. In fact, with the current ‘Clump’ of presumptive candidates, how about Puhi for President!