Jane and Shaun Meet, Love is Not Blind, and Out of Politeness, Shaun Does Not Run Screaming

In which we have a soundtrack for our story.  Click play if you want the sound track (no video, only music, and I am totally dating myself) and read on:

Love is not blind.

I love being around animals, even those that tend to carry the Bubonic Plauge.  When I was younger, I would have happily lived in a barn, a zoo, or my former home, which was both things, squared.

Shaun and I didn’t meet for almost a year after we were put in touch through friends.  I was writing a grant and didn’t know what I was doing, she was a professional grant writer.  The business part went great (the woman can write a grant.)  Gradually, we guardedly shared more personal things: our respective moments of awwwww about our dogs, what we liked about where we lived, etc.

She was thinking about getting her doctorate at UC Berkeley.  That’s near Jane. Shaun lived on the east coast, UC Berkeley is on the west coast.  I felt fine about meeting: friends I trusted knew her in real life.  I’d pick her up at the airport, take her on a campus tour, and she could stay at my house, avoiding the cost of a hotel.

I come from a family of cops, so naturally I called up her office number, and spoke to her assistant and left a meaningless message.  She called back later, we talked on the phone. Check.  She works where she says she works.  She does what she says she does.  Jane, private eye.

I assumed she was an animal lover because she had cats and a dog.  Correction: I assumed she was an animal lover just like me.  (“Just like me” is usually a bad assumption.)

From our phone conversation, Shaun thought I had loud roommates.  I had mentioned the dog, the cat, and the house rabbit. I forgot to mention the parrots.  Or the mouse relocation program (catch in the city and release in the woods), or that I  volunteered for the House Rabbit Society: taking in rescued rabbits, litter box training them, socializing them, and then adopting them out to good homes.  Unconsciously, I might have been a tad aware this was at the top of the animal-keeping ladder when you live in a city.

She walked into my house for the first time.

It was clean and odor free.  It’s just, uh, that my dog was jumping on her, my cat was winding between her legs, my rabbit hopped over to the baby gate to investigate the new comer, and all the parrots started talking to her at once: knock knock…who’s there…HI….how ARE you…brrrring brrrring…hello?…(singing) happy birthday to you…happy birthday to youuuu…would you like to go out?….here kitty kitty kitty…give me that!… No, GIVE me that… HAHAHAHAHAHAHA…drop it!  drop it right NOW…good dog…who’s a good doggie?….and step and down and step and down keep it up….

I think it was a teensy bit overwhelming.

Shaun’s eye travels to the Wall of Rabbits (they had to stay caged until successfully litter box trained and socialized), and the huge Angora rabbit behind the baby gate (Chloe) standing on her hind legs to get a good sniff.  (The baby gate was to keep her from hurting the dog.)

Horse photos adorned every wall.

She told me later that she immediately decided to tell me she already had a hotel room, and uh, could we go OUT to dinner?  Her treat? And she had to change her return ticket to the next day, sorry.

Open floor plan.  The rabbits were sort of in the kitchen.

To Shaun, I was a crazy animal hoarder.  And she didn’t know about the mouse relocation program, or Norman, the king snake that roamed the backyard, Celeste the turtle, or the dove cote.   Yet.  There may have been a possum I couldn’t quite shake, but I won’t swear to it.

The cat lost interest, the dog calmed down, and I got the 3 parrots to shut up by giving them their bowls of vegetables.  Chloe, however, was miffed at not instantly meeting Shaun, and was in my office, rolling the metal trash can on the hardwood floor, banging it into things, making as much noise as she could.  Rabbits.  They love noise.  Who knew?

This was horribly problematic.  You see, at the airport, we had one of those unexpected, unbelievable moments.  She got off the plane, we looked at each other: it was love at first sight.  Of course we didn’t talk about it.  Love at first sight?  C’mon.  That doesn’t really happen.  Right?  We were terribly formal and polite with each other.

It was: Parrots to The Left of Me, Rabbits to The Right, Here I Am, Stuck in the Middle With You.  (And your dog, cat, mice, snake, turtle, doves, and problematic possum.)

I hardly considered a dog, a cat, a rabbit, 3 parrots, and Wall O Rabbits animal hoarding. I felt I was showing restraint.  No goat, no burro, no guinea pigs, hamsters, ferrets, chinchillas or hedgehogs.  Wall O Rabbits was going bye-bye all the time.  It just happened to keep filling up again.

I have to admit, faced with it suddenly, by someone who considers owning both a dog and a cat a house full of animals, it must have horrified Shaun.  Especially when one has just fallen in love. Clearly with absolutely the wrong person.  Luckily there was nothing big like horses or cows or…is that a photo of a horse on the wall?  Is she in the photo? Wait, is that the same horse over there, it’s not white in both pictures!?


As we wound our way to each other, we struck a workable balance.  It took years to admit we fell in love, so the time line was very gradual.  While I discovered love is by no means blind, I also discovered it’s goofy, funny, and endearingly patient.  (Love you too, Shaun.)

I hope to share some other critter stories, and wanted to provide some background. Stay tuned for stories about Chloe and the birds, especially the African Grey parrot, who could imitate anyone’s voice, and any sound perfectly, wrecking much havoc in Jane’s life, since she worked from home.


12 thoughts on “Jane and Shaun Meet, Love is Not Blind, and Out of Politeness, Shaun Does Not Run Screaming

  1. LOL Excellent stage setting, you had me cracking up!

    I have to say it goes to show that love conquers just about anything. Even when you’re not sure you want it to!

    So is there still a wall of rabbits?

    1. Sadly no. (Pause for Shaun to mentally drop to her knees in thanksgiving)
      Our housing association considers rabbits to be livestock, and they are forbidden.

      I do miss the Wall O Rabbits.

      Surely there could be a reality decorating show put on by the Humane Society? People have huge salt water fish tanks…why not a Wall O Rabbits?

      Please hold. Calling Hollywood.

  2. What a great story. I wrote a very witty (for me) response that the computer ate. Let me just say, when I read it I laughed out loud and thought finally, someone who had more animals than I do!

  3. Janedangit! I’m howling at the library again. You’re gonna get me fired!

    Loved every word of this. Now I think I’m falling in love with both of you. AWWWwwww.

  4. Marissa, I can do you one better. My cat, Misao, did not just use my then boyfriend (now husband)’s clothes as a litter box, she used him. We were laying on the futon together and I was feeling glad that Misao liked Foxfire well enough to curl up on his lap. But instead of curling up to be petted, she squatted and pee’d right on his thigh. I was mortified! I snatched her off of him and apologized profusely. Fortunately, Foxfire was already pretty smitten and was willing to overlook the incident.

    He also overlooked the six permanent indoor cats and the occasional litters of purebred Siamese kittens, as well as the varying number of outdoor cats and small herd of pygmy goats in the backyard. He also didn’t care about the fact that I was 15 years older than he, though it bothered me a great deal. Love may not be completely blind, but it can certainly skew one’s perspective.

  5. Ha! Best “How We Met” story ever! The parrot commentary is hilarious. I can just see the look of horror combined with a polite smile that must have been on Shaun’s face! Can’t wait to hear more about this menagerie of yours….

    On a related note, the first time my last boyfriend stayed over at the apartment I shared with a very entitled cat, we awoke to find that she had used his clothing as a spare litter box (in case anyone was unclear about her feelings). Nice cat, real nice. She’s dead set on making sure that I eventually become the crazy cat lady. The fact that he even spoke to me after that is still beyond my comprehension. He still brings it up though. Love is most certainly not blind.

      1. Good thing you came back, it gave me a huge belly laugh.
        TOTALLY Sleepless in Seattle meets Dr. Doolittle!
        You should have seen Shaun’s face when I told her my horse asked me if he could canter…or that Chloe will come tell her when she wants to go outside.

        Subtle, Chloe was not. She grabbed your pant leg and hop/dragged you to the back door. She had her own private run on the deck.

        I had a lot of little teeth holes in my jeans.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s