The Power of Two

I gave this speech in Toastmasters and here’s the short version:

Where is he?!! He was just here on the balcony and now he’s gone! I’m sure he didn’t jump, he’s not in the house. Maybe he fell? Then I looked to the right and saw him, sauntering across the barrel tile roof.

Him, being my 11 year old………cat named Edmund. A cat on the roof is nothing unusual, but this story is different.

Edmund came into my life 11 years ago and I named him after Sir Edmund Hillary. He has lived up to his namesake being the consummate explorer. Inside, no bag or box is left unturned, or cabinet door unexplored. Outside he’s had a crab claw stuck in his head, batted repeatedly at an Indigo snake (non-venomous) till it uncurled and “stood up” to look down at him.

His most famous adventure was early one morning when a bobcat emerged from the preserve and came face to face with Edmund. They had the great cat stare down where each one held his pose and didn’t flinch. Finally after what seemed like an eternity, the bobcat slowly backed up and returned into the preserve, yielding the yard to Edmund.

Combine those experiences and more with 17 pounds of Siamese and you have some serious catitude.  He was big, bad, fearless and I loved it.

Last year Edmund faced his toughest adventure yet. He was diagnosed with diabetes. His 17 pound bruiser, big bad cat frame dwindled to a mere 10 pounds. Those powerful legs and muscles that propelled him everywhere, were eaten away to the point he could barely walk. A few steps was all he could take at a time. He would pee on the floor because he couldn’t make it to the litter box in time. Then he would lay in it because the floor was wet and he couldn’t get up.

Watching him go from the Big E to incontinent and frail was extremely, extremely hard.  At times I wondered if we’d win this fight…….

So what got Edmund well from being incontinent and barely walking to carousing on the roof? Well, the two shots of insulin a day and special diet are a help, but I got Edmund the best medicine…..

A 3 year old cat named Jinx. I immediately changed her name to Joy as that is her role in this family; to bring Joy to Edmund. She is vibrant, climbs up and over everything, and most important was faster than Edmund.

Edmund has always been king of the house and he would attempt to chase her. However, he couldn’t catch her. He would often slip, fall or she would just jump on something tall and look down at him. That would really piss him off!! He would look up at her with a look of disgust and would chuff at her. He was not used to be second best and didn’t like it at all!!

Day after day, month after month, he became better and better to the point now where he is king of the house once again. He easily gets on the bed, the kitchen table, the couch, the coffee table; everywhere Joy used to get away from him.

The roof was always her safe haven though. Till that one day that began this story, when he had enough of watching her go and he too had to go.

And that is the power of two! That someone who inspires you, drives you, motivates you to do the things you need to do, want to do, or just plain wouldn’t do on your own.

It’s that brutally honest friend who will tell you the truth; Phil, that wasn’t your best speech, you can do much better. Or the one who calls you while you’re recovering from foot surgery and tells you the running schedule and which inspires you to work harder in therapy.

History is full of the examples of the power of two: DaVinci and Michelangelo, Microsoft and Apple, Coke and Pepsi, etc. It doesn’t always have to be a polite relationship; competition can be great for innovation.

And of course, the most famous example: “behind every great man is a great woman”.

Whatever you’re up to, whether it’s running a race, giving a speech, going for a promotion, a new job, etc. enlist a coach, a mentor, someone to do it with you or an awesome friend who won’t let you get away with “good enough”.

Whatever  it takes, utilize the power of two and watch your life change exponentially.


p.s. You may be wondering about  Edmund and Joy? There’s no question Edmund is king and they still harass each other, just in a playful, great friends manner.

Joy relaxing on the couch.

Outrageous Ollie

There goes your pet deposit!! I laughed as Ollie scaled the screen door a fourth time and attempted to climb on top of the vertical blinds. Stuck to the door like Velcro, he could be removed, but within a few minutes he was at it again. The screen wasn’t ripped, but it was showing many signs of cat climbing history.

Ollie is a young cat with tons of energy and the screen is just the beginning. Place your sunglasses and keys on the counter and he’ll knock them on the floor in short order. Every day the stuffed Sand hill Crane mysteriously makes its way from the safe haven atop the bed to the living room floor. It must be learning to fly…..

Ollie loves to read books and gladly enjoys showing you his favorites by pushing them onto the floor. Then he’ll hide behind the bookcase while you put them back. Just when you’re done, Bam! He’ll push them out again.

The entire world is his playground and if you can’t find something, it’s not your memory going bad, it’s Ollie. It’s probably on the floor, under the couch, or down the hall. If it’s not tied down, he’ll move it, knock it over, or drag it out into the living room. Returning home often reveals a disheveled trail of miscellaneous items strewn across the floor.

The other night I heard a mysterious thump. Oops… I had left the door open to the laundry room and he ended up in that tiny space between the dryer and the wall. Stuck, in the corner, he just stared out between the dryer and door. I moved the dryer, unhinged the folding door and out he bounded. It’s a good thing that happened when I was here I said to myself.

Guess what happened the next day? Yep….I left the door open again and he ended up trapped again and fortunately I was there in short order. I’m not sure which one of us was worse; me for forgetting to close the door or him for jumping in there again.

The other evening, as he came tearing around the living room corner at full speed (again!), I was reminded of how much fun he was having. He lives it up regardless of day or night! No spoon, fork, TV remote, stuffed animal, magazine, car keys, bag, etc. is left unturned.

At times it’s almost annoying, like when he hurdles over the chair while I’m typing, but hey why not? When’s the last time we were carefree and had so much fun that we were annoying?

Hmmm……it’s too quiet in here; I’m going to knock some papers off someone’s desk…….