It was such a bad vacation I have mostly blocked it out. I do remember it was the year I decided to stay home and work on a novel.

Well, you can't just sit there and write all day, you know. So you get up and roam about the house. And pretty soon you're helping to paint the kitchen.

We were mixing white and yellow for an elegant cream effect. I poured a half gallon of white into a basin so I could mix the rest in the original can. Then I stood up to fetch the yellow.

The cat slithered underfoot. I stepped aside to avoid her. My toe clipped the edge of the basin, flipping it. A half gallon of white paint washed smoothly across the kitchen floor, a miniature tidal wave. I yelled. The cat ran out of the room. Followed by her six kittens. Through the paint. Onto the wall-to-wall carpet. Into the dining room. Into the living room. Into the bedroom. Up onto the bed. Little white spots.

Let's see: Seven cats times four feet is 28 white spots per step. We got most of them cleaned up by the end of my week.

The very next night we were just getting off to sleep when the cat jumped in through the window and deposited a dead five-foot snake on the bed.

No, that was another cat. I never finished the novel