Leo the Cat had been waiting for this day for a long time.
“Meow! Finally, some alone time at home again!” As nice as the holidays had been, at some point, a cat needs some peace. Especially if they have a plan in mind.
Leo had a plan and was looking forward to today’s project. He wanted to build a birdhouse. After hearing a story his Grandpa Benjamin told at Christmas, Leo decided he wanted to do something good. He was going to build a bird house for the garden.
Leo liked that he would be able to comfortably watch the birds up close from his favorite, warm windowsill.
“I will never be bored again and the birds will always have something to eat!” he thought.
As soon as his family left the house to go back to work, the cat stretched and took a deep breath.
“Now I can finally get started, meow. First I will go to the basement to see if I can find the tools and materials I need,” he thought.
He quickly went down the stairs. Luckily, he found a slightly open door to the basement workshop.
Leo liked being in the workshop because it smelled pleasantly of wood and was cozy and warm. Whenever he got bored, he came down to watch his dad repair or design something out of wood.
The loud noise from the drilling and milling machines was hard on Leo’s sensitive ears. He would disappear when they came on and only come back around the corner when the noise had stopped.
His dad often said, “Leo, you’re so attentive, you’d think you were trying to learn how all this works!” Then he would wink at the cat.
Now Leo was going to try it out on his own.
“Maybe I should make a drawing first, so I have a plan to work from,” he thought briefly. “Nah, I can do it without a plan! I’m sure it won’t be that complicated. Meow!”
He looked around and found the wood he needed stacked in the corner of the workshop. “Next, I need nails, a hammer, and a saw, of course. Hmm… oh yes, a folding rule wouldn’t be a bad idea either. Where is it?” Leo thought.
He jumped onto the workbench and searched through all the supplies. But he couldn’t find the folding rule anywhere.
“Well, I can manage without it,” the cat thought to himself and began to work with the wood. The three logs that Leo was using as a frame for the feeding area were all different lengths.
“That’s what a saw is for,” Leo thought. He began to cut one log after another with the saw.
But once Leo had cut each piece, they were still different lengths. He placed them side by side, then one on top of the other, sawing a little here and a little there to even them out.
Once he thought they were good enough, he tried to set them up in a triangle and connect them with a wire. But they kept tumbling to the ground and rolling in all directions.
“Meow, this is exhausting! It sure would be useful to have a helper to hold these pieces,” the cat grumbled. He decided to start on the feed plate and roof and come back to the frame.
He picked out the pieces of wood, grabbed the hammer and started looking for the nails to hold the pieces together.
Still holding the supplies, Leo jumped onto the workbench, but the heavy hammer knocked him off balance and he crashed into the shelf where the nails and screws were neatly sorted.
“Oh no!” he thought as they fell, scattering over the workbench and onto the basement floor.
The cat kept his cool. With the nails scattered like this, he could easily grab the ones he needed. He began to hammer.
“Ouch! That was my paw.” He licked the wound briefly and discovered a drop of blood. The cat sprinted upstairs, got a bandage and stuck it on the small injury. Then he dashed back downstairs.
“It doesn’t hurt at all anymore,” he rejoiced, feeling a bit proud.
Even though Leo kept missing the nail, he hammered tirelessly. The nails were crooked and slanted, but they held the pieces of wood together.
“Dad makes it look so easy!” Leo thought to himself. “But for my first birdhouse, it looks pretty good!”
He looked over his work and was pleased with the results. The fact that the pieces weren’t exactly the same length didn’t bother Leo at all, so he was sure the birds wouldn’t care either. The most important thing was that the feeding area was covered.
Now only the stubborn frame was left. He brought the spool of wire back up to the workbench and wrapped it around the three logs until it was tight enough and looked reasonably stable.
The cat put the two parts of the birdhouse together with the last of his strength. It wobbled dangerously, but it stood! Only now he was exhausted and he still had more to do.
“Oh dear,” thought Leo. “I think that’s enough for today. Just a quick bit of tidying up and I’ll finish tomorrow.”
Just then, he realized that he hadn’t even thought about how to get the finished structure up the stairs and into the garden.
Forgetting all about tidying up, he trotted up the stairs to his basket to think of a solution. A short time later, his family came home.
They greeted Leo and started their evening ritual of eating supper and getting cozy on the couch. At least that was the usual routine. But not today!
Of all days! The back of a chair had become loose and Leo’s dad decided it was best to fix it immediately. As he made his way toward the basement workshop with the chair, Leo tried to stop him by jumping up and scurrying around his dad’s legs.
“What’s with you, Leo? You want to come watch? Well, come on then!” he said to the cat.
Leo felt queasy. He wanted to explain the mess in the workshop, but all that came out was a quiet meow.
When Leo’s dad opened the basement door, he looked surprised to see the wobbly bird house and mess on the floor.
He called upstairs to his wife, “Say, did Grandpa Benjamin mention that he was building a birdhouse with the kids over the holidays? It seems he might not have had time to finish it. There’s a bit of a, uh, mess down here.”
Luckily, Leo’s mom also thought it was Grandpa’s mess. “He quite likes to tinker around down there. He didn’t tell me about it, though. Would you mind hanging it up in the garden? I’m sure the birds would love some food,” she said.
“Whew, that was lucky!” thought Leo. Now he didn’t need to worry about how to get the birdhouse into the garden.
He went back upstairs thinking about how great his family is and fell blissfully asleep.