My biggest fear is that something startles Mirf and he runs to safety ending up lost. I have seen GPS trackers suitable for dogs not for cats due to their size because of the battery. The Apple Air Tags are okay, but they have to be detected by an iPhone or iPad within Bluetooth distance. I have embedded an Air Tag in his harness and his toy that I call his mouse. I started with the Air Tags since they were readily available and continued to search for a better solution. After researching numerous solutions, I chose a company called Tractive. Tractive offers a waterproof miniature cellular GPS tracker that attaches to the harness or collar and has a maximum battery life of 5 days. Tractive also offers additional services like health and activity monitoring, the ability to create geofencing so you can receive notifications if the tracker moves outside the geofence. (Geofencing is an invisible virtual fence assigned to a geographic location that the tracker will recognize.) The tracker cost $50, and the service is subscription based similar to your normal cell phone service. There are limited and premium plans with monthly or annual fees. I chose to go with the Premium plan with the five-year service option for $300. With the ability to give others access to the device online or on their phone I am able to allow my wife and stage assistant access to Mirf's location. I feel much better about traveling with Mirf now. I also have the ability to make his location public for specified periods of time. I am considering creating a Mirf fan club with one of the benefits being that you can locate Mirf on your cell phone during festival hours to make it easier to find us and see our show.
Our next venue is Sterlini Theatre in Colon, MI the first 3 Saturdays in July. This was a lot of fun and really good practice for Mirf and I. The Sterlini's and I hesitantly entered into this performance agreement because John Sterlini is allergic to cats. After meeting Mirf, the Sterlini's wanted to showcase us while Jay Blackwell who normally does the Saturday matinee was on tour for the month of July. The shows were a lot of fun. The first show was lightly attended, people really didn't know what to expect. The second show was well attended, while not sold out we had a good crowd. However, we shot ourselves in the foot (paw) because John had done so well with Mirf the first show he was allowed to run around the theatre before and after the second show. He mostly lounged in the theatre on a couple of the chairs as we chatted while jamming different routines. Everyone was having a great time while Mirf had wandered off exploring props backstage and eventually found the stairway that led up to the apartment above the theatre where they live. When I noticed Mirf was missing and started to look for him, Tamara Sterlini went upstairs and found Mirf in their apartment with their dog trapped under their dining room table. Tam scolded Mirf and he came back downstairs where I then tethered him while I started cleaning up and getting ready to head home. I received a message from John at 11:30PM letting me know the third show needed to be cancelled. He had a really bad reaction to Mirf and almost went to the hospital. With Magic week being only a week and a half away he couldn't take the chance of being down during Abbott's Get Together. The two shows were great, they still love Mirf, but we need to keep John and Mirf separated for health reasons.
Magic Week in Colon is something special. For me, it's my annual vacation. I get to see people I only see once a year and it's also a networking event. I have met so many people who attend magic week that have helped me over the years since I started this crazy business in entertainment. This year was different than all the others. Mirf and I were booked to do a show on the streets of Colon on Wednesday and Saturday for the locals and attendees of Abbott's 85th Get Together. Normally I pay to attend, this year I would get paid to attend. When I go to the Get Together, I arrive the day before it starts and stay all week leaving the day after the finale. I pay a fee to park my trailer at the Colon High School, plug my trailer into the bus garage and use the gymnasium locker room for shower and bathroom. Basically, its camping in the parking lot of the school where all the stage shows take place. Taking Mirf with me posed some challenges as there are times that it would not be appropriate to bring him with me to events at people's houses or the shows at the school. I am not comfortable leaving him in the trailer unattended because it's the first week of August and if the power went out for some reason turning off the air conditioning, he would be at risk of dying of heat exhaustion or heat stroke and I will not have that. O I am currently researching remote temperature monitoring solutions but until I do, he will never be left alone in that type of situation. There is one that I '
am considering that works similar to the Tractive GPS unit only it monitors temperature, more research is required. This year Mirf stayed home except for the times that he would be performing. I'm lucky, Parma Twp where I live is only about an hour from Colon, so my super supportive accommodating wife Tracy offered to bring Mirf up 1 hour before the show and take him back home afterwards. I am so lucky to have such a supportive spouse, Tracy is the best.
Performing on the streets was awesome. Tracy showed up with Mirf right on schedule both days. It was a simple show. I performed a rope routine, a ring routine, a card trick with Mirf, a cup and ball routine and closed with my four-card tear trick. We had a great time performing, people were amazed at Mirf's training and temperament. Mirf did his card trick perfectly, it goes like this: I ask a volunteer to think of a card while a sift through the deck and select a card. I hold the card up and ask what card they're thinking of. Saturday's show the lady named the queen of hearts that I was holding in my hand. It was awesome, but that is not the trick. I took it as a bonus and had the spectator sign the card. I then showed the audience the signed card, allowed the volunteer where to put the card back into the deck then hand the deck to the volunteer and have them shuffle it as many times as they would like. When the volunteer hands the deck back to me, I fan spread the deck in front of Mirf and he pulls the volunteers card out of the deck with his teeth. On this occasion, Mirf did his part flawlessly, he grabbed that card out of the deck and threw it down on the tabletop in front of the spectator who about lost her mind. People loved the show, when I passed the hat for tips the audience filled it up with money. They were fun shows with great crowds, what an awesome time we had.
Once Abbott's Get Together concluded I packed up normally and headed home. When I arrived at home Mirf was sitting in the window waiting for me. I had not realized that when I left for the Get Together without Mirf it would be the first time since he came home that we were not together overnight. Tracy told me that he looked for me, cried for me and spent a lot of time in the window waiting for me to come home. I need to find a solid remote temperature monitoring solution so he can go to the Get Together with me next year as we have already been told that we are wanted again next year. I could get into having a regular paid vacation annually. August 12th is Mirf's 1st birthday, as I sit and contemplate the last 10 months since he came home, I can say it's been worth every minute and expense.
In the next episode I will write about how Mirf's almost died and his final test, the Michigan Renaissance Festival.