Want to know what I did yesterday?Â Of course you do.Â You got up this morning thinking, “What did Karen do yesterday?”Â All right then!Â Stop twisting my arm!Â Ow!
This is what I did:
1.Â Spent $100 at vet for thick white fluid in small bottles meant to be handily squirted into cat’s mouth twice a day, and also for an entire case of prescription canned cat food that of course looks and smells identical to regular cat food but costs four times as much.
2.Â Chased Blood-Dripping Peeing Razor Blades in Inappropriate Places Cat around the house in a vain attempt to deter said cat from leaving bright red spots on the rented carpet whenever he headed purposefully for a corner.
3.Â Told landlord, “Sure, bring someone over tomorrow to have a look at buying the place!Â What do I care!”
4.Â Ran around insanely throwing things into drawers and closets.Â Looked at said rented carpet with loathing.Â If I issue them green glasses at the door, the green will cancel out any red they see, right?
5.Â Met with patchouli-scented petsitter who will happily inject said cat’s mouth with said white cat-fluid twice a day (for a fee) while I am away later this week and next, since I know damn well that 12-year-old boys will not.Â At least not the one I know.
6.Â Taxes!Â Something about taxes!
7.Â Regretted not having sent in those estimated self-employment tax payments all last year.
8.Â Work.Â Because “working from home” means, uh, working.Â From home.Â However to the unaided eye, “work” can look an awful lot like “doing something on a computer.”Â So I’ll clear that up and just say I spent 3 hours at work.
9.Â Painfully swallowed more than 4,600,000 times.Â Because someone came in the night and filled my throatÂ full of shards of glass and strep-laden steel wool.
Eric has Scarlet Fever.
He wasn’t quite himself over the weekend, choosing to nap some and whine a lot. Wasn’t particularly hungry either though he asked for snacks constantly. No fever. I’ve seen sicker. Though he was sporting a nice red rash all over. If this is Scarlet Fever then no biggie. The Ex took him to the doctor today and he was duly swabbed and dosed for strep, and strep + rash = Scarlet Fever.
My throat hurts just writing this.
However! You know I’ve been writing over at Workitmom for awhile, and the whole experience got a lot more fun a few weeks ago when Karen Rani of Karen Sugarpants joined and made us all in awe of her marathon training. I kid you not! I have such a crush now. Though I admit I had to get over the whole “Karen R. and Karen M.” thing. I thought I left that behind in like 4th grade, where there were FOUR Karens in my class and I swore I would rename myself to something better REALLY SOON.
(I am still open to suggestions. Please add yours.)
But hey! Workitmom is celebrating the big Oh-One and there are contests! And prizes! (More appropriately referred to as the Birthday Bash Giveaway!) And did I mention PRIZES??! I’m thrilled to be a part of this great community resource for working women. Really! Go see!
Also: (bad segue? You be the judge) Ass Cork Cat, now known as Blood-Dripping Peeing Apparent Razor Blades In Inappropriate Places Cat, is also on antibiotics. Guess how much fun it is to dose a cat with that?
It’s been, let’s see, 8 minutes so far.
Nathaniel stayed home today. He coughs; it hurts. I would love snapping a photo of him in his pre-cough mode, bracing himself against an inevitable uncomfortable experience, face contorted, tongue out, body held in tense suspension, but he would likely object. I am pretty sure he has tuberculosis/bronchitis/a rampant imagination, one of those.
There. I have discovered the speakerphone button on this phone. That helps, since it’s awkward typing (using my 2-3 fingers) while also holding a phone pinned between my ear and shoulder.
At least I have Rufus Wainwright to keep me company. Hold-music has improved. It could be worse.
Hey! They picked up! I almost told the nurse I was too busy blogging to talk to her, could she call back at a more convenient time? But no, never mind. I can talk (speakerphone) AND type. They will squeeze us in at 7:10 tonight. Yes! The wonderful U.S. healthcare system. Don’t get me started, but hey, at least we don’t have to wait 6 months like they tell us the Canadians have to do (yes, yes, I know that’s one of the many myths we Americans are subject to about Canadian healthcare, and oh, is this my first foray into anything remotely political on this blog? why yes it is. huh.), so I’d better count my blessings and be grateful.
Okay! On to more important things…
Someone (Eric, the self-appointed door-closer) closed Nathaniel’s bedroom door yesterday morning at some point. Early in the afternoon I heard faint muffled meowing and realized I hadn’t seen the cat in awhile. I could see black feet through the space between the bottom of the door and the floor. When I let him out, he was incredibly friendly and almost seemed…grateful. Gratitude is not a normal state for cats. Ego told me that not only was he grateful but that he missed us! Look at him! He’s purring and rubbing himself all over; he definitely loves me!
Yeah. Well. He’s also a cat. I should not forget that. Cats are in it for the cats, and that’s all. Everything else is an illusion. Remember this.
At 10 pm Nathaniel dragged himself to bed after finishing his homework (which had been pushed back in the schedule due to some important computer-game-playing and blog-reading), trying not to cough. Shortly he was back down. That’s when we found out the True Nature of Cat Behind Closed Door.
“Shadow pooped on my bed.”
At 10 pm, all I could do was suggest a different blanket, throw a sheet over everything, and wonder why Nathaniel never noticed it all afternoon/evening when he was resting, sick, on his bed and playing said computer games/reading. And I could make this helpful observation:
“At least it’s a dry poop.”
No! I haven’t forgotten you. How could I, since you’re my favorite?
Oh! I have to report that Baby Island is a genius and I am now drinking coffee that decidedly does not taste like ass. Whatever that tastes like. Let’s not discuss it. Mike, I will hit you up next on your offer/suggestion.
After a brilliant springish day yesterday followed by another cloudier but still look! I’m not wearing a coat! day today, it’s obviously raining cats and dogs right now. Mostly cats.
Which is obviously a segue into today’s topic: baby cat.
After Nacho’s untimely demise only a few short weeks ago, his brother Shadow’s transformation from fuck-you-I-don’t-need-nobody, to a lap! can I sit on your lap? huh? now? huh? has been amazing. Where he used to largely ignore us, now he follows us from room to room, often bounding across the room like a big ungainly cat-dog. badumbadumbadumbadum.
And he loves to play. Often at 3 am! (Hey! People! Wake up, look what I brought you! Legos! Oh, and a ponytail thingie! And an acorn cap! C’mon, what’s wrong with you? Let’s play!) But the string-on-a-stick is his favorite. He was kind of awkward at first but now he jumps a good three feet high, twisting to miss hitting his head on the edge of the coffee table I lured him just slightly too close to just so I can watch him avoid it. Fun! And he’ll get the toy out of Eric’s toy basket, too, dragging it out and then looking at us pointedly.
But the oddest thing is Baby Cat.
It always used to set my teeth on edge watching people carry cats around like babies, helplessly on their backs in someone’s arms, their paws in the air. Surely no self-respecting cat would allow such treatment!
That’s where I was wrong.
Matthew started it. But when I saw him carrying Shadow around like that I was sure Shad would be growling (often he growls just to growl, weirdly).
“No, he likes it. Look!” Matthew said while walking Shadow around the house. Indeed, Shad looked up and around him, interested in everything, his tail flipping happily. Baby Cat.
“Dude, this is awesome. Stellar. You people’ve been holding out on me! Why didn’t you tell me everything looks different upside down! Hey! Do that thing again where it’s all shiny!” and then Matthew would take him into the bathroom where Shad would look all around him, in a whole new world. “Fuckin-A, dudes, this is intense!” and he’d relax into Matthew’s arms, enjoying the show.
That is so weird. I’m not sure Shadow is fully 100% cat, actually. Must be some dog in there. He fetches, too, but only the tire off a toy vehicle and not on command.Â We’re working on it.
I know, know. I’m getting reckless now with this posting-two-days-in-a-row thing. Setting a precedent. And guess what I am going to talk about? Why yes, cycling and cats, two topics that never fail to
put you to sleep entertain.
First, though, I have to tell you I have become an entrepreneur. I can use that word because Nathaniel asked me what it meant yesterday and I advised him to go look it up in a dictionary (as if we owned one, because they are completely free online anymore but lack the heft and satisfaction from leafing through those onionskin pages devouring all the words known to man), which is completely ironic because that (“go look it up!”) was one of the phrases I hated hearing most while growing up, and he told me he didn’t want to because my definitions were always better. So I am smarterer than a dictionary! Which totally means I can use the big words now. So watch out, people!
Yeah. So I’m an entrepreneur. This is partially because, you know, the cash flow isn’t flowing the way it was. So I am selling off my
kids stuff. Plus, I have too much stuff anyway and it’s time to consolidate. You would think that 2 cross-country moves in a year would have that effect, but no, at some point everybody just throws stuff into boxes and it gets moved anyway, and you wonder later why you just opened a box containing a carefully packed wastebasket. Still with trash in it.
So, want to know about my new business? Well, “business” is maybe a stretch but hey, if Amazon thinks I’m a professional, then there you go. And it involves printing out stuff and packing tape and mailing stuff and (eventually) some money might change hands and I will have fewer books about knitting to look longingly at there on the shelf. And I will have more shelf space and will RESIST THE TEMPTATION to buy more books.
Also I have some books on paganism. And energy work. I am serious! It all goes.
So. Today is became spring here, which means I got on the bike for the first time in awhile. I am happy to report that Horse Penis Hill isn’t nearly as daunting as it was a year ago, which means I haven’t lost it after three months of not riding. Oh, but I do have bad news. First, lungs still should not itch. This is just plain wrong. Why is there evil pollen in the air in the beginning of March? This cannot be a good thing. Second, there is about 10 pounds less to my ass than there was last summer and it is 10 pounds more bony. Which doesn’t, er, sit well with me, not on the bike. Ouch. I may be feeling this tomorrow.
This was going to be about cats. But like a cat, I am capricious. Plus, I had better save a topic for tomorrow. So tomorrow you will find out why we call him “baby cat.”
I don’t recommend trying to be this.Â It will wear you down to a nub in no time, maybe years, but a nub nevertheless.
Feeling rather nubbish myself these days.
At least, this very minute.Â Ask me again later and I’m sure it will pass.Â Things do.
Shadow, the remianing cat, seems happy that there’s an available lap for him for a change.Â He’s been looking for someone to play with, though.Â He plays a bit rough (though knows what to do with claws) and last time I checked I’m not a cat, which seems to puzzle him.Â Shadow is easily puzzled, actually, a cat of a lot of fur and (evidently) little brain.Â But he’s a gorgeous cat with a penchant of entering any open door without stopping to look at what’s in there.
Eric has confused his nose with a faucet.Â Serena’s doll had a party and served Pez (the pink ones taste like ass).Â Nathaniel got a haircut, several of them actually (harhar)Â and
procrastinated blogged a lot.
And that was the weekend.
You were the sleek one. I called you that because your brother, having all the fur and an elegant waving fluffy tail, was showier and I had to give you something.
You both hid for days after you first came home, just over a year ago. Here you are under the Ikea TV cabinet, which is where you two spent a lot of time at first. That’s you on the left.
Still, you were the inquisitive one. For months, every time I opened the refrigerator, you’d be there. Uh, in it.
You also found a hole under the kitchen cabinets, and I was afraid you’d get stuck in there. You didn’t. You also liked licking moisture out of the dishwasher every time I opened it. Whatever. We all have our eccentricities.
You and your brother Shadow had a love-hate relationship. Many a night I had to pick you both up under one arm and toss you out of the bedroom and shut the door because you thought it was playtime. The two of you would run from one end of the house to the other, over furniture, over people, up the steps and down, leaping down four stairs to the bottom, skidding a little on the wood floor below.
Shadow beat up on you a bit, eventually becoming bigger and faster than you. It didn’t matter, though, you loved him anyway. I think. But you tell me; were you enjoying this?
Yeah. No. Didn’t think so. You guys never really curled up together, not after you grew out of kittenhood anyway, and even then not often, although you did it here. I notice you’re not on top.
Typical. Like I said, you got beat up on a LOT.
Mostly, though, you were on my lap. Every time I sat down at the computer, you’d run and jump onto my lap, using all your claws. No one ever taught you proper Claw Etiquette, and I have the holes in my legs, 4,855,231 of them, to prove it.
Was it love? You never gazed up at me with those adoring half-drunk-with-love kitty eyes I have seen on other furry faces, but you did purr every time you jumped up near me. You purred a LOT. And loudly. I like a cat who’s not afraid to purr like that; you could teach your brother a thing or two about purring. I especially liked the purring at night when you curled up next to me, which is where you slept without fail.
I was your person.
But then you got sick, and with the sick came neediness. You couldn’t get warm enough, and you crept under the covers, under sweaters. Waiting. We renamed you Ninja, hoping it would bring out your Inner Panther, and you liked it for a few days. But you were already sick, and a new name wasn’t going to be enough.
Yesterday we had the fire on in the livingroom and your stretched out in front of it, looking the most comfortable I’d seen you in awhile.
And you had a virus that’s not treatable: Feline Infectious Peritonitis.Â Sounds painful, and it looked painful. Your belly filled with a bright-yellow viscous fluid, and you couldn’t eat or drink. It was hard for you to breathe and you could barely walk. Cats who get this usually die quickly, in a few days or weeks.
But you crept right into the cat carrier like you knew where we were going today. You did know.
And it was okay. And they were gentle, and loving. I was still sad to see you go, even though I’ve known all week where you were headed, that you wouldn’t be getting better.
This, then, is what I want to remember. Goodbye, Nacho.
Yeah. Well, I don’t have much to report, actually.
Catdeathwatch 2008 is in full effect. Poor Ninja/Nacho has lost bladder control (on my bed, thank you, among other places) and hasn’t eaten or drank in, well, awhile. He can barely walk and can’t go up or down steps any more. This morning’s vet visit may well be his last, because his pitiful face is too heartbreaking.
Thanks to all who posted suggestions about my coffee problem.Â This Whole Foods coffee I’m drinking presently is a temporary solution, and I’m reviewing your suggestions carefully.Â You can’t overlook the importance that these types of vices play in our lives.
So, you know, the transformation stuff.Â It’s been an intense week, rather.Â Things feel actually quite wonderful just now, and I’m hesitant to step off the conveyor belt again into transformationland.Â I’d like to enjoy this feeling of balance for a bit.Â The whole process, this deep inner soul-searching stuff, is as they say like peeling layers off an onion.Â Yeah, except I want to go right to the heart of it, baby!Â Either that or avoid the process entirely, can I do that?
Things I learned this week (that I already knew but had somehow forgotten):
1.Â I always have a choice.Â Woo hoo!
2.Â Um, refer to #1.
3.Â What I see about myself isn’t necessarily the way other people see me.
4. I always have the answers.Â Even when I can’t seem to find them.
There! Wasn’t that fun?
I will leave you with a story:
When I was 3 we lived in a 2-story house in a smallish town in the East Bay Area.Â We had moved there from southern CA, not that I remember much of that place.Â The new house had STAIRS!Â and a playroom where we kept our record player, my brother and I, that played a Smothers Brothers rendition of “Yesterday”.Â True!Â I never heard the music of The Beatles AT ALL until late in high school.Â Where was I?
Anyway.Â The new house had STAIRS (did I mention it had stairs?).Â And we’d relax after a hard day of whatever-it-was we did by watching Batman on TV, the campy version with POW! and ZING!, while dinner magically cooked itself in the kitchen or wherever,Â licking peanut butter off a spoon.
And on good days I’d get someone to fasten Blankie around my shoulders with a big fat safety pin and I could be Robin, flying around the house and hiding from Batman or some Bad Guys under my crib.Â Why didn’t I have a bed?Â I was like three!
And once our cat Lucky, who wasn’t very, got sick or had an accident or something, and he came home from the vet and I SWEAR TO YOU this cat had polka dots.Â Most of his normally black fur was gone, and instead he was white skin and red blood.Â Polka dots.Â I remember this CLEARLY, so I know it happened.Â No one else remembers this.
There’s a situation here.
It’s more than the Ass Cork Cat: with the purchase of a bag of food costing approximately one rent payment, he’s fine now. Sure, he has to eat this crap for the rest of his life in order to avoid the formation of urinary crystals that apparently feel like peeing knives, but aside from his chagrin at eating The Same Food All The Time, he’s fine. Never better. Fluffy, playing at all hours of the night, fat and happy.
The problem is now his brother, who last month was the picture of sleekness and health while Ass Cork got all scruffy and ungroomed while peeing apparent knives. The brother, never a truly happy cat and always the one who would creep slowly up onto a lap as if he didn’t deserve to be there and would probably be kicked off in a minute anyway, is now doing quite poorly.
The once-sleek black fur is oily and matted. His backbone is painfully evident while his belly is distended. It’s not worms. It’s sadness, and that’s not something curable. Could be a tumor, too, who knows?
And this is the problem. I know that cats have a different view of life than people do. Hell, I know that I have a different view of life than most people. Cats don’t fear death, aren’t bothered by it. But part of me says I should be doing something more for this cat, this cat who has spent countless hours on my lap, who has dug countless holes in my legs with his claws that no one ever taught him were supposed to be sheathed, who has lived his life in fear and uncertainty, even when in a home of love and stability.
I can’t fix him, this traumatized cat. Love won’t fix him, hasn’t fixed him. The vet can do lots of expensive tests for all sorts of things but there is nothing apparent to test for other than a case of sadness. He won’t eat much (though enjoyed some chicken livers just now). He can’t seem to get warm enough, and possesses heat-seeking capabilities. But I no longer want him on my lap. It feels like he wants something, desperately wants something from me, something I can’t provide. It’s like he’s trying to suck my soul out through my lap and I don’t like how it feels. So I push him off, gently, and he looks even more defeated, more sad.
I wish he would die, this cat. He’s sad and I can’t fix him. I love him and it hurts me. I can’t fix him.
Yes folks, it’s time for another refreshing round of Cat Quirks, the party game anyone can play. Tonight’s contestants: Shadow (the black one), and Nacho (the black one). Let’s hear it for tonight’s contestants, shall we?
They can hear you clapping, you know. Or rather, NOT clapping (because you don’t think you have to). Cats have really really really good hearing.
I’m serious! They totally can tell!
What, you don’t believe me? Okay, listen to this, then:
See? My cats TOTALLY heard that. And you didn’t, right? See???
Okay, whatever. Just don’t think they won’t remember this. But let’s get started anyway.
Oh. What? The object of the game? Right. Okay. I’m going to name some quirks, and all you have to do is guess which cat has the quirk. Easy!
1. WHICH CAT THINKS HE IS A DOG?
2. WHICH CAT THINKS HE IS A GROUNDHOG? OR SOME FREAKISH BURROWING ANIMAL?
3. WHICH CAT WEIGHS TWICE THE OTHER, YET THEY ARE BROTHERS?
4. WHICH CAT DID WE RECENTLY RENAME “NINJA”, BUT IT DIDN’T HELP?
5. WHICH CAT HAS A PERSONAL “ZEN ROOM”?
All right, then! Let’s tally up the scores, shall we? Consult the answer key to see how you did:
If you pretend you’re holding something in your hand that looks like a cat toy and then pretend to throw it, Shadow will run after it, looking for the thing you never threw. We have lots of fun at his expense this way.
Some cats just like it under the covers. Or under sweaters. Or just under.
It’s not just fur, either.
We thought giving him a more catly name rather than something covered with melted cheese would help bring out his inner panther. It hasn’t.
Open a door, any door, and Shadow will run in. Garage? Basement? There he goes! Gallumph gallumph gallumph. Linen closet? (Close the door, I’m meditating.)
1-2 correct: Give it up. You might as well be barking.
3-4 correct: Fish tonight? Or liver?
5 correct: I thought cats couldn’t type! Shadow! Get off my keyboard!