And Then There Was One

My cat died today.

I don’t know what to write.

I’ve been trying for weeks to compose an appropriate goodbye post for the cat we lost in September, and now this.  I am overwhelmed.

I can’t think about either of them without a huge lump in my throat and water in my eyes.

It’s hard to type.

Rusty and Poupon.

My babies.

Dear Rusty,

A few months ago, you walked out into the yard as a seemingly healthy cat.  When you came back inside, you started sneezing and you really never stopped.

You got sick.  Maybe there was cancer growing inside you for years.  We will never know for sure.  All those diagnostic tests, and we never got an answer.

None of the medicine worked.  You couldn’t keep the liquids in your stomach.  The pills made you gag.  The shots had no effect.

You got i.v. fluids and oxygen too, but nothing helped.  You declined quickly.

In mid-September, we took you to the vet to have you euthanized.

It was one of the most difficult decisions we’ve ever made, but your breathing was labored, you had lost four pounds, and your energy was sapped.  It was time and we knew it.

Today, I feel relieved that you aren’t suffering, but watching you in those last few minutes was a heartbreak I can barely stand to think of, much less communicate here.

You were a big cat – tall, muscular, imposing – over sixteen pounds in your prime.  You were once a graceful and merciless hunter, catching birds in our small backyard whenever we let you out for a minute.

As you aged, you were still keen on the low slink through the grass to get a butterfly or lizard, but you generally did a lazy flop in the sun just short of your target.  Too much trouble when there’s a plate of Friskie’s just inside the door, I guess.

We got you and your brother over ten years ago, when I was pregnant with our son.  You were my faithful companion then.  We spent hours together, curled into the corner of our fat blue couch, waiting for the baby.  You seemed to know that I felt sick to my stomach and a little bit sad most of the time.  You fit perfectly in the crook of my arm.

You were such a comfort to me then – more than I was to you those last few weeks, I’m afraid.  I am sorry for that.  You should have had a fat blue couch and a fat blue mama to comfort your weary body around the clock.  I sat with you as much as I could, but life interrupted a lot.

Your brother and Poupon seemed to know you had something scary.  They really wouldn’t get too close to you in the final days.  Just typing that makes me so incredibly sad.  You deserved more from all three of us.  You really did.

I loved you, Rusty.  I hope you are healthy and happy somewhere now.

Dear Poupon,

Today was difficult.  I took you to the vet and got confirmation of what I already knew.  I had to let you go.  I held you for a while and I said goodbye.  I cried and I watched as the doctor administered the overdose of medication that would end your life.

I had no husband or friend beside me this time, but it seemed appropriate that I didn’t.  You were a gracious, independent lady of great strength, and I know I am meant to carry that legacy on your behalf.

I was just thirty when you tumbled into my life.  You were a fluffy, flea-covered kitten, abandoned and crying in a nearby yard.  My neighbor came around with you in her arms and asked us all if we knew where you belonged.  She even posted signs and placed an ad, but no one claimed you.  I was smitten.

For a few years, you played second fiddle to a smart Russian Blue named Shadow.  When she passed away, you moved elegantly into her place.

You were a funny girl, my Fairy Princess.  You used to wait outside the shower door to rub your flyaway fur all over our wet legs when we emerged.  You used to chase things that weren’t there and occasionally, you walked into a room and flopped your Rubenesque figure right upside down with your feet in the air.  You stayed like that for long minutes, daring the boys to come anywhere near you.  And you chortled.

I’ve grown up with you, my friend.  What will I do without the sound of your sweet voice and the clicking of your silly toenails on the tile floor?  You were a ballerina.  A big, fat, beautiful gray ballerina and I will miss you so very much.  I love you, Pou.

 

♥♥

Animals I Love

The Mellowest Cat Ever

I love him because he playfully grabbed my fingers and purred at me like we were old friends, just sitting on the floor of our living room.

But we were at Home Depot, he was in a shopping cart, and I was a stranger.

I might have stolen him…

if his owner hadn’t been so sweet and funny and obviously smitten with her little feline friend.  She told me that Kitty is easier to shop with than her children were when they were young.

Good Kitty!

Llamas & Rabbits

My son and I love the Llama Llama books by Anna Dewdney.

We have three and can’t wait to get the others.

Dewdney’s latest is on the right – Llama Llama Home With Mama.

Here is a sneak peek at one of her charming new illustrations – hope I don’t get in trouble for sharing!

You can’t read this title online as yet, but you can peruse the others with this link to wegivebooks.org.

This site offers a great way to donate books to children who need them, but you don’t have to donate just to look.  Don’t worry if a donation message pops up.  Just click the “x” to finish.  Unless you want to donate!  🙂

While you’re there, check out Nobunny’s Perfect too!  We have only read it online and it’s already another of our favorites.  The bunnies have a few behavioral issues in common with my son.  😐

A Sly Squirrel

I don’t remember where I got this little fellow – maybe a gift from the lovely mom-in-law??

Every year, I forget that he’s in the closet, waiting patiently with the other decorations.

When I open the box and find him inside, I always feel like I’ve bumped into an old friend.

He is my favorite little bit of Fall.  🙂

Happy Monday!

P.S.  Someday soon I’ll post more pictures of the things my son tapes to the walls in our house.  He does it so often that we almost don’t notice anymore.  Almost.

This thing was taped up across from the laundry doors for over a week.  😐  It was really in the way and we never understood exactly what it was, but we left it alone.

What can I say?  The boy loves paper and tape and weird little stuff (just like his mama) and he does everything with such purpose.  If he thinks it needs to be on our wall, then it’s pretty much gonna be on our wall.

♥♥

Just Emptying The Brain

I got a $135 rebate on my new washing machine.

I got a $133 delinquent registration fine on my van.

I want to go back to Pasadena and stay for a long time.  And while I’m away, I want a team of cleaning specialists, carpenters, painters, electricians, and pretty people from HGTV to attack my house.

It’s so depressing to return to an unorganized, inefficient, stressful mess.  I am back to the ever-burning questions – have there really been faded sheets hanging over my windows for the last ten years and why do we have so many wires everywhere?

My fattest boy cat is snoring soooo loud from his perch across the room,

that I keep checking the sweet girl next to me to see if it’s her.  It isn’t.

The little boy slobbered and slurped, then abandoned his Lula Mae spiral sucker on the desk last night.

I have already gotten stuck to it once.

I am sweating.

There is a five dollar Denny’s coupon on my printer.

The cat stopped snoring.  Is he dead?

Last month, the little boy taped a pencil to the wall in our hallway.  It stayed there for almost two weeks and a couple of times, when I threw my dirty laundry down from the landing above, my undies got stuck on the pencil and hung on the wall for over an hour.

While I was gone this weekend, husband blew up every balloon we had.

The child wrote words and drew faces on most of them.

And on this yellow one, he wrote the word “clear.”  Backwards.

We don’t know why.

But for some reason, it’s beautiful to us.  🙂

Meeting a friend soon, so I gotta go.

Happy Tuesday!

♥♥

#14 – Things I sorta already knew…

but learned again this week:

  • If I let the child mix the colors, the cupcakes will have dusky purple frosting and his fingertips will be blue and red for several days.
  • If we get to Pump It Up right when it opens, the little boy will actually tire out and want to go before they make us leave.
  • It’s fun to make popcorn with your kid.
  • No matter how many fights I have with our insurance companies, there is always someone dear to me who is fighting harder and getting less.
  • I am not social with strangers.
  • Despite my best efforts, my default demeanor, facial expression, and/or assumed disposition are NOT sunny and welcoming.
  • I have the best two brothers in the entire world.
  • I want my mom to let me choose her next dog.
  • I love to read good books.  Kindred has surprised me.  It’s not what I expected.  I know the minute I finish the last page, I will seek out Butler’s other works.
  • I don’t like reading dust jackets or forewords or authors’ notes until I finish a book.  I go in blind, and either I’m engaged or I’m not.
  • It’s not possible to find the right loaf pan for my pumpkin bread recipe.
  • Our dishwasher is dying.
  • My son always leaves his fast food toys at the restaurant.  On purpose.
  • If I find a beauty product that I like, they will stop making it or at least stop carrying it anywhere that doesn’t charge $5.00 for shipping.  This goes for cheese too…sigh…Vons hasn’t stocked the Saga classic blue brie since I raved about it to my facebook friends.  And Leerdammer…best cheese ever…I don’t know where to get it locally either.
  • I go through thirft store withdrawals if I don’t get to one of them every few weeks.
  • My oldest cat doesn’t see as well as she used to.  Yes, Poupon, that’s a cat treat on the floor in front of you.
  • The little boy really never tires of his Legos.
  • I really hate carpet next to sinks and showers.  Gross.
  • Our cats shed enough fur to make another cat.
  • I don’t want another cat.  Especially not a fake one crafted from fur off the others.
  • The words “vacation” and “break” can be defined as a period of time in which mothers are required to work harder.
  • Everything really does seem better when you already know when your next chocolate is happening.  🙂

Happy Tuesday!

♥♥

Hodge Podge

The little boy…

got to go to the principal’s office and choose an excellent behavior reward from the goodie box yesterday.  Woohoo!

And this morning, he made it through all of the red traffic lights between our home and the school without one tantrum.  No kicking.  No yelling.  No screaming.  No “water out the eyes.”

I made a deal with him last night.  If he could wait nicely at the lights this morning, I would buy him the brand new twisty light he admires at the store everyday.

Well, kiss my Blarney Stone, he was an angel!  Now his room will be lit with soft green before bedtime.  So appropriate for St. Patrick’s Day!

Traffic School…

I put my certificate of completion in the mail to the court this morning.  Finally!

I sent it certified, return receipt, and signature requested.  I didn’t say “please.”

Aaaah.

Can you hear my deep sigh of relief?

Over.  Done.  Yippee!

Things on the desk in front of me:

empty M&Ms wrapper

advertisement from Cheez-It urging me to vote on their new flavors (The boy likes the Colby cheese variety and says the Romano and Asiago taste like butter.)

half of a broken nail file

a box of Super Mario fruit snacks

Andy, the cast iron Black Sheep (Scroll down to the bottom of the Rose Bowl post to see his picture.)

a large black screw (It looks important, but I don’t know what it came from.  I will probably find out by having a chair break under me or a cupboard door fall off its frame when I open it.)

Gourdy

the bottom half of an old bicycle bell (Husband, do you know where the top half went?)

Smucker’s coupon with recipe for Raspberry Balsamic Glazed Chicken

germ-x

crossword puzzle book

Bustani Plant Farm catalog (Husband LOVES this place.)

a business card for jordan grace owens

lip gloss

a peppermint (No, wait, now there’s just the wrapper. 😀 )

husband’s headset  (When I’m trying to watch “my stories,” he spares me the sounds of combat from Starcrapcraft II.)

a lego man

an aqua lava lamp (husband’s – from college)

J.R. Watkins Shea Butter Lemon Cream (So lovely, lemony and luxurious for hands, elbows & tired tootsies.  They’re not paying me to say that, but I figure if I can get you to like it too, then they’ll keep making it.  Please buy some now.  😀  Thank you.  Oh, and by the way, Leighann, I was wrong.  😳  They just re-named it to “Body Cream” instead of “Hand Cream.”  Thank God and Watkins.)

Cats…

Two of my cats are snoring.

I take that back.

One of my cats is snoring.  But he’s so fat and ill-constructed that he’s making two different noises at the same time.

And fyi – he’s also the one who passes gas.

Easter…

I am obsessed with the $1.49 ceramic egg cups at the grocery store.  No one buys them.  Except for me.  🙂

I hate eggs, but I love those little cups in all their pastel hues.  I have six.  I want more.

They have some with polka dots too, but I haven’t brought home any of those.  Yet.

I don’t know why I like them so.  Or maybe I do…

They’re little.  That’s a plus.

They’re sweet.  Double Plus.

They’re whimsical.  Major plus.

They’re affordable.  Well, they are, until you start buying them in bulk.  Truly I haven’t.  Yet.

This is really just an occasional indulgence.  I started getting them last year.

But remember, I’m in the store everyday with the boy.

He likes light bulbs.  I like egg cups.

The obsessive compulsive-ish-osity-ness never falls far from the tree?

Oh, and thank you to Carol, who long ago gave me the Easter Chick tea light candles.  ♥  I love them!

Okay, that’s it.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

♣♣

I Don’t Think He’s An Armadillo

I went to Kobey’s Swap Meet on Saturday.  I hadn’t been to it in a couple of years.

I knew it couldn’t hold a candle to the amazing Rose Bowl Flea Market where I went a few weeks ago, but I was unprepared for one of the bigger differences between the two.

Kobey’s is a weekly neighborhood swap meet.  Obviously, it’s much less expensive to get in and it’s a great deal smaller.  My expectations were in line with that and I was okay with it.

What I had forgotten is that Kobey’s has a much more typical Southern California pedestrian beach vibe than the Rose Bowl Flea Market.  I don’t recall seeing anyone without a shirt in Pasadena.  It’s casual there, certainly, but there’s also an unspoken code of more formal conduct and dress.

The explanation for that may be as simple as the Rose Bowl’s proximity to Hollywood and Beverly Hills.  Or it could be its reputation as a world class shopping destination.  After all, you do hear about the Rose Bowl Flea Market on national t.v. and in pretty decorating magazines.  Whatever the reason, it just has a slightly different caliber of clientele.

Not true at Kobey’s.

I worked very hard to avoid seeing bare nipples and butt cracks this weekend.

I guess I’m kind of a prude when it comes to seeing very private body parts in public.  In general, I just don’t prefer it.  And I am pretty much repelled by it when it’s not at the beach or a pool.  Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the beauty of every size and shape, man or woman, young or old, fat or thin.  It just that I think there’s an appropriate time and place for things.

Unfortunately, there was a shirtless guy at Kobey’s on Saturday and he was clearly following the same route I was through the market, because I couldn’t seem to shake him.

At one point, I even turned in the opposite direction just to get away from him and his bare nipples.  He was walking a few yards in front of me, but the density of the crowd was forcing the gap between us to shrink.

I abruptly turned and went back down the row I had just come up, but when I reached the center aisle, there he was again.  Ack!

Truly, there was nothing wrong with this man’s physique.  My issue with his nakery isn’t about that.

It’s just that it was a little warm, I presume he was perspiring and had removed his shirt for that reason, and it kinda grossed me out to think that the crowds might make me smash into him.  Would he be slimy?  Blech.  Put your shirt on, naked man!

As much as I enjoyed the sunny walk and browsing through the vendor stalls, I was actually relieved to reach the exit and finally get away from him.

That said, I do recommend Kobey’s.  It’s a nice way to spend a morning and it doesn’t require a huge commitment of dollars or time.  Maybe you even like shopping with shirtless guys?  There’s a little bit of everything for sale there, including fresh flowers, produce and a variety of new and used merchandise.

I bought a few children’s books at 50 cents a piece and for another $4.00, I got this guy, whom I don’t think is an armadillo:

I’m calling him Gourdy.

He is hand-carved, hollow inside, and filled with a handful of beans or pebbles.

If you shake him, he makes a pleasant, mellow, maraca sound.

I love him.

Love him.

LOVE.

Him.

He’s far more appealing than shirtless guy.

Seriously though, nipples aside, I had a good time.

Wow.

That’s a sentence I never thought I’d write.

Do you love Gourdy too?

What do you think he is?

Write me a note.

Happy Tuesday!

♥♥

Raspy

Stress about the school thing pushed me over the cliff of holiday illness doom this week and now I sound like Ma at Strokers Dallas (not because of the content, mind you).

The little boy is here with me.  He’s kind of sick too.

I am enjoying his companionship today, but I sure feel guilty about keeping him home from his aide on her last two days at the school.

They’re making gingerbread houses in the classroom this morning.  He always seems to miss out on that stuff.

Our morning activities included making pancakes and finishing the Christmas forest we started on the staircase wall.

Thanks to Grandma and Mimi for providing a truckload of stickers for the decorations.  We even used some of those funny little doughnut shapes you get to reinforce the holes of your notebook paper.  Remember those?

I helped cut out a tree or two, but this was mostly the eight-year-old’s endeavor.  He has his ways, you know?  Everything has to be just so.

Having a child with that need means you have to abandon it in yourself.

I don’t get to care that I don’t prefer sloppy cut wrapping paper trees as home decor and I don’t get to care that we have effectively called attention to our stinky carpet and badly stained paint.  Nope.  I don’t even get to have any modesty about that stuff.  Please ignore it when you super size the pictures.

It’s really hard to be around all the colored paper and little scraps of this and that and not get the bug to make some ornaments yourself.  I’m not as creative as the little boy, so I just clipped some pictures from the latest copy of ZooNooz and pasted them onto card stock.  The child got to hang them on the tree.

These are probably throw away decorations, but they were fun to do and actually gave me some ideas for next year.  A little bit of glitter and a pretty ribbon instead of the fishing line and maybe they’d be keepers.

So…

the issue with the aide is weighing heavily on me.  I thought she had retired or given her notice to accept a better position outside the schools.  Turns out I was wrong.  They reassigned her to a different kid.

I spent twenty minutes on the phone with the principal this morning, but nothing I said will change the decision.  It’s out of my hands.  It’s out of her hands.  The other kid has toileting issues and my kid does not.  Our aide is classified to handle messy clean-ups and apparently she’s the only attendant currently assigned to someone who doesn’t need that job skill.  So she goes.  And my kid suffers.  Again.

I can’t dwell on this, even in a post, because it’s too upsetting.  My kid’s lack of a visible physical handicap is, in itself, a handicap for him.  No one looks and knows what’s wrong.  No one can tell like they can with a broken arm or cerebral palsy.  My child appears normal and because of that, more is expected of him by the district’s Special Education Department.  I mean, really, what’s messier?  A poopy diaper?  Or a twenty-minute meltdown that requires county approved physical intervention to keep him from harming himself or another student?  Both kids deserve a good aide.

Oh, I sooo promised myself I wasn’t going to think about this today!  I just want to get past this raspy throat and enjoy the holidays, you know?  There are so many scary things happening in the lives of the people I most care about this week.  Our issue with the district is really not important right now.  It’s Christmas!

With that, I bid you a Happy Thursday!

P.S. The little boy is now  busy making confetti.  He is using a hole punch and every piece of decent paper he can get his hands on.  Oh what joy I will have cleaning up after that!  😀

♥♥