Category Archives: Family + Friends + Animals

Alas, Mucky took an interest in it

“What evidence?”

This week’s free day I spent writing about Iceland.  I just looked up blearily to see the time and to really realize this day is officially in the books.  Is that possible, that I actually wrote for 14 hours straight today, with a short break to pick up my mail and unload my snow tires?

Is that what writers do?  Because that’s just wrong.  I feel off balance, dizzy, which could also be because I’ve only had a smoothie for real food today.   I am happy to have caught up about 6 more days of our adventures, but so much for moderation.

Sitting in bed, living in the past, in Iceland, eating chocolate from Cuba and drinking tea.  Oh yeah, a five star day.

 

I am so glad I have friends that can appreciate this.

This is my good side - awwww.
This is the other side - hmmmm.

 

What can I say?  The only tape that came quickly to hand was Tuck.

I’ve always wanted to be one of those mall kiosk gift wrappers that leisurely pull out the long curly ribbons on the scissors’ edge.  I’m a wizard with curly ribbons.

I think this masterpiece could be my “in” to a new career.

Definitely one of the funnest gifts I’ve ever wrapped – all the while anticipating the peals of giggling – at the pink, the Tuck tape, the skillful wrapping job….

Kevin Kevlar, 1990-2010

Kevin died on August 2.  Literally on the eve of my departure.  She was killed and eaten by something a little ways from our house.  I didn’t know she wandered that far.  All that was left was fur; enough to recognize her.

Certainly my mourning is interrupted;  the only night I’ve spent at home since, I dreamed the whole night she was tucked in by my side as usual, and it will take more time at home, thinking I see her following me, or sitting in the field, to adjust to the idea that she isn’t here anymore.

My friend says that guilt is a common factor in grief- if there was anything I could have done differently, if I had come home ten minutes earlier, what if she was out wandering because she was hungry.  I really wanted her to live out her whole potential life, to go in her sleep curled in a peaceful knot on my bed.  I’m glad two of my friends have lost animals that were the closest of friends; they understand.

I’ve never lost any”one” so close to me.  I’ve had my little cat by my side for nine years, falling to sleep together for 100s of nights, and I’ve never spent so much time with any”one” or anything.  She taught me so much about love.  It took me a long time to get used to her (I’m not a natural cat person, but I became one) and learn to accept her, but I ended up loving her so much.  And of course, she was just such a cool cat, even though she was getting pretty frail.

It’s a giant loss.  I have all the symptoms of grief- can’t believe she’s really gone, guilt and regret, avoiding thinking about it to not let in the loss, crying suddenly at awkward times, like when I see a cat graphic on a T-shirt and remember that I don’t have a cat any more.  I feel like my heart is broken and missing a piece, and that I’ll miss her forever, because there is only one tiny cat with a big personality just like her.

Was.

Kevin’s trip to the vet

Looking barely there, poor cat. The back seat is full of crated windows for the barn, and she's hiding under them.

We have an illness in the family.  Kevin started doing this weird teethgrinding thing that sounded like she’s chewing rocks a couple days ago.  She would sometimes paw at her mouth, too, even trying to use two paws at once, which made her tip over suddenly.  That part was funny, or would have been if the sound weren’t so alarming.

Off to the vet we went, for the second time in eight years.  I was worked right up, after being told the danger of anesthetic to a cat that old, totally worried and grief-stricken at the possibility of surgery that could kill her.

Fortunately, she lives on.  Fortunately on two counts.  One of her teeth is fractured off at the gum line, exposing a nerve, but that’s better than a broken jaw, and can heal over without dental surgery.  She is also starting to have kidney failure, which I wouldn’t have known was manageable or wouldn’t have caught in time without this visit to the vet under other auspices.  Its normal for an old cat to have kidney issues, and I would have thought it was simple decline due to age if I saw her getting sickly.  Otherwise remarkable health, not surprising.

So, she has to have antibiotics, painkillers injected and oral, and she has to go on an “iv” drip every day for two weeks to rehydrate and help “kickstart” her normal kidney function.  Continue reading Kevin’s trip to the vet

Reindeer

The hatch-battening days have struck.  Today was not cool by numbers, but had that piercing quality that makes you wish you were wearing a warmer hat, and mentally assess your coat and scarf and mitten collection.  Will it be enough?  The days that soberingly remind you that winter is cold, and reminds you what that feels like.

Inspired by the possibility of earning a little money at Xmas craft fairs, today the kids and I opened Santa’s workshop and made some prototype reindeer.  First we filled the back of my sexy new truck with branches and dragged them home, importing that wonderful wood and snow smell of Christmas.  It went incredibly well.  The green wood was really easy to cut and drill, and the process was creative, flexible, and rewarding, rarely frustrating.  The oldest boy amazed me by pumping out three different sizes.  The smallest one is only an inch and a half tall.  The “head twig” was too tiny for him to drill for antlers.  We’ll see how large a team, or herd, we can create tomorrow.  This should be good.

Its almost like they hatch- they just come together as though they were meant to, and then they emerge- full of personality and mocking their intended design, if you started out with one.

Hilarity ensues

One night they’re learning to start fires with flint, the next they’re shooting stop-motion karate sequences and Zoolander spoofs.  The kids asked tonight, in passing, if my Mac could make videos, and the evening turned into an hours-long marathon date with Photo Booth.  They enthusiastically uploaded their efforts to youTube, which tells the story best.  This is the best one. I was behind the scenes, starting and stopping and turning the music on and off.  Oh, and doing the blood.  I provided NO other direction.  The most demanding part of my job was to not laugh audibly, so I spent 100s of filming minutes with one hand clamped over a splitting grin, shaking with laughter.  Cleverly, they made the soundtrack with one earphone of a Shuffle rested by the mike of my computer, but it meant they could hardly hear the sound.  Again, boggled at the wild creativity of children, how well they cooperate and improv, and how transparently they filter their influences: hiphop videos, action movies, and Ben Stiller.  Apologies to the eight people out there who haven’t seen Zoolander- the finale will completely escape you- well, so might the whole thing.