Good humor makes all things possible.
-Charles Schultz-

With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come.
-Shakespeare-The Merchant of Venice-

Friday, March 18, 2011

Sunshine, lollipops and rainbows

I've been rethinking my approach to posting lately.  One aspect of being unemployed is having endless plenty of free time to [insert anything that doesn't require funding] read a lot of blog archives and links.  I have a few favorites, and the thing I like most about them is that they post often.  Sometimes just a quip or a picture, sometimes a story, but they provide something for the unemployed and dreary to look forward to.  When they don't post I get anxious.

Where's my message?  What are you doing?  Why are you ignoring me?

Bloggers trying  to please each other

I had been thinking of my posts as assignments.  Essays. With a theme; a message; a topic. If I couldn't come up with something great I should just ruminate until something happened worth writing about.  I started thinking that my followers (sounds too messianic)  readers might just want to touch base to see what's what.  Maybe we'd just bump elbows; maybe I wouldn't even make them laugh that day.  Making people laugh is the gold standard (youngest child issues--entertain or scram) but maybe I don't have to do that.  How long does it take to read the blogs on your list? Not very long.  How long would it take me to write something if I DIDN'T endlessly edit and ponder and try to get it just perfect?  Not very long.

So. I still  want my blog post to be the best thing you've read all day.  If everything goes my way and you've only read the local newspaper and a cereal box that morning, I might hit the mark.  Otherwise, maybe my blog will just say that I'm still here, waving at you over the interwebz.

Today we've had about five kinds of weather.  It's sprinkled, poured, hailed, thundered and lightning-ed.  It's been sunny.  Cloudy. Cold. We've had rainbows.  There was wind.  Over and over.  The only thing we didn't have was heat, and this town makes up for that in the summer when its hot night and day for weeks and weeks.
The view from my front porch

Yesterday the rain held off until after my appointment at the oral surgeon--oh, you thought I was finished with that?  I am not.  Why, just two days ago he pared some wayward lumpy gum tissue off the spots where my new implants will go.  I've been waiting, unable to bite, since September to finally get my teeth but naturally at the last minute Dr P decided I needed a temporary set for a few more weeks, lucky me, so my gums could fill in obligingly and look natural and not freaky, which I am sorry to report, they do.  I  begged for some input into the appearance of these temporary teeth but Dr P just scoffed.  The lab would make them look great! Better than that ugly space holder (denture) I've worn for six months.   As you have correctly guessed, this was not the case.  Not great.  Not better. Worse.  Horrifying.  I look like a hungry vampire.  These teeth are short and square and their tall neighbors loom threateningly on either side like a  close-up of Dracula. But  in typical nightmare fashion, I have no choice but to wear this wolfish face for two months.  And pay cash; this is all extra.

My hair looks dark, don't you think?

Dr Z is the boss of the permanent implants.  When it's finally time to decide how those will look, I'm insisting on some creative control.  Dr N (I know an awful lot of dentists) loaned me books and walked me through the process of crafting my smile; armed with my new knowledge we'll pave the path to a lovely trio of permanent implants.  It reminds me of when my house was being built and I dropped by every day to check up on the contractor and subs and force them to change all the things they'd built that day, flagrantly ignoring  the plans, my careful instructions, or building codes.   I kept telling myself that they didn't have to like me (they complied with that part) but this was MY life savings and they had better get it right.  And for the most part, they did.   The dental situation is kind of the same:  It's a lot of money, and I have to live with it, and like it, for the rest of my life.

So much for a quick hello.  Oops.  Hello!

Friday, March 4, 2011

how much a kitten costs

I was looking at an old essay I had written about putting our cat to sleep, but then I decided Joey deserved his own post.  If you do not want to read about death, stop here, and come back next time when I will try to write something more cheerful. I also apologize to anyone who has Googled "how much a kitten costs".  Sorry!
This cluttered coffee table is going to drive me to my grave.
He said that. I am not making it up.

Once when Lillie was much younger she went to visit her dad for the summer and he, against my specific instructions, got her a kitten.  Not just any old kitten, but a feral kitten, one virtually guaranteed  never to mesh with the domestic cats at either his house or mine.  Of course Charlie came home with Lillie and, like most of of us do, we tried to make him fit in and feel welcome.  Without success.  So when she decided to try living there for a school year, I forced her to take Charlie with her so her family there could have as much fun as we'd been having.  He was immediately dispatched to a "foster home" where he was "socialized" and eventually placed with a "little old lady".  (If she lived "on a farm", the picture would be complete.)

Once again, against my specific, unequivocal instructions, Lillie was given another kitten.  I'm aware there was a lot of psychological flotsam and jetsam floating around, and that there were a lot of hurt feelings up ahead, but what did I say when Lillie wanted to cancel the experiment a few months in and move home? Joey must stay behind.    Even though I had allowed Annie to bring home Charlotte, a kitty facing execution because she was a female ("and would just get pregnant."  Now there's some effective family planning! We had her spayed which is also effective family planning).  Next, Annie moved out and adopted still another kitten (she will deny this now, I am sure) which she toted home when she moved back in.  This [pregnant] adolescent cat Lucy, much to the utter horror of our resident cats, produced three kittens.  That storyline gets even more sordid, but I'll save it and get back to Lillie's cat.

Because I'm so stubborn (!) I made Joey stay with Dad's family, but when they had to...let's say, leave town very quickly in the night, Joey was no longer welcome.  So much for stubborn.  He came home to our house.   He was shy, silent, and unobtrusive from the beginning, except for some peculiar beef with fat old Catch, and drifted around  like a large gray shadow for about six years.  I've already described his mysterious decline, but this post is about his death.  And what I chose, not about what you choose (although I hope you'll at least consider my convictions.)

I've always struggled with the decision to allow a new pet to come into the family because it's so intertwined with the decision to allow that pet to leave.  That silky romping smidgen has a price tag.  You can't bring him through the door if you can't agree to handle the other end of life with the same commitment.  It gets even stickier--how much intervention you can afford, both financially and emotionally--but you have to decide.  And then do it.  For me--for us; Lillian was the decision maker; I was the operative--it meant trying different food, ruling out simple fixes, and then admitting enough was enough.  Today, sweet, skeletal Joey went peacefully to sleep.  I knew in my squeezing heart that it was right.  No more barfing.  I don't know if he was in pain, but it was either avoided or ended.  He was free from suffering, or the potential to suffer.

It was my responsibility.

We, fellow fumbling humans, are their stewards on earth.  We have thumbs, educations, and resources.  Because they can't do it, we must.  If it makes us cry, or hurts our hearts and makes us sob and snort in front of the [very sweet] staff at the vet, too bad.  It's what we signed up to do, even if we didn't read the fine print at the time.

That's how much a kitten costs.

Joey.  He did have feet, see?