Sunday, May 31, 2009

today is the first day of the rest of my vacation

As is the case roughly every 12 weeks, I'm currently on vacation. Counting the 2 weekends that straddle my actual 'vacation time', 9 consecutive days of - well, not having to go to work anyway.

This is day number 2. Like its forerunner, it's turning out to be a fairly slothful, laze-about-in-front-of-the-TV kinda day. Among the items viewed were Spongebob, You Only Live Twice, and a variety of old sitcoms: The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Rhoda, Bewitched and M*A*S*H.

On the Mary Tyler Moore Show, they listed Mary Richards' age as 38. Since she was also listed as being born in 1939, that would put the show in 1977. Wow. 32 years ago. Likewise the other shows--Rhoda in particular was very 70's as to their mode of attire..

So I suppose I escape into TVLand during at least the first part of these vacations. What the hell. It's not illegal or fattening, although its moral content is, I suppose, suspect.

I can feel my stress level dropping, incrementally(and, for what it's worth, excrementally)as I go here on my vacation time. A little bit at a time, I'm shedding those tensions, peeling them off my psyche, layer by layer.. And, little by little, feeling more relaxed, more peaceful.

This is why companies don' t like their employees to take more than two or three weeks off at a stretch. You've peeled off enough layers of tension that you just plain don't want to go back. Put another way, after too much time away from the office, you lose the callous on your psyche and could thus get one hell of a blister!

Well in a week's time, I'm still cleaning some junk out of my house. Even after 2 days, feeling a bit more "aired-out". Happily, this vacation coincided with our Neighborhood Clean-up Day, and I was able to divest myself of much unworkable(and downright obsolete)stuff such as an old word processor and typewriter and other such no-longer-functional domestic items.

Cleaning house literally as well as metaphorically. Feels pretty good. Just as with the mental house-cleaning, I won't get it all in a week's time. There'll still be things to tidy up, but at least I'll have made some headway in that area. I'll have gotten a room or two much less cluttered than when I found it.

Well for what it's worth, that's the state-of-the-Rog report, on this, the first day of the rest of my vacation. Still a good many 'first days' yet to enjoy.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Sick Kitty Blues 2nd verse(different from the first)

What a relief! For the past 2 weeks, actually a little longer than that, I've been suffering with a sick feline, gravely ill through part of it, amid visits to the Animal ER and Veterinarian's office and maintaining her medications 3 times a day. She appears to be bouncing back quite nicely, and what was feared to be wrong with her didn't come to pass.

Ironically, one of the things I like about cats is that they're low-maintenance. Just keep them fed and keep the litterbox attended to and everything's cool. Set it and forget it. With her illness, she's been very high-maintenance, what with doing the thrice-daily medications(all with her fighting me every step of the way)and trips to the Vet. But just like any other member of the Family, it's just what you do.

It's wonderful of course to see them bouncing back from infirmity, if not instantly being able to leap tall furniture in a single bound but at least tackle the bathtub. Before she got sick, the minute she saw me heading downstairs here in the house, she'd bound down herself, racing toward the kitchen. That's starting to happen again, but it's still a vigorous trot. Still, progress is progress...

Still coming down myself from a rough two weeks, not to mention my cat. What's exhausting is not so much the added activity but the damn worrying. Just like for one's kids, you worry over your pets, over how much they're suffering, over whether they're gonna make it(a question I posed to the Veterinarian right off), and this goes on the whole time they're with you. Like the line in the movie Parenthood, from Jason Robards to Steve Martin, "it's like your Aunt Edna's ass. It goes on forever and is just as frightening".

Great line. As I said, still coming down from a roughass two weeks. Me and my feline both. And her canine 'brother', who lapped up some extra attention while she was laid-up for two days in the Animal Krankenhaus, but missed her despite himself.

Actually these episodes probably have some heuristic value. They force you to focus your attention and energy on something besides yourself and your petty appitites and concerns. Pull you out of your own morass of whatever for a bit. And anything that does that by definition makes you look at said morass somewhat differently just from the change in perspective. So that's a good thing, right?

Well perhaps in the bigger sense of things. But in the smaller one, it's still a pain in the ass. All you can say in life, though, is well at least it's cool for now.

A healthy dog, a once again healthy cat, and me in okay shape. It can get better than this, but also a lot worse.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Sick Kitty Blues

I have two pets, both of whom have been with me since 1997, my dog Lester and my cat Maxine. Had a cat briefly in 1996, shortly after moving into my house here but she ran off, never to be seen again. Her name was Millie, short for either Millicent Penelope or Midred Prunella, depending on my mood. Obviously, since she left, Millie and I never really bonded.

It's not enough to simply acquire a cat or dog. You have to have some kind of connection for it to work, just like any other relationship. Both my current pets came to me when I met them, came right up to introduce themselves as it were. That was when I knew that we had something.

So I've had Lester and Maxine now for going on 12 years, Lester first and then Maxine some 9 months later. We've had our ups and downs, particularly Lester. Dogs are more high-maintenance, especially as puppies. Very destructive. Plus the barking, which was quite offensive to one neighbor in particular. Fortunately we got over that little hurdle, and it's been smooth sailing ever since.

Both animals have been neutered(a particularly kind thing for your cat, since cats don't ever have Menopause but just go into heat every three weeks for their whole lives!), and Maxine has been de-clawed on her front paws. They've been to the Vet for other issues, but basically I don't worry about them so long as they're happy and healthy.

And we've had a long run as far as that goes. Maxine, being a long-haired cat, has had the hairball thing going ever since she was a kitten, but that's been the worst of her problems. Until recently.

Her coughing had become a daily thing, and the cough was more bronchial. Also her breathing became shallower and more raspy. This past Friday things reached a crisis point, and I had to take her into the Emergency Animal Center. Cats are the most recalcitrant animals as far as doing anything they don't want to do and will fight you tooth and nail over it. So tracking her furry ass down and getting it into the vehicle was the hardest part. But they were able to help her breathing.

A most funky weekend followed, watching over her and trying to get her to take her medications. Also watching her get weaker and weaker. Monday morning I got her in to the Animal Hospital where I'd been taking my heretofore healthy animals all these years. The news was not good: an elevated white-cell count, some 'opaque' spots on the chest X-ray, and kidney failure. As it turned out, the first two issues are at least at this point non-conclusive- but there is no cure for kidney failure, just a matter of keeping the animal comfortable. So the best-case scenario in this prognosis is another year or two of living, with lots of medications.

A lot to take in on Monday morning. I held it together until I got in my vehicle heading home for lunch and just bawled the whole way there. And then slobbered all over my dog once I got home. Poor Lester had to see his master at his despondent worst. But then like I told my ex-stepson(while still married to his Mom)," a real man isn't afraid to show his feelings". Still, I don't like to show 'em to everybody. Not those feelings anyway. But it is healthier to get it out of your system.

So my beloved little bundle of fur is now home from the Animal Hospital. She's pretty weirded-out from the whole experience and is moving slowly, a far cry from the graceful feline who'd dash through the house like a fleeting gazelle--especially at mealtime. And she's not going to like the meds I'll have to be giving her 3 times a day. But she's at least thirsty, the first thing she tended to upon getting home.

One thing I've always liked about this cat is that she loves affection, loves to be petted. And most nights right at bedtime and most mornings upon awakening, I have this nice little bundle of purring fur alongside me. At the moment, she's not the most affectionate creature in the world, which would figure after being hospitalized for two days. But at least she deigns to be in the same room with Lester and me, as opposed to hiding in one of the closets like she's been doing.

It's a start. We'll just have to see how it all shakes out.