Saturday, July 25, 2009

Why is my life so much harder'n everybody else's?

That's my favorite line from the movie Roadie. Starring Meatloaf and a cast of several, none of whom I can remember right now. But as problems assail him throughout the movie he is heard to utter that line, as if wailing to the heavens..

It was pretty much my motto yesterday. Or maybe no good deed goes unpunished. Kind of a toss-up there. I had(and still have)a charley-horse in my shoulder from helping load a PA cabinet into somebody's truck after a Thursday night gig-and, more significantly, a hell of a domestic pet situation waiting for me when I came home for lunch.

Some time ago here in the Roundly household we had an unwelcome guest in the form of a rather large rodent. As it turned out, my dog Lester got him, but I had various traps and glue-boards set up in the kitchen just in case. Well, upon acquiring two kittens, I threw away all the traps and glue-boards from downstairs so my new residents wouldn't get in any trouble. Felt pretty good about these preventative measures.

Well as it turns out I missed one. I'd set up a glue-board underneath a lawn mower in the kitchen(yes I guess that makes me a hillbilly having my lawn mower there!), and forgot all about it. The kittens had pulled it out from there and one of them- Jill- was severely stuck on it. Impaled. I mean, damn near inextricably stuck.

This was quite a sight to come home to. I felt like I was watching something from Invasion of the Body Snatchers, with a mutated kitty ready to emerge from the goo to join the other space automatons. And then of course get her sister changed over. "Sleeep, Cindy, sleeep. It's goood.."
So I got her free from the clutches of the glue-board, at which point(to my great relief)she sprang back to action with full use of her limbs, and then off to a nearby Animal Hospital. They'd seen a lot of me with my previous cat Maxine and her health problems over the last couple months- but this visit, for what it's worth, set a precedent. This was their first "glue emergency".

They were able to get most of it off her, and no real damage was done. A few remaining sticky spots, which I worked on a bit with Cooking Oil(recommended for removing glue--I now know this). Jill of course was working on it as well, and her sister Cindy tried to 'groom' her a bit, which seemed to piss her off. Scraggly but alive and well. And, I think, greatly relieved herself to have survived this little escapade.

I don't know that it makes you stronger by any means, but what doesn't kill you at least makes a good story later. And if it happens again, you don't worry so much over it since you've survived it once. For that matter, my description of Jill would also apply to me. Scraggly but alive and well.

Still, just why is my life so much harder'n everybody else's?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

New Life

If you chance upon this blogsite and actually read a few entries, you'll conclude that I am a lover of cats and dogs. Give yourself a jenius award on that one. My cat in particular has gotten a lot of ink these days, what with these last 2 months being her last 2 months. Maxine's sickness was of course her own personal hell of an experience, but her canine counterpart and I both suffered along with her- both seeing her pain, and then of course grieving her loss. I think it hit that dog even harder than it did me- and I was hurtin' for certain. Still miss her. A lot. Like many who blog, the writing is often a form of therapy(gee, by that reckoning, I should probably be writing self-help books!)

Well this I guess would be that proverbial Next Chapter of things. I have two kittens these days, since last evening. One of them is nestled on my shoulders, probably wishing I'd quit moving around so much. The other one is playing around the legs of a small table to our left. And Lester is crashed out on the floor right next to the table. It's amazing how leery these cats were of him just 24 hours ago. One of them would hiss at him the minute he came near. She's now completely cool around him.

What a difference a day makes! 180 degrees as far as my now three animals. So yeah, as of Monday evening about 6, I've got these kittens, maybe 8 weeks old. Two girls, one yellow and white with a hint of future tiger stripes, the other orange and white with some yellow and brown mixed in. The yellow/white one is named Cindy, and the orange etc one is named Jill.

So my life is once again transformed. Cindy and Jill. No particular rhyme or reason with the names, the animals just seemed to have Cindyish and Jill-like qualities to them- based of course solely on my own subjective accounts of the various Cindies and Jills I've known. My family has just about always given its pets regular 'Christian' names: Bob, Helen, Roberta, Maxine, Sherman, Lester and now Cindy and Jill. I started to mention Pete and Cal, but they were short for Petronius and Calpurnia so they wouldn't support my statement about 'regular Christian names'.

Well that's my New Chapter. Jill is fast asleep on my lap and Cindy is on the table in front of me considering various courses of action.

Saturday, July 11, 2009


These will induce groans, but maybe a smile or even an outright laugh. It'd be nice, but you can't take it too damned seriously. The fate of one's blogs is up to whoever reads this stuff. As far as you the blogger are concerned, once it's outa your mouth, it's outa your hands. So, in somewhat the style of Playboy magazine's Unabashed Dictionary. Here, then, is Rog's Thesaurus:

Rog's Thesaurus defines pickle profits as dill dough.

Rog's Thesaurus defines a hand job as yankety sex.

Rog's Thesaurus defines an arts critic as an armchair aesthete.

Rog's Thesaurus defines shifty corporate accounting as ledgerdemain.

Rog's Thesaurus defines an eye doctor from one of Alaska's islands as an optical Aleutian.

Rog's Thesaurus defines a humorous anthropomorphic cartoon sandwich as wry bread.

Rog's Thesaurus defines a hillbilly name as an Appalachian appelation.

Rog's Thesaurus defines a very small butt as a gluteus minimus.

Rog's Thesaurus defines a rabbit turd as a keester egg.

Well that's all I've got. Lucky you, right?

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Getting back to nermal

This dead-pet shit really sucks! Tomorrow will make a week since I bid adieu to my cat, and like her health progress, it's gotten a little better and then worse again.

It's tough to lose a pet you've had for awhile like this. A part of life for us humans who love animals, and there are a hell of a lot of us, so in my current adversity at least I have a pretty good support group. Among co-workers I can count 7 who've gone through the same experience, and at least 4 of those while I was working with them. Not to mention friends outside of work.

I think it's hardest if you live alone. Your animal housemates become family then in more than just an honorary sense. They're your constant companions. They're the first things you see in the morning(well, for one thing, they're hungry!)and the last thing you see before going to bed at night.

My cat was usually nestled against me at both ends of the day, a warm mass of purring fur either lulling me to sleep or easing me awake. There were some occasions, particularly getting home from work, where I wouldn't see her for a couple hours--then she'd just appear, oh, 'time for food!'--but she was almost always at her station at bedtime and first thing in the morning. When she first got sick and had to be hospitalized, it was my first taste of not having that(unfortunately they don't give you a "surrogate"while yours is being worked on). Getting her home two days later, I was greatly relieved to feel the familiar paws walking over me at 5:30 in the morning, and her weakened but purring little form pressed against my stomach.

This was something I enjoyed the hell of while she was alive and miss the hell out of now that she's gone. Maxine sure liked to be petted. Ours was perhaps a parasitic relationship with me as "petter" and she as "pettee", but it still worked for both of us. Sometimes she would just throw herself on the floor, coquettishly, as if to say, "okay, do me, baby!" And then she'd get pissed if you stopped before she was done, and would go so far as to give you a little bite or slap to express her displeasure.

She and my dog pretty much grew up together, and had a very sibling-like relationship, with its share of teasing and power-plays. There was a layer of quasi-antagonism(on one occasion, she was sitting on the bed getting petted and revelling in all the attention, and hearing the sounds of canine toenails heading up the wooden steps from downstairs, got a priceless disgusted look on her face as if to say, "oh great! Here comes asshole!")mainly on her part, but underneath it, I think, a genuine friendship. I'd find them sitting together more and more as the years went by, and it seemed that they had their own sort of communication going on, their own relationship as well as theirs, individually and collectively, to me.

This is the first day I've felt her presence, and I felt it all around me at different points in the day. Hard to put into words, and in trying to verbalize it am half-wondering if that's just something my mind just manufactured to console me. But I've had the experience with people, friends who've passed on whom I've felt "stopped in" on me on a few occasions--felt like they were there in the room with me.

For some reason, I kept thinking tonight of that scene at the end of Tootsie, where Dustin Hoffman's character is making that last-ditch speech to win back the Jessica Lange character. She says, "I miss Dorothy", and he says "You don't have to. She's right here- and she misses you".

In my case of course, I hope she is. And I hope she does.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Life Without Maxine

Maxine is gone. My beloved feline companion of 12 years has moved on to that great litterbox in the sky(or at least gotten the hell out of her body). The last 2 months of her life were spent battling kidney failure and what was believed to have been a malignant growth in one of her lungs. In the microcosmic scheme of a cat's life, a long fight. Life rarely draws a perfect straight line between its point A's and point B's, and Maxine's situation definitely had some zig-zagging in there. Despair followed by hope and then more despair. If it were a piece of music, it would've been an ABA form of some kind. Too bad we had to return to that original theme..

In Poker, if you have a lousy hand and it doesn't look like you could improve it, you fold. You get on outa there. Not so easy in life. In life you hang in there, and usually a good deal longer than you should, just waiting for that one card that'll turn your pile o' nothing into a Straight or a Flush. With Maxine, we reached that point and I waited a solid week for that card that I really knew wasn't going to turn up. It just stayed a pile o' nothing. Actually that's how she laid about, mainly on the floor.

So last Wednesday, I had her euthenized. Everyone there at the Animal Hospital I talked to said it was the right thing to do- and they'd seen a lot of us in the past two months! The Vet who performed the procedure was the same one who'd seen her when Maxine first fell ill, and was wonderful to work with just as she was in the first stages of all this. That was the B section in this sad-ass piece of music, the point where there was hope. Well, some hope for awhile.

There was a woman there at the Animal Hospital that afternoon who was having her animal put down as well. Don't know anything about her, whether it was a cat or dog, but could plainly see she was having just as hard a time of it as I was. She was crying her eyes out, and they were offering her tissue paper and consoling her. They offered the tissue paper to me as well, but I was strangely grief-free. Dry-eyed for the moment, and taking care of the business at hand. But I knew it'd hit me at some point in the evening.

Somehow I thought the drive home would be the worst. That's when it would all sink in, the finality of everything, the fact that she's gone and won't be coming back. It was dawning on me, what had just happened, but more as an intellectual realization, with none of the emotional heaviness I'd expected. So with my emotions apparently intact, I stopped off at Walgreen's on the way home, picking up a few items for myself and for my dog- the one quadrapedal survivor- and even a card for the nice folks at the Animal Hospital. If I felt anything, it was relief.

Actually the worst part of it all was walking back into the house. The place is strangely quiet with one less presence in it, and you feel a sharp pain from the void this creates. She's not here anymore. Not even the cadaverous carcass of the ailing animal you half-wished were out of its misery, just thin air. So the torrent of emotion I'd been expecting came upon me while I was putting away the groceries. Life- my life-was moving on without her.

You can get pretty attached to your "critters", and they to you, over the years. They become part of the family, and if you live alone as I do, they become the family itself--or at least your little domestic unit. I mean, you don't anthropomorphize them(or shouldn't at any rate- not too healthy!)- they're still a cat and dog or whatever, but you do imbue them with familial human qualities, like those of a son or daughter. My male dog I frequently call "pal" or "buddy" much as I would a kid, and my late female cat was very much "Daddy's little princess".

Well it's been one evening and three days now. I devoted that whole first evening to just "drinkin' beer and feelin' sad", and unfortunately ran out of beer with plenty of sad left over. So of course it still hurts- at this point more of a dull ache, but still there. A pet of 12 years is a big loss, and I don't expect it to quit hurting for awhile. Life without Maxine sucks. But I guess that's just the price-tag for my life with Maxine, and given all the nice times I've had with her, I suppose it all evens out.

Still sucks though.