The world as seen through the eyes of an exhausted, caffiene addicted, homeschooling, atheist mama.

Posts tagged ‘cat’

A Very Long Night and a Very Exhausted Mom

When Hubby is out of town, I sleep terribly.

It’s not so much that I’m afraid something will happen and I won’t have anyone to protect us.  I’m pretty sure that our two big dogs would do a fine job of chasing off an invader. Mostly it’s just that I miss him and I can’t seem to get my brain to slow down and rest if he’s not around. I guess I better get over that crap sometime soon. I have weeks to go before he comes back!

So last night I stayed up way too late watching crappy shows from Netflix and eating way too much chips and salsa. When I finally did hit the sack, it was about 1am. I’m a 10pm kinda gal, and I’ve even been known to go to bed at 9, so one o’clock in the morning is friggin’ late for me.

I did a door and window check, I turned off the lights, and I  looked at Tippee:

Look at her! She’s so cute and asleep.

and wondered if I should make he get off the couch and go to her crate or if I could trust her all night. The last time we tried leaving her out, she ended up leaving smelly brown pools of watery poo in the laundry room.

Well, she must have been sick last time. She does’t normally need to poop at night, much less have diarrhea . I’ll give her a chance.

I woke her up, sent her to her crate, shut the door, but didn’t lock it. I just made a show of shutting it. Then I went to bed and hoped to fall asleep sometime in the near future.

A couple of hours later, I feel hot breath on my face and there’s little Tippee, happy as can be. But something feels wrong, so I get up for a drink of water and a quick poo check.  And yep. She did. At least this time she wasn’t sick, but boy was it smelly. Out come the plastic bags, out come the paper towels and the heavy duty cleaners I never use because I don’t like chemicals, and I get to work. I double bagged the mess and put it in the garage for later disposal. Tippee  got sent to bed and I made a huge show of locking her leaky butt up for the night.

I went back to bed and chased sleep for about 45 minutes before I fell back into a deep sleep.

At 6:30 Harvey:

Actually, this is a pretty common look for him. He’s the biggest goof ball ever.

Starts whining. And barking. Because he’s a responsible doggie who doesn’t poo all over the house, he gets the privilege of sleeping where ever the hell he wants. When he started to cry and bark, he happened to be on the floor right next to me. If you’ve never heard a barrel-chested, 120lb dog bark at 6:30 in the  morning, you’re missing quite the adrenaline rush. It’s a deep, window rattling, floor shaking WOOOF of a bark. I thought for sure he’d wake BB.

I toss the covers off and follow Harvey to the back door where he starts scratching. I let Tippee out of her crate and let them both out to pee.

Have I told you that Tippee is a freak? Have I mentioned that she is afraid of absolutely everything? I mean really, everything. Well last night the wind blew a plastic bag into her usual potty spot and she stood on the porch growling and barking at it like it was Bigfoot or The Creature From the Black Lagoon.  I’m standing there in pajamas shushing  her, soothing her, trying to get her to shut the hell up already. But she’s too afraid of The Zombie Bag From Hell (it turned out to be a Wal Mart bag, so she was kind of right–it did come from hell).

Jeez, Tippee. Fine…I’ll go get the bag so you can go potty.

So out I go, across the dirt and gravel in my back yard to get a bag out of her potty spot so she’ll shut the heck up and pee.  On my way back the porch, where said freakish dog stands cowering and growling, I realize I had left the back door open and Sofe:

This cat is the dumbest cat ever. Tippee is Mensa worthy compared to this cat.

decides that it’s the perfect time to go on the lam. Awesome.

She runs around the side of the house  and hops the fence while I hobble and limp, barefoot, across the gravel so I can get back to the house and hopefully catch her in the front yard.

I don’t even stop for shoes, I just rush out the front, pick a direction, and run. Fortunately, I find her by the trash can.

But seeing the trash can reminds me that it’s garbage day and I had failed to put out the trash and recycling because it was so windy when I went to bed.

I pick up the world’s dumbest cat, toss her inside, quickly look for my shoes, which I can’t find, and grab the recycling. Then I remember the poop in the garage and I grab it too. And, still barefoot, I haul the trash and recycling to the curb.  At this point, my feet are throbbing, I’m relatively pissed off and extremely tired.

I bring the dogs back inside and fall into bed without even bothering to lock Tippee up.

Harvey hops right into to bed with me. Tippee follows his lead and curls up on my feet, and we all three fall into a deep sleep.

Two  hours later, BB:

Coolest kid ever!

comes in with a smile on his face and a mug of coffee in his hand. A wonderfully dark, perfectly sweetened mug of coffee that he made just for me. He ground the beans, he added the water, he made a pot of coffee just for me…because he loves me and saw that I was really tired.

Luckiest mom ever!

Yeah, he absolutely made the whole not-getting-any-sleep thing worth it.

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A Whole Lotta Shit

Six months ago, life was awesome. Hubby had a secure job, we had enough money to go out for dinner now and then, and we were saving for a trip to Disney World. Six months ago, we made resort reservations (we were going to stay in one of the new Pirate Rooms!), we made dining reservations (so many fun and interesting restaurants to choose from!) and we chattered excitedly about our week in paradise. For Christmas, Hubby surprised me with tickets to see Cirque du Soleil on our trip, and I cried. I had wanted to see Cirque du Soleil since I was a teenager; it was an experience I had always wanted but never quite dared to dream of.

Six months ago, our life was simple. Six months ago feels more like about a hundred years ago.

In January, Hubby lost his job suddenly. Oh crap, that was scary. But he signed up for unemployment and hit the (virtual) pavement, looking for work. Funny thing about the unemployment, though. It didn’t come through for us. At all. He was denied benefits because of an administrative screw up on his employer’s end, so he appealed. Since we never actually got the unemployment we needed and deserved, we had to make the tough decision to cancel our vacation. At least we had that money to help us through, though.

Poor BB. He was so sad and he cried so much when we told him we’d have to give up going to Disney World this year. But we told him, promised him, swore to him that we would go again. Maybe not this year, but eventually we’d make it back. He’s a great kid and a he accepted the loss of  our dream trip amazingly well. He accepted that we couldn’t go out to eat anymore, buy random books or even run to the store every couple of days like a pro. He helped me inventory our pantry and made a sign for the pantry door that says “Kitchen Shop…The Only Shop At Home!”

We were okay. We were plugging along, trying to pick up the pieces of the mess unemployment made of our lives. But the money just kept not coming and not coming. The hole under our feet kept getting bigger and bigger. We were on unstable ground and it was getting hard to find footing.

Then our cat got cancer. It came on suddenly and we had to make the terrible, awful, horrible, no good decision to put him down.

Poor BB was so sad. Saying goodbye to his Pnut was probably one of the most heartbreaking things he’d ever gone through. It hurt him so much that he said he’d gladly have traded Disney World for Pnut. Oh, my sweet boy. How do you comfort a child who has a broken  heart?

A week went by and Hubby’s new employer said they no longer needed someone out here, but if he was willing to relocate to the Dallas area, they had a position open for him there. We sat on it, not sure what to do, how to proceed. Because his current position is 100% commission, we still didn’t have money coming in, even though he was working 13 hours a day. All of our financial reserves were depleted. It was clear we couldn’t afford to stay put, but we couldn’t afford a move. Gah! So much shit all at once!

On the day we decided to tell BB we were moving, Hubby and I dropped him off at music class and we went looking for boxes. We took them home, I cried for all we had lost up to that point, I pulled my shit together, and went to pick BB up. We decided to take him out for lunch (Chick-Fil-A was a rare treat at that point after Hubby’s job loss) and then we’d tell him that we were moving.

I had been crying all day, and I wasn’t terribly hungry. My nuggets kept getting stuck in my throat; swallowing proved to be nearly impossible. But we got through the meal. We got in the car and on a whim I looked at my phone. I had just missed a call from my grandparents–they had left a voice mail.

Sweetie, this is Grandpa. You need to call us on the cell right away. We need to talk to you. We love you, Moms Eye. Bye.

Grandpa? He never calls. My grandma sometimes calls if it’s been more than a week since she’s talked to me and she’ll leave a message asking me to call right away. I always call and it’s always something like:

Oh, everything’s fine. I just haven’t heard from you and I wanted to make sure you are okay.

If it had been my grandmother calling, I would have blown it off for an hour or two. We were on the way home to tell BB that we had to move away from the only home he’s ever known. But something was niggling at me. My grandpa has dementia, or at least the beginnings of dementia, and something about him calling just had me worried. I told hubby I needed to call back. He put the car into reverse as I called. My grandpa picked up on the second ring.

Hi, Hijita. Grandma needs to talk to you, hold on…
Hello? Moms Eye? (she was crying)
Grandma, what’s wrong?
(sobbing, swallowing) Jeremy. He died, Hijita.
What?! When? What?! How?!
Yesterday, honey.  He had a seizure and died. Can you make it to Arkansas?
Uh, I uh…He’s dead? Oh god…I have to go…I can’t breathe right now. I have to go. I love you Grandma. I’ll call later. I have to go now.

Hubby glanced at me. I wasn’t crying I was just sitting there, stunned. “So who died?” he asked.

My brother. Jer. Jer died. Shit. Shit. Shit. My brother…RAAAAAAA!

Hubby drove us. I think I called my mother from the car, but I don’t remember. Maybe I didn’t. Probably I didn’t. We got a couple of minutes from home and Hubby looked into the backseat at BB. Then he looked at me and said “Let’s do this like a band-aid. BB, we have to move.”

Oh, my son’s face crumpled. I started to cry, he started to cry, Hubby pulled into the garage. I got a drink of water and we all went to the patio. I pulled BB into my lap and held him while Hubby explained that we had to leave our house and our town; that we’d have to move to another state. Like a zombie I told him about the great things there are out there: Six Flags, lakes, museums…

Fortunately, we had a play date set up, so we were able to have our talk about moving and then I could take him to his friend’s house. My intention had been to stay and hang out, but it occurred to me that there was a lot to be done, a lot to take care of for my brother. So Hubby drove and we dropped him off with friends.

I came home and I called people. I called lots of people. I made plans, I dealt with shit like a pro.

The next day, we dropped BB off with friends and Hubby and I went to Arkansas to take care of business.

And now we’re back, dealing with life, trying to figure out how to move us with no money. As of now, Hubby is going to leave this weekend, and BB and I will stay behind until the end of the month to pack and say goodbye.

I’m at the end of my rope, here. I’m so fucking sad about everything. I hate that everything has happened to us at once, I hate that any of this has happened at all. I hate that I have to be alone with BB and my grief for almost a month. I hate that I have to leave my network of friends who have become my family. I hate that my cat died. I hate that our trip to Disney World died. And I fucking hate that my brother died.  This is so wrong. It’s so  unfair. It’s so much more to deal with than I can handle.

But I will handle it. What I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, is that there will come a time where we can look at each other and say: “Remember 2012? Yeah, that happened. I’m glad it’s over.”

For now, though, I’m stuck in the middle, hoping to come through to the other side pretty damned soon. For now, all I have to say is:

Fuck you, 2012! What a lousy, piece of shit, horrible year you’re turning out to be! I can’t fucking wait until your over and I never, ever, ever have to look at you again!

Death Without Heaven

Sometimes I can understand why people hold on to religion. In times of crisis and grief, the notion that there’s something bigger than us, something with a plan, something that cares and directs us down the path we’re supposed to go, can help you put one foot in front of the other.

As a parent, it’s my job to help my son make sense of the world and deal with his grief. Religion would sure be handy for that. It would have been so easy to hold him yesterday and tell him “I know you’re sad about Pnut, but he’s in heaven now. He’s happy now. He’s chasing shadows and rolling in grass and drinking from a little stream. His earthly body is gone, but he’s not.”

But I don’t believe that, so my challenge as a parent who happens to be an atheist is to find a way to help him cope without spoon feeding him bits of stories that I don’t believe. It’s hard. How do you comfort your kid when you need comfort yourself? I don’t claim to have all the answers, or even some of the answers. I just know what Hubby and I did, and I believe it was good and healthy for BB.

We allowed him to feel his emotions, talked about good things, we let him hold Pnut, before the vet came, after the first shot when he just fell asleep, and after the second shot that stopped his heart. After the vet left, we all held our wonderful cat and we reminisced. We cried as a family and we allowed the other pets to sniff his body.  We reminded  BB that as painful as it is to see him lying there like that, his body was just a body. Pnut wasn’t in there and he couldn’t feel love or pain anymore. We talked about his body rejoining the earth and we talked about holding him in hearts and memories.

And an amazing thing happened. BB stopped crying, pulled out some paper and colored pencils, and drew a picture of Pnut lying on the blanket where he died. He worked at the dining room table for a long time, and we told him he could have all the time  he needed. Once in a while he’d come over and look at the shape of his tail or legs, once he came over and opened Pnut’s eyes to try to find just the right shade. BB found his own way to deal with his grief: scientific inquiry and artistic expression. It was so inspiring to see, and I felt humbled and small next the wise soul of my ten-year old.

It turns out he didn’t need God, heaven and platitudes. All he needed was the freedom to feel his emotions and to find his own way to handle them.

Pnut: My favorite cat. This is my gift to you. I love you with all my heart.

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Goodbye, Old Friend

Pnut and a baby Sofe

Meet Pnut. He’s the oldest of our pets. What can I say about him? He’s 16 and he’s seen a lot of change in his life. Good old stable Pnut with the milk mustache and the ability to see shadows has been as much a part of our family as BB has.

Two weeks ago, he was diagnosed with cancer. He’s had a good life and the pain of chemo would likely be too much for him to bear. So, since he’s 16, we decided that we’d let nature take its course. We brought him home, fed him some salmon and told him he could go any time  he was ready.

In the two weeks since his diagnosis, he’s lost an unbearable amount of weight and the tumor in his back hip is growing out of control. His leg has become paralyzed and he can barely get around. He’s in pain. But he’s had a good life, and  he doesn’t want to let go of it.

So we had to make a second impossible decision in two weeks: we are going to euthanize our cat. We found a vet who will come to our home and she’ll be here in about an hour.  One hour. Sixty minutes. How does one deal with that? How do you look at your cat and know he’s going to die in an hour and just be okay with it? It’s impossibly painful. He’s not just a cat. He’s a valuable and loved member of our family, and now he’s on death row. It’s enough to make me want to drink. A lot.

My heart is broken. My husband, who has had him since he was just weeks old, is crushed. And BB is at a complete loss as to how to say goodbye. He can’t even think about it without crying. And as a parent, that’s just another thing that makes this so hard. I can deal with my grief, but helping my son deal with his is more painful than I could have expected.

What else is there to say except:

Dear Pnut, we love you and we are so, so sorry. You will be missed by all of us. Thank you for all you have brought to our family.

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