Monday, November 23, 2020

"It's not a tumor."

It's not a tumor.

It's a pair of cysts.
When I first noticed them on the back of my hand, they were smaller, and I thought they were bug bites. Still there months later, they began to concern me. Their shape hasn't changed much, however the more I've fussed with them, the bigger they've gotten. 

I had made bets with the x-ray and ultrasound technicians that these were alien lifeforms ready to hatch as a grand finale for the year that has been 2020, but the surgeon I met with last week insists they're benign and virtually harmless. He's seen these a million time before, and he says if I want them gone, they have to be removed via surgery.

His nurse called me today to schedule a surgery date.
"I was thinking," I told her, "that if there's no urgency, I'd like to wait until there's a COVID vaccine."
"YES!" she blurted into the phone. "I mean, yes, that makes a lot of sense."

I made a health care professional spontaneously cheer today.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Dreams for a Pandemic

The dreams are getting interesting. 

I'm actually surprised it took as long as it did, but I've finally started having dreams that involve people either wearing or not wearing masks.

But the interesting thing that happened last night was all the women in my dream had brown hair with reeeeally long gray roots.
Covid hair color. Because they haven't been to a hair salon in months.

Like me. 😊👩‍🦳

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Are you going to get another cat?

I don't want another cat.

I want the cat I had.


Monday, November 16, 2020

Not Fine

I have lost my footing, friends.

I'd been handling the pandemic well. 
Pivot to work from home? Sure, let's try it. Not bad.
Quarantine everything that comes into the house for 3 days before using it? Pft, minor inconvenience. 
Don't go into a store or restaurant? Hey, that's what online shopping and take out is for!
Hugging my boys is forbidden? Ffff...ine. Fine. We can still visit with precautions, and they know I love them whether there's physical contact or not. I hate it, but it's fine.

Since March, every day has been the same as the last for me. I don't go anywhere, and I don't see anyone. Holidays have come and gone like all the other days. 
Younger Son graduated from college with honors with no fanfare; I think he went to work on his own graduation day. He wasn't entirely confident the university processed him correctly until he received his physical diploma in the mail.

Today my county is closing back down. Instead of loosening up, there's no end in sight. If anything,  the finish line just got moved back indefinitely.
Come on. I can't do any less than I'm already doing. I'm already at bare minimum.

Even so, I might've been fine with that, too.
But I've lost my cat. And *that* has really knocked me off my feet. 
I'm not sure I'm completely fine anymore. Where's my rabbit?

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Random Happy 11/15/2020

The boys visit once a week to join us for a family meal on Sundays.

We all wear masks except when we're eating on TV tables placed 6+ feet apart.

Today I learned Younger Son has been watching tutorials and teaching himself sign language so he can communicate with the woman who lives downstairs from his new apartment. 

Also, Elder Son, who normally has very little to talk about, stayed late chatting my ear off. Younger Son was long gone and The Husband had gone to bed. Still, he talked and talked.

Today had been an emotionally difficult day for me otherwise, but it ended with family and a very pleasant visit with my sons.

Life is good.

Thursday, November 05, 2020

Order of Small Fries

Early this morning I dreamed I was sitting outside at a friend's house. Lots of cats were milling around. I pointed to each cat in turn and asked the friend what the cat's name was. 
Every cat was named French Fry.

What do you suppose that means?

Friday, October 30, 2020

The One with Ryan Reynolds

I dream that I am on a movie set where Ryan Reynolds is working. Naturally,  I want to meet him.

Because I like him and I think we'd get along famously.

When I find him, he is, of course, in the company of several attractive women. The women are lined up, and one by one they hand Ryan Reynolds a business card. RR accepts each card politely and with a smooth motion promptly throws each card into a trash basket.
One right after the other.

Clearly, I must figure out how to make my card special so that Ryan Reynolds will want to keep it and not throw it away.
My solution? I glue a piece of soft, colorful fabric onto the back of my business card. That way, he can keep it in his pocket, and occasionally he can reach in there to touch the soft fabric.
Who wouldn't want a business card like that in their pocket? Right?


It must have been the right answer, because the dream ended as soon as the idea came to me.

Friday, October 23, 2020

The First Day Without Our Beloved Cat


Only today I realized that I'd never had to work from home without Our Beloved Cat sleeping on the chair next to me. He climbed up there on day one of the Safer At Home directive, and he showed up for work every day after.

Only today I realized how often I'd reached over to pet him throughout the work day.
But now he's not here.

I was absolutely lost today. At random times I stopped working for no reason. Frozen. Staring into space. Certain I was about to do something, but no idea what it was.
It took me half the day to understand that I was looking for his comfort and not finding it. It hadn't registered until today how many times during a normal day I had stopped working to stroke the warm, napping kitty for self-comfort and to relieve stress. It had become such a habit, I wasn't aware I was doing it.... until I couldn't.


I'm not proud to admit it, but I dug this out of storage to hug and skritch.

Yes. It is a crutch. But I need it.
Don't tell The Husband.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Our Beloved Cat 2004-2020

For years, the boys would occasionally sneak Our Beloved Cat* outside. They held him the whole time afraid to set him down and risk him running away. But they did it partly because they thought he'd like it and partly because it was forbidden. 
They both expressed a wish to take Our Beloved Cat outside and let him walk around just once before he died.
Yesterday, we granted their wish. It was time.**

The Husband, Elder Son, Younger Son, and I carried Our Beloved Cat to several spots around the house, places he might have seen from various window perches. We set him down in the middle of the backyard where Our Beloved Cat ventured out of his basket and took a few steps in the grass. He croaked several meows; in wonder or confusion, we don't really know, but he was definitely telling us something about the experience.  Even after he climbed back into his basket, we simply let him soak in the sun, feel the breeze in his whiskers, and smell all the smells until he fell asleep.
It was a beautiful fall day.

This memory is what will bring me peace on the days I feel the loss of him weighing heaviest.

Last night, Younger Son and I slept on the living room floor where Our Beloved Cat could see us from his basket but far enough away that we weren't intruding. Holding vigil, I suppose.
About 11pm, Younger Son and I watched as Our Beloved Cat followed a kitty angel behind the couch where he found a path to the Rainbow Bridge.

I am sad, but I have many happy memories of our good boy.


He introduced himself to us at the Humane Society by climbing into my lap and promptly setting his chin on my knee.

The first day we brought him home, he would explore a little bit then return to where we were and flop upside down on the floor. Then he'd go explore a little, return to us, and flop on the floor. Over and over.

He loved belly rubs.
His dinnertime routine was to sniff the food I put out, then he would walk over to the belly petting area, flip into his back, and wait for his rubs. I'm not sure if this was an additional service I was expected to provide to him or if it was meant as positive reinforcement to me for feeding him.
Which one of us was paying a toll, I never figured out.

He and I worked out a routine where I would point finger guns at him and he would do the belly flop thing. Only one person outside of our family ever witnessed it, and she thought it was amazing.

This cat ran to the door to greet us when we got home. Like a dog.

Anytime I'd close the bathroom door, he'd be outside waiting expectantly by the time I opened it. Sometimes just seconds after the door shut. (I checked.)

Shortly after we brought him home, I was woken from a dead sleep by the sensation of something grasping my thumb and lifting my hand. It was the cat gently moving my hand with his teeth. Having successfully gotten the offending appendage out of his way, he walked up into the crook of my arm, curled up, and fell asleep.

We left our bedroom door open a crack so he could come and go throughout the night as he pleased. We tried to train him out of sleeping in our room completely,  but after 3 straight nights of him crying outside the door and me crying inside the door, we gave in.
But he could never quietly enter the room.  He blasted in like a gunslinger kicking in a bar door.

There was a stretch where he declared war on bananas. Hated them. Had to attack and destroy them. So great was his hatred that he also despised cucumbers just because they were shaped somewhat like bananas.
We'd come home and find produce scattered throughout the house.

When we were both younger and more energetic,  we'd chase each other around the house. He didn't have another cat to play with, so I volunteered as tribute.
Elder Son had a green screen hanging up in his room; it was the cat's favorite place to run and hide. I'd walk past the screen slowly pretending not to know he was behind it just so he could jump out and attack me.

Basket of warm laundry? Oh, that was his.

If you called his name, his tail would twitch. Even if he looked asleep.
I especially liked calling his name when he was sitting on the back of the sofa over The Husband's shoulder. I enjoyed making that tail smack The Husband in the face.
He loved sleeping in our bedroom window. To get to it, he had to jump onto the credenza under the window. No matter how many boxes or ramps we built to make this easy for him, he insisted on jumping to the credenza from our bed. The top of the credenza is slick, so he'd land and slide up to the window sill. I eventually crafted a bumper pad to break his slide.

A few months ago while he was curled up in my lap, he started to twitch in his sleep. Dreaming hard, he was. Suddenly he jerked awake and meowed in distress. When he turned to me and realized where he was, he purred and gave me head butts.
I had never loved that fur boy more than at that moment.

Elder Son gave him the best skritches.
Only a few months ago, Younger Son taught the cat to do tricks to earn treats.
He was a really good cat.


*You know I've joked about how I claim nothing in this family, using words like "the" instead of "my" or "mine".
So, you can appreciate how much we must have loved this boy if I refer to him as "Our" cat with a capital O.

**Our Beloved Cat had been on medication for a year. Every time we refilled his 3 month prescription, the vet asked, "Are you sure he'll need that many?" A year ago, our fur boy was living on borrowed time.
Two weeks ago he became very finicky, and we struggled to find anything that he would eat. We'd been hiding his meds in his food, so if he didn't eat, he didn't get a dose. We tried everything, and we eventually let him have anything he wanted just to get him to eat.
By the time I called for help Tuesday, the vet was out of town, the substitute vet was booked solid for two days, and the office was going to be closed on Wednesday. At the time I made the call, Our Beloved Cat was still climbing stairs and leaping onto and off of furniture; he appeared well enough to make it the few short days. But over the following 12 hours, he spiraled.

Saturday, October 03, 2020

The Nightly Routine

This bed is so comfortable!
::adjusts pillow::
This bed is so comfor...
::adjusts underwear::
This bed...
::pushes lock of hair off face::
This bed is...
:: stuffs sheets between knees::
::removes strand of hair that tickles nose with each inhale::
This bed is so...
: sticks foot out from under the covers::
This bed is so comfortable!