Friday, October 31, 2008

Blogging Can Be a Bio Hazard

I wasn't actually blogging when this all went down. I was reading blogs. I was sitting on the lid of the toilet while The Two Year Old was in the bathtub. I pulled the see thru-ish shower curtain closed so she couldn't wet the laptop with one of her crazy splashing episodes. In fact, she was being quite calm this time (which is always a bad sign). I was so mesmerized by the blog I was reading, that I didn't notice the scratchy/prickly feeling on my right arm. I did notice the Spazzy Two Year Old laughing hysterically, and I thought she was laughing because she was poking my arm with her toy shark.
As moms are talented at ignoring children, I ignored the scratchy poke for about a minute. When I finished reading the particular post, I looked to the right to see what the baby was poking me with.

To my horror, it was this which made contact with my arm:

Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeek! I screamed and leaped off the toilet, almost threw down the laptop, and grabbed that bio hazard away from her. She was laughing hysterically like a goon. I was saying words loudly like, "Nasty! Icky! Blechy! Poopy! Disgusting!" as I was looking for the holder to put it back. Where was the holder?!

I looked to the left of the toilet where I used to keep it (not now that I know it's within her reach when she's bathing.) It was nowhere to be found. She was shrieking with delight and splashing up a storm behind the shower curtain.
Noooooo, she couldn't have! I ripped back the curtain, only to see Spazzy bathing with the toilet brush holder, in bluish chunky-looking water.

Now in full fledged screaming mode, I yanked her out of the tub, pulled the plug and told her she was now the Bio hazard. I had to sterilize and sanitize myself, the baby and the tub.

But before you think that is the grossest thing you've ever heard, let me relate a story to you that my friend in France told me.

My friend babysat this girl who was at the time of the incident, 3 years old. Anyone who has been to France knows that each and every toilet in that country, in private homes or public toilets, has a toilet brush next to it in its holder and some cleaning agent.

My friend was at a restaurant with the child (who, as a side point, had to be the ugliest child I ever did see, and ugly attitude to match), who had to faire pipi. She took her potty, then as she was washing her own hands, turned to tell the child to "come on", only to see, quel horreur! that she had picked up the toilet brush holder and was gulping the last of the liquid it contained.

As this horror story has never left the forefront of my mind after all these years, I have told it so many times that I just knew something nasty was going to make its way back to me in the form of a payback. (Probably a payback for saying what an ugly child she was).

So the moral of this story? When my child is in the tub, I shall refrain from bringing the laptop in. Blogging can be fun, but also can have some nasty consequences.

I guess I shouldn't complain, after seeing this:

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Does He Realize I Just Spent 100 Clams to Save His Life?

Hey! What the? As I'm sitting here in bed with the laptop trying to read morning blogs, Skeeter the Cat just hopped up on me and started kneading my stomach! I may be mistaken, but I have only ever seen him knead big fluffy things; my down comforter and the squishy couch pillows.
Cats are evil.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

French Toast

It's funny how things remind you of other things. Yesterday, I went through the Jack In The Box drive-thru on my way to work. Nothing sounded good except for the French Toast sticks. As I drove, I grabbed one and took a bite. I suddenly felt my stomach do a flop, and I got overwhelmingly sad.

I turned on the stereo and put on song #2, "Hey Oh" by Red Hot Chili Peppers. My sadness grew and the French Toast Sticks swelled in my stomach. My throat felt tight. Why were they making me so sad?

Suddenly, it hit me. April 2006. Road trip to San Luis Obispo. I assume most people who go to SLO have college students to visit, or to be tourists of this part of the California coast, or have relatives or friends living here to visit. It is a gorgeous, trendy little community that I would actually consider living in, if it weren't situated in California (I can say that, I'm an ex-Californian). We do have friends in SLO, and we do have a family member there; the reason for this trip. We were going to visit my youngest brother, who is 5 1/2 years younger than me.

Before we went to see him, we had to kill some time until 9am. Jack in the Box was close by, we were hungry and knew it would be a long day, so we ate breakfast there. I got the French Toast Sticks. I tried to eat them, and I managed to choke down a few bites. They made me sad, even double dipping into the maple syrup didn't help me get them down. For I knew that these were the very last things I would eat before my life changed forever.

You see, just up the road from that Jack in the Box is where my brother lives. No, he's not enrolled at Cal Poly. You have to drive a couple more miles north on Hwy 1 to get to his residence. As we we left Jack in the Box and drove north, the French Toast was feeling like it never made it down my throat and I did what I always did when my mom was driving me (terrified) to a doctor's appointment. My whole body tensed, and I pushed an imaginary brake pedal on the passenger side of the car. It's something I've always done when I'm out of control in a situation where I am being taken to a place I don't want to go.

California Men's Colony is one such place. That is where my baby brother lives at the moment. He is property of the California Department of Corrections. I'm shaking as I type this...Before prison touched our family, I would never considered going near a prison. In fact, it took everything in the deepest part of my soul to go there to visit him. But I knew what I had to do.

It may have been the hardest thing I've ever had to do thus far in my life. And I've done it several times now, and the time has come to do it again. Hence, this post. As I usually use humor to get me through a situation, I cannot find humor in this one. I try and try, but it's a different world there, where humor seems to have no place.

I do not know how I got through that first visiting day. When I saw my brother for the first time since being locked up, it was a mixture of raw emotions. It was joy and sadness, happiness and grief, loss of control and yet having to keep everything under control, if that makes sense. The second day of visiting was our last day. And it was much easier that the day before, knowing what to expect. But the last two hours proved to test my sanity and strength. These became some of the hardest hours I ever remember.

Tears began to trickle at first. I put my sunglasses on to hide them from my brother, my kids, my husband, and especially the guards. But soon my entire face was wet and my brother looked over at me. The look in his eyes made it happen. I let out the hideous sob that was coming from the pit of my stomach, and I could not regain my composure. My brother reached out his arm to try to console me, but touching is not allowed during a visit. The guards sitting closest to us watched. I felt violated. It was the most unnatural feeling, to be together as a family, but have strangers imposing boundaries on us like that. I tried with all my strength to stop crying, but I could not. I was in fact pregnant with my third child, and something about knowing she would be almost 4 when he gets out made me want to vomit, and it would have been so easy, as the French Toast and vending machine food that was our lunch seemed to have refused to be digesting.

As my brother sat there, unable to console me, yet knowing his actions were the reason for my unbearable grief, a look crossed over his face. And at that moment I knew he would be ok. I knew he would make it out. I knew he wouldn't resort to violence, gangs, weakness or corruption. I knew I had given him enough reason to make it through his punishment. I have three of his greatest loves in my possession; my kids, his nieces and nephew. It's enough to keep him on the straight and narrow. And it has. We made promises. He's kept all of his during these 3 1/2 years of incarceration. I am proud of that boy. He is different than most in that vile place. He will make it with the help of all his family. We are his lifeline.

How could I deny him that? And so, even though normal things that I used to enjoy get tainted with memories and emotion linked to my brother's lock down, I have to keep going. I have to fulfill my promise not to let the kids forget him. I have to give him hope. Sometimes hope is the only thing that one has, but it can be enough.


Info: My brother was sentenced to 6 years in prison in 2005 for having 2 Strikes that resulted from 2 bar fights. Though I do not condone fighting, no weapons were involved, no one pressed charges, but California's laws are different. He has stayed sober in prison, not gotten into any trouble, not affiliated with any gang, keeps to himself and now he's being transferred this week to a lower level prison (Level 2) for good behavior..... why is it that good behavior is rewarded with having to go to a much more horrendous prison....San Quentin?!
Oil on canvas painting by my brother, copyright 2008, from his prison cell.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

My First Greek Lesson: Of Mice and Men

My non-Greek mother is learning Greek, and I was at her house today thumbing through her Learn Greek books. I have every intention of starting, but each time I sit down and look at the book, I just see a bunch of jumbled up things like this word I saw today: ποντικός

Oh sure, it looks pretty, but the meaning of this particular word is not pretty to many people with certain phobias. ποντικός is Greek for MOUSE. And as you know, The Mouse of this house had escaped her cage and was running free in the garage. I don't have a phobia of Purchased-at-Petco Mice, but I do of Petco Mice Gone Wild In the garage making babies that will overrun my new house with nasty mice turds and ποντικός germs.

As I mentioned, I was about to "ask myself what a maverick* would do", and then that is what I did. Yes, I let Skeeter and Blueberry (the cats) in the garage to find Licorice the escaped inmate. I let them in, closed the door.... and waited. I kept checking on them every so often. They were definitely hunting. They found the fresh mouse pellets next to the cage (evidence that she was still in there, not taking her freedom out the door when she had the chance). Each time I checked on the cats, I cringed as I opened the door wondering if there would be a dead mouse flung at me the next time I peeked in.

No, they didn't succeed in assasinating Licorice, and I'm glad. I couldn't stomach the fact that I'd hired two hit men, uh, cats, to do a sweet little mouse in. I abandoned my maverick-y* side.

As we were getting in bed two nights ago, Hubby asked if I'd locked the garage door. No. So he got up and went out there. He was taking a long time. He came back and said, "I just saw Licorice! She was standing on the red carpet!" Well she thinks she's important enough not to be murdered, sigh....and so do I. Hubby tried to catch her, but she ran....under the car. I didn't say she was the smartest mouse, having already witnessed the cat/tire incident.

And so yesterday when Hubby was out cleaning the car, he saw Licorice dash past him. He actually caught her this time and put re-incarcerated her. She is officially on lockdown; in the hole. He came running in to tell me the good news. I went out to say hello to Licorice. Um... That was not Licorice!

To be continued...

*SNL reference :)

Friday, October 24, 2008

I Didn't Want to Be a Pet Drama Blogger!

Is anyone sick of the Pet Drama yet, here at Cassoulet Cafe? Well, I certainly am! And it just doesn't quit. So, after the deaths and the vet escapade, there are two new story lines that merit attention.
Blueberry not only gave Skeeter a cold that turned into life threatening pneumonia, but he has now shared the love of what I thought was a facial's in fact, ringworm.

As I type that word, I have chills going up my spine. No, ringworm isn't an actual worm it is a nasty little fungus....I detest fungus.

Flashback of beauty school, old lady, toenails deformed by fungus so bad that her toenails actually looked like a small tree branches. I was retching and vowing never to do another pedicure the rest of my life, and it did not look dissimilar to this awful mess.
I hope you had your lunch already. Sorry for the visual, but I am one who cannot suffer alone.

So, The Twelve Year Old now has three ringworms on her legs. We're putting clear nail polish on them, as per Yahoo Answers. We'll see. My entire body is itching, convinced I'm covered in ringworms, but I have yet to find one. (And don't even mention the word "lice" to me, or my head will start spontaneously itching and I'll run to the mirror ten thousand times today to check my hair).

When we got the cats, we put the only surviving rodent pet into the garage. Secretly hoping she'd kick the bucket too, but she kept on keepin' on. Two nights ago, as I drove into the garage, I saw a mouse in the bag of trash that I had set out there (not making it to the can yet) I started screaming for Husband to come help! When he came out he started lecturing me, "That's what happens when you just toss the trash bag out here!" I was ticked, since taking the trash out is his job, but horrified that it had actually brought about a mouse! When he walked closer he said, "Hey, that's Licorice! How did she get out of her cage?!" Hmmphh...see, I didn't bring wild mice in with my procrastination!

He put her back in the cage, but yesterday morning when I went out to the garage to load the kids in the car to go to school, The Six Year Old started laughing hysterically and said, "Licorice is out of her cage and sitting behind the tire of the car!" Was she trying to commit suicide, because I'm sure she saw the whole thing go down with Suki last month. She knows I can rid the house of pets with the press of the gas pedal. We tried catching her, but she ran. When I got home, there she was, near the cage, but not in it. Being that the kids were gone....and being that they do not read my blog...I will admit what I did: I opened the garage door, went inside the house, locked the door, and waited.

The official story is that Licorice either escaped (true) or just has a new nest inside the garage (OH. MY......what for Pete's Sake was I thinkingggggggggg?) I left the cage door open in case she wanted to turn herself in. It still sits empty. Duh. And as I am The Great Procrastinator and talented in denial when I don't want to face an ugly truth, I stopped thinking about Licorice breeding in the garage.....

....that is, until I read this post this morning: The Creature From the Garage Loft.

So, I will be sitting here on my bed, trying to come up with a plan, and I think it may involve a mouse trap or letting, gulp, the cats in the garage. Licorice was a good mouse, but let's face it, when Mice Go Wild we need not fear getting all maverick-y to protect our turf.

Who's with me?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

How To Remove Stubborn Greek Hair

I hate waxing. Each time I do it, it breaks me out. But I hate my unwanted hairs too. I was saying this to my friend from Iran (who has perfect eyebrows) and she said, "Why don't you do it the way we do in my country?" The way they do it is called in English, threading. She didn't have any string with her, and wasn't explaining it well enough for me to understand what in the world a piece of string could do for my moustache and eyebrows. (Oh yeah, let's not forget the one, thick, black chin hair that pops out overnight).
So I went to YouTube and found this video:

I was ecstatic! After playing around with some thread, and then finally having my dear friend show me how she does it, I think I have mastered the Art of Threading. This Greek Girl now is facial-hair-free at all times, and no pesky after-waxing zits replacing the mustache.

I urge everyone to try threading themselves, and let me know how it turns out!

Monday, October 20, 2008

My Big Fat Greek Story, Part Two

Continued from Part One.

G hangs the phone up. Looks up at my parents, and said, "You have a cousin. I know her. She lives here on the island. She is on her way over right now."

My parents, especially my dad, are stunned. They are sitting there, on a little island in the middle of the Aegean Sea, at a virtual stranger's house who claims that my dad, let alone has a cousin he never knew about, but that he knows her and she's on her way over!

My mother is crying, my dad is trying to calm her down saying, "Listen, let's not lose our heads. The chances of this being a real family member aren't good, so let's not get our hopes up, ok?" A car pulls in the drive, but no one gets out. G goes out and sees them and tries to get M, said cousin, to stop crying hysterically and come in. He says, "M, these are good people. It's ok. Let's get you in to meet them, and we'll sort everything out, ok?" You'll understand why she's crying a little later in this post.

So, when she finally gets the courage to walk in the house, she sees my dad, and it wouldn't be an understatement to say that hysteria got the better of everyone. She actually looks like my dad. After big Greek hugs, wailing, squirting tears, more hugs, they all sit down to try to sort things out. Again, my dad isn't 100% convinced. He pulls out the official family paper he'd gotten earlier at the town hall. M looks at it, and almost faints. It is true. They are related.

Not only are they related, but they are first cousins. My dad's father and M's father were brothers! We've always known about M's father, Uncle N, we even have pictures. But we never knew he had a daughter or whatever happened to Uncle N. All family contact was lost.

After everyone composes themselves, M says, "For my whole life, I knew I had an uncle and cousins in America. My father would receive letters and photos, but suddenly they stopped. We've tried for 30 years to find you. The Red Cross even helped us. I even prayed, since I was 8 years old, that maybe one of my cousins would be the same religion as us, and it might make it easier to find each other."

My father, in tears (which is not a common occurrence), asks what religion she is. When she says the same one as my father, the wailing begins again. (We are in a Christian religion that has just 7 million people worldwide and was persecuted by Greek Orthodox in Greece.) For 35 years, my father was disowned by his mother for his religion. M was disowned by her own country for her religion. They never knew they had cousins. And here, on this unassuming random day, she receives a phone call and their lives are forever changed. But wait, it gets even better.

She invites them to her home to look at the old photos of her father's that she kept. They go to her home, and she pulls the photo album out and says, "I do not know who many of the people are in the photos, except I know which one is your father." When she opens the photo album, there are some of the same photos we have in our old photo albums! There are photos of my dad's father, dad's two older sisters! My dad is overcome with emotion, as this is a very familiar photo of his dad and sisters. He turns the photo over, and there is his dad's writing. He cannot believe that here in this little house, on this little island, in this stranger's home, there are photos of his father and sisters (who live in California and we are very close to).

Then M says, "Do you want to see the house where your father was born?....We are standing in it!" Her house. This is all too much, and they hug and sob and promise to never lose each other again.

It is at this point that I receive a phone call on my mobile. We were driving to Spain that day. My mom calls, and I thought someone was dead, because she was sobbing. When she explained they found a cousin, I was in shock. When she explained briefly the other important details, I almost fainted in the car. Then she said, "M doesn't speak English very well, but she's fluent in French. Here she is now..." So she put M on the phone. We were both sobbing and she kept saying "Je t'aime, je t'aime!" (I love you!) and she begged us to come.

When my parents flew back into Toulouse a few days later, at midnight, they were too excited to sleep. My dad unpacked the ouzo that he'd brought from Grandfather's Island, poured us all glasses of it, and proceeded to tell every scrumptious detail of the miraculous visit. The next day, he called his sisters and one of my aunt's got out her photo album. She had had this photo of a little girl that she knew was a cousin, but didn't know how or who. She scanned it, and then emailed it to us and M. M called and said, "That is me!" So, all these years, M has had photos of our family, and my aunt had a photo of M.

We found out the reason why we were never productive in our search for M. When a Greek woman marries, the spelling of her last name gets altered. In M's case, the S was dropped. And of course, she couldn't find us, because my father was using his stepdad's last name. Something he'll always regret.

You might want to know what my grandmother, the Dragon Lady, had to say about all this when she heard through the grapevine. Well, she promptly made a nasty phone call to my dad and said that it was impossible and this woman was not a family member. My dad said, "Mom, I'm the one who went thousands of miles to Dad's island, I'm the one who met her, and I'm the one who has the proof from the town hall! You've lied to me my whole life about who died, and no one died when and where you said they did."

My parents, M and her husband, all speak twice a day on Skype. I talk to her too as much as I can. She is a lovely person, who cries every time we speak because she can't believe what a miracle this is. Her English has vastly improved, and we are all beginning to learn Greek. My parents just bought their tickets to go back for an entire month. And then M and her husband will come here in July! All my aunts will come, and we'll have a very emotional, aka very Greek, family reunion.

PS. I showed her my hairy arms on the webcam and asked her if this was typical Greek Girl stuff. She laughed so hard she almost fell out of her chair. Then assured me..."yes, you are a true Greek woman!"

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Who the Heck Gives Their Cat a Fake Last Name?

My Big Fat Greek Story Part Two is coming, I promise! It'll be worth the wait.

But what I wanted to talk about today is really important...

Has anyone else here given their pet a last name? Seriously, I am not a weirdo, but calling my cat a last name that I made up sorta makes me feel like one.

When my brothers and I were growing up, we loved to make each other laugh when we weren't making each other cry. One of the "games" we played over the years, was to come up with the funniest sounding name. Each of us taking turns trying to outdo the others' creation. Many names were created over the years, but none sticks out in my head more than the one I now call my new little cat.

My son picked the name Skeeter, because my brother (now grown, of course!) just wrote him and letter and said he got a pet mouse and named him Skeeter. I had actually forgotten that Skeeter was part of the funniest-name-ever-created-by-us, until one day, I wanted Skeeter to come in the room, and I yelled, "Skeeter! Skeeter Magillicutti!"

My husband looked at me, and said, "What was that?!" I was actually embarrassed, for I am not one of those people who usually gush all over their pets and make up names for them. (Not that there's anything wrong with that!) I burst into laughter when I realized I had been calling him that for several had seemed so natural, because whenever we wanted to make each other laugh, my brothers and I would say, Skeeter Magillicutti.

Maybe this is only funny in my head, but it's worth it to ask, am I the only one who has given their cat a last name other than your own?

So, because Skeeter has a surname, our cat Blueberry needs one too. We've come up with some funny ones, but they just don't flow as well as Skeeter Magillicutti. I would love some ideas, and the funnier the better, as long as it can flow off my tongue easily. Here are some things about Blueberry to consider: He is a Russian blue (so we were told/hence the name Blueberry), he pees on things, he literally hugs people, he likes shoulders, he is crazy and can be skittish.

Here are some of our creations:
  • Blueberry Juarez
  • Blueberry's Berries (get it? lol)
  • Blueberry Rodriguez
  • Blueberry Vodka
  • Blueberry Babushkin
  • Blueberry Gorbechev
  • Blueberry Bagel

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

My Big Fat Greek Story, Part One

It took years for me to convince my father to go to France for a visit. He didn't even go with my mother to see us when we were living there. He is a homebody, he likes his recliner when he's not working, and now that he owns a laptop, that sweetened the deal. Finally, he succumbed and agreed that he would go with us in March/April '08. But there was a stipulation: If he was going all that way, he wanted to go to Greece, to the island where his father was born and grew up.

That was fine with me, however, being that the dollar was down, and we are five, we just couldn't swing it for ourselves. Besides, we knew we'd need a break from each other by then! My dad's father died when my dad was 15. My dad's mother, who I refuse to call Grandma, is not a nice person. She disowned my dad when he started studying the Bible with the religion he became. When Dad was little, she kicked my his father out for another guy. My grandmother, who refused to allow my dad to call his own father "Dad", but instead by his first name, also refused to let my dad use his real last name; a very Greek, but unique last name. When my Dad started studying the Bible, his mother told him to stop using the stepdad's last name that she had all his life forced on Dad, and told him to now start using his father's last name, because he was "dragging the stepdad's family name through the mud." Nevermind that the step dragged his own name through the mud, in ways I won't even elaborate on here. This man, I have only seen once, because he was a disgusting human being who every decent person in our family called The Nazi. The Nazi and The Dragon Lady, is what they were called.

So, because Dad can tend to be stubborn, he refused to stop using The Nazi's last name (after all, he was only 20, newly married, rebelling against his mom and stepdad's abuse). He regrets this decision today not to take back his rightful Greek name.

Dragon Lady assured Dad that there were no family members left on the island that my grandfather was born on. They all fled to Egypt, or were killed, she said. We did internet searches on the last name, but to no avail. There was not one good lead. As I said before, all we had were family legends and some photos.

We have family photos of Dad's aunts and uncles, siblings of his father. We know the names, we know what happened to some of them. Still, no leads to any family left on the island. This is why I felt like my parents' time and money to go to this island was going to be somewhat wasted. Don't get me wrong, I thought it would be very neat for my dad to see what his father saw as a young boy. But I didn't want Dad to get his hopes up in finding family.

First they spent 4 days in Athens, and Mom said that Dad kept talking to everyone they met about his father and his real last name, and did they ever hear of anyone with that last name? Nevermind that it was like finding a needle in a haystack, he persevered. (I am told by a guy from Greece that this is most definitely a Greek thing, and that Dad didn't embarrass himself.) :)

In Athens, he got the number of a friend of a friend that lives on the island of my grandfather. So when my parents arrived for their 3 day stay on the island, they immediately called this person, who happens to be the same religion as us. Happy, this man who I'll call G. told my parents to meet him in the center of the village at 6pm, he would come meet them.

Meanwhile, my parents explored and visited with local townspeople, who were very willing to listen to my father's story of island heritage. Each person said they hoped he would find family, or even land! (Is that Greek or what?) As they were telling the hotel owner, who spoke perfect English, he got all excited and shouted that they must follow him to the Town Hall to tell them the story and find some records of family members. It was just next door. When they left, they had in possession a an officially stamped and sealed family document!

Yes, it's true, Grandfather was born here! Here was the date of his birth, all the siblings, the parents, and others. Everything was just as we thought. Including the confirmation that all the family left the island and there were none left.

Very satisfied that they at least accomplished something, even if it didn't lead to actual family members, my parents left the building to go meet G. This was more than they really hoped for.

So at 6pm, they waiting at the meeting point. G. came driving up and introduced himself and his kids to my parents, and then said, "Get in the car, we take you to our house for coffee and visiting." Stunned, a little worried, but taken by the friendliness and sincerity of G., they got in the car. (Mind you, this is not a city, and he was a friend of a friend.)

G. took them to his house, and they started visiting over some Greek coffee. Dad explained that he was the first family member to come to Grandfather's Island, they just got a document with a family tree, and they were happy. G. said, "Tell me the family name of your father." So, Dad told him. Stunned silence.
G said, "Excuse me for a moment, I have a phone call to make." My Dad does not understand Greek anymore, but it was very evident there was excitement going on this end of the phone call. There were intermittent questions asked of my dad by G. about family history, places, dates, names. My dad answered all of them. G was getting louder and louder on the phone, smiles, big, excited Greek parents were sitting there wondering what in the world was going on or about to happen.

G hangs the phone up. Looks up at my parents, and said, "You have a cousin. I know her. She lives here on the island. She is on her way over right now."

To be continued......

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Vet...

Did I happen to mention my cat drama yet? Oh yes, I know I have, but it's worth mentioning again and again. Because it doesn't stop in this household, for some unknown reason. Skeeter, our kitty that survived the wheel of my minivan last month, seemed to be practically dying this morning when I got up. He didn't come running out of the laundry room with Blueberry, the new cat. When I looked at him, his mouth was open and he was wheezing. His eyes were drippy, and he was lethargic.
So, I went to pack him up in his box, and found out that my husband, who always throws away the wrong things and keeps the things I want to be rid of, hit again. He threw away the two cat boxes last week that I have been saving since July.
Skeeter is really docile and cuddly, never scratches or wriggles. So I put him in a topless box, and headed down the road about 2 hours ago. He jumped out and ran under my foot. I pulled over, picked him up, and tried to hold him while I was driving....something I yell at other people for within my own soundproof vehicle. I could have kept hold of him if his breath didn't have the kind of green fumes you only see on cartoons. I gasped and let him go. He ran under the back seat.
I arrived at the vet, got out of the car, called Skeeter, and realized there was no way he was coming out. I just started unbuckling The Toddler when Skeeter made a mad dash out the door. Lickety split, I was down on him like a rat on a Cheeto, as hubby likes to say when he needs to make me laugh.
Only, Skeeter was determined to get away. Five feet away from where we were was the main road through town with non-stop traffic careening by. I was determined I was not going to have to tell my kids I was responsible for another feline flattening. So, the only thing I could grab was Skeeter's tail. As I was grabbing for it desperately, I flew head first onto the pavement, to the horror of many passersby and the entire waiting room at the vet's office. I was on the ground, screaming Toddler strapped in the car seat, and holding onto my cat's tail for dear life, completely mortified at my position. I hid in the car for a few minutes, mustered up enough pride to get up and into the waiting room.
Hearing that the cat was open-mouth breathing, they rushed out to the car and got him, and brought him immediately into an exam room. The doctor said he has a severe case of pneumonia, and that I should get a feline AIDS/Leukemia test as well. I asked him if Skeeter has either, would he have to be put down? He said yes, or make him live in a bubble. I said, "Let's just treat the pneumonia, my kids cannot handle another cat death."
Meanwhile, I averted another death in the exam room. As we were waiting for the doctor to come back, The Lightening Fast Toddler (and I do not exaggerate), grabbed my keys out of my purse, found an outlet, and was 1 centimeter away from plunging a key into it.

Shocked that my bill was $105, I paid and started to walk outside. Skeeter went kuh-razeeeee, and pulled out every claw that he'd managed to get the Soft Paws off of, and dig them wildly into my neck flesh and arms, while the back leg claws ripped to shreds the plastic sack I was carrying full of his expensive meds. I dropped The Toddler's hand out of sheer pain, and then screamed because a truck was backing up and she is FAST. It seemed like minutes, but really only micro seconds, that I realized that I had to let Skeeter go (which meant certain death) so I could hang on to The Toddler.

Right then, a very caring young couple sprang out of their car and rushed to my aid. I never, ever ask for help with my kids from a stranger, but I was almost in tears and asked the girl to hold my toddler's hand. The guy got Skeeter and held his paws in a way that calmed him right down, and helped me get my crew loaded.

I flipped the box upside down on top of Skeeter, angry at him for making a potential situation a hazard to my child. No, it's not his fault, it's mine for not going and purchasing a cat carrier before I took him to the vet. But I just wanted to get him there before he got any sicker.

I'm home now, still shaking, and unable to do any of my errands I've already put off way past due.

Maybe I'm not cut out to be a pet owner.

Friday, October 10, 2008

What I Did During Summer Vaction (aka, Why I Didn't Have Time to Blog)

  1. Got 3 rodents for the kids. 2 died.

  2. Got a kitten. It had to be put to sleep after a week.

  3. Got two more kittens.

  4. Celebrated 15th wedding anniversary

  5. Had friends from France come stay for 4 nights.

  6. Took them to do lots of American stuff (upcoming story)

  7. Back to school! One First Grader. One started Middle School.

  8. The First Grader refused to go to school without morning drama of hanging on to door frames, sobbing, screaming and flopping around on floor.

  9. During this AM drama, resorted to draggin the child out the door and not noticing the new kittens ran out.

  10. I backed over the white one and killed it.

  11. Hysteria. Guilt. Accusations.
  12. Cat funeral that night.
  13. Skeeter, the one left behind, in depression. Lots of cuddling for him.

  14. Got another cat to ease Skeeter and Middler Schoolers lonliness.
  15. New cat (Blueberry) peed on me while in my bed. Twice. On my new down alternative comforter. Peed on daughter's bed once, with the added bonus of poop.

  16. Cat excommunicated to the outdoors.

    Can we say the word "DRAMA"?

In memory of Suki, the funniest, bestest hunting I cat I ever knew. I'm sorry. :(