Sunday morning, a sweet little calico cat showed up in my driveway. She is thin as a rail and sweeter than syrup. I fed her (it’s what I do- feed animals), and now she’s decided to live on my porch. Adicus and Scooter have tried to run her off twice now (although I didn’t see Scooter yesterday, and it probably just means that a barn cat next door is in heat, but I’m gun-shy at this point), to no avail. She is nothing if not determined.

Yesterday I got home from work and she was sunning herself in my chair. Adicus, having figured out how to sneak out of my bedroom window (with a dresser in front of it, ya’ll!) like an oppressed teenager, came onto the porch with me. He walked up to the new cat, sniffed her as she hissed, and then licked her gently but thoroughly. She sat there, annoyed but accepting.

Damn. The dog’s on her side now.

Ivan and Lewis are still not sure they’re putting up with this coup, and she’s not set foot in the house, despite my leaving the front door open when I’m home, because one of the two of them sits sentry on the couch. What they would do if she crossed the threshold, I’m not sure, but she’s not decided to find out yet.

Where do I stand? She’s a sweet, sweet cat. No cat will ever replace Gizzy, and he and I shared a special bond that isn’t quite there with the others, as much as I love them. She has the potential for that bond, maybe.

But I’m not ready.

Sure, I like getting to know her better. Letting her sit in my lap, rubbing the back of her head. I don’t mind feeding her and letting her sleep on the porch. As far as anything else, it just seems too soon. Too easy. Like using new love to heal the wounds of lost love. I don’t trust her. I don’t trust her to stick around, not to get sick and die, not to leave me. I’m not sure it’s what’s best for the other animals, who are already dealing with a lot of confusing change and can’t drink vodka and whine to their friends about it like I can.

In the practical sense, I have a male cat that is overdue to be neutered, shots and flea medicine needed all around, and a sizeable bill for Gizzy’s hospital stay (though I will be talking to the vet this week about the shitty ROI on that one). It feels irresponsible to take on another animal when the ones I have are not being cared for to the standard I’ve set for responsible pet ownership. Also, I worry about the other cats judging me for loving another too soon, or hurting their feelings, because maybe they think they’re not enough for me. (Yes, I realize that I’ve gone off the deep end with that last one!)

How, though, do I resist fate? She came to me, she wants to be here. I like her. I could love her, if I let myself. So, last night I named her Angel and I promised her that by the time that sleeping on the porch is no longer a pleasant prospect, I would be ready to bring her in the house. Maybe by then, I’ll also be ready to bring her into my heart.

Goodbye, My Sweet Orange Boy

I picked Gizzy up from the vet on Friday. They said he was doing well, and compared to what he looked like when I took him in, he seemed much better. He was still weak, and I was told to feed him as much of whatever I could as possible.

So I got him some fresh trout, and he would eat a few pieces and lumber off under the couch for a nap. He was not the same cat- he couldn’t jump up or down, and he didn’t follow me around the house and the yard, though if it seemed I was pretty stationary, he would settle in the room I was in.

Sunday morning, he was chipper and chatty and he ate more trout at one time than I had been able to get him to eat before.

Sunday afternoon, he was so sick and weak that I knew he wouldn’t survive the trip to the vet. I sent the ex a text, and waited with Gizzy while he made the trip from his new place to live to my house. I stroked his head, buried my face in his soft fur, told him how much I loved him, what a great cat he was. I laid on the floor with him, cried and sobbed, and begged him not to leave me.

By the time the ex came in, I don’t think he even knew who we were anymore. The ex took care of everything, did the hardest thing you can do for an animal you love, and took care of me.

We buried him in an out of the way spot in the backyard, and the ex cut some of my orange sunflowers to lay on his grave.

Gizzy, my marmalade monster. I miss you so much. I remember all ten years of your lovely little life as if it were a book, or a movie. The day that you came home. When you wet the bed. The time that you thought my sister was hurting her cat, and promptly bit her. The time you got yourself into trouble climbing trees, and my sister brought you down off the limb. Watching you whip the dog into shape. Chasing you away from my chicken and fish when I cut them up on the kitchen counters.

You were always there for me. Right by my side. I’m sorry I used to get irritated with you when you would give me love bites on my calves while I was peeing. I’m sorry, too, if there was anything more I could have done for you. I don’t think that there was, but the possibility breaks my heart into even smaller pieces, if that is possible.

Scooter, Ivan, Magoo and Adicus all miss you. They looked for you last night, and when they couldn’t find you, they came and laid on the couch with me. It was wonderful, but it was so hard to know that you won’t curl up next to me on the couch and put your sweet little paw on my leg anymore.

I love you. Thank you for being such a wonder and a comfort to me. I hope that I brought you some comfort and love in that last hour. I also hope that the memory of you in your last breaths, and the ugly awful way that your life ended fades quickly, and when I close my eyes and dream at night, I see you in your glory and not as life was leaving you. Goodbye, my darling. You were the best cat friend a girl could ever want.

Marmalade Monster

Back in 1999, the ex brought home a little orange tabby kitten, just weaned, from the woodpile behind the warehouse he worked in. We named him Gizzy, and he named himself Monster.

This cat. He’s everything that is good and right about the world. He doesn’t care for anyone but me. Tolerates the ex, but not really anyone else. His fur smells like stuffed animals. He curls up against my chest while I sleep. Anywhere I go, he follows. To the mailbox. To the garden. Through the house. When I’m sleeping and he’s hungry, he bites my cheeks and runs his claws through my hair. He loves peanuts, and he would love chocolate if I would let him have it.

For the past ten years, he’s always been there for me. When I’m upset, he’s in my lap, laying on top of my chest, curled up in my arms like an overgrown baby doll. When I’m sick, he sleeps above my head on my pillow. He licks the tears off of my cheeks and lays on the edge of the tub when I take a bath.

Yesterday he got sick and I had to take him to the vet, and they had to keep him. He was severely dehydrated and his white blood cell count is 35,000, which is about as high as it gets. They don’t know what’s wrong with him. They do know that he can’t come home tonight. His bloodwork shows normal organ function, but he’s still not stable enough to leave and it’s too soon to check his count again, as he’s only had antibiotics and fluids for eighteen hours or so.

You have to get better, my sweet orange boy, my marmalade monster. You have to.

TMI Thursday: Barney

This is a story about a friend’s Jack Russell terrier. I forget what his name was, but he was hell on wheels. Ask me sometime about when he ate Christmas. Yeah, he’s one of those dogs.

Our friends had a young son with CP. He was a sweet kid, and they worked with him intensively.  Ryan was obsessed with Barney the Dinosaur. So his parents bought him a stuffed Barney doll, about the size of my foot (which is a delicate size 8, in case you were wondering), and he carried it around day and night.

Enter the Jack Russell. He loved Barney too, but in a much different way…

At any point when Barney was left unattended, he would have his way with Barney. This interaction left Barney with a crusty white film that never washed completely off.

We’re over one afternoon, MH and I, just hanging out. Ryan had Barney’s paw clasped in his hand for a long time, and then it happened… he left Barney unattended. The dog jumped on Barney and screwed the spots off of that dinosaur.  At some point, Ryan came back into the room to retrieve Barney. All I know is that I looked over and saw Ryan smushing his face into the crusty and still sticky white spot on Barney’s back.

That was the day that Barney went to live in the trashcan, with Oscar the Grouch.

Happy TMI!

TMI Thursday: Lend Me A Hand….

TMI Thursday

This story occurs back in the way back when, before WH and I were married.

He took me camping, here in Western North Carolina, and this was one of hundreds of trips we took. We found a campsite over looking the lake (ask him which one it was!), and got out of the car to set up the tent. Immediately, a horrible, awful poop smell washed over us. We searched high and low for what we were sure was a bear pile, you know, just so we could not step in it during those middle of the night pee stumbles. It was nowhere to be found. We shrugged it off and had a wonderful night in the woods.

The next morning, we woke up, got our bearings, and broke down camp. MH got behind the wheel of my little Neon, put her in reverse, and tapped the gas. The tires started spinning, but we weren’t going anywhere. The ground was covered in wet leaves, and we figured this was what was keeping us from getting any traction.

I am not a morning person, you all know this, and this little mishap was getting between me and some awful gas station coffee, so I was impatient. Hard to believe, I know.

I jumped out of the car and immediately spotted a clump of leaves stuck to one of my tires… so I grabbed it and kind of pulled it off/brushed it off of the tire…

Which is exactly when I found the stinky ass stanky bear pile we were looking for the day before- all over my hand. Bear poo. With blackberry seeds and everything. It was light brown, almost orange, really, and sticky. Poor bear could have used some shredded wheat and triscuits, let me tell you.

I used some random rag and half a bottle of purell to clean up with, and MH helped out by laughing hysterically at me. The purell killed the germs, but it did nothing for the stench. I held my hand out the window while we drove for damn near an hour before it faded.

Yummy Bunny

I just don’t know that words do this justice. Behold:

yummy bunny 005

Yes, that is a rabbit. Yes, it is in my living room. Another cat, likely Lewis Magoo, brought the bunny in, and Scooter took over from there. MH put the bunny out in the yard, and when he realized the poor bunny’s fate, brought Scooter out to finish the job.

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Which he did.

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This was what was left of yummy bunny by the time I got home.

Here’s some of the action:

yummy bunny from verybadcat on Vimeo.

Newsflash from the Universe

After spending my weekend alternately freaking out about everything I need to be doing and relishing in some blissful coma-like state of laziness, and wondering why I can’t get off my ass, I found this gem in my gmail this morning.

“There were a lot of reasons you chose to come to earth, and I am super happy to tell you that not one of them was to master being poor, lonely, or sick.”

I laughed out loud. How simple is that? Of course I’m not here to master misery, who would think that?

Me, maybe?

I’ve been struggling with the worst case of the blahs for awhile now, and for the life of me, I cannot figure out why I’m such a slack ass. There are those of you who will say: one job, half a job, two college classes, a household and a marriage- slack ass- are you kidding me?! And you, sweet dears? Dead wrong. Sure, I’m busy. Busy trying not to get in trouble for being behind. Busy trying to put out fires. Busy fretting over what the next thing will be to burst into flames, so I can waste my energy stomping out the fire and pouring water on it for an hour, when fifteen minutes of prior attention would have avoided the whole mess entirely. So. Why am I sucking ass instead of kicking it?

The scariest part about it is this: I love my life. No, I don’t love being cold. I don’t enjoy being broke. I don’t enjoy waiting another two weeks for a root canal so I can eat something outside the range of room temperature. But the big stuff? It’s a gift. It’s the opportunity of a lifetime. To review:

Work- Good job, in a field I enjoy and have talent in. My boss leaves something to be desired, but who doesn’t, and the benefits are incredible. See: School.

School- I’m so incredibly lucky to have a second chance to earn a college degree. School is my future, my freedom, my legitimacy. Plus? I like school. I don’t like Biology, but I like doing well in my classes, and I like getting core classes out of the way.

Half a Second Job- Meh. We need the money. If I could ever get organized, this would be the least of my worries, but somehow it’s always the first thing to catch fire.

Household- Love my house. Sure, it’s small, and seemingly permanently dirty, but its ours, and its cozy. Also like having clean clothes, and groceries in the fridge, and not having stuff sporting a fur coat in there.

Marriage- Love WH. Love being a wife. Falling back in love with both, somewhat, after the hardest year ever, but still. I will say that I generally neglect other stuff to make sure that he and I are getting the time we want and need, and I have a lot of trouble feeling any amount of guilt over it. In the end, he is the one person that will always be there for me- with or without my career, my education, or even my house. Sometimes I have trouble being present when we’re together, though, because I’m anxious about all the other shit I should be doing.

What am I doing instead of doing all this stuff I should be doing? Surprisingly, anymore, it isn’t blogging or reading blogs. Sleeping. Holding the couch down. Staring blankly at my budget spreadsheet, attempting to turn negative numbers into positive ones. Finding new ways to eat using one side of my mouth only. Making lists of all the crap I never do. Etc.

Why? Why! Why am I not more motivated to do what I need to do to make the most of my life and the opportunites I’ve been given?

Is it the cold? WH and I both have more than a touch of the SAD. It’s dark and cold all the time. The house is cold when I get up (the fire having burned down to coals overnight), and you can’t pry me from underneath the blankets to face the icy air on my skin. Yuck. Do. not. want. So, yes, maybe, a little.

Is it being overwhelmed? Yes. Absolutely. My head spins when I think about what I should be doing, where to start, and all the guilt and the shame and the doubt and fear paralyze me. But I wouldn’t be overwhelmed if I reacted to this panic by getting up off the couch and starting somewhere.

A Facebook friend and freader suggested that maybe I focus on the easy stuff- flaws, insecurities, etc., because that’s easier to face than success or failure- either one. Guilty. Yep. Much easier to be prepared to get caught being a slack ass any minute than to get caught off guard when someone figures out I really am a dumbass who should be living under the I-240 underpass. I’ve dealt with this before, though, and I can’t figure out why all of a sudden its a problem again.

Depressed? Hell fucking yes. I’m depressed and anxious and exhausted. I resent nearly everyone and everything. A simple “hey, could you get this taken care of, please?” triggers the following response: “Fuck, fuck, fuck! I’m sorry! Okay, I’m sorry. I’ll do it right now! Get off my back! What do you want from me?! You people are going to suck my soul  right out of my chest. You won’t be happy till there’s nothing left! Who are you anyway? Are you perfect? No, you are not, and here’s why…….”

What’s up with that, interwebz? No one is holding a gun to my head, and I want to do all these things, and I want to be good at them! What the hell is my problem?

Inertia. Yes, yes, and yes. But even when I have a productive day, it’s not enough to overcome the siren song of the couch the next time she calls. I need some kind of huge supply of momentum, and I can’t seem to generate it.

Taking care of myself, rewarding myself, treating myself? Just not an option right now. There’s not really any money for it, and the combination of too little money and too little productivity is just going to drown any attempt at being good to myself in guilt and shame. I need to make some progress with my laziness before this is an option.

So since I’m obviously completely and utterly incapable of figuring this out and fixing it right now, why don’t you give it a shot? Tell me how to get off my couch and start kicking some ass again.  Please. Hurry.