Friday, October 17, 2008

It is time. Way past time, actually...

I am stunned that I have not posted since August. And I apologize for never posting part 2 of the last post. Pictures tend to speak louder than words, so I am going to introduce you to the newest member of the family via photograph. Meet..........................Hank. :)

brand new, baby hank.

baby hank scaling the birdcage.

mid-size hank helping me work in my home office.

sleepy hank.

disgustingly healthy -- er -- large hank.

I do believe that Jess would be pleased.......

Monday, August 18, 2008

big paws to fill.

So many things to share, so little time. But one has to start somewhere, right? Since the last post was about Jess, this one is about Piper. The Peeps. Peeper Leeper. The Claw.

We were concerned with how she would handle the death of her lifelong companion. The vet warned that she might freak out, go into a depression, perhaps even wander the house keening for Jess.

um, no.

In fact, the opposite was true. After a couple of days, when she felt pretty confident that Jess was not anywhere in the house, for reals, we actually caught her doing a one-way waltz through the great room singing "Ding Dong the Witch is Dead" in an opera voice. Well ok, not really. But almost. You could tell she was thinking it. Let's just say that Jess had been a bit cranky towards Peeps for the last -- oh -- year or so of his life.
In short, Piper has been enjoying the hell out of being The Alpha Cat for once in her life. Seriously, she morphed into a different cat than the one I'd known for the last 6 years or so. She preened. She strutted. She lazily swished up to us for affection. She talked. A lot. She even began channeling Jess for a bit, which really freaked me out. She would jump onto the bed at 6am and meow loudly, waking us up -- reminiscent of the late gray pumpkin. Not. Cool. We nipped that little habit in the bud, oh yes we did. (SRSLY, one of the only things about Jess I don't miss is his penchant for waking me up at the ass-crack of dawn).

She tried to step into big gray-and-white paws, she really did. But there was just such a ... presence ... missing in the house. Jess was such a big personality, and Piper, as funny as she is, is just not....and I know I'm an asshole for saying it...but she's just not a standalone cat. I don't even think she was comfortable with her new role, once the novelty wore off. It's a big responsibility, entertaining two adults constantly, making yourself available for affection 24x7, responding to humans talking in "cat voice" (you know, like "baby voice." only...for cats). We were wearing her out.

I hate to do this to you guys, I really do, but a girl's gotta work. Thus, this is ...
to be continued...

Saturday, July 12, 2008

goodbye gray pumpkin.

I have a lot to share, for so much has happened in the past two weeks. Joyful things. And I will share these things. But not right now. Right now, the only thing i can focus on is the loss of Jess, my gray pumpkin spice. We had to let him go yesterday -- he was just working too hard to breathe and he wasn't resting and he couldn't get comfortable because his body was so very full of fluid. He was not having a good time anymore. He still sat on my head every night and purred me to sleep, but I could feel his labored breathing, labored purring. It was just time. This doesn't stop me from beating myself up about it, oh no, I've been crying for two days now. I feel guilty. I feel relieved. I feel grief. I feel sorrow. I feel love. I feel responsible. But most of all, I feel the giant hole left in my life, in my home, in my soul, now that he is gone. I miss him so much. There will never be another Jess.

1995 - 2008

Friday, June 27, 2008

You know you've waited too long for a vacation when...

  • you have noticed that you no longer have any short-term memory. You. Retain. Nothing.
  • the very thought of leaving the state makes you actually cry.
  • you're in a good mood on your last day of work. (like, people comment on the drastic turnaround)
  • your cat is like "GET. OUT."

Yes people, it's about time. I haven't been on a vacation (longer than a weekend and out of state, that is) since OCTOBER. That is too long. I can't believe it's finally here, but our Alaskan Cruise starts tomorrow!! We fly to Seattle at the crack of dawn (SRSLY -- we have to leave the house at 4am.), and the ship sails at 4pm. I'm hoping that somehow, some way, I can get a nap in there somewhere...because anyone who's ever traveled with me knows that if there ain't a nap, there ain't a vacation.


So anyway. Enough with the cheesy cliches, it just goes to further show how FRIED I am. For the next 8 days, I have a great excuse not to post: I'M AT SEA!!!

Bon voyage, all!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

you gotta start somewhere

Wow. So it's been, like, over a month since I've posted. Every single day I think about posting, and every single day it just seems too overwhelming. So much has been going on behind the scenes. I really don't know where to start and I don't want to post a long-ass post with 800 pictures, you know? So. I guess I'll start somewhere and try to catch up little by little.

So, the house. It's coming together, although there doesn't seem to be enough time (or money) to do everything we want to do NOW NOW NOW. And yet. R is one of those guys who can't sit still when there are things to do, and now that he has an ongoing project, omg. He's doing. The yard. The landscaping. Painting. Everything. It makes me tired just watching him. (heh. i do stuff too, don't worry...). One of my favorite things that he's done is my home office. It's too excellent for words. Unfortunately, R doesn't want me to post pics of it until it's "finished". Um, I think what he means is "clean". Which... well. So here are a few photos:

So the pics aren't the greatest, but can you see my PURPLE walls?? Love. Now, here are some other house pics, just to give you an idea what I've been up to lately, in my long absence...

And finally...
I think that's all for now. I'm trying to be reinspired, so we'll see how this goes...

Thursday, April 24, 2008

My little gray Lazarus. (alt. title: And then there were seven.)

We moved into the new house last week. The first night we all (cats et al) spent under the new roof was Friday night. Starting a day or so before the move, Jess started going downhill. For anyone who might not know, Jess has been diabetic for the past year and recently developed a form of congestive heart failure – but we’ve been treating him with meds and he’s been happy as a clam, for the most part. Well this time he completely stopped eating. And drinking. For Jess, the no eating thing is significant; that cat eats his weight even on days when he feels like total crap. I knew it was bad.

It was really bad. By Saturday he wouldn’t come out from under my old bed, which is now in the guest room. When he did emerge to use the cat box (all was not totally lost), he couldn’t use his back legs very well. He would take three steps and then lie down and rest a few minutes before going another few steps. He had no balance and seemed very tired. My heart was breaking. Saturday night we opened up the front door of the house and encouraged him to come sit outside with us, which he loved to do in my Austin house. He hobbled down the entryway, the first time he’d walked more than three steps in two days, but he kept veering to the right, even bumping into the wall before bouncing back into a straight line. Veeerrrryyyy slowly. His eyes and coat were dull, but once he made it to the porch he seemed happy to be in the fresh air. We sat outside with him and shivered while he crouched in the cold wind and stuck his nose in the air, eyes closed in ecstasy, tail gently swishing. He stayed out about 15 minutes and then wanted to be carried back inside. We complied. I spent the night with him on the couch, while he stayed curled in a nearby chair, and I woke up every time he rustled. I don’t think he was really even sleeping; he was just breathing and being still.

Sunday morning he went back under the bed and wouldn’t come out. We coaxed him, and he let us pet him, reaching with our stomachs and faces pressed into the carpet, but he wasn’t budging. We spent the morning trying to locate a vet that could come to the house on a Sunday; we didn’t want to drag him to an ER for his final moments, but we also didn’t think it was humane to wait until Monday. We had no luck, but by then my sister and her family had arrived and we went to lunch nearby. When we got home, Jess was ON the bed instead of under it. Hmm. We moved a shallow water bowl (ok, a cake pan – we’re still unpacking, people) into the room and some dry food, and to our shock, he started drinking. And drinking. And drinking some more. The cat was soaking wet from his chin to his chest, as he was leaning into the bowl – poor pumpkin was so weak he could barely hold his head up to drink. Then he started nibbling on dry food. And nibbling. And nibbling some more. By Sunday night he was moving around a bit more, but still only taking a few steps at a time. Still, he wasn’t under the bed anymore. We gently carried him into the master bedroom and put him on the new bed, hoping he’d make the transition and I wouldn’t have to sleep in the other room with him again. He stayed. In fact, he climbed onto my head for the first time in a week and purred softly all night. I was thrilled, but still so so sad. Then, it was Monday morning. And the cat was fine. By “fine” I mean, eating, drinking, and walking around. Meowing insistently for us to lift him onto the bathroom counter so he could drink from the faucet. Following us around. Getting underfoot. EATING. AND DRINKING. His legs were still a little shaky, but he had perked up considerably. I went to work, and he was even better when I got home.

It is now Thursday and it’s like nothing ever happened. His coat and eyes are shiny again. Gray man sat perched on the verge of death, a calendar day away from the end, and now he’s totally back to normal. Only he hasn’t needed insulin in a week. His blood sugar (we tested it throughout the ordeal) is exactly the same as when we were giving him the shots. We haven’t given him his diuretic because he was so dehydrated. And still, he is happy.

We are mystified. The vet is mystified. But Jess?

Jess is … Jess. And I’m so, so glad.

We’re putting grass in the backyard for him ASAP so he can feel the wind in his whiskers for the rest of his remaining seven lives.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Controlled chaos.

An oxymoron? I don’t think so, not in this case. You see, most people don’t have a Robert to help them pack and move. Most people don’t have the luxury of continuing their daily routine, complete with work-related stress headaches and freaky company meetings, while their significant other is busily packing up their apartment and trying to keep things moving smoothly so they don't have a complete nervous breakdown

This morning was the final walk through.

This afternoon I expect to receive the final numbers from the mortgage broker, but so far nothing. None of this is real in my mind until I see the numbers in black and white and see that this whole thing is actually feasible. Right now it’s all this abstract idea: somehow, that beautiful, new-smelling, shiny house that I’ve watched go from a blank frame through completion is going to be mine in less than 48 hours. Um. Yeah, right. My stuff is really going to be in it. This time next week, I will be driving to work from a new direction. Everything will be…new.

But first, the numbers.

In the meantime, Robert has been packing the apartment gradually while I’m at work, when he’s not in class or working. And he’s doing a bang-up job. The entire spare room, including the gigantor closet with boxes from my LAST move almost two years ago. The kitchen. Ahh, the kitchen. How I despise packing (and unpacking) kitchens. I did not know he packed the kitchen until last night, since I didn’t really go in there all weekend except to get ice cream. (what? I’m STRESSED, people). So last night, after an exhausting weekend of tying up loose ends before the move and trying not to spend any real money (except for paying the balance on our June cruise. uh, yeah, that), it was time to eat dinner. We were both spent and not in the mood to even go pick food up anywhere, so Robert heated up some soup we had in the fridge. And all was sweet and well and domestic-like. Until he went to serve it, and realized he had Packed. The. Bowls. All. of. Them. Aha, I said, that’s what you get for packing more than a day ahead of time, Mr. Smarty Pants!

We had a good laugh. And then we ate delicious soup out of a giant casserole dish.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

What's been goin' on

Just a quick summary of the past couple of weeks...
Babs was kind enough to take a photo of Robert and I in front of the almost-completed house!

Robert returned the favor by snapping us in front of the first Austin friend to visit my new Colorado house - yay!

The cats have some ideas about the impending move, and they're not necessarily good ones...
You're kidding, me, right???

And that's about all she has to say about that.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

AI Haiku

I haven't gotten to this the past few weeks, but I can hold my silence no longer...

Tiny Ramiele
There is no way you will win
Why are you still here??

Monday, March 03, 2008

notes on the current housing market

In a nutshell, it sucks. But you all knew that. We knew that too. But we got a wicked good deal on a beautiful house in a great neighborhood and we thought we were on our way to the American dream. I mean, we still are, but there has been a rather large, heavy, spike-and-acid-covered wrench thrown into the mix.

So it seems that since December, when we wrote the contract on the house, the mortgage lender has changed their terms. They've removed one of the options they offered that made the house such a good deal. This little change in policy will raise the house payment by almost $400/month. Um, DEALBREAKER. I'm told it's just the "uncertain market" and "fluctuating interest rates" and blahblahblah -- but I still feel like they just pulled the rug out from under me.

So after the initial freakout this afternoon, Robert and I spent some time online assessing other options. I'm telling you, we freaked the hell out. Wouldn't you?? We decided to make a drive up to Longmont to see a different community by the same builder. The price points there were lower but the houses were comparable if not a little bigger. Imagine our surprise to arrive and find that one of the realtors we've been working with in our neighborhood had JUST been transferred to this new neighborhood! So much for checking it out under the radar! However, it turned out well; she was able to show us some of the homes that will be available in about a month, but she also said she was going to try and "work some magic" and find a way to get us in the other house (OUR house) despite the change in terms. She might have mentioned "seller incentives" she might be able to throw our way... so, yay!

My gut feeling is that we'll end up in the house we love, the house we've watched from the ground up. Looking at the other homes in this other neighborhood was weird; some of them are bigger, maybe have a larger closet, a roomier basement...but it's not "MY" house. I didn't hand-pick the carpet, the hardwood, the cabinets and countertops. My house is just perfect. It's exactly my style and I lurve eet.

So. Keep your fingers and toes crossed for me, k? Should know something in the next couple of days......

Saturday, March 01, 2008

second wind

Well for the past two days, Jess has perked up considerably. I have no idea why, but I'm stoked about it! He's been chasing after Piper again, purring normally instead of the rattle-purr, and he's just generally been really playful, which is weird for Jess anyway...but it makes me happy to see him happy. Right now he's draped over a pillow next to me on the couch, staring at me while I type this. Maybe his meds finally kicked in? In any event, I'm cautiously optimistic. I really want him to have the chance to frolic in the grass again when we move to the new house...

Speaking of the new house, we went out there today and OMG it's basically finished!! On the inside, that is. They even put the carpet in this week! So the only things left on the interior are the blinds, the appliances, and the touch-ups. Outside they still need to paint the rail on the porch and put in the front-yard landscaping. Closing is April 16 -- the countdown is on!! I'm so psyched. Every day I'm in this apartment I hate it more. It's going to be so fun having a house again!

Well I just wanted to update; I am trying to get into the habit of writing more often, so what that means for anyone reading is that there are going to be a lot of boring posts where I just say "hey, I'm writing, whhheeeeee!"

Hope everyone is having a great weekend. It was in the low 70s today, and by the time we wake up in the morning it will be in the 30s with 3-6 inches of snow. Yeehaw, that's how we roll in Colorado :)

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

letting go is hard to do.

Can you miss someone before they are gone? Is it really possible to “let go” and “prepare yourself” for the fact that your best friend will not be around much longer? I don’t think so. You can’t ever be prepared for something like that. And the situation is made worse by the fact that my friend’s death will ultimately be when I decide. It is my responsibility to take care of him to the best of my ability until it becomes selfish for me to keep him going. The little voice in my head keeps asking, “…but how will I know?”

I am, of course, talking about Jess. The furry gray man who has been my constant companion for the past 13 years, never judging me, never betraying me, loving me unconditionally no matter my mood or my weight. Never intimidated by my tears, ever patient with my emotions. Most marriages don’t last this long and aren’t this healthy.

He’s had a good life. He’s been adored. Blah blah blah, yes, I know. But why must it end so soon? First the diabetes, and now his little heart is failing. And I feel guilt, deep down, because he had none of these health problems in Texas. They started when we moved to Colorado a year and a half ago. I know that’s not logical, but it’s a fact and it hurts. Some have pointed out that perhaps he was “waiting” for me to find my human soul mate before he could let go. This is an incredibly romantic and sweet notion, but… seriously? He loves Robert too. Why can’t he live to be the ripe old age of 19 or 20, like some of my childhood cats did? Did his intense human-like personality simply wear him out? Did I wear him out? Did I draw on his goodness and strength to the point of draining him?

I have lost pets before. I had to let Meggie go a couple of years ago, and that was incredibly hard. I still miss her and often turn my head, expecting to see her steady gaze and hear her insistent, chatty meow. But Jess. It’s different. He’s different. It’s not that I love him more, but I love him different. He is more like a little man than a feline. Everyone who meets Jess loves him, cat person or not. He has converted even the most stoic dog lovers (Tam) and the extremely allergic (E.) into Jess-people. When I left him at the vet overnight a couple of weeks ago, when the techs brought him out to me the next day they said sadly, “…but he’s SUCH a good cat…” Yes. Yes he is.

I desperately hope, like everyone else with a loved one, that he will simply curl up on my head one night and go to sleep. I want him to drift off peacefully, absurdly content with his nose tangled in my hair and his paw resting on my cheek. But if that doesn’t happen, it is my responsibility to prevent his suffering, and I take that responsibility very seriously.

How will I know when it’s time? I think Jess will let me know, in his gentle yet persistent way, as he always has. I pray that he will.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

AI Haiku

Little Luke Menard

even with Luke Perry looks

you are going home.

Monday, February 04, 2008

hot, sweaty thoughts

I got sick Friday afternoon, just in time for the weekend. I caught some version of what R has had all week. Mine came with coughing, loss of voice, and the always reliable sore throat. Of course it has gotten worse instead of better, and here we are at 5am (I've been up for 2 hours) googling homeopathic sore throat remedies.

Well I'm here to tell you to BELIEVE WHAT YOU READ ON THE INTERNET PEOPLE, because I spent about an hour reading a website with testimonial after testimonial swearing by the magical sore-throat-healing powers of cayenne pepper and/or apple cider vinegar. I was vainly looking for a more attractive remedy, say rose petals and honey. But no, cayenne pepper it was. As I quietly rifled through the spice cabinet, it didn't take me long to realize that of COURSE I didn't have cayenne, ACV, garlic, or even tabasco, other popular remedies a la internet. I hate hot shit. I scrambled back to my laptop, all the while trying so hard not to swallow (oh the pain), and desperately searched until I found someone saying that any hot pepper will do, not just cayenne.

Back to the kitchen I go. This time I mix up a hot tea concoction with generous amounts of honey and about 1/2 tsp of chile powder. First I gargle it, and when I find it doesn't burn my mouth as I feared, I start swallowing it. And I'm here to tell you that it works -- to some degree. I am not healed, but I can swallow now which is such sweet relief I can't even tell you, and THE COUGHING HAS STOPPED . I'll definitely make it until morning now, until I can go to the doctor (like any responsible adult) and get more serious meds, if necessary.

The only drawback I can see at this point is that I'm sweating. Like, my insides are sweating.
Go, chile powder.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

the blahhhhhzzz

this is one of those weeks where i just can't believe it's already wednesday. and the relief i feel over that fact is overwhelming, almost bringing me to tears. i have been buried in work, but i can see the light at the end of the tunnel, finally. i don't have a lot of news, but here are some "highlights" of the past week or so:
  • it snowed just enough tonight to cover the ugly black snow-pile remnants with a cool, white, blanket of snow. awesome.
  • robert has been sick for 3 days and won't go to the doctor. i guess he needs to die first. then he'll believe it's serious enough to warrant a doctor's visit. men = grrrrrrrrr.
  • jess's blood sugar is still wonky and unpredictable. we upped the insulin dose again, and his blood sugar seems to have climbed. however, he sleeps now, which he had trouble with before. so i guess we're making progress? poor grey pumpkin.
  • there were layoffs at my job but i "survived." why do i feel guilty??
  • robert and jess are currently snoring in unison.

um, that's about it. well not really, but that's all i feel like writing right now. just wanted to check in...

that is all.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Casa update

So we went out to check on the house this weekend, and they've made quite a bit of progress -- which is freaking me out, since it's not supposed to be finished until April, and my lease isn't up til end of May. Everytime we go to the build site, I'm all telling the workers to "slow down!" For some reason, I don't think they hear that very often from the homebuyers...

So here is my actual house -- painted except for the door, front porch under construction...

Then we went inside, where I almost had a heart attack because... THEY ALREADY PUT THE WOOD FLOORS IN OMG OMG SLOW DOWN !!!

The floors aren't stained yet, but the way things are going, they'll be stained by NEXT WEEKEND OMG OMG SLOW DOWN !!!

Thursday, January 10, 2008


As many of you know, and as I have previously alluded on this blog, I am now one half of a couple. And until things really got going, it didn't quite hit me that I had not been part of a true couple for about 9 years. In other words: EEEK.

I am here to tell you that there is a big (BIG) difference between being in a steady, loving, ever-present relationship and being in a once or twice a month maybe-i'll-see-ya-or-maybe-i-won't thing or even "dating" someone--who you're really not that into--for a short period of time. The big difference, besides contentment, acceptance, and general warm fuzzies, is proximity. In that, you have it. A lot of it. A lot of that person in your space. YOUR space, that is, what was previously your space and your space alone. This takes some getting used to and has probably caused me more angst than it should have.

But please, cut me a small break -- I've had almost 9 uninterrupted years of sole control of the remote, the entire couch, food decisions, weekend plans (or lack thereof) and movie choices. However. It's really not so horrible to share the responsibilities of meals, housework, driving, making plans, and most of all, happiness.

So this coupling thing--it's really not a bad deal, once you let yourself relax into it and quit peering furtively over your shoulder for the ever-looming other shoe that is dangling precariously from the dark cloud that has been following you around for..........ever.

Not bad at all.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

How to Survive a Colorado Winter: Part One

No one wants a cold neck.

But I didn't know this, or rather, didn't appreciate or respect the pure misery of a cold neck, until I moved to Colorado. Now, in the midst of my second winter here, the second winter of "uncharacteristically" heavy snow, I totally get it. Having a cold neck? Sucks.

Looking back, I don't believe I even understood the concept in Texas. I would see colorful scarves in the stores starting in September (when it's still over 100 degrees there) and scoff. Oh, sure, they were pretty, but useless and sweaty, as far as I was concerned.

Well. I have been forced to swallow my scoff like a bag of burnt popcorn.

Here is what I know now: you can wear the warmest, coziest, puffiest coat on earth, the most luxurious down or the heaviest wool, but if your neck isn't wrapped in a scarf, forget it -- you're going to freeze your ass off.

Now, there are all kinds of hip ways to attach a scarf to your neck--we had a whole discussion at work about this today--but the bottom line is, you want something warm to fill the space between your nose and your collarbone when there is snow blowing down from the sky and your breath is so visible you can almost write words in it with your finger. And like the fashionista that I am (HA), I have taken to collecting scarves because they are not only useful, but a damn cute fashion accessory, as well.

Stay tuned for the next in this series: Gloves and the hell that is an icy cold steering wheel.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

La casa bonita de Lisabella

Since so many of my importants are not here for me to personally drag to the model and building site of my house, I am going to post pics here for your viewing pleasure. Here ya go...

This is the front of the model home...

Here I am standing in the master bedroom -- note the majestic mountain view behind me; also note that they are building a 2-story house on that lot, so enjoy the view while you can...

Here is my "great room" and the door to the backyard.

I realize it's hard to picture with these types of pics, but I am sure I'll continue to post as it progresses, so sit tight :)