Monday, October 22, 2018

To my sweet Flip

I know it’s the right thing to do, but it’s so hard. Tonight’s your last night with us. Your family. Your protectors. Your people. And we’re helpless.

12 years ago, I saw you online at the APL and we kept thinking about you. But then when we were seriously looking, you were gone. So we stood still. And we waited. And then, there you were again, Raymond. What a terrible name for such a gorgeous kitty. We visited you in a big room with lots of other cats. Many tried to get our attention, but we only had our eyes on you. I put a deposit on you. That way, we could sleep on it, and guarantee you wouldn’t be gone the next day. I admit it was me that was hesitant. I am a dog person and was soon to have 3 cats. But we came back for you. My chances of having another dog went to 0% when we took you home. And that was ok.

You had been surrendered twice to the APL. But it was our time to make you ours. We promised you we would take care of you forever. We had a reason why we adopted you... it was your duty to be Jake’s buddy. But you became so much more.

But you had ringworm. And it really freaked me out. It cost us $25 and 30 days to get you better. And if I could deal with ringworm, I knew you were worth it. 

We kept thinking of names because no way your name was Raymond. I thought Porter might be ok, but it didn't really fit you. We settled on that name for a bid. Then we had to have your front claws declawed  - and I’m sorry. It was our way of making you ours. Joining Rumba and Jake you couldn’t have your front claws. Again, I’m sorry.

While still in your 30 day quarantine, we left the window open a bit in your make-shift home, the upstairs office. Mark couldn’t find you one morning in the room - the screen was gone, and so were you. We were so lucky to find you right where you had fallen -  in our bushes. I’m sorry. You fell an entire story and sat outside waiting for us. You only had your back claws to defend yourself. It must have been so scary for you. We joked about your adventure - it was our way of dealing with how bad parents we were. Names like Geronimo were too silly. Feller was almost your name, too. But we decided Flip was perfect.

Even though I picked you out, and I donated $25 to the APL for you, and you even rode in my Jeep home with me... your soul marked on Mark.

I was ok with it because Jake was supposed to fill the void of Flynn. But it was always you that did that. You and Mark. He was yours. And I didn’t mind sharing. Not like it made any difference because what you two have is something special.

We joked that you lived with Mama and “her”. I was a distant second. But I don’t take it personal. I saw how you adored each other. How you ran to the door when Mark came home. How you’d cry at the front door when he’d walk outside. Your loyalty was fierce. And I was always right there, but you cried for him. I’m ok with that. I really am.

My world was turned upside down and I was suddenly at home. Every day. And I’m sure you wished it was Mark, instead of me. But slowly, day by day, and as the months went by, you and I had our own special bond.

By then Zing had joined us, and eventually we lost Rumba. Zing and Jake were buddies from the start and would snuggle when it was cold or when she needed a friend. You were always the 3rd wheel. While they napped all day, you were always close by me. You followed me to the bathroom all the time. It made me smile. I think it was for yummies, but you received a head scritch, instead. Maybe that was what you needed. Maybe it was what I needed, too.

Flip. Flippy. Flippington, Flipper the tripper. Flipito. Flipopotomous. Buddy. Bubs. All of these names for such a sweet little guy.

We promised you no more crate. And we tried to make you as comfortable as possible these last weeks. We had some good days. We were so hopeful, but your body had other plans. We were on borrowed time. Jake and Zing were jerks when we tried to give you special treats, medicine food and just quiet time. We got mad because we wanted you better. And we didn’t have much time left. 

Hiding under Mark’s bed let us know you needed to be alone. We gave you your blanket under there to let you feel better. I’m sorry I kept lifting the dust ruffle to check on you, but I had to keep checking. You talked to me so sweet and you’d come out. I’m sure it was hard but maybe you knew I needed you.

Everyone says “he’ll let you know”. And we know. We just don’t want to let you go. But you’re ready. Today, you received special treats and very special time with Mark on the porch. I kept the bedroom door open this special night. I also have a light on, so you know you're welcome. And now you’re sleeping in my closet, in your safe place. I put a towel down and a warm blanket for you. I even moved your heating pad and it’s turned on to keep you warm, one last night. Zing has checked on you, and so has Jake. I keep making sure you’re ok, too. You just left after sleeping for a couple of hours. I will leave the door open and my light on, if you change your mind.

Tomorrow is your last day here. I wish we had more time, but your little gray body is giving out. And we can’t let you hurt any more. Even if it hurts us. It’s so hard. You’re not just a cat. You’re our friend and our family. And we promised you we’d take care of you. Tomorrow is our last promise to you. We will be with you. We will hold you as you take your last breath. I know you’ll be brave. You always were brave. I hope you know how much you are loved. We love you so much to let you go.

You get to meet Flynn. You can be buddies and share stories on how much you two loved Mark. And Rumba is there, too. She will also let you know how much she loved Mark. Me, not so much.

And my Alex is there, too. I know you don’t like dogs, but I promise you’ll love him. He taught me how to love animals with all my heart.

Please wait for us at the rainbow bridge. I know you’ll be the first one running to see Mark. Thank you for being such a great kitty. Thank you, Flip for loving us because we’re better people for loving you.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

The right thing to do

Every year our neighborhood has an annual garage sale. This is the day our neighborhood becomes the Indy 500 and Black Friday. Seriously.

It's a day I dislike. And this last year's was the worst. 

I was enjoying a quiet morning and was asked by a friend if there were any furniture deals. So instead of enjoying my coffee on the screened in porch, I jumped in my Jeep to scan the hood. I admit, I was curious to see how many neighbors were participating - as participation has decreased significantly. I grabbed my coffee, phone and purse. I was wearing cruddy shorts and a shirt I had slept in - and dumpy old flip flops. No shower, too - as it was a beautiful day and was going to hit the pool later.

While driving, I noticed cars were double and triple parked, on the wrong side of the road and running stop signs.

I don't know why, but happened to look at at the only open "spot" for a car in the street. I thought I saw a sock or something in the spot - away from the curb. But it wasn't a sock - it was a lifeless kitten. And a van was coming and trying to park in the spot. And possible over or worse, on the kitten.

I jumped out of my Jeep to help the kitten. I remembering thinking to myself, "what are you getting yourself into?", but jumped out any way. I left my Jeep in the street and towards the kitten.

But before I could pick it up, I watched a boy go up to it and KICK the kitten “it’s practically dead, any way”. The boy was with his mother, who had an issue with me yelling at her kid. Of course, no issues with her kid KICKING a kitten. I swooped up the kitten and asked if the kitten belonged to anyone there. Desperate for help, I yelled to the people buying and selling at the garage sales. And neighbors turned their backs – literally.

By now, I was blocking traffic for the garage sales. I jumped in my Jeep and a car came at me, honking to back up, and out of their way. I was so full of emotions at this time, I could have lifted that car like the Hulk. By now, I've had it with jerk people. I jumped out, with the kitten - and yelled at the guy driving. He was clueless but figured the wrath of a crazy lady holding a very small kitten wasn't worth the argument.

So I now have this little kitten at my chest and he's not looking OK. And all of my animal lover friends are gone - no one was home to help, including my husband. He was biking and luckily had his phone. I frantically called him for help. We thought it was best to take the little guy to a vet that was close by for help. But things got worse.

I've never been to this vet. I'm wearing dumpy clothes and I'm emotionally a wreck. The waiting room was full of people and their pets and no one would help me. Finally, someone from the vet came by and I told her my situation. She wanted me to fill out papers and just didn't give a damn that I was holding a very sick kitten that has been kicked. I gave her my ID and my credit card and begged her to take the kitten for some help. An older lady next to me told me I could go ahead of her dog's appointment. I said I just needed them to help me and it wasn't my kitten. She then offered me a $20 to help. I declined her help and thanked her for her kindness. I said it wasn't the money, I just needed help looking after the kitten. The vet tech came back with the kitten suddenly. I just knew I was going to have him put down. Nope. She said it was a girl and she was fine, just dirty and skinny. I told them it wasn't mine and didn't know what to do. They suggested a humane society in the next county. So I left, calling my husband again, and started on my long drive to a humane society that I didn't even know their location.

My husband pleaded with them to help, as they don't take surrenders on weekends - and certainly not from people out of county. The kind lady finally gave in - so I drove there holding the kitten to my chest the entire time.

When I arrived, I was told to not bring the kitten inside. I was asked to drive around the back for the surrender. A volunteer vet tech took my kitten and was shocked it was so little. I told her the story and she promised me she would do what she could.

I went back to the front office. I knew other organizations charge to surrender animals - and I was not charged. The right thing to do was to make a donation.

I was in the waiting room along with a family. They obviously were adopting a small animal. I asked the young girl if it was a kitty and her mom said she had saved her money during the summer to get her own kitten. They were handling their paperwork and the girl had cash in her hand. So it hit me.

I told them I wanted to pay for her adoption. I told them this humane society helped me today. And that a boy had kicked the kitten. You know what the young girl did? She donated her money for MY kitten that I had just surrendered. 

I drove home a mess. Sad for the kitten. Mad at that boy, neighbors and the vet. Grateful that the humane society helped. And impressed that a girl paid to sponsor my kitten. I hope that little kitten makes it and gets a protector like that young girl soon.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Jim and Dory

A couple of months ago I received a letter. It was from one of my "little grandma friends" that I've met vacationing in Florida.

My parents winter in Florida, so naturally, if my husband and I are invited - we go. To put it simply, it is 17 degrees in NE Ohio in January and it is NOT in SW Florida.

One of my favorite things to do in Florida is visit the other vacationers. This means while at the pool from 9am - 3pm, one does not just put on headphones and ignore others. Nope. My family "visits" and talk to friends at the pool. This could mean on the WAY to the pool, sitting AT the pool, while IN the pool, etc. As for me, I have found some dear people from all over the US that return to the same condo complex year after year - including Jim and Dory.

Dory sent me a hand written letter letting me know that her husband, Jim had passed. Jim got sick and died rather quickly. He was one of the nicest men you would ever meet. He was from NJ, but you wouldn't know it. He had NE Ohio roots and he would reminisce about working near where I live. He always had something good to say about the Browns and my beloved Packers.

Just about every nice day in Florida, Jim and Dory would come to the pool around 2pm - around the time my family was done for the day. We referred to them as the "night crew" or the "second shift". But I would always look for them at the north end about that time. Jim always had a smile on his face. You could hear him coming as he used a walker. I used to tease him that his sneaking up on the ladies days have passed. He would always say that it was their fair warning so they could run away.

Jim would often swim, while it would have to be near 90 degrees for Dory to get in the water. On a day that most of us would consider hot, she would wear long pants, sleeves and a hat. She used to tell me she's had plenty of sunning in her days. Jim's pool uniform included a bucket hat and always a white, short-sleeved, terry-cloth zipper cover up. If you didn't hear him coming, you could spot them coming, easily.

For the past 10 plus years, for about 9-14 days, in January/February, this was our routine. I would often visit with Jim and Dory under the veranda. They told me lots about the family, their losses, their home, etc. We would also see them in church and they always got "gussied up" for mass. They were a very handsome couple.

I've written to Dory twice, and she has written back. I'm sorry she will not be vacationing in Florida this year - and I will miss our talks. And I'm sorry Jim is gone. I will also miss his walker coming down the walkway to the pool.

My vacations in Florida won't be the same without them there. But I'm glad I got the chance to know such a sweet couple. Rest in peace, Jim.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

I'm Aquaman

Aquaman was, and is still is, one of my favorite bad asses of all time.

My first exposure to Aquaman was on the Saturday morning show, SuperFriends (1973). Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman & the Junior SuperFriends (lame) were also on the show - but my favorite was Aquaman. Most kids liked Superman or Batman best. And of course, girls thought Wonder Woman was cool - but not me. This tomboy was all about the blonde dude who could talk to fish, whales and dolphins. He could swim better than anyone AND he could breathe underwater. Total. Bad. Ass. I loved the design and lettering of his name, the colors of his uniform and I even accepted he had a wife (Mera, spoiler alert - she dies). I used to think it would be cool to be AquaLad - but decided it was best to pretend to be the king, himself. Besides, AquaLad was lame. I suppose my love of Aquaman was a precursor to my fondness of Disney's The Little Mermaid, Ariel. But let's face it, Ariel is cute - and Aquaman can beat up her dad, King Triton.

I remember playing Aquaman in the pool as I attempted to swim like him. I tried my best to hold my breathe as I sat at the bottom of the deep end, too. (I also pretended that the shark from Jaws would come out of the deep end filter if I swam over it) so it's safe to say I was prepared if he did so because I would send the shark my Aquaman rays to go away.

Years later, I found Aquaman comic books and bought some cheap ones in college. I still have them - all nicely, protected in their plastic sleeves. I recently tried to sell them and found they are worth some good cash - but "only to serious Aquaman collectors" and "good luck" was my feedback from the local comic book owners. So they're still in the basement. It seems I'm still the only one who thinks he's the coolest and a total bad ass.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

More: Things you can buy me

For some reason, most of these "things" are shoes... 

Monday, April 28, 2014


This makes me laugh. It especially reminded me of snorkeling. I like to say I'm brave, but I'm not... especially when seaweed touches me. Yes, I'm a wuss.