Saturday, March 26, 2005


We weren't cat people; that was one thing we knew. Cats were inscrutable and mysterious. They didn't come to you when called. They're standoffish. But I don't recall ever seeing a prettier face on a kitten; he stood out - no one in that litter was more playful either. Holding him was like lifting a cloud - you barely knew he was there.

After much debate and changed minds, he finally found a name: Tigger.

Tigger was like all cats. He was kind of lazy and did as he damn well pleased. But he also enjoyed curling up in a nearby lap for a quick nap, and he loved being brushed. He would come running for two things: food in his bowl or his brush in your hand.

Over the years, he adopted each of us for a brief time. At first, he was my cat - until I left for a week's vacation; then he was done with me. Next, he moved on to Mike - until Mike went away for school; after crying by the door every night for a week, he moved on to Mom. Where he stayed for several years.

Mom's lap became Tigger's favorite haunt; that, or the arm of her chair. And while he never really trusted Dad (who once sat on Tigger as a kitten), he tolerated him. When Dad was very sick, Tigger finally put aside years of mistrust to rub up against my very sick father. Unfortunately, we figured out how to get the oxygen cylinder working right at that moment, and the hissing sound scared the cat right out of the room, breaking up the long-awaited reconciliation.

Recently, Tigger became my cat. With Mom living in an apartment temporarily, Tigger had to stay with me. After a few weeks of adjusting to one another (and cleaning up cat droppings from around the house), we finally came to an agreement. Tigger, Trudy and I enjoyed a peaceful coexistence, where every morning, I would pet and brush my cat before I headed off to work.

Yesterday, Mom and I had to say goodbye to our friend of 14 years. Tigger was diabetic, and growing very ill. Realistically, I wasn't going to be able to give him two insulin shots daily and monitor his diet enough to guaratee he would be able to live any kind of life.

I know we did the right thing for him, and that he was able to die with two people who cared for him. But I'm still going to miss scratching his head before I crawl into bed at night.

Monday, March 21, 2005


This sums up how I feel about the whole feeding tube debacle. It's sad that this poor woman has become a political sideshow and a means to get more votes.

Good thing there's no other problems facing the country right now.

Saturday, March 12, 2005


I couldn't figure out why I was wet. Wet made no sense, but at that moment, nothing else did either. As I began to process what was happening, for a second, I feared it was blood.

No - it was too cold for that. A quick survey told me it was the remains of my Diet Pepsi, flung throughout the passenger compartment, soaking me, my dashboard, my floors, and Darcy.

Jesus. Was Darcy okay? I looked over and there she sat, looking a lot calmer than I felt. She said she was okay, but her car door was buckled in; pushed by the front end of the jeep staring into the passenger side window.

I climbed out of the car, and the other driver was there - apologetic and okay. He ran the red light. He felt awful; I could read it in his face, see it in how he carried himself. I was more worried about injuries. Darcy was hurting; she sat alone in the backseat, keeping warm and not moving. No; she didn't need an ambulance, but she was sore and aching.

Information exchanged. Numbers. Digits. Information. Insurance companies called. Police reports filled out.

I held it together until we made it to her apartment; then I lost it. Seeing someone I care about hurt is like punching me in the stomach; I can't breathe. I can't think straight. I can't talk. While there was something to do - paperwork to fill out, stories to tell, damage to assess, I can handle it calmly and rationally. Afterwards, when the crisis has passed, that's when the panic sets in along with the fear and terror. My car can be fixed or replaced, if necessary. She can't be, and that's something I never want to face.

Later, I sat in the ER waiting room. Hospitals and casinos are similar in one respect - they're their own worlds; they never close; there are always people present, no matter what the time of day or night. But hospitals are the opposite of casinos - instead of garish colors, blinking lights and laughter, you get bland but relaxing paint, calm lighting and solemn silence. But the hell of it is that they're not all that soothing. You're there because someone you love is broken, and you pray to God that he or she can be fixed. How can you relax when all you can see when your eyes close is a jeep barrelling at you with no time to react? How can you relax when your hands won't stop shaking because you haven't eaten in ages but you can't eat a thing?

Families gather, waiting for words about their grandmother (I always wonder why you need to bring the whole clan along to the ER - wouldn't you be more comfortable sending one or two relatives and leaving the kids at home?), friends bring in their friend suffering from too much partying (apparently this was the seoond time she'd been in for a little stomach pumping; and hey, if you can't give yourself a little case of alcohol poisoning on amateur weekend, when can you?). And there we sit, joined in tension, hoping to hear that our loved ones are okay.

Darcy finally walked out of the back; tired and sore but okay. I took her home and made sure she was comfortable.

Tomorrow, I get to deal with more insurance agents, paperwork and probably rental cars. But I can live with that. Darcy is okay; maybe a little bruised and sore, but otherwise okay. Me? I'm fine; a little shaken up and scared, but relieved.

Now I'm sitting here, Duke Ellington helping to soothe me; I'm prepared for bed, but I still see the jeep flying in at us. You go through a lot of meaningless routines every day, worry about many, many trivial problems. Sometimes it takes a cold splash of reality to make you see that perhaps you should treasure these routines and appreciate the pointless problems.

Perhaps there's something to be said for dull routine.

Monday, March 07, 2005

A Little Embarrasment

I had egg on my face. Literally. It bounced off my cheek and flew off into space. More came at me, missed and settled on the table in front of me. More came, and missed my mouth completely. Finally, my tormentor moved on to a new victim.

We had dinner at the Robata Saturday night; one of those restaurants where the chef cooks your dinner right in front of you. Part of the show is the chef chops a small piece of food up and flips it into each guest's mouth. Of course, I couldn't seem to do it, but my mother could. That was a little embarrasing.

But too many restaurants forget the fun factor, and for a little extra money, you get a chef throwing food in your face. For my dollar, it doesn't get much better than that.