Wednesday, December 29, 2010

I'm Baaack!

Taa Daa! Did y'all miss me?!!

I've wrestled back and forth with myself over how to explain my need for the hiatus. I'm still wrestling. Not that it's a big state secret, it's just something that's hard to put into words.

Every holiday is hard. I have none of the great traditions that I grew up with. That's ok, as I thought by this time of my life I'd have my own traditions to pass along. That's the part that really came up and smacked me right in the face this year. There will NEVER be anyone to pass anything along to.

Most of this was personal choice. When you're 20, it's ok to be selfish and worry just about yourself. There's always time to tie yourself down later. 30 came and went and I still wasn't ready. Bad men in my life, not quite settled with a career, there's still time. 40 came and went and I thought any day now, I'll get right on that. Suddenly, at almost 50, you look up and suddenly you realize it's too late. When that fact, that's always been in the back of your mind, comes to the front and smacks you in the face, it's paralyzing. It's too late. I lost my chance. Now, I think of all of my back problems, my foot problems, the diabetes and I can't help but have thoughts of "who will take care of me" come into play and the only answer left is "me". That sucks!

A side story here. Years and YEARS ago, my friend and I were probably in our late 20s or so. Faced with being single at that old age, we figured we had better plan for our futures. Just in case, our back up plan was that we were going to be the two old crazy ladies that lived at the end of the street with 20 cats and a gold fish who's bowl we'd put in our red Radio Flyer wagon and walk around the block. You know, the old ladies that all of the neighborhood kids were afraid of! Well, more on this story in a bit, but this was our long range plans.

The holidays this year were excruciating. I vowed to avoid them like the plague. If I didn't acknowledge them, they wouldn't happen, and thereby lessen the pain. Ok, three Christmases planned and I was boycotting all of them. Guess how that worked out!

Just before Christmas, the Patriarch of Ron's family, Uncle Paul, passed away after a lengthy illness. Out of respect for Uncle Paul, I was there with the family, coming together as a family, celebrating the Season and remembering Uncle Paul. It was the right thing to do and I'm glad I did it.

Then, Christmas dinner with our friends. I wasn't gonna do it, next thing I knew, we were packing up food to take to a dinner I wasn't going to. Of course, it was a great night!

Tomorrow, another dinner I wasn't planning on going to. We'll be there, and we're taking side dishes! And, I'm sure a great time will be had. So much for boycotts!!

If you've ever believed in Christmas miracles, then listen up. I believe I'm in the middle of one. I have had a savior in all of this though and you are never going to believe who it was. A stray kitten that we saved from certain death.

The day after Thanksgiving, I was sitting upstairs in the office, crocheting and watching TV. Suddenly, I hear tires screeching. Looking out of the window, I see a little black fur ball in the middle of our street. I'm not an animal lover but the thought of this poor creature out in the cold, in the middle of the street, hit by a car, just tore at my heart strings. Keep in mind, it was 25 degrees out that day and I grabbed Ron and the both of us ran out of the house with no coats on, worrying about this little ball of fur. Have I ever mentioned that I am NOT a pet person? Ok, I have my fish and a few dust bunnies, but that is it.

As I got closer to the kitten, he got up and ran across the street. At least he wasn't hit by a car. He ran across the street and was up against a fence, meowing to beat the band. I got right up next to him and I was terrified to pick him up. His face was all matted, not with blood, but his eyes were all matted shut, there was goop coming out of his poor nose, he was pathetic. I did the first thing I thought of, I called my sister Cathie in California!

By now, I am crying, not knowing what to do, freezing my ass off. Over the phone, she could hear the poor guy crying. She said to pick him up and get him in where's it warm! Easier said than done! Again, I was terrified of the little guy and by the time I gathered my courage to lift him up, he took off again. He didn't go far, but he got himself into the weeds and bushes.

Heaven love Ron as he now has a crying, near hysterical girl friend and a stray cat meowing. He followed the kitten into the weeds and bushes and scooped it up! Go Ron!! We took him home, and thought we could clean up his matted up face in the kitchen sink. Who knew that cats didn't like water? For real! The little guy gathered all the strength he had in his little body and did everything he could to get out of the sink. What do you do with a sick little kitten who is scared to death?

I did a quick internet search for veterinary services in Lorain Ohio and came up with the Pet-Med Clinic on Cooper Foster Road. Within 20 minutes of picking up the stray kitten, we were in Dr. Denise Pancari's capable hands.

I can't say enough about Dr. Pancari and her staff. Here I am, crying in their office over a STRAY kitten! I started making phone calls to everyone I knew that had a cat, asking if they could foster one. Remember, it's Friday afternoon at 5:00 on a holiday weekend. I couldn't get him into a shelter at this time and Ron and I are both allergic to cats. Besides, what do I know about taking care of a freakin' kitten? I never had a pet, let alone a cat. Plus, it's a SICK cat. All one pound, eleven ounces of him. Him with his upper respiratory infection, two eye infections that were so bad he had ulcers on both of his eyes, a little herpes virus, ring worms and tape worms. We left Dr. Pancari's office with a hand full of meds and instructions on how to administer eye gel as well as everything else.

We took this little guy home, not knowing the first thing about taking care of this sick kitten. We did our best, and thanks to the help of the staff at Pet-Med our kitten grew stronger and stronger. That first week, the office had called us three times just to check in if we had any questions and to find out how the kitten was doing. I had to have specific instructions on how litter works, what to feed a kitten, where they should sleep, etc. They answered all of my questions, no matter how small or stupid, and never made me fell like an idiot. They took their job of educating me as a pet owner seriously. They were dedicated to getting him through this.

It took us a week with him, but we finally named him. Big mistake! Once you name them, they are your pet. We tried a few names on him but nothing stuck. Ron tried really REALLY hard to get the name Speed-Bump to stick. Ha! Over my dead body! Finally, he was officially named. Benny! That's short for the Benadryl that Ron and I take in order to function with a cat in the house! What fun, huh?

Each day that went by, I kept calling people and talking to people about taking care of this kitten. I even offered to continue paying the medical bills until he was healthy if I could find him a good home. Every day that went by, I made phone calls while actually falling more and more in love with this little guy.

Then, one day our friend Laura called me. She told me about the Friendship APL a local shelter with a no-kill policy. They will find foster homes for your pet for a small donation until that pet can be adopted. That was really good information, but in spite of all of the phone calls I was making to find a home for this guy, Laura's phone call just hit home. I thanked her for the information, then broke down sobbing. Ron and I had a heart to heart and in spite of the allergies, Benny wasn't going anywhere. He was already home.

Well, Benny went from one pound eleven ounces to three pounds three ounces at our last visit. I'm sure now that the tape worm is gone, he's even more than that! We're off most of the meds but still put the eye gel in twice a day and still a little cream for those nasty ring worms. And, in spite of it all, I love him with all of my heart.

For someone who is NOT a pet person and did NOT want an animal in the house, I can't imagine my life without him. I have turned into one of those people that I have always made fun of. You know, the ones that talk TO their pets and then do nothing but talk ABOUT them when they're not by their pets. Yeah, that's me.

Hopefully Margareetaville won't turn into Bennyville but no promises! My little guy is so much fun and the cause of so many stories! I have one of the few cats that actually plays fetch! Yes, you throw the paper ball into the other room, he runs after it, picks it up and brings it back to your feet for you to throw it again! I'm working on getting that on video! He's a hoot!

Here are a few pictures of my new baby.

This was tiny Benny, a few days after we found him. He wanted nothing more than to cuddle up. Since his eyes were crusted shut, he couldn't see anything and wanted to be on one of us at all times. Benny and Ron, watching Sunday football!

Benny, sleeping in his bed! A box that his Uncle Phil cut down for him with a nice fluffy towel in it.

Playing with one of his favorite toys, a rag with a knot tied in the middle of it!

By the way, his other favorite toys are empty toilet paper rolls and the plastic caps from the toilet that cover the bolts into the floor!

Hanging out, playing with the Christmas toy he got from Evan and Grady!

Posing with the Christmas hat he got from Mike and Mary Jane! Yeah, this hat didn't stay on long! We had to snap the picture fast! Benny was NOT happy with his Santa hat!

And, lastly, four weeks after we got him. You can see how much bigger he is! It's hard to get him to stay still long enough to take a picture!

He's happy, he's healthier, he's home.

And, he saved me. He pulled me a good way out of my funk with his unconditional love. Oh my gosh, I AM one of those pet people now! And, I wouldn't have it any other way.

Now I am well on my way to being that crazy old lady at the end of the block. As I wait to grow old with my Benny, I am back! And I have stories already just waiting to be written. Stay tuned!