Sunday, October 11, 2015

Happy Halloween from me, zombie hamster, and Enderman kitty

Halloween is just FULL of surprises! So far this year, I've got me a  dead hamster, a yearly performance evaluation at work, a shit-ton of vet bills, and Dilly, the blind demented kitty. Oddly enough, the kitty is flipping me out the most. He's always been a lil special because he was a feral stray and inbred. But now, at age 15, there probably aren't enough ICD-10 codes to list everything he's got. What's troubling him the  most:   kidney failure, blindness,  dementia, and routine constipation because the muscles that enable him to shit don't always work.
I took Dilly to see the vet, who doesn't think he's terminal right now. His kidneys are failing, but they can improve functioning with the help of this special food that only costs $44 for a 12-day supply. They gave him an enema to clean him out and told me to stir some non-flavored Metamucil into his food. I also have to get a baby gate and confine him in the writing loft when I'm not home so that he can find his food, litter box, and bed. When I am home, I've been carrying him around with me most of the time because if I don't carry him, he just wanders around aimlessly and runs into stuff. He almost fell down the basement stairs. He walks into walls. He runs into Tricky, who is Queen of all Cats, and she knocks the hell outta him because she needs a lot of personal space. (Tricky is short for "Trick-or-Treat." She was a Halloween surprise back in 2011). He's like a zombie from Night of the Living Dead. He's like Church from Pet Cemetery. He's like an Enderman from Minecraft. He's breaking my heart.
He broke my bank account too and so does Tricky, who has asthma and has to have an inhaler twice a day to the tune of $55 a month. They are all high maintenance. All five kitties have to have flea meds that cost $65 a month. Then there is the bearded dragon that has to have meal worms and crickets, and you have to shake-and-bake coat them in calcium powder. And you have to make sure he has a heat lamp and an ultraviolet light, and if any of these bulbs go out, you gotta rush out and get replacements or he will freeze. The other lizard, the crested gecko, has to be misted with warm water twice a day, fed occasional meal worms, and every other day he gets a fruit smoothie. Dilly has to have his own can of special diet food up in the loft so the other kitties won't take it. The other four have to have their food in the kitchen so that Dilly won't get into it. Buttercup, the hamster, needs time to run around the floor in her ball.
I get up two hours before the Amish to take care of all these fucking animals. And they have their own credit card, and if they max it out, I guess they would get another one.  But they are family, and if we lose even one tiny critter, it's very upsetting.
We lost Thistle, the hamster, this evening. Raven thought he was dead this morning, and she came to me in tears. I was on my way out the door, on the way to a mandatory class at work and to complete my yearly performance evaluation. I was trying so hard to be sensitive, but quick like. I hugged her up, and we talked about hamster life expectancies. I told her to give him to me, and we'd find a box. She put him in my hands, and he breathed. It was the deep and oddly spaced breaths of someone who is "circling the drain." It always flips me the hell out. Be alive or be dead, but stop being both! But he was still breathing. I knew he wouldn't make it through the day, and I was glad I got home before her and found him. I wrapped him in a paper towel, buried him next to the rock wall, covered the grave with rocks, put his little house on top of it, and filled the house with flowers. Oh how I hope Guinness the lab doesn't decide to retrieve him. If Thistle is on my porch tomorrow, I'll piss my pants.
When I get stressed and tired, I get uncontrollably goofy, and the universe handed me comic relief in the form of this guy running down the street in purple skinny jeans with a skeleton mask on. It was funny in a wreck-the-Jeep-doing-a-double-take kinda way. Then I go in to fill out my yearly paperwork. They ask about mental health issues. "Are there any mental health issues that prevent you from doing your job?" I think: If I wasn't crazy, I couldn't do this work. I think: Just ADHD, OCD, ODD, chronic PMS, and paranormal schizophrenia. ( I hear dead people, but they are talking about you guys, not me, so I'm not paranoid.) But I look at our serious, ultra professional HR fella, and I decide not to mess with him today.  Buddy, you are granted a reprieve. I'm gonna allow him to have the mellow morning not afforded to me.
 I took good care of all the animals but forgot to feed my kid breakfast. I forgot to do laundry and sent her off to school in shorts in October. I'm up here in the loft writing, when I should be downstairs doing family time. I could feel guilty about all this, but I'm granting myself a reprieve too. Raven ate breakfast at school, and she will have pants tomorrow. I have to write and have my alone time so that I can be better for my loved ones when I am with them.
Dilly sits with me, and  he's purring a little tune. We have this relationship that has been forged over 15 years. There are so few humans in my life that I've consistently kept that long. Money can't buy a successful 15-year relationship, and nothing can replace it once he's gone. I have to take the time to sit and hold this blind, demented kitty because the world only makes sense to him when he is in my lap. If you have the opportunity to be that person for anybody (animal or human), then that's your gift. Don't allow life to be too hectic to recognize that. Don't be too busy to use it, and don't allow anyone else's standards to de-value what only you can do.

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