Tuesday, November 24, 2009

I Wasn't Ready For This

We found her outside my in-laws house. She was hiding in the bushes where she had been abandoned. She was about a month old and meowing loudly. She tried to run away but I managed to catch her and bring her inside.

Tabitha and I had been married for only a couple of months. Our apartment complex required a deposit and a monthly surcharge to have a pet. We wanted a cat but couldn't afford the extra money. We were going to wait. She moved our timetable up.

She was about four inches long and full of energy. She ran around the apartment, chasing us and attacking our feet. She would hide on the bookcase. She loved to lie on Tabitha's chest and stare at her.

After a few months, we brought another kitten home. We thought it might mellow her out and give her someone to play with. It nearly killed her.

The new kitten came from the shelter with a cold. While the new kitten quickly recovered, she lost weight, had trouble breathing, and was generally listless. We spent a few weeks driving back and forth to the vet. She recovered and surprisingly became very mellow.

She moved with us from our first apartment to the in-law's. She weathered another change when we moved to our first house. She was the timid cat who would hide when strange footsteps walked across the porch.

If you were patient, she would peer out from her hiding place and slowly approach you. Once she got to know you, she grew to love you.

She had a distressing habit of peeing in bags left on the floor. I opened my soccer gear bag at a game to find the pungent aroma of cat urine. I washed everything as best I could. My cleats smelled like cat pee for about two years afterward. I didn't see the need to buy new ones because nobody is smelling your shoes on the soccer pitch (they're still in the garage).

She weathered the arrival of Abigail. She moved to an apartment with us. She moved to our new house. She chose the downstairs bedroom as her own. She grew to tolerate Abigail.

She then began to love Abigail. Last week I found her sleeping on Abigail's bed. She still sat next to Tabitha while she read, gazing at her with her bright green eyes. She was always afraid of Aidan. His energy and inability to be gentle kept them apart.

Last week I found her sleeping on the pillows in the downstairs bedroom. I noticed she seemed a little frail when I picked her up. The next day she was struggling to move. I found her hiding in a corner, a puddle of urine beneath her.

Tabitha took her to the vet for some tests. He thought her kidneys and liver were failing. She could barely move. She'd lie spread-eagle on the kitchen floor and meow plaintively. She wasn't eating. Today we decided it was time.

I knew this day was coming. I just wasn't ready for it yet.

My dad and I drove her to the vet. My dad held her wrapped in a towel while I drove, fighting back tears. The vet asked me if I wanted to stay in the room or let them take care of it in private. I owed it to her to be there.

I stroked her head as the vet injected the solution. She let out a sigh and then her eyes began to droop. At about 12:05 she stopped breathing.

I cried on the way home.

She was a good cat.

Sunday, November 22, 2009


My kids take dance lessons. Abigail has been going for about 4 years. Aidan just started this year. He's the only boy in a class of girls. They seem to enjoy it and it gets them off the street.

Every year or so the studio puts together a big show. All the different classes perform over two nights. The youngest children usually get big cheers for their cuteness while the older kids get big cheers for their phenomenal dancing ability.

I love watching the show.

And not just because my kids are in it.

You see, I'm a frustrated dancer. I'm envious of the coordination, athleticism, grace and freedom of the dancers.

In my mind, I can do all these awesome moves. I moonwalk like Michael Jackson. I leap like Nureyev. I have the grace of Fred Astaire. Sometimes I break into a spontaneous dance when I'm in the middle of doing something... like cooking dinner or mowing the lawn.

But that's only in my mind.

The reality is that I sometimes bob my head to the beat while listening to the stereo in the car. I probably look like I'm having a seizure.

Anyway, I'm glad the show weekend is over. Aidan stole his routine and Abigail was the cutest jelly fish on stage. I just tapped my foot to the beat and clapped loudly.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Too Big

Have you ever thought about dinosaurs? Those things were huge. Giant reptiles roaming the earth, eating massive amounts of vegetation and meat. I've seen "Jurassic Park" so I know a little about dinosaurs.

Some dinosaurs were as big as city buses. Some stood as tall as three story houses. Gargantuan winged reptiles soared through the skies emitting piercing shrieks.

Have you ever wondered why there aren't any animals that big anymore?

The largest land animal is an elephant. They're pretty big but they're tiny compared to a brontosaurus. The largest flying creature is the albatross with its eight to twelve foot wingspan. They're miracles of efficient soaring.

If you look in the ocean, you can find creatures rivalling the dinosaur for size. Blue whales, the largest animal, can reach nearly one hundred feet long. Other whales are smaller but still massive. But whales have an advantage - buoyancy.

What was it about the age of dinosaurs that allowed creatures to grow to heroic sizes and survive. Why did they not run out of food necessary to support they're colossal frames? Why are there not similar animals roaming the earth today?

I've got a theory that goes something like this - There was only so much room in the ark.