Sunday, August 29, 2010

A little less soul

My house has a little less soul tonight. I have tearfully passed my kitties on to their new home. The guilt will pass but I still have a bazillion memories to keep them with me. It sure is quiet around here tonight.

Of course, I have to start with Atticus. What a journey he's had in 13 years! He's been with me since Spring 1998 after I basically took him from my Grandpa's house. My grandparents were aging and did not need the cat named Pretty Face bestowed upon them by my well meaning aunt. I don't even know how old he was but he was grown and from the Springfield Missouri shelter. I still have his original tag and collar. From the beginning, he was my shadow. When I brought him back to TN with me, I was in student housing at TN Tech so no animals of any kind but we were about to graduate in a few months; all we had to do was keep him out of the window. I remember the rumors of people hiding their pet cats and occasionally spotted a silhouette in a window.

Then came the divorce. We graduated collage and rode to Illinois for a few months while my EX started grad school. Then we packed up again for Nashville. I love the memory of he and I riding in this clapped out U Haul with my measly belongings. I had a carrier but I let him out; he rode on top of the carrier looking down into passing cars. The faces of the other drivers was funny! Most were shocked and had a good laugh. I did too. We made it to Nashville, found a place to live and he settled into the basement apartment window. I'm sure to him it was just another window but it was he and I all the way. We were young and resilient. I called him " the only man for me" since human men were eluding me.

If Atticus were a human I always pictured him as a Tibetan monk with major attachment issues. What an oxymoron. He has a gentle soul. Is it weird to say that your cat is more spiritually complete than you are? He accepts dogs, other cats that hate him, kittens, people of every kind and welcomes them into his life. You cannot make him bite or scratch and to my embarrassment I've tried. All I got was a look of "why are you doing this?". Nothing like being humbled and shamed by your cat. When you are sick or pregnant, he recognizes that he can do nothing more than just be with you. And so he sits by you just in case rubbing his back will somehow make you feel better.

NIcknames were plenty. Atti, Atti-man, Catticus, Atticus McFatticus, son of a bitch, or other colorful expletives when one is awoken numerous times at 2:30am and a cat is irrationally persistent. While I do have all these wonderful things to say about him, it has been, at times, a tumultuous relationship. His persistence is legendary, needs are limitless and he will not be ignored. For any reason. He would rather trip you and brave your angry torrents then have an empty food bowl. Negative attention is some attention. He is chatty. Meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow until you think you just might have to put him outside even without his front claws. He gets what he needs and that's where our relationship goes toxic. I made the monster and now can't handle it.

I have yet to mention Gladys. She is a cat. A cat's cat. And I love her just the same. Gary picked her out of a litter when she was 3 weeks old and brought her home when she was ready to help Atticus with some of his attachment problems. He let that kitten, tiny as she was, catch his tail, wrestle with his back legs, ambush him, it was hilarious to watch! She is our beauty and she is stupid. Dingy, not really stupid. My favorite nickname for her is Ding Dong. But her needs have limits and when she's done she jumps back up to her throne and naps casually. Her journey is small; she was with us for 7 years and never been out of the house except to go to the vet. I like her. But it didn't help Atticus.

Gladys has left her impression in our furniture. She was the scaredy cat that scratched gouges into my formal dining room table top and mahogany end tables when she got the rips at night - you know, the time of night that cats start tearing around the house with that crazy look in their eye for no apparent reason. Since I am an inherent animal lover she got to live but, wow, I was pissed at the time. She hates plastic grocery bags, paper, yelling and now Hank. He's never touched her and I've seen her leap in the air like a deer to pass him in a door way!

These little creatures are like the wallpaper of my heart. I loved them when they were first picked out and for years after that but time and life have changed the love to a faded, brittle version. Ugly. It's not fair to all parties especially the cats. I held out all this time for a home that can give Atticus what he needs. I love him enough to want him to get what his soul desperately requires.

Having Hank tipped the scales for me as I can only be needed by so much at one time. I cannot be 100% needed by more than one being at a time so the kid wins over a needy cat. Also, this is where i have to get selfish and claim my autonomy. Right now I don't feel very good about that autonomy but it is a good decision in the long run. I feel terrible actually.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Google Schmoogle

I'm sick and tired of all inclusive everythings. It took me so damn long to log in to this account that by now I don't give a crap about writing and am now going to bed. Damn Google - the Sam's of cyberspace. Grrrrr.

Letter to Hank #11 - Cha cha cha cha changes

I know i'm a sentimentalist but come on, I've never been this bad! At milestone time I close my eyes tight and hang on hoping that it's over quick so I don't get caught up in trying to suspend time.

We have successfully transitioned from walking to running, nonsense to words but now it's hair of all things. If you had asked me 10 years ago if I'd have a problem with cutting my boy's hair I would have gave a hearty laugh and an overly confident " no". I was wrong, I was WRONG! Do you hear me as I scream it from the screen - Just once this week, I'm wrong!

You are mistaken for a girl pretty much every day now. I'm not worried about your sexual identity but you are a boy after all, can't you see all the ugly trucks on your clothes?, so I need to make the leap and get you trimmed up. But, where did my baby go?

I love how when you take a bath I get your hair wet and it goes past your neck; all straight and smooth. And it's downy soft. I could run my fingers through it all day. I go in and just rub your head when you are sleeping since you are actually still enough for me to do it. In fact, I saw a woman at a football game running her hand through her boy's blond hair, like she wasn't even aware she was doing it, and he was probably 7 or 8 years old. I immediately could relate to this loving gesture and know I'll do the same. At least until I get the look of "Mom, wouldya quit already?" then I'll have to get crafty and slip up on you!
Oh yeah, and did you know that you can still smell your head and smell the same smell you had when you were born? Sounds creepy maybe but I can pick you out of a group, no problem.

You bring me shoes to put on your feet and I can hear that you know I can do it. You don't let me do much else, Monkey, so I will take what I can get at this point. Hank, you do not hold my hand when you walk and pave your own path. What I'm trying to say is that I do not get a thing done when we are together! I have to correct you for safety reasons most of the time and you get so mad that you bite and head butt whatever is the closest surface. I'm hoping this emotional milestone passes soon for it's physical effects ie. bruises and ice packs that I've had to keep around as you find out just how hard wood surfaces really are.
The forced used is directly proportional to the pain experienced. Basically, you are running through Newton's Laws.

Ok, so back to the hair. Since I am utterly out of control on every other change you've been going through, I can control the last of your baby characteristics. Nothing else about you says Baby. But I'll let it go. I have to so you'll actually look like the precious, precocious boy you are!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

This Addition is Not Math

G Dub and I are embarking on a home addition to give us growing room. We love our old house and hope to improve on it so that it meets the needs of our lifestyle. Yes, we can literally live in the 1200 sq. ft we have now but why not improve or move on up like the Jefferson's? It's still cheaper than moving.

This was the first house we looked at way back in 1999. We didn't know what we wanted. We had no idea that having the laundry in the basement would eventually piss me off so bad that I curse every load and encourage wearing jeans until they stand on their own. No, not really, but that got old quicker than I expected.

Back then we didn't need a lot. We weren't married; I was coming from a small apartment and G Dub from his parent's house. And hearing that the family renting this house before us had three kids we thought we had it made on space! That didn't last long either. We didn't know how toilet poor we were until the first time both of us had gastrointestinal explosions. Or until I got knocked up and lived out half my pregnancy in the bathroom!

The man helping us design the new space looked at us kinda weird when we asked how many bathrooms would fit in this new area. We even have a urinal in the basement for the Man Cave. I think a pull down cot would fit nicely in there too.

We have a couple of issues now to work out - a place to live for a couple of months and getting a home for my kitties. An extra 3 people is such an imposition and hotels are so expensive so who knows how that's going to go. We have had a offer from an excellent family that we love but adding us into their already 4 person household may push us over the maximum capacity for a single family home! And the cats, I love them and will miss them in my seemingly hardened heart but it's time for Atticus to get the attention he deserves. It's just not from me.

This is exciting! It's only day 2 and it's already inconvenient but I don't care. Bring it on! It is going to be stressful, unnerving, and maybe overwhelming but we can make it. We have too cuz we can't kill each other. Hank needs us!

Letter to Hank #10 - It's Like Hebrews!

Wow this really does get easier! Well, no not easier but different every day! Your so big now we brush your teeth, clean big ole’ poops, consider cutting your hair, and don’t worry so much when you’re sick. It’s not that we don’t worry but you can handle so much more and it’s great! It’s actually a relief!

You are 15 months old. You look a lot like your Mommy (that means you’re really cute :D) now. And you won’t eat anything other than bread, yogurt, cheese and baby food fruit! I got lazy one night and gave you a tiny piece of Papa John’s pizza - I paid for that twice when it left you with the nighttime pukes. When you don’t like something you scrunch your nose up and pooch your lips. Or you just look at me like I’ve put nuclear waste on your tray and hand it back to me. " No, this won't do"

Fear. You don’t have much but I found out that you don’t like parrots. We were at the beach and a parrot was in a large cage in the resort lobby; it squaked at you and that was the end of that. Every time we passed the cage, even sans bird, you shook your head no. You loved the pool and had a great time with the other kids although you didn’t know that going under meant not breathing. You’d jump out of my arms to imitate the bigger kids but what was funny was when you emerged looking like “ What the hell was that?!”

And you are walking. The kind of walking where you don’t have knees. And the kind of walking that produces bloody noses; seeing you smash your poor nose on the floor broke my heart! But, as you usually do, recovery was swift. My recovery, on the other hand, was not swift and I still get an adrenaline rush when you trip.

Oh and independent, holy cow! The frustration level exceeds industry standards when toys don’t work just how you want them to!

You have no idea you are doing this but as you are growing you are helping your Mom and Dad. As if the beginning wasn’t good enough, it gets better. It’s like the book of Hebrews! You are making us not depend on permanence. Pushing us so far out of our comfort zone that there is no choice but to look for the positive! I thought I knew what change was and I thought I knew how to deal with it but you have shown me what it means to stick with something through anything. No running away. Unconditional. And with a smile on my face.

I do not want to disappoint you by letting you know that not everyday is full of super accomplishments and excitement. Honestly, I do not want to disappoint you at all. But how do I discipline without negativity? It’s my duty to give boundaries and sometimes firm ones, as you have already found out. I actually enjoy the small tantrums that have been occuring lately, since they are new and novel I can laugh now. I won't later. Obviously, I already worry about your spirit and keeping it intact. I don’t think I can tell you how many times I’ve had to tell myself that the Lord gives you only what you can handle…ummm, ok, I guess he knows what he’s doing. And too, Hank, be comforted that he only gives YOU what you can handle.

I wish the only thing I had to worry about now is shielding you from your Daddy’s love of Meatloaf. Not the dinner but the singer. Ugh.