July 30

There needs to be more time in the day after 5:00 pm. In the last week I’ve gotten on a completely different schedule and am now finding myself getting up earlier and earlier, and I don’t even have the dog to blame. Chance still doesn’t whine or bark in the night. My cat, however, thinks 5 am is time to wake up and attend to his needs. Out of guilt, I’ve been letting him sleep with me, something I don’t normally do. I don’t like the fact that he takes a bath at bedtime. Or purrs loudly in my ear. Or bites my hands when he wants to be petted. Usually, I shut my bedroom door at night, only now I have been keeping it open to hear the dog. Plus, the first couple of nights I tried to keep the normal routine, the cat sat outside pounding on my door and meowing loudly, in tones that sounded like I was being cussed out and yelled at. He wasn’t pleased with our new addition. Either I let him in and put up with his nocturnal bathing, or I locked him out and woke up to pounding. Ultimately, the bathing was less noxious. Given the state of affairs recently, I’m confident I will eventually be able to sleep alone again. The dog and cat have been sighted within inches of each other without incident. A hiss and a tail wag is the norm. At any rate, this morning I woke up at 4:30 with no one but myself to blame. I just woke up. And then had trouble getting back to sleep. I did, but only briefly before the alarm rang at 6:00. And the sleep was punctuated by strange dreams of bathing in a sink in front of a sliding glass door behind which was my entire extended family sitting on couches in what appeared to be my late grandmother’s living room. I’m not even sure what to say about that except I’m sure my day to day hassles are to blame. My kitchen sink sprung a leak yesterday, I’ve been trying to get the dog to go out of the sliding doors to the deck, I’ve been wishing my family lived closer. That’s what I tell myself anyway. So what am I thankful in all of this? Well, nothing as far as getting little sleep is concerned. Getting up earlier means I’m tired earlier, which means I have less time after work to get things done. I’m sure I’ll get used to the routine and maybe actually do more in the morning besides drink coffee and sit outside. I am thankful for a small break tonight though. My boyfriend invited me out for pizza and beer. No dogs. No house projects. No worries. That was really nice.

July 16

The day started out badly again–migraine and screaming cat outside the front door–but it ended well. The bedroom redo is 99% complete, which means it’s pretty much done. A curtain panel made it home with the security sensor still attached, a couple of hidden boards still need paint, some things still need to be put away, but overall, the change is made. The tweaks will have to come later and don’t affect the transformation. I’m pleased with it, which is good. That means I can quit thinking about it.  And I’ve already warned my daughter that she needs to fake it if, for some wild reason, she doesn’t like it. So I’m thankful the room is done. I’m also thankful that my cat, who snuck out and stayed out all night, waking me at 2 am with the sounds of a cat fight outside my bedroom window and then wailing at the front door at 6 am, didn’t encounter a horrible fate in the dark. I’m curious as to what did if it were indeed him fighting with something in the wee hours of the morning. The frustrated gardener in me rather hopes it was the rabbit who keeps eating my flowers. I’m also thankful for dinner cooked for me again (turkey leg beats popcorn, add that to rock, paper, scissors) and cool weather that’s perfect for sleeping, which I plan to do soon.

June 9

It’s been one of those days where I’m exhausted at the end, even though I haven’t done anything to warrant it. I’ve decided it’s become my general “adult” state of life. Disappointing, to say the least. However, in the midst of a basic day, I’m still thankful for some things:

Summer classes started, so students are back on campus. It’s rather nice to have commotion at work again.
I had lunch with my youngest, who was home doing chores now that’s she’s out of school for the summer.
The Subway on campus had my favorite soup, so I bought some for tomorrow’s lunch.
My kids’ step-mom gave me a peony plant and rhubarb, two things I love, when I dropped my daughter off tonight.
I had a great burger with my boyfriend and his mom at Red Robin, yummm.
My cat adores me.

Feb 13

My day started out with taking my cat in to the vet for a teeth cleaning. He’s had horrible breath lately. To the point where I wished he wouldn’t try to bathe himself because it was making his fur stink. Finally, the day I walked into the living room and thought what died in here? only to discover Sousi yawning next to me, I knew it was time. I’m sure this is making me sound like a terrible pet owner. That I’d let him go so long without addressing an obvious issue. It’s true. I let it go longer than I should have and my only excuse is that I knew how much it was going to cost–more than it cost my daughter’s last visit to the dentist. As a single parent, there are always trade offs when it comes to expenses. If I get one thing this month, I may have to wait on something else. Knowing my cat wasn’t in distress (yes, I checked!) his teeth cleaning got put on the back burner until this month when his lottery ticket was drawn.

When I set the appointment, I explained that I had a 7:30 meeting this morning and the clinic was on my way there so it would be convenient to drop him off early. I was told that even though they opened at 7:30, I could bring him in at 7:15. Perfect. Now I’ve talked about my cat before. He’s 16 pounds, strong, and clever. I’ve never been able to get him into a pet carrier. Instead, I have a big wicker picnic basket with a hinged lid that I can usually lure him into. This morning, I had my daughter help me get him to the car in his basket. Once there I placed my purse on top of the basket to keep him from escaping since the lid doesn’t latch. As soon as I got in the car, he shoved his way out of his basket. Thankfully, my daughter hadn’t made it back to the house, so she helped stick him back, and we place my purse AND my tote bag of books on top of the basket. That seemed to be enough, so off I went. Now Sousi doesn’t like car rides. The only times he’s ever been in the car is when we’ve moved or he’s gone to the vet, so I understand his suspicion. But he’s an extremely vocal cat and I’m an extremely guilty pet parent when it comes to hearing him cry. Our 10 minute ride to the vet consisted of his wails and my singing interspersed with consoling phrases meant to soothe me more than him since he doesn’t understand too many words beyond treats and his name.

Of course I got to the vet early. And sat in the car with him peering pathetically at me through the holes in his basket. Not once did he stop crying. Apparently, the woman who scheduled my appointment forgot to tell anyone else that I was coming at 7:15. The first employee showed up at 7:22. I waited three minutes before carefully removing the barricade and carrying the basket inside. There his howls echoed off the walls and we were ushered into a waiting room where I could finally let him out. He wasn’t happy with me. He paced his way around the room looking every bit like a small tiger and wailed even louder. And like any good parent, I videotaped his tantrum. After a quick overview of expectations from his vet, I gave him a hug and turned him over so I could rush off to the meeting for which I was already 1/2 hr late.

He spent most of the day at the vet. I’m not sure if it’s true for all animals, but they have to put cats under in order to perform this procedure, so there’s always a concern that they may not react well to anesthesia. But I’m thankful to report that his cleaning went well–better than they expected. The staff even wrote “good job” on his paperwork. I’m not surprised. He may be a loud complainer, but he’s really not ever had issues or given me problems. So now, besides taking care of a potential health concern, his clean teeth also mean clean breath, which makes it much easier to cuddle. Bonus.

Feb 8

I have a cat. He’s a sixteen pound orange tabby whose name is Sousi. It’s a misspelling of the French word souci, which means a worry or concern. His first vet office spelled it with an “s” so we just went with it. I guess that’s what you get when you’re trying to be clever by choosing a word in a foreign language few Americans speak. Of course, most people hear Susie, figuring its a female cat or, like my mother, have trouble pronouncing it at all and call him Sushi. I usually call him SUESS! or Sousibous or schnooks. Or sometimes it’s damnit cat or stupid cat depending on how precariously I’m about to trip over him.

I found him in an abandoned building on a piece of property I once owned. Actually, the night I spotted him, there were two kittens. My husband at the time said he had seen a cat prowling around, so we left the kittens assuming the momma cat would come back. And she did, but only for one. After a few days, I couldn’t stand it. I was too worried about him left alone in the winter, so I brought him home. (Hence his name.) He was barely bigger than my hand and I had to nurse him with a doll-sized bottle. He was the fluffiest, cutest little kitten. Then he grew. Imagine the most rambunctious two year old toddler you know and put him in cat form. That’s what he was like. He loved to hide in doorways or under footstools and jump out as we passed by, grabbing on to ankles and feet and scaring the crap out of us. He’d run through the house sounding like a little horse, climbing up whatever he could. Yet at night, he’d sneak into my bedroom with only the briefest of sounds and spring onto my bed like a ninja cat, usually directly on top of me. Then he’d chase my moving feet under the covers. It would surprise me every time.

These days, he’s become fat and much lazier. He’s close to 13 years old, so it’s no shock that he’d much rather cuddle than scare us with his antics. He loves to hug and if I put my finger in his paw, I swear he holds it, curling his little toes around as far as he can. I used to sing You are My Sunshine while dancing with him and when he’d gaze at me lovingly, I’d tell him that he was so handsome, if I were a cat, I’d marry him. It makes me laugh to even type that. Funny the things we say and do with our pets. Unfortunately, I’ve been guilty lately of complaining about how needy he is…he insists on being on me every chance he can. He’s not happy simply curled up near me, he wants to be as close to my face as possible. And some nights, I’m just too busy to be that attentive to him. But like most pets, he keeps coming back. Tonight when I got home, he was at the door waiting for me as usual. He followed me every where I went and sat in my lap as soon as I sat. Everyone should have someone or something in their lives that adores them that much. Today I’m thankful for my Sousi and his consistent reminder that I’m loved.