Sunday, 16 November 2014

Eulogy to some great cats

I've been trying to think of  a topic upon which to write for ages and due to my work addled brain haven't had anything interesting to say. Unfortunately I had an idea thrust upon me yesterday with the death of one of my fur babies. If you read my blog at all you'll have read my ode to my kitties. Angie, known as Angelina ballerina, came to us soon after we moved to Muskoka. She was our second black cat and a Princess for sure. She was already about 7 years old and hugely overweight. Suddenly last year she lost a ton of weight. I was down south working and didn't get to see her often but she never seemed to be in ill health. In fact she could do the ten foot door dash in less than a second it seemed and had to be regularly retrieved. Cheerful, lovable, dignified and with a voice that sounded like too much whisky and smoke Angie was a lovely addition to the family. Suddenly, yesterday, she became extremely weak and could barely hold her upper body up. I felt so bad having to go into work and leave her alone. Jeff works nearby so I texted him to see if he could check in on her. What a day to be working the closing shift. Her condition got worse as the day went on and I didn't think I was going to make it home in time. She was basically gone by 10 when I got home but her tiny little body hung in there for a few more hours.
So, this is the sad occasion that gave me writing material. While I drove into work this morning I started thinking about the great cats I've had in my life and decided to share. The first cat I really knew was Smudgy. She was a dark tortoise shell. In those days all of our cats were outdoor cats and Smudgy became a mother several times over. Her daughter Ozzie was the only one of her kids we kept. I hate to say it but I have no idea what happened to Smudgy but Ozzie became the cat in our house. She was very independent, truly a Ferrier woman, and also had several litters. She was an excellent mother and did everything possible to keep her babies safe and teach them how to get along in the big world. This,unfortunately, often meant her arrival home with a live rodent for the kids to hunt, in our living room.She was always so indignant when we put a stop to that. Her last litter gave us a runt who Dayle named Roo (as in Kanga and Roo). He became my best buddy and lived to the ripe old age of 16. Rooster, as I called him, was not the brightest of cats but he loved us and was very loyal. Topping out at about 20 lbs with a huge head I always wondered what the rest of that litter looked like if he was the runt! One of our favourite past times was playing in the leaves. Every fall Roo and I would rake up the yard. He would lie completely still while I covered him in leaves and then suddenly burst out to scare me. We could play that for hours. He was a lover who thought he was a fighter. There were a number of times he disappeared for days only to arrive home with a large wound that I would tend. If he was winning I'd hate to see the loser. Time passed and I moved to the city. It got so that Roo didn't remember me. I still remember the day he died. My mom called me at work to tell me. Just thinking about it is making me miss him again.
The next cat in my life arrived when Jerry and I moved into our house in Brampton. Toby was truly great. He won me over, not such a tough task, as a kitten at the pet shop. He climbed up onto my shoulders and purred in my ear. How could we not bring him home! He was our guy right from the beginning. I think he was a genius but then all parents think that of their kids. He could understand and speak english well, 'ham now' being one of his favourite phrases. He loved Jerry and I equally and would always be in the same room with one of us. He loved to hide in the clothes basket and be carried around. His favourite game came at 10 o'clock every night. Our house had a centre hall design that gave him the opportunity to run laps like a madman every night. Jerry would sit on the coffee table  and casually dangle his hands between his legs. Toby would come tearing in, flip on his back and slide in to tackle Jerry's fingers. We called it 'checking the oil' and Toby would get excited when Jerry would call that out. He learned to tolerate if not love the kids as they arrived and as they got older he realised that here were some more humans to worship him. Toby was another big male but the last year he was alive he dwindled to a bag of bones.
I think that's the saddest part of this. All of these cats stoically kept silent about their pain and continued to give us their love right up to the end. Deep down we knew they weren't well but they never let it show until it was too late. Now we're trying to save my Jasper. He was my guy from the day he arrived. He and his sister joined us shortly after Jerry and I separated and he stuck to me like glue.It got so that he'd come and tell me at 1030 that it was time for bed and stand on the stairs telling me until I moved. I've been thinking about him while I write and I realise he has shown some symptoms simply by becoming more quiet the past few months. Jasper has always been what I call a sensualist. He loves being rubbed from head to toe and has the best belly for that. He had a little round belly that would fit in your hand, perfect for that massage. Now he's lost so much weight his ribs stick out. His purr could be heard from the next room, now it's silent. Jeff is syringe feeding him to try and get some water and nutrition in to him. The vet thinks it's his liver. I don't want to put him through a battery of tests that determine nothing but bring him a ton of stress. We'll have a blood test done this week once he's rehydrated and see where that goes.Keep your fingers crossed for my dapper gentleman.
With the holiday season coming upon us I hope everyone is healthy and happy. We're settling in in Cambridge and are looking forward to our first Christmas here. It's great having the whole gang within 15 minutes of each other. This Christmas marks 5 years since mom died and a day doesn't go by that I don't think about her. The voice in my head guiding me still. Love to all of you.

Monday, 23 June 2014

And now the next chapter

I'm sitting here in the living room in the new house in Cambridge. We've been here a little over a month and, while we are still unpacking, it feels like home. Jeff's melodious tunes are wafting out of his basement studio and Greg is laughing about some video on the internet. My little sanctuary of a craft room has yet to be uncovered. It was the dumping ground on moving day of anything we didn't recognize or thought belonged to me. I still haven't unearthed my stereo. Torture for someone who lives with CBC playing most of the time! I've been shifting things from here to there as the house speaks to me and I'm dying to get rid of the most boring beige walls but for the most part we're settled in.
Cambridge is an odd mix of all the ' stuff marts' you need and small town. Kind of exactly what I was looking for! Very few high-rises keep the big city feel at bay. I love the old architecture in Galt and we have, unfortunately, discovered the Southworks Antique Market. Luckily the lights prevent me from spending too much time there. ( lights, siezures... you remember). Drive to and from work a mere 30 minutes and I sleep in my own bed every night!! As I've said before it's the small things that make me happy. Jeff  hates his commute wanting to only drive 10 minutes to work. Bit of a dreamer but if he can find a job closer to home good on him.
One of the treats we're discovering is the multi-level decking in the backyard. My first impression was that we had a tiny yard but now that we're hanging out in it the reality is that we have neat little pockets built into the yard. The first level is right outside my bedroom, room for 3 Muskoka chairs and private. The next level is big enough for the BBQ and some chairs and also runs down the side of the house with gates to the front. The bottom level is at ground level, has a patio big enough for the 10x10 gazebo and a, at one time, landscaped garden and fountain. Theo spent a few hours in the heat last week tearing out things and uncovered and a flagstone path. The yard is currently overgrown but we're concentrating on the inside and my plans are to tackle the yard this fall. But Theo has been given carte-blanche to come over and garden. I've always said I dream of an English garden but I've pretty much got brown thumbs and the patience of a flea. Once it's tamed though I think we may have a little piece of paradise!
Met the neighbours on both sides and they seem nice. Two young families in the other side of our semi and a family about the same age as ours on the other.
This house has a mind of it's own. I say this because both Jeff and I have had some odd experiences that make us think there's a spirit afoot. Benign and slightly mischievous, I've been chatting with it explaining that we're here to stay and that anything we do to the house is to make it loved and happy. Since then the dripping pipe has stopped dripping and things have stopped jumping off cabinets. The cats are unaffected by the goings on so clearly there is no threat posed.
Speaking of the furry gang, they have settled in no problem. The madness continues with spats breaking out in the hall when one cat passes another but the long hall with the detour through mom's bedroom makes for some great running. The littles, Geordie and Pip, have gotten into the habit of tearing around doing laps first thing in the morning. Great as long as I'm awake, which I usually am after the first lap. Angie likes the older low-sided tub because she can jump in and demand fresh water every time someone walks by the bathroom. She was apparently deprived of this up north because we had a deep tub, who knew. Hailey has claimed her spot on the peninsula, just like up north. Jasmine owns the family room downstairs and Jasper likes to sleep in my room. Bert, the king of everything , goes where the action is and picks fights on his way. So, you could say it's business a usual.
So, the invitation stands, as long as you find us home. Look up 943 Langs Circle, Cambridge and come visit the mob is looking forward to seeing you!

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

On moving

As usual I've been slow at getting my blog up to date and it's mainly because we are in the middle of a time of change for my gang. The house in Muskoka sold in record time and we found a house in Cambridge at the same whirlwind speed. All that's left to do is finish packing, load the trucks, load the cats ( that'll be like trying to herd cats,lol) load the cars and then move the puzzle pieces to get four vehicles 300kms south with basically two drivers. If it were easy it wouldn't be me!
We're all excited for the move but don't worry, we're leaving Muskoka with a slight sense of melancholy. The reality is that it was not the right place at the right time. The way the pieces are falling into place for Cambridge makes me think that this will be.
The house we've purchased is in a bit of a time warp but there's lots of living space and light (always has to be lots of light) and I'm already making my timeline for the changes that need to happen. Jeff has commandeered one of the basement bedrooms as his music studio. Right under mine so we'll see how that goes. I'd better see some profit coming outta that space! Plenty of up spots and hidey holes for the cats. They'll all live together peacefully I'm sure.One more week and we're there. Wish us luck!

 While I know Alex and Jess are looking forward to having their apartment all to themselves soon I'd like to think we'll miss each other. I vacuumed the apartment for the last time this morning to give Jess a break. If I do it again they'll have to pay me for my skills. Just think Alex you can run around naked at will by Saturday!

The kids have told me that this will be my last move and I nod and smile all the while promising nothing. Although I haven't wandered far I am a wanderer. The thought of becoming stagnant makes me shiver. I wonder sometimes if this wasn't one of the factors of my unhappiness in my marriage (don't get me wrong there were a lot of other factors). Spending 20 years at the same thing is a concept that is foreign to me. As usual, thank goodness for my kids who kept things interesting. I'll settle into the new house with the intention of staying. There's room enough to nest and room enough for the troops to gather. Close enough to everyone that they can pop over for a visit and not have to plan a whole weekend. The welcome mat is out for anyone who wants to come see us. No, don't wait for an invitation you know I won't make it. Just show up and let me cook for you.

Thanks to everyone in Muskoka who welcomed me back and the boys into their lives. I'm always surprised that people even remember me let alone look forward to seeing me. Joan, I'll miss your hugs but I'll pop in when I'm up to see Brenda. Tim, be good and take care of yourself. I'll know everything through Brenda. And to Beth, Mary Jane and Bev, we'll make plans to gossip ( I mean catch up) thanks for bringing me back into the fold. And to my rock, Brenda, we have plans to make and I've yet to christen my bedroom. Ok, that's enough I'm tearing up.

Looking forward only as always, and off we go!

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Happy Birthday, Sis!

Today is the day we celebrate the birth of one of my big sisters, Dayle. Just to make it clear she is much older than me, 22 months to be exact. It's a wonder we can communicate across that vast divide, lol.
I'm going to say some stuff that I don't usually tell people but I'll put it in writing this once and never have to repeat it again. Due to my memory issues I have few memories of my childhood but here's the highlights that have stuck with me. When we were young the three of us girls shared a bedroom. Let's just say all wasn't bliss but we rubbed along pretty well together. Once our brother Jeff moved out Joy got a room to herself and I was left alone with the crazy one. There are those of you will not believe this but trust me, that mild mannered exterior hides true evil. Dayle was a little OCD, although we didn't have a name for it back then. She loved to have a place for everything and everything in it's place. Really annoying actually. I, on the other hand, was a creative free-spirit who she thought was a messy pig. Lines were drawn down the middle of the room but I had the power of the doorway. Although I'll deny it until my dying day Dayle claimed that I made noises in my sleep. If I did it was probably my whimpering in fear of her evil. I can remember at least two occasions when a shoe flew across the room to quieten me. Then there was the pummeling. Oh, the pummeling. Imagine picking on my tiny self by rolling me across my bed and tap dancing on my back into the wall. I know there are some you who won't believe this but it's true! There are reasons I'm like I am today. But I had the power or the door. let me tell you a little story of my speed and grace against the evil Dayle. She'll claim I provoked her but I was a mere child. Let's just say I could do the fifteen stair sprint in seconds flat slamming my door upon entry to the room. Dayle's foot was alittle too close and she lost a toe-nail in that skirmish. From there we progressed to the stair dash into the bathroom. No lock on the door, are you crazy? Privacy was an illusion. Whip out the drawer block the door aaannd safe.
Then we grew up a bit and the bathroom became a bonding zone. No details but let's just say I dragged her sorry ass up those same stairs a few times to converse with the toilet. I was the responsible one and Dayle managed to survive with the majority of her  brain cells. When the college years arrived and we went in different directions the bathroom was the first meeting place, drawer pulled for security, taking turns on toilet and tub right after arriving home. Tales were told, always Dayle's and secrets shared, mainly Dayle's.
Dayle seems to have lived a charmed life but having been in the trenches I know this not to be true. Don't get me wrong I've always envied and emulated her easy way with people. In high school we were only a year apart and growing up in a small town groups mixed and melded and we attended many a soiree together. Here's how it went. I walk in my few close friends greet me. Dayle steps through the door and the party starts. Squeals from all directions, the boys vying for her attention, disgusting really. I had to be the brains of the family, thank goodness this came easily.
We fought like tigers, I have witnesses ( just ask Brenda) but were true sisters in that outside the house we had each other's backs. Insult my sister and you insult me. "Yes, she does have boobs like the eighht wonder of the world but she more than that'", this said with a truly sincere tone of voice and everything! I'm not even going to bring up the fact that she hogged all the boobs in the family. God had a certain amount to distribute, I was a surprise, he had already given the rest to Dayle. My only consolation is that big boobs and the laws of gravity don't mix, heh,heh,heh.
Then there were the princess years. I blame Greg for this. He loves her so much he treated her like royalty. The week long birthday celebrations when mine was barely acknowledged were the worst.  Not to mention having a hunk for a husband. Come on now, enough is enough!
Well, I think the karma train picked her up and is taking her on too long of a ride. The past five years have been a trial that few would survive let alone remain cheerful and positive through but there she is, Princess Dayle, standing tall and taking on everything that's been thrown at her and Greg. She makes me sick really, I can hardly stand to call her my sister.
So, I love you, you old bag. You have my beauty, mom's diligence and dad's warped sense of humour. The perfect package. I'm still the youngest and loveliest.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Time passes so quickly, and then sometimes it doesn't

Six months at my new job has flown by but then at the same time taken forever. I feel as though I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop and that shoe is picking up and moving again. Just to reassure everyone the job is going well. I'm having to get used to a district manger who appreciates me and tells me so. I'm not used to much feedback at all and positive has been rare so I wasn't sure how to react when Blair praised me. So, now I have to learn to accept praise along with it being ok to ask for help. Geez, it's almost like it's alright for me to be human and take off my Wonder Woman t-shirt every now and then, figuratively speaking of course. I'd never really take that sucker off.
I'm still camped out at Jess and Alex's and I'm constantly amazed that, one, Jess and I haven't killed each other ( I guess both of us have grown up a little) and two, they haven't kicked me out just to have the place to themselves. I try to be invisible but don't always succeed.
Then comes the move. I think I've got the town picked out but I need to get the house sold. Four plus feet of snow and snow banks taller than the boys makes the homestead only desirable to the hearty souls who know Muskoka. So, now I dream of Spring. Not that crazy melt we had last spring, god forbid, but just a casual disappearance of the snow and a gentle greening that brings the yard back to life. Basically a spring that has never existed in this part of Canada, lol. Then the sign goes up. I'm still reluctant to let go of my little cabin in the woods but the OLG has yet to send me my millions in winnings so two homes are out of the question. I've been shopping the MLS listing with the same addiction I reserve for Pinterest and have some areas that look good. We're heading Cambridge/ Kitchener way. With the mall being near Milton that area is just a short drive away. Easy for me but I'm uprooting the boys again. Greg has attended two high schools and I worry ( what a surprise! ) that this move will throw off things one more time.
I no longer feel like I failed Muskoka 101 because I think I've found my niche with Victorinox. The Canadian division is in it's infancy and I'm already being able to make a contribution to it's growth and fruition.
For now I continue to trek north when I can, sleep in my own bed as often as possible and count my blessings. 2014 is slated to be a year of abundance and our clan could use some. Jess has started a job that she could do a lot with. She's now entering into retail management with Aren't We Naughty. Yes, another of us selling their soul to the retail gods. Alex is happy and prospering at his job. Jenn and Theo both have things in the works that I'll share once they have a more certain outcome. Now to get resettled back south. Jeff can find a job and make any further schooling plans with a wide selection of schools available. Greg will carry on as he always has but maybe he'll carry on even better than he always does. Perhaps his niche is in Kitchener. Hope springs eternal.
Be gone winter surely you've blown yourself out by now! Time for at least the January thaw even if it is February. Happy Valentine's Day to those who observe it. Hug the one's you love.