I’m Still Here

Death was following me around for a little while, and I feel like I’m finally coming out of the dark. In 2020 my Labrador died slowly, then my Dad died quickly, then in 2021 my grandfather passed, and then a dog I adopted. All in less than a year.

My heart and my mind were heavy. Leaden, really. I knew in my head that others lost more, but it was still hard.

I don’t remember the holidays last year, or the ones the year before. Thank god I keep a planner otherwise I wouldn’t remember anything that happened or when. Everything is like in a big soup in my brain. That’s right, I was supposed to research trauma stages today and just remembered.

So that’s where I’ve been, in my Me-Soup. But what I’ve learned is: adopt another dog, it won’t be the same but they will still bring joy; and be a fierce and unapologetic advocate in a family members healthcare, no matter what doctors or facilities say.

But like I said, I’m seeing an end, and so a beginning. I’m thankful for my family, for two healthy pups, for bending over in laughter with my husband, for watching deer cross my lawn. You know. Small but big stuff.

It’s been almost three months…

…and my heart is still limping along.

Maximus, 2010 – 2020

Ten summers over the earth we’d leap / for ten winters we would snuggle deep

And no matter where we wanted to roam / when we were together, we were always home

Then the day came, your youth worn away / you let me know that you could no longer stay

You’ve left us behind, your soul out to sea / but you’re always right with me, your heart at my knee.

Driving with Triple C’s – Cross Country Cats

Well, almost. It was South Florida to South Dakota, and with it taking five damn hours just to get out of Florida, I think I am permitted to say “cross country”.

Ok – so as soon as we learned of the work transfer, we were like yay!, immediately followed by “oh shit, cats”. Four cats of various ages and temperaments.

Yes, four cats. We’re a blended family, kaaaaay?

I won’t bore you with our details, but here’s what worked for us:

  • Before the big move: Set the carriers out for the cats to get used to. I sprayed feliway on towels and tossed them in.
  • Do trial runs: We would put the cats in the carriers and put them in the garage or around the house for a few hours. From this we learned which cats to put in first. With multi-cats, yes, there is an order. They didn’t like it, but we learned to lure them in with kitty crack (aka canned tuna).
  • For the drive: Have towels or old tee-shirts that you are willing to just toss. They will poop. They will pee. No big deal. Toss the towel, put in a new one.
  • If you have overnight stays: We did. Bring wet food (for hydration) and kitty crack. Also pack disposable or cheap litter pans with flushable litter, and a dustpan + broom to sweep up all their litter mess. (We kept the litter pans in the hotel bathrooms.)

Really, the list above is all you can do. We were so stressed about the 4-day drive for them, but in reality, they did fine. They explored the hotel room, used the litter pans, and ate a little – which was fine since they were just in crates all day.

In fact, some of the little darlings didn’t want to come out of their crates in the hotel room, and would just hang out on them. Others hogged the bed.

Our two dogs were actually more work, when we thought it would be the inverse.

Oh, also, on the DL – most pet-friendly hotels only allow two cats, but there are always side doors. We told the hotels we had pets, and they would tell us how to bring them in without going through the lobby, so staff never counted our cats. I don’t think they really minded how many cats we were bringing in, honestly.

I hope you find this info useful and lowers your stress level. Even our super nervous cat (not pictured) did just fine. Best of luck!

Shut Up, Pants!

Did I quit running? I’m not sure if I did. I ran and ran for four years, and now? Meh.

It started with a Super Spartan, then Disney Princess runs and Star Wars runs – half marathons, 10ks, a couple of 5ks in there to keep me honest. But now….

I know I need something to train for. I can’t just run to run. With my impending move to a much higher altitude, I’m also intimidated. I have low blood pressure and heartbeat already – I’m afraid I’ll pass out somewhere along the road in a new town.

I can see it now, me laying on the side of a country road, slightly concussed, calling my husband.

“Come get me. I’m concussed.”

“Where are you?” He would say, already in the car.

“I don’t know.”

And woe is me if I had our cattle dog with me, his baby.

Excuses, you say? I agree. There is nothing easier than being middle-aged and lazy.

I have started to stalk online a running club in my new town, thinking it will get me running and social (I am terribly introverted and so is my husband. Peas in a pod!).

However, I have noticed that my excess chub isn’t melting away like it used to. Before I could just use the power of thought, but now, post 40, it seems things have changed. At least that’s what my pants keep saying, and boy are they vocal!

“Lunges. Remember lunges?”

“When’s the last time you did a sit up?”

“A lap around the block wouldn’t hurt ‘ya. Take the cattle dog.”

Pants are nags. Not like tops.

The tight armholes in my blouses are more like “Well, this is interesting”, and my jersey tees just talk behind my back with my bra, something about doing push-ups and maybe dips. Jersey tees are kind of passive-aggressive come to think of it.

The bra? She’s just doing her best. Definitely not an instigator.

Maybe I will. Maybe I will start running again, just to shut them up. Stupid clothes. At least my leggings and tech tees are supportive. They’ve been clamoring to get out of the drawer anyway.

Aforementioned baby.