Thursday, July 03, 2008

cat, jeep, three days busy

Monday afternoon I took Flower, our oldest cat of three, to be put to sleep. I wanted Keith to go with me but he had a meeting. I had called and talked to Kirby about it the night before. Technically Flower is Kirby's cat. On another technicality, this is not our cat. Kirby's cat got lost twelve or thirteen years ago, following Keith/kids/dog on a walk in our old neighborhood. Jumped over a fence, got chased by a dog, jumped into another yard behind that, the street of which had no direct connection to our street, probably got found by someone who loved him, but we put an ad in the paper and...

We got a call on the lost cat ad. Keith and the kids went. I reminded them to offer a reward. A little boy had made a nice cardboard house and bed for the found cat, and would have loved to have kept it, but his parents said no, if the owners didn't find it it would need to go to the animal shelter. So Keith gave him $10 and thanked him profusely. The little boy had been very happy to have found our cat and to have $10. When they got back I said "That's not Simba," and Keith said "I know."

This new cat was a big pain and I've never really liked him and he's caused trouble and damage and messes and could never retract his claws well, so he would put them in my pants leg (meaning, often, in my own leg) to get attention and not be able to take them out.

I thought it would be no big deal, but the emotions that swirled around that kinda kicked my butt. Like a little whirlwind full of trash, I see bits and pieces but can't focus on any one thing. It has guilt and the passage of Kirby's youth, it has the waste of having worthless pets who do more damage than good, with an overlay of all the increasing city ordinances (most of which we ignored) about pets, and my wishes he would've just died and not cost us a hundred dollars, and twenty other vaguer feelings and factites.

When I started this post I thought I would write "Took the cat to be put to sleep, went with Marty to the Jeep place..." This outpouring surprises me too.

Keith took me out to eat. I had already come home and made more margarita than I usually drink and then kinda wished I had filled up the blender. It didn't help. I ate all the potatoes at Souper Salad--two salad bar potato salads, potato soup and a baked potato. It felt like potatoes could magically absolve me and cleanse my soul. It helped a little.

Since Marty has had the Jeep we've been getting it to an optimal point before the 15 days are up and the government-imposed warranty is up. We've been driving around and leaving jeep or parts-of-jeep here and there, going back later, and to this point it's
wiring installed for towing a trailer
       (dealer reimbursed us)
got a copy of the key: electronic anti-theft bizness, had to go to Jeep to get the code and back to locksmith
       (I paid $52)
zipper on back window of softtop not working, left the top at Rader Awning for a new zipper
      ($150ish, Marty will pay)
window ding, spreading crack--rock hit him Sunday, crack growing about 2" a day
      (insurance paid in full, $65ish)

It's all great for Marty, and I like spending time with him, and I learned to really stabilize my hair and not look down at the road out the open side. He has a full hard-top and doors, but as little girls strip their Barbies first thing, it seems boys strip their jeeps. And I was impressed at how well he could tell what needed to come off to remove which parts of the top to leave at the awning shop. All those years of transformers and Bionicles really showed.

All week there was the vague plan for me and Keith to go to dinner with an old friend who lives in northern California and we haven't seen for years. Keith knew him when they were very young, three or four. Then they were in the SCA together in the 1970's, and we were going to go out with him (and maybe his girlfriend, it was unclear) and two other couples we've also known since 1978 or so. The plan kept not coming together and then Marty and Holly asked us if we wanted to go with them and some others to see Hancock.

So we did.

And I realized somewhere in there that I would rather be with my kids than with my old friends who are childless. The friendships are still there, but for me to say no to my kids (even though they're all grown enough to drive to the movies and pay my way (Holly paid Keith's way; Keith paid for me and Marty, because we showed up last after picking up the Jeep from the auto-glass place)... I LIKE my kids. I want those times with them, while it's still possible to have them.

The time we spent with those other folks (the ones who seem not to have had dinner without us, anyway, so no loss) was when we were young and energetic and also childless. None of the others had children, and I know they would've asked us about our kids and we would've told glowing wonderful stories of a job in Texas, a new Jeep and a job at a Persian restaurant, a serious boyfriend and lots of photoshop artwork and a desire to work at a flower shop, and the response would've been dismissive or critical. Maybe not. Maybe it's the dead cat guilt talkin' in my swirly mind.

When my kids are grown and gone, will I still prefer friends who have children so they'll understand what's important to me? It's not that I don't enjoy hearing the news of my childless friends. It's cool! I just don't like their attitudes toward children and teens.


Anet said...

I just hate "end of cat life stuff" it never sits well no matter how you handle it! I have 4 cats right now... Oh, it's really sweet how Keith took the wrong cat from the little boy!

I don't blame you for wanting to hang out with your kids over old friends, I'm the same way. I love to hang with my teenagers and my eight year old. The problem now is, trying to find something to do that makes everyone happy. We can hardly ever agree on a movie.

gail said...

I can relate so much to the wanting to hang out with the kids when we can. I keep expecting them to make other plans for things like July 4th...and realize that they always seem to include us in their plans...just as we include them in ours. It still surprises me because not many other teens we know do that. None here anyway. AND I don't know how cool this is to say about a friends son....BUT that Marty is one very cute guy!

Glenda said...

I'm sorry about the cat having to be put to sleep. I had to do that recently with an older dog we adopted several years ago. Even tho I was ready for her to go, and it was obvious she'd reached that point, it was still a very hard thing to do. I found it ironic that having a pet put down was far less expensive a vet trip than any we've ever had (it was about half the cost you had to pay).

I'm a bit envious of Marty's jeep! I've always wanted one (a Jeep and also an old VW Bug LOL). Maybe when I'm no longer driving kids around I'll get myself a Jeep, and probably strip it down ;-).

I no longer have childless friends. I definitely prefer the company of my son and stepson and nieces and nephews, and they enjoy my company too. Some of the best belly-laughs we have around here are when my grown stepson comes to visit and stays with us -- he, my hubby, and my son are three peas in a pod!

Happy Campers said...

Again, a breath of fresh air...we, too, really LIKE our kids and find them immensely fun to be around! I don't understand friends who count down until the start of school, can't wait to get out for hours and hours to get away from the kids, whatever.

Luckily, our kids are 19, 14, & 5, so we've still got lots of time left to enjoy the younger two under our roof.

Thanks for your honesty in your posts...

Cally said...

I too have been through the death of a pet I didn't like, and know just the crazy mix of feelings that involves - and even worse when it's a mother you didn't like that dies! That was a hard one.

But this grown kid thing - that's one of the very hardest, for me anyway. Three of my four boys now live away from home, and the last is 18 and I am realising I have to be very careful not to cling. I'm lucky that my youngest three will always include me in things - if we are pysically close enough. I have more fun with them than anyone else. But I've had enough of a taste of what it is like when they move away to be realising that I need new friends to hang out with. Most of my old close friends have moved away. People I meet away from home ed circles (and I can't keep hanging out with them forever), even if they have children, might as well be on a different planet from me. I am realising just how far I have grown away from 'normal'. Though that is good in many ways, and given my time again I wouldn't do anything different except move away from the norm faster, it has, I'm discovering, left me isolated.

What now? Pretend I'm someone I'm not for the sake of getting on with people? Or stay true to myself and be lonely? I fear it's the latter - I've grown too much to even want to fit in.

Scarey stuff this growing up, huh?

Sandra Dodd said...

-=-and even worse when it's a mother you didn't like that dies!-=-

Ow. I've had that one too, just a few years ago. No doubt that was some of the dust in the whirlwind. At least this cat never lied to me.

Heather said...

You are so funny about the cat! We lost two cats in the past three years. And we lost a dog almost two years ago. It was hard, but we made it. Cute cat story about how you got the kitty.

We love being with our kids. We have friends with kids who dump them on family once a week (overnight) to go out. My hubby and I enjoy the kids a lot. We go on dates as a couple at least once a month for a few hours. But I enjoy the time with the kids too.

I see how much our kids love being with us as well. It gives me so much hope for the future. Thanks for the example you set for others.

Anonymous said...

It's wonderful that you still love to "hang out with your kids". You are so right. Gotta do it while you still can. Of course mine are 5 and 7, and we're just getting started it seems. ;) But I still like being with them. LOL... I should be... being a homeschooler and all.

Sorry for your loss of the cat you didn't like. I'm sure it's hard when a pet has lived with you for many years.