August 31, 2009

Can we talk about something?

Now, I'm not one to sit around and bellyache about what W. did during his eight years in office (much), and I feel that blaming him for the cancellation of what was once my favorite show everrrrr, Reading Rainbow, is laughable. What he did with the education in this country, though, is also laughable, in a sad way, but I just got finished saying I don't bellyache about his presidency. Much.

The issue I'm having isn't even that. There's really no room to teach kids that reading can be fun, delightful? There's no room for telling kids that no matter what their interests are, there are tons of books that they could LOVE to read? Because we have to spend all our television time teaching phonics, something that parents should be far more responsible for than PBS? Is it really that big of a problem, are kids really not being read to, to the extent that we can no longer assume that a large enough number of kids know how to read and might possibly be actually interested in reading for the sake of reading? And enjoy LeVar Burton's voice the way I did? (Or less than the way I did, but more on that later.)

See, every time my teacher was out sick in first and second grade, we watched Reading Rainbow. And I'd watch it at home on my sick days. AND EVERY TIME, I wanted to read the book he showcased. And I used to write down the title and the titles that the other kids on the show used to recommend (remember that?) for future reference, like when mom would take us to the library--which was always such a treat--and I'd come home with stacks and stacks of books, some of them recommendations from LeVar himself. Granted, I grew up to be an English major, and can hardly pass a sign or a bumper sticker or instructions without wanting to know what they say, which is usually a letdown, but I CANNOT STOP reading, even six or eight words at a time, and I'm ALWAYS reading a book, something, anything I can get my hands on, and also...I mean, this is kind of a secret, but...

...I mean, my first crush was LeVar Burton. I just remember his voice. His voice, God, his voice! That man has the greatest voice of all time. I can still hear him saying, "but you don't have to take my word for it!" and, of course, "See ya next time!" (BECAUSE HE WON'T SEE US NEXT TIME! BECAUSE THERE IS NO NEXT TIME!) So maybe that's the problem I'm having. Certainly that's why I kind of misted up a bit about the cancellation. Twice. Once when I heard about the announcement, and once more when I read an article that sort of recapped the show. Because when I was a kid, that show made me unbelievably happy. And while it got a lot of kids to see that they could actually (gasp!) enjoy reading, for me, it encouraged what was already a growing love of books. And I think it's sad that the powers that be have determined that there's just no room for that anymore.

Sigh. See ya next time. Or, you know, not.

August 28, 2009

Lex Vegas, as Coty says

I'm in Lexington, visiting my grandfather and spending some quality time with him, mom, and uncle Tom.

Danda (that's an old family term for him, God knows why, but Tom called their grandfather that as a kid and, again, God knows why, but the name got transfered) is very glad to be back from the rehab facility he was spending time in pre- and post-funeral. We went and visited and he kept talking about all the rules this place had. Apparently he got in trouble for getting up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom by himself. They insist on two nurses accompanying any guests to the restroom. Which is in his room. And three feet from his bed. It's hell getting old I guess.

That said, he looks absolutely fantastic. For him, I mean. He's on oxygen, but he's still openly complaining about...well, about everything. That's how you know he is on his A-game. (They just showed a clip of Teddy Kennedy's service on KET, and he says about the gospel singers, "Well, they're kinda screechy, aren't they?")

Also, mom and I ran some errands for him, and we walk in the house bearing groceries, et cetera, and there's Danda, cubing cheese. Do you know what that means? Because in this house, its the obvious sign of forthcoming pimento cheese. Oh. My. God. That stuff is best described as a magic sandwich spread. I watched him make it. I hope someday I'm that good at making it. Unlikely.

On another note, Sir's second visit went fine. Ran more tests, sent me home. The worst part was the stuff they put on him to take blood, which was a lot smellier this time than I remembered. Maybe that's because last time I was so upset I didn't care and wanted to hold him anyway. Last time, when we got to the office, once he got out of the cat carrier he walked around the office and was fairly quiet. Not so much this time. He yowled even after he was allowed to roam around. Which was obnoxious. And loud. All the same, they called today with test results, and everything is totally normal, so the hyperthyroidism hasn't done any damage (except maybe the heart murmur, but the first vet said would likely go away after some time on the medication). I start being a pill pusher tomorrow. Should be an adventure. Twice a day? Here goes nothing, I guess.

August 25, 2009


My baby is sick.

I took him to the vet yesterday to get him a sedative, as per the plan. The vet informs me that he has a heart murmur that puts him at risk for a sedative. The vet also says if it were his cat, he'd give him the sedative, but you never know with cats, and it could be just fine but it is always risky, and with the heart murmur, more so.

Then I ask about his weight, and casually mention that Sir used to be, like, 16 pounds so I worry that he weighs too much.

The vet says, oh. Well, in that case, he might have hyperthyroidism, which is common in older cats and could also be the cause of the heart murmur. We'll take blood and call you with results tomorrow. Treatment for this is medication twice a day usually, sometimes once a day. Or a shot, but with a cat this old that seems inefficient (by that they mean my 14 year old cat is a geezer and is likely to keel over at any minute, but I know that cats tend to live to age 21 in this house and I intend to make sure Sir is no exception).

Regardless, Demon that Google is, I go home and look up hyperthyroidism in cats. It isn't a pretty picture. Causes heart problems, kidney failure, excessive vomiting, irritability or skittishness, unhealthy metabolism hikes (the vet used the choice phrase "wither away to nothing" with regard to a cat's ability to eat nonstop and still not gain or maintain weight). Good thing I was already a sobbing wreck. (Also, this sounds far more like Lucy than Sir, if anyone is keeping track.)

So they call today and tell me that he does have elevated levels and needs to be medicated. So I get to take my cat (who, again, hates the cat carrier and the car) back to the vet to test his kidneys to see if there is any damage already and begin the medication. Then in 3 weeks, post moving day, I get to take him to a vet in DC to see how the medication is doing, see if it has any side effects on his kidneys or whatnot. (The vet says this is very common and that if I take him to a different vet with the paperwork, they'll know exactly what is happening and what to look for, and that it's better to start sooner than to wait until I move and find a vet to start there. Are they TRYING to freak me out, or trying to make money, or being serious? Regardless, I'm going in again Thursday. Does anyone know a good vet in the DC area?)

Apparently this happens to a lot of older cats. In my head, I'm thinking, "Jesus, on top of paying for him to live with us and litter and food, I now have to pay for medications and two more vet visits. He's old. Average cat life span is about 15. What happens if I don't treat him? I mean, he may die earlier, but if I hadn't mentioned the weight loss, I wouldn't have known. And what's earlier? A lot of cats don't live to 14 at all, let alone...however long this will expand his life. And if the crazy neighbors at our old house had actually kept track of their cats (or spayed or neutered every once in a while) he wouldn't exist. And if I hadn't beaten him down into loving me, he'd still be wandering around our old neighborhood, presumably with hyperthyroidism, living a happy life." (I have very long thoughts in my head). In my heart, though, I'm thinking, "MY BABY WILL DIE TOMORROW IF I DON'T GIVE HIM THIS PILL AND I DON'T CARE HOW MUCH I HAVE TO PAY FOR IT I'M EFFING DOING IT AND HE IS MOVING WITH ME AND I WILL GRIND THAT PILL AND PUT IT INTO YOGURT AND HE WILL BE FINE FOR TEN MORE YEARS AT LEAST!" (I have very loud thoughts in my heart.) Also, the vet said something about this drastically improving his quality of life, and now that's just mean not to, right?

I mean, I have money saved up, and rent for Sir, as already mentioned, is far less expensive than I anticipated, so a little extra money is worth it, right? I would feel terrible if I just let it go. So shoving pills down my cat's throat is my new M.O. Awesome.

Just as a side note though, BC and I discussed, and Sir will NOT be taking a sedative, so I went to the vet for that one thing that I won't be using and got a ton more than I bargained for.

August 23, 2009

Moving Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay

So my lease starts September 1, but due to fanagaling and BC being in our nation's captial ahead of time, my official move in date has been set for September 5. I drive to Columbus the 4th, load up the UHAUL, and leave for my future home at 7am the following morning.

I'm getting nervous and excited. Friday I purchased a mattress bag and a cat carrier (it's really cute and has bones on it. Some people might think this makes it a "dog carrier," but I'm going with a very strict definition of "cat carrier," which is, "something comfy for a sedated Sir to move to DC in"). Sir may never forgive me for the sedative and carrier combo, which will likely make him the crankiest feline everrrrrrr. (Except for the feline that is Sir tomorrow, when I put him in the self-same cat carrier and DON'T sedate him, in order that I take him to the vet and thus make him angry at me for at least a week.)

He's already kind of mad at me (being standoffish and yowling a good deal) because he has figured out that I'm moving. He'll look at the boxes, and look at me, and just start yowling. It's kind of cute, in an obnoxious, loud kind of way.

Speaking of Sir, he is sound asleep on Mr. Bear (a creatively named bear from my entire childhood, that still sleeps on my bed). He is just...perfect. I am so infinitely happy that he can come with me. For quite a while I thought that it was possible I'd have to leave him at home. I was inconsolable. Heartbroken. I thought he was going to cost too much if we were even able to find a pet friendly location at all. As it is, I pay an extra $15 a month for him, and its $15 well spent. I love my cat.

Today, though, I started packing. It doesn't look like I have that much stuff when it comes to it, but I feel like my perception will change as I start boxing things up and running out of room in the truck. When I move. On moving day.

It's starting to feel real. Up to now, it's been... not real. Like, oh yes, we see this place, and, oh yes, we like it, and, oh yes, now we're signing leases, and, oh yes, now we're talking logistics of the move, but still. It's felt very much like it's someone else's life. I guess it kind of is someone else. A new, grown up Chris, not much like the one that I am currently. Yikes.

August 14, 2009

September 11,1930-August 8, 2009

So. I've had a fair number of important life events occur in the past two and a half weeks since I last wrote.

I got an apartment, and my lease beings September first. I like the place a lot, and it's super metro-friendly. Great access to restaurants and important shops like the one and only Target in DC and a grocery store. Most important, Sir is welcome to accompany me. And his rent is cheap.

Bales got a temporary position in broadcast, putting us in a similar position and allowing us both to feel much more comfortable about the big move.

In other, less exciting news, I've now officially attended a funeral. My grandmother, Mary Jane--or Honey--died on Saturday morning. Kate wrote about it here.

I guess I don't know how to feel. I never felt like she loved me. I know that's a terrible thing to say about a grandmother, but I just felt like she found me to be, I don't know, a pain. She introdcued me to her friends at her 50th wedding anniversary as follows: "This is my grand-daughter, Chris. She's not as nice as she could be."

It was awkward at the funeral and the wake (complete with quite a liquor selection, at her request), hearing her friends talk about how much she was loved, and to feel like I never knew that woman at all.

Sure, I have good memories of the Joseph Beth trips with all the grandkids (I have all kinds of memories--and photos--of all the grandkids together, but can't think of when we would have all been together, but all the same). We all got to pick out a book and she would take us to the cafe and oh! the cheesecake!

But I also can't explain the pain that it causes me to hear my mother say, in response to the question "how are you?" after her mother died, "I don't know. I guess I sort of feel like I've been mourning not having a mother my whole life." And then, breaking into tears, "Am I a bad mom? Do you guys hate me? Will you guys come visit me, and not resent me for wanting that?" The fact that my mother fears that--again, I can't explain how much it hurts to know the pain that her mother caused her. (She's an excellent mother, by the way, and I won't resent having to visit her.)

And also, on the way to Jacksonville 3 summers ago, my father and I played this car game where you ask "Five Things" questions, such as "What are your 5 biggest regrets?," or "What are your five favorite memories?" In response to the question "What 5 things are you proudest of?" my father answered, among 4 other things, "Teaching your mother that she didn't have to listen to her mother, how to deal with her, how to be okay with that relationship."

On the other hand though, I cried deeply. I miss her. She was funny. She had the hardest head of anyone, and--er--I may or may not have inherited that. People loved her, and she was, at times, fun to be around. She caused a lot of pain, yes, but she also was my grandmother, and I loved her. I wish I had been able to laugh with her, to feel the things that her friends said to me when they shook my hand. Or to understand what exactly Jane meant when she said, "She loved you. Those are the things that never go away." Or to know what happens when she is Mary Jane, and not Honey, the name we used as her family.

I don't know, as I said, I'm just not sure how to feel. I told mom that it ended up being harder than I would have thought, and she said, "Of course it is, for you. You're a sap."

Stolen from Kate's blog, Honey's wedding photo, fifty-five years ago the day before my sister's wedding:

(As a side note, she hates the dress. I love it, except that I learned recently it was green, and she referred to it as "the practical choice.")

(As another side note, mom insists that the sap comment was not ill-intentioned, and she loves me, and wants me to inform the blogosphere that she's the best mom ever.)