Let’s catch up a little bit. Since I last popped in here—checking in with a blog is sort of like stepping into a room, isn’t it?—a few things have happened.
• In yesterday's edition of Small Town Newspaper, I wrote about my experience with full-body scanners at airports. The commentators make good points, and I suspect these Naked Machines might not be effective, but they're what we've got for now. And I'm not going to stop flying, and I'm certainly not going to opt for a pat down instead. What do you think?
• I’ve begun knitting socks for the first time. No. 1 gave me sock yarn and needles for Christmas, and she wrote out a pattern for me to follow. As I read through the instructions, nothing makes sense, but as I knit, it all seems to fall into place. What I’m making so far has the general appearance of a sock, but it’s hardly something I’d give to another person and expect her to wear it on her feet. Let’s consider this a test run.
• Eustacia came home from Romania last Friday evening. She was there for almost two weeks, playing with kids at an orphanage and helping them celebrate New Years. They all went to an Orthodox church on the compound that evening; they set off fireworks and threw them in metal garbage cans so they would be extra loud; and E passed out noisemakers for everyone. She had a great time, but she froze and was sometimes hungry. Volunteers stay in a three-story house that is heated with a wood-burning furnace, and if no one got up to stoke the fire in the middle of the night, she and the others in the house would wake up in the morning frozen like fish in a winter pond. The hot water wouldn’t be delivered until later in the morning, so she just did the best she could to not lose toes and fingers. There was food for every meal, but sometimes it was a bowl of soup and cabbage and some bread, and I think Eustacia was glad she had brought along some Chewy Bars and fruit snacks.
• And here’s the big news—and it breaks my heart to say it—Big Mike is no more. My cat was plagued with issues—diabetes, arthritis, neurosis, and urinary tract infections. I was giving him an insulin shot a day, plus medicine for his joints and bladder and antibiotics for his recurring infection. After New Years, when I hired someone to stop by every day to dose him up, it became clear that Mike was never going to be fully well. His blood-sugar level was under control, but his left front foot had become twisted with arthritis, and he was continuously dribbling pee on the floor on his way from the litter box to the rug where he liked to stop and wash up.
Last Thursday, I took him to the vet’s for a blood test to see if the antibiotics were helping at all, and after several conversations with people in the office, I decided to let Mike go. Enough was enough, I thought, and it seemed unfair to keep him alive just because I couldn’t stand the idea of living without him. It was all over in less than 30 minutes, and I drove home with an empty crate.
Losing Mike broke my heart, and I still cry when I think about seeing him for the last time. I still look for him in the house for a moment before I catch myself and remember he’s not here. When I find one of his old yarn balls, I snatch it up and throw it away as soon as I can; and when I see his fluffy white fur on a chair or pair of pants, I sigh and miss him all over again.
A friend said it’s great that we can be humane to our pets and let them go when it’s time. It’s humane for the animal. It’s hell for the human. Mike was a good and loyal cat, and there will never be another like him. Some people might say that’s a good thing, but I loved the big, fat beast with all of his quirks and flaws.