Monday, October 26, 2015

Blog for My Cat on the Eve of Her Surgery

My 16-year-old cat is having surgery tomorrow. I'm so nauseous and nervous about it, you would think that I'm the one having the operation.

So tonight, I'm typing this with one hand while the other one strokes Firefly's silky calico fur. I hope she can tell how much I love her, and that I want her to do well.


Firefly showed up as a stray kitten when I was a sophomore in college. It seemed like she picked me. I lived in a dorm and didn't have anywhere to keep her, so I stashed her at my then-boyfriend's house.

I didn't even drive yet. I rode a bus to the grocery store and picked out her first dishes, kitten kibble, little balls with jingle bells in them, and other cat stuff. The cashier had to explain to me that my new kitten wouldn't want to walk on the dog leash I'd picked out.

(Never fear. Years later, Firefly and I would hike Frick Park with the aid of a papoose. But more on that later.)

Firefly and I turned into grownups together. After college, she moved home to my parents' house with me. Our dog wanted to eat her, so I kept Firefly locked in my bedroom. She did okay in there, but she was a little starved for attention. When I got home from work at night -- my very first office job -- she'd start howling as soon as she heard me come through the front door.

I'd never had a cat before her, so I raised her like a puppy. We'd wrestle, or play fetch for hours.

She moved into my first -- terrible -- apartment with me. The one that smelled like curry and had mice living in the oven. She came with me every time I upgraded to a bigger, less disgusting place, and she also accompanied me on several beach vacations. She always took the 10-hour car ride to the Outer Banks in stride.

Firefly has been a constant presence. There were boyfriends, most of whom claimed to be allergic to her. Firefly always got first dibs on my bed anyway, and she outlasted all of them. And when I decided to embrace my spinsterhood, she was my most loyal companion -- even going for walks around the neighborhood with me, safely strapped into a papoose.

But when I found my husband, even Firefly knew it was right. She accepted him like a dad.

She was always a part of everything I did. Whether I was cleaning my apartment, lounging in front of the TV, hula hooping in my living room, or curling my hair in the bathroom, Firefly was curiously involved.  

But recently, a couple things seem to have aged poor Firefly.

She hates ... absolutely hates ... our new dog. And, she didn't adapt to our most recent move as well as all the others. We moved into a house last month. I took the bedroom that used to belong to a teenage girl and turned it into a haven for my teenage girl cat. Firefly settled in to her room and doesn't really like to come out of it. It makes me so happy when I see her take tentative steps into the rest of our house.

She also got really feisty. She hisses. A lot.

It's taken almost half my life, but I've watched her change from a kitten to a little old lady.

It's sad that we grew up together, but suddenly, she's aging so much faster than me. It doesn't seem fair.

I know a day will come when we have to say goodbye, and it makes me cry just typing it.

But I can tell that she still loves me.

Firefly, 10 minutes ago, proving that she's still got it.

This is my little prayer for you, Firefly. Please do well during your surgery tomorrow. Please come home to me.

I love you.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

The Best Kind of Female Friendships

My friends are the kind of women who will send you flowers when your dog dies. Or they'll invite you over, wrap you in a blanket and hand you a cup of tea. They'll celebrate your birthday, listen to your stories, request to hear the funniest ones over again, and tend to you with Pepto Bismol when your happy hour goes terribly wrong. My friends and I love and encourage each other, 100% of the time.

I'm vaguely aware of an alternate reality in which women are mean to each other. When I met my husband, he'd had all too many experiences with this kind of woman and seemed to believe that female friends were prone to jealousy and fights.

Say, for example, one of my friends had to bail on a birthday celebration we'd been planning for weeks. He might have asked, in a tone mixed with suspicion and concern, "What happened to So-and-So?"

"Ahh, her kid has pinkeye!" I'd explain, or whatever it was. Our friendships remain solid even when one of us has to duck out for a while. There's nothing to fight about.

I know there's plenty of Mean Girls in the world and in the workforce. But I've been fortunate enough to remain blissfully immune to them, in part because I'm not interested in their friendship.

I'm friends with women who stick up for each other. Who help. Who call each other out when needed, but in the nicest possible way. I'm friends with smart, funny women who have bigger ambitions than cutting other people down.

I love them.

This blog is dedicated to Madge and to the Wolfpack: Jessica, Christy, Megan, Krista, and Kim. Thank you for being mine.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

He Left Me Uninspired: A Dating Missadventure Circa 2012 or So ...

I dusted this one off for my friend's blog, Not Your Girlfriend. Check it out!


Reach for the moon. If you miss, at least you'll be among the stars."
 Um. What?

This was the text message I found after my phone wrenched me out of sleep. After I untangled myself from my sheets, and stumbled, confused, across my bedroom.

As I'd fumbled for my phone, I wondered what was wrong. Surely, if someone was texting me before 6:30 am, something must be gravely wrong.

But no. It was just an inspirational text. From a man I'd gone on a brief coffee date with the day before. I threw the phone down, disgusted, and went back to bed. 

The next morning, he did it again.

My phone chirped into the semi-darkness:

"Yesterday is history, tomorrow a mystery and today is a gift. That's why we call it the present."

Oh no. No no no no.

Later that day, the man texted me: "Did you get my morning texts?"

I texted back. "I did."

He cheerily replied, "I only send the most special people my happy wake-up texts! :) "

I wrote back to explain that I didn't wake up until 8, and that the wake-up texts were hard for a night owl like me. I was trying to put an end to them. But he asked me of he should start texting me at 8 instead.

"That's still a little early," I told him.

What I meant was, "Please don't send me inspirational wake-up texts."

So the next day, he waited till 8:15.

"It's not the number of breaths we take, but the number of moments that take our breath away."

Oh dear God.

The problem was, the next day was SATURDAY. He did it on Saturday too?! Like most people, Saturday was my day off. I hadn't planned to open my eyes till at least 10.
Needless to say, the Early Morning Inspirational Texter and I did not end up together. But hey, there's plenty of fish in the sea, so dance like no one is watching, and if at first you don't succeed...

Well, he probably knows the rest.