Thursday, July 24, 2008

Rest in peace

How exactly does one sum up the life of a loved one? Do we view and review their lives a little less if they are a family pet? I'd say that if you loved your pet even a little, this would not be the case. Love lost is love lost, no matter how many legs your loved one might have.

Numa started what we like to call the herd... I went to find myself a kitten, mean while Numa had other plans. She put on her best face and immediately began to fawn all over my husband. Yeah, you could say she was a bit of a ho'. :) John decided that he wanted the momma kitty (Numa), and I wanted a kitten (Sophie), so we compromised and each got the one we wanted- after I refused to back down.

We took Numa home a year after we were married and let me tell you, that cat drove a wedge between the MISU and I. Litterally. If John and I were snuggling, she would plop herself right down in between us, or on his lap... and the lovins that were once mine were now split between the 2 ladies in his life. I was a jealous wife, I was not happy.

Numa and I came to an understanding early on, the arrangement was still not quite equal if you ask me. She got his attentions during waking hours, and I got what was left over... usually while the MISU sawed logs.

We saw Numa through her second pregnancy, most of which John and I were away in the Persian Gulf. Yup, while her parents were away at war, she got knocked up. Lookin for love in all the wrong places, sheesh. This new litter would give us another of her fur kids, Ivan.

18 of her 19 years were spent with us, and I will say that she was a surly foster mother to 5 other kittens (besides Sophie and Ivan, her own) , and at one time ruling over the Herd- 6 cats. I have affectionately called her Big Momma, or Momma Kitty since then.

Numa never lost her spark or spunk until about a year and a half ago, and since then it had been a slow and steady decline. She had a hard time moving around, she was after all about 166 in human years. Over that last year and a half, John and I had contemplated more times than I have digits to count on whether or not we should put her out of her complete and utter misery. We'd think about calling the vet, talk about calling the very next day, and that would be the day Numa would decide to get up out of bed, clean herself and chat with the family. I kid you not, every single time.

Yesterday was different. I checked on her while she was sleeping and noticed that she had stopped breathing. I continued to watch for several seconds, holding my own breath in dread until I saw her chest move again. This time it lasted over 20 seconds, and her eyes were open. Nausea set in, and I stood there paralyzed. Part of me was relieved... yet so devastated and sad.

Numa repositioned herself and began to breath again, and I continued to stand there in horror. No, she hadn't gone peacefully like I had hoped. She smelled the hot dogs I fixed for the girls and raised her head a bit, and I noticed that just this small movement was quite an effort for her. She was breathing fast and shallow, her eyes half lidded as if she were in pain.

I gave her a few pieces of hot dog which she barely touched, which was very unusual for her.

I called John... and watched her suffer to her feet. She moved around painfully and restlessly for another half an hour until she finally couldn't take any more... and uncomfortably went back to bed.

Yesterday, we had to make 5th decision in 4 1/2 years... It never gets easier, it never gets less painful.

We decided to bring her home and bury her under our pine tree in the back yard, and put the ashes of Yuri (who died 12 years ago as a kitten, from a heart problem), Ursa, Seven, and the ashes of her kids Ivan and Sophie with her. We said a prayer and thanked God for sending Numa to us, for giving us such a wonderful, noisy and sometimes grumpy cat. We thanked Him for taking care of her for us now, and for showing her the way to the place where her kids and foster kids now play.

It's the end of an era and almost 2 decades, lady... we love you and miss you. You were such a good kitty.

Rest in peace, Big Momma.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

What a bargain *Anna-isms*

So... the other day I was doing a goofy dance while tidying the living room. Anna was not amused, but hey, I was amusing myself so having my daughter amused as well would have been the nuts on my ice cream sundae. But whatever.

Amusing myself, yet again, I say to my precious, precocious 7 year old (whilst shaking my money maker)," You know, I'm going to dance like this at your wedding, so ya better get used to it."

Anna replies, dryly,"I'm not getting married then."

HAH! Not to be defeated, and not having my fun ruined, I chorkle (that would be a chuckle that begins or ends with a snort), "Wha-? You no like my dancing? TOO BAD!" I shake my rump like a belly dancer on a Mardi Gras float, for you know, emphasis.

"OK, tell you what," she begins with wide eyes and a startled expression, that quickly changes to one of complete triumph, "You don't dance like that at my wedding? And I'll pay for a quarter of it." She crosses her arms and smiles smugly, "That's right, you'll only have to pay for three quarters of it."

Oh my, maybe I should get this all down in Crayola.

Nah, make that Sharpie. ;)

Friday, July 11, 2008

An Iowa brand of fear (and other oddities)

If you know anything about the mert, it's that I grew up with hurricanes on the east coast in Maryland (off of the Chesapeake Bay), and experienced my first earthquake a week after being transfered to Oakland , California while in the Navy. Yeah, I'm talking about the big one that collapsed the Bay Bridge, the very bridge that we had been on only 10 minutes before it collapsed?

But I digress... What I mean to say is that though living through a hurricane is no fun, though surviving it surely is pleasant and wanted, as is learning to not have a nervous break down from each little tremor while living in the Bay Area for 12 years. But this tornado business is a fresh new hell for me.

I've been living in Iowa for almost 7 years now, and I can truly say that I am blessed to live in an area that is not commonly the birth place or destruction zone for them. Usually they tend to wander all around us in different towns, usually different counties.

Three nights ago, I had a horrible dream in which I saw a tornado coming and screamed for John to help me get the kids inside to the basement, and in the dream a tornado struck our house and pulled me up through the dining room floor as my family watched in horror. Even in the midst of a nightmare my corny humor escapes, because the tornado left , and left me stuck in the dining room floor, with my feet hanging over my family while I hung there wedged in the floor.

At least I made it, right? I have had dreams where I have died and let me tell you, it puts a damper on the rest of your week. SNORT!

The oddities start here. Emma had a nightmare the next night (2 nights ago) about a tornado and slept restlessly all night, waking up almost every hour crying. Now it is very possible that she had nightmares because she heard me telling John about my dream (later in the dream I was chased by the Headless Horseman LOL!). But I have had dreams that have come true before : my brother getting into a car accident, my mother thinking about killing herself, and weird tidbits that later turn into de ja vu moments. I once told my brother -when we were kids- that I had a dream the night before about the very mall we were sitting in, that a lady with a certain colored shirt and color of hair in heels was going to trip on the escalator and fall. Just as I was telling him, he looked over to the escalator and it happened just as I described. They don't happen a lot and I only have them every couple of years, but I do take extras precautions when I have dreams like that, to the best of my human ability. I have had "feelings" in the past that have come true as well (winning money in Vegas and Tahoe, the airline losing my luggage, about my mother thinking about killing herself etc.). If only I had a "feeling" about winning the lottery... but no such luck.

Recently, before we even bought our pool, I had a dream that Emma drowned in a pool. I seriously considered not buying a pool, but resolved to be as anal retentive and careful as ever with Emma being outside near the pool. These dreams unfortunately add another layer of neurosis to my character, but what can I do?

The biggest problem I have with admitting stuff like this is the fact I realize how nutty and fruit cake-y this makes me sound, especially considering the fact that my very own mother is a legally documented and certified Coo coo for Cocopuffs nut case.

Anyway, yesterday was not the case (as far as tornadoes missing us), and we had a tornado headed right for us. Naturally, I was terrified, and a little spooked that Emma and I had both dreamed about tornadoes. We went to the basement after the first siren, meanwhile Anna was close to tears as I set up a corner of the basement with sleeping bags to huddle on in case we needed it. The second horn sounded and I announced that we all needed to go to that corner, as I watched the doppler read out of the storm over top of us on my laptop... and PRAYED. I kept the girls occupied with games on their Nintendo DS's, while I paced and prayed for our safety (and John's at work), and prayed that not only the tornado pass over us completely but that it dissipate into nothing but beautiful fluffy clouds so that no one be harmed.

All I can say is that those dreams made pray even harder, and if I am getting those dreams for a reason, then I'll take it. I'm going to say that it wasn't my neurotic behavior taking over, but feeling the gravity and seriousness of the situation combined with our dreams that made me face it with subdued terror and fervent prayer. ;)

I know a lot of people in my town were praying because the tornado did dissipate and the tornado warning was called off early just shortly after the tornado was supposed to hit our town... the greenish-gray clouds giving way to partly cloudy but sunny skies.

I've never seen the sky look so blue, and I had a new appreciation for the power of God and the power of prayer.

Oh, and I'm really glad the Headless Horseman never showed up. ;)

Monday, July 07, 2008

It takes a village... (OR- why my 4th of July weekend sucked)

Of idiots to ruin my 4th of July weekend. Bah.

Let me just say that normally, I am a very tolerant person. I think I'm pretty nice to the people I kind of know, very nice to the people I love (but I do rule with a stern hand- sometimes an iron fist, I must say), and polite and accommodating to most strangers -unless they fall into the idiot category, then it's so on.

I think that my polite kindness and my kind politeness may be considered my Achilles' heel, which makes me, in turn, a heel.

I guess the best place to start would be the beginning, no? My 4th of July weekend started with me working. Hooray. People need their hot dog combos and popcorn, so I suppose someone has to do it, even if it's a holiday. It was OK though, we managed to work on the monstrosity of a swing set while the kids played on it's re-composing skeleton ( re-composing IT IS TOO a word, get over it), played in the pool and sand box... and I even grilled lunch, almost melting the grill's plastic hood.

Anywho, later I had to go to work. I figured I could kick some butt and leave early since closing of Food Avenue is 8 pm and the fact that I could prep most of the work before then and leave at about 8:20 PM instead of dragging things out until 9 PM.

NOPE. The Lead Cashier needed me to walk rounds to collect the cash from the cash registers, leaving me to get off of work at, yup you guessed it... 9PM.

You would think that I would want to get off early to see the fireworks, right? WRONG. See in the ass backwards town I live in, we like have a little thing called River Boat Days on the Mississippi river. It has a small carnival and concerts near the pool. But they way we do it is that River Boat Days starts on the 3rd and ends the 5th. Fireworks are AFTER River Boat Days ends.

What? 4th of July without fireworks? I know. It sux. So the 5th I'm off and we decided to work on the swing set some more, go see Wall-e again ( because we loved it the first time we saw it)then go see the fireworks sometime between 9:30 and 10pm.

We worked on the swing set as planned. Then my snotty neighbor's obnoxious boy a year younger than Anna, but just as big as her- who doesn't listen to his mother at all- decides he is going to invite himself over to play on the swing set with his sister in tow. The sister is OK most of the time when she isn't viewing Emma as competition or a threat for some reason, and trying to sneak subtle abuse under the radar. The neighbor? She can be friendly at times, but recently has become a little snotty and condescending, and has implied that her life is harder than mine because she believed I still didn't work. Like I'm not worth as much for not working. It's not my fault she is a single mother of3 for Pete's sake. Sheesh. She implied by her tone one day that I was an idiot to think that she had a spare moment to herself, and then said she supposed she could use some of the hand me downs I had given to her for her new baby. When someone gives me a free bag of anything I say thank you, whether or not I can use any or all of it. Usually, lately- though I thought we were becoming friends in the past- we just wave to each other because I have decided that I'm not going to give her the opportunity to ruin my day by making me feel like an idiot. Last weekend she ignored me completely while her sister was in town, even though her kids were across the alley in my back yard... while her sister looked on with an expression I can only describe as"Oh. Mah. Gah. They are like totally over? in that lady's yard? Ugh, is that like a BUM shirt she is wearing? So 1990".

They have moments when they can be nice ( but usually are yelling and screaming at each other, and the older brother tends to be a bully, meanwhile the mom is too overwhelmed I think to do anything most of the time, so he gets away with it) but I'm keeping an eye on them and giving them a chance to be good instead of sending them home. I don't want to hurt their feelings by doing this even though I have dreaded this moment because the neighbor lets their kids come over whenever they want with out asking or caring if this is ok with John and me. I don't want my yard to be an amusement park for the whole neighborhood, and a free day care for the parents. Crap, it's happening, but I'm determined to handle it as best as I can. Soon, the brother and sister get bored and decide to jump in our pool. I ask him to go ask his mom if it's OK if they swim in our pool.

He comes back and says that his mom said yes. The mom comes over, suddenly very friendly, and checks to see if her children are behaving. The boy is not. The mother attempts to make him behave, but he doesn't. His mom tries to make him go home because he is being bad, but he refuses to get out of the pool. She kind of gives up and mumbles he is going to get time out if he doesn't get out while she crosses the alley back to her house, he ignores her. I tell him if he doesn't get out NOW, and listen to his mom, he won't ever be allowed back in the pool. He complains it's not fair and goes back to his house, while Anna and the sister continue to play in the pool.

The sister decides that she will take out some of her frustration from being bullied all day long by her brother on Emma, but splashing her in the face. I give her "the look" and quietly tell her to knock it off.

She knows I mean business and plays very nicely with the girls, except for the parts where she still views Emma as a threat/competition and refuses to play with her. *SIGH*

The girls are hungry, I feed them, including the neighbor's daughter, and they decide they want to play in my girls' room. I go over and ask the neighbor if that is OK, she says yes. She stays for awhile. The girl gets bored and goes home.

My girls decide they want to dry off so they play inside for awhile.

Phew. Good. An hour later the girls decide they want to get their swimsuits on (even though Emma just likes to play outside of the pool, occasionally getting her hands wet). While they finish getting dressed I go outside and remove the pool cover... then come back inside to see the boy in his swimming trunks, peeking inside our back door. I groan and wait a few minutes, hoping he will leave. He doesn't so i tell the girls to go out I'll be right behind them. Before Anna even gets out the back door, the boy is in MY POOL. Anna tells me, I become exasperated and go outside.

"Did you ask your mom if you could get in?"Hiding my fangs, I tell him he needs to go ask his mom if it's ok if he gets in the pool because I don't want her unaware should he get hurt.

No, he says, he'll go ask. I stop him. "NEXT TIME, you need to ask me first before you jump in my pool." He avoids eye contact. I ask him if her heard me, he says yes.

He comes back and says that his mom said yes.

He slaps Anna and his sister with a pool toy. I tell him no hitting or he will have to leave. he stops for a bit, then continues to jump in and out of pool (getting leaves and grass in the pool I just spent 20 minutes cleaning with a net), like he did when his mom was over, I tell him to knock it off. He leans over the side of the pool, letting gallons of water out, I tell him to knock it off.

Finally I have had enough. "There is one thing you are going to learn while over in my yard... If you don't follow my rules, you're out of here," I say while jabbing a thumb in the direction of his house, across the ally. He ignores me, I ask him 2 times if her heard me, he finally says yes.

He waits a few minutes, then tries to blow water at Emma through a pool noodle, I yell"Don't you dare." He dumps 3 buckets of water over Anna's head, despite her yelling stop and she screams because he got a lot of water in both of her ears, I tell him enough and before I can even finish, he starts slapping Anna on the head "trying to help her get the water out of her ears" then slaps his sister and Anna again with the pool toy, the noodle.

"OK, that's it, you're outta here."

He gives me a blank stare.

"Go on.. GET out. Go home."

He gets out and goes home.

They play for a bit and get out because they are cold. The boy comes over and asks if the sister is staying at my house because he is going somewhere with his mom and their baby brother. I say no, we are going in side.

He says, "Mom said she can stay here while we leave."

"No she can't, we- meaning me and my girls- are going inside. You have to go home now," I say to the girl, not trying to be mean so I soften my tone, though I am angry that the mother seems to think I'm her free day care, "I'm sorry, you have to go home." Grrrrrr!

Later, I go outside to put the pool cover on, and she pokes her head out her kitchen door, "Thanks for letting my kids play, were they good?"

Pfffft. "No," I say, "HE wasn't, that's why I sent him home."

Oh, she says, she asked him why he was back home and he told her he just wanted to come back home. She said she asked him if he was bad, and he lied.

I explain that he was slapping the girls with the pool toy, so I sent him home. She says nothing.

Then I decide that since I'm clearing the air, "He got in my pool without even asking. We were coming outside and he was already inside the pool". She mumbles something I can't hear over my air conditioning unit. I tell her that I told him "There is one thing you are going to learn while over in my yard... If you don't follow my rules, your out of here", she says OK, then says sorry.

I wave good bye over my shoulder and go back inside.

What really makes me angry is that her kids are running around and she has no clue where they are, or if she does see them in my yard doesn't care that they just invite themselves over... why? because again, she is overwhelmed? Not my problem. To top it off? This happened while she had a "male visitor" over at her house.

To make matters worse (if you are even still reading this rambling rant), later we go a little early to see the fireworks to make sure we get a good spot. We get down to the river front just after 9pm. We wait, and wait and wait. And what do we hear? Are you kidding me? The last concert act , The Blue Oyster Cult starts their lasp part of the show late, and still no fireworks because the fireworks don't start until River Boat Days is officially over. It's freaking quarter to 11pm, and no fireworks. We decide to follow the hundreds of people that are leaving the area and go home, very disappointed. And would you believe? They started the fireworks shortly after we left. Forgive me if I'm wrong but fireworks are really for kids and you're starting at 11pm? IDIOTS!

Not only do we not have fireworks on the 4th , like every other NORMAL town, but we wait the next day in vain, for almost 2 hours.

The next day... the neighbor's daughter invites herself over just minutes after we get outside, and immediately jumps on a swing. *2 and half SIGHS, while noticing her mother isn't paying attention that her kid is in my yard, and deciding that I need to nip this ALL in the bud because I refuse to be free day care, especially to someone who has so openly despised me*

"You're going to have to go home."


Choosing my words carefully, I say, "Because I don't want you guys over here today [as in: because I am very tired and would like to spend my day not having to discipline someone else's kids]."

Still refusing to get off the swing," WHY?"

"Because I said so, that's why," I say, exasperated.

"Well, we were going to play in our (baby) pool, ANYWAY," she says in a snotty voice, while walking away.

"Good for you. Bye."

She must have told her mother what I said because later last night they came over to ask what John and I were doing to our pool ( adding shock), and the mother called them back over immediately. I hope she got the message because though I'm nice, I don't let people walk all over me. Not anymore. Why? Because people suck, says the pessimist.

It's so irritating to me, and the reason is that we went through something similar when Anna was a toddler. There is a girl that lives a few houses down that was 3 or 4 years older than Anna, and she didn't seem to have any friends. So we had a really small pool and she would see Anna and I playing in it , then show up minutes later at my back yard, slowly creeping towards the pool while asking me questions... eventually getting in the pool without asking. Her mother would say to me, "OH, I noticed she was in your pool..." and I would say, yeah she just showed up in her swim suit and just jumped right in. "oh, she invited herself over," she would laugh,"She does that all the time."

Yeah, well... you might want to do something about that, I mean sheesh! Do you even care where you child is? Once, she invited herself over to play with Anna, and her father, who was supposed to be watching her while his wife was out of town... just drove off and left her at my house without even asking me. He didn't even acknowledge that she was in my yard as he drove by my yard , through the alley! NICE.

If you are going to try to shove your kids off on other people so you can have a break? Please do us all a favor and don't bother to procreate anymore.

OK, rant over.

And now you know why my 4th of July sucked.

The end.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Just as I suspected, Sponge Bob is the devil

Just a few minutes ago, Emma came upstairs and mumbled something about poking a hole in my couch while I showered (getting ready for work).

"What," I asked, "You did what?"

"I poked a hole in your couch but someone was in my arm..."

"Just a minute," I say while slathering soap on," I'll be down in a minute."

So I wrap myself in a towel and go downstairs,"You poked a hole in my couch? Where?"

"Well...," she begins, " someone was in my arm and they made me do it...," she shows me with a downward slash of her Nintendo DS stylus-clad hand.

"Oh yeah," I ask, incredulous., "And who would that be?" (there may have been a hint of sarcasm)

"Um... Sponge Bob."

And there you have it. I knew it! Sponge Bob is the father of all things unholy. Take note, dear readers, lest your couches be poked with holes, too.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.