Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Attack of the Five-and-a-Half-Foot Cat Woman

While administering meds to my struggling victim this morning, I accidentally squirted myself in the face with cat antibiotic. The first thing that popped into my mind was that Spongebob Squarepants episode where Spongebob injects himself with Gary's snail plasma and mutates into a snail. Then I realized that since I'm allergic to penicillin and the cat antibiotic (Clavamox) has a "cillin" in its name, I probably had concerns more pressing than sprouting whiskers.

I washed off the drips and there seemed to be no harm done, but if I suddenly get an urge to chase small moving objects and use a sandbox for a toilet, I'll let you all know.


Sunday, July 29, 2007

It's 9:43 p.m. I still need to give the cat his meds, vacuum the living room, finish drying the dishes, pack G's lunch for tomorrow, clean the litter box and fold the Everest-size mountain of laundry in my bedroom. Oh yeah, and I should probably eat dinner at some point.

If anyone has a spare maid hanging around, feel free to send her (or him; we're not sexist here) over at any time, OK?

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Two posts for the price of one

In other news, when G and I got home last night, she immediately ran to squeeze and kiss the cats, the way she always does. Five seconds later, she yelled "MOMMMM, there's something wrong with Malcolm's eye!" I looked, and sure enough, his right eye was completely clouded over and all squinty like a pirate's. He'd been fine when we left that morning, and since he's not allowed outside, I couldn't imagine how he could have picked up some mysterious cat disease, so I figured he'd been fighting with Catherine and gotten scratched.

I told G, who was nearly frantic with worry, that if he wasn't better today we'd take him to the vet. By midnight, I already knew we'd be going. Instead of his usual adorable-but-aggravating behavior of following me everywhere and begging for attention, he was just crouching in corners and looking miserable, and he ran away every time I came near him. So, this morning we wrestled him into the carrier and went to the vet's office. Turns out he had injured his eye, but it wasn't a scratch, it was a blunt trauma that had irritated the space between the iris and cornea and developed into an infection. (I suspect him of getting drunk while we were out and bumping into walls. Hee.)

Anyway, the poor boy got a stain put in his eye that made his little nose turn dark green, a shot of anti-inflammatories in the butt, another shot of antibiotics in the shoulder, and a big glob of ointment dropped directly into his eyeball. When we finally got him home, he crawled under my bed and stayed there for hours in shock at the indignity of it all. I had to leave bowls of food and water in my bedroom so he could creep out for long enough to eat and drink. He finally ventured downstairs around 9 p.m., just in time for me to catch him, hold him down and administer more of the ointment and a dose of liquid antibiotic. Let me tell you, you haven't lived until you've singlehandedly squirted goo into a cat's eye. It beats trying to give medicine to a baby all to heck.

While we were at the vet's office, I had the doctor feel Malcolm's wonky back legs, and he said that he'd definitely been in an accident at some point because there were lots of "crepitations" in his left hip joint. If I were still in high school and forging excuse notes, I would totally use crepitations as my fake disease: Please excuse Vanessa's absence on [date]. She was suffering from a severe case of crepitations. Anyway, the vet said the only way to know exactly what's wrong is to have X-rays done, but since it's not causing him any pain and he gets around fine, it can wait until I'm ready. Which is good, because with everything else I've had to pay for lately, it was all I could do to find the cash to fund today's visit. I'd better start selling stuff on eBay in case we need to buy a pair of bionic kitty legs or something.

Bring on the sales

Yes, it's back-to-school shopping time again. Only not so much for us, because I've finally learned, in my fourth back-to-school season as a parent, not to kill myself running around and trying to purchase an entire new wardrobe before Labor Day weekend. I know it's going to be hot all the way through mid-October at the earliest, and there's no reason G shouldn't continue wearing her summer clothes, with a couple of new outfits thrown in for variety, until the weather actually requires her to wear something else. Plus, she's growing very fast -- the denim shorts I bought her this spring look like Daisy Dukes already -- and anything she gets now is practically guaranteed to be too small by Halloween. What's the point?

What I am buying:

* A new backpack -- We got this today, and it's the cutest thing ever, black canvas with a pattern of pastel pink, blue and green hearts, skulls and crossbones. You could not represent G's taste (which she describes as "half Goth, half girly") more perfectly if you tried.

* A new lunchbox -- I picked one up at Target yesterday. G wasn't with me at the time, but I knew she'd like the purple camo pattern, and she did.

* One pair of non-sneaker shoes -- G's school requires all shoes to be closed-toe and preferably not slip-ons, but she doesn't like wearing sneakers with skirts and dresses anymore, so we've got to find a compromise. I'm leaning toward these, which I like because they have a nonskid sole and do not have the infuriating clunky high heel that manufacturers feel compelled to put on all girls' shoes these days. If you're taking your kid to the movies, fine, but on a playground that heel is like an accident waiting to happen. However, I would like to find a similar style someplace other than Stride Rite, because $46 is a bit much for one pair of shoes if you ask me. (ETA: G hates those shoes and suggests these or these as practical and stylish alternatives. Um, no.)

* School supplies -- I can't get these until the school sends me the supply list for third grade, which won't happen until sometime next month. You would think I could just go and buy pencils and glue and call it good, but the lists always include random items like tissue and 35-mm film and macramé yarn and two dozen blown-out eggshells. (Okay, maybe not those last two, but you'd be surprised.)

* The aforementioned "few outfits." We checked out some sale racks last weekend and got two pairs of shorts, four tops and a T-shirt dress for about $60. With those and the clothes she already has, she should be good for a couple of months.

I'm trying to enjoy what clothes shopping we are doing this year, because I'm almost sure that by next autumn, we're going to be braving the minefields of the junior department. G wears a 12/14 in clothes and a 4 1/2 in shoes, and that means she's only one size away from growing out of girls' sizes altogether. I can't imagine buying teen-size clothes for a not-quite-10-year-old, but I don't know how much choice I'm going to have if she keeps growing at this rate. At least Old Navy and Gap usually have basic jeans and shirts that don't scream out HOOCHIE MAMA. Horrors!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

This and that

As if I needed more proof that G is my daughter, I just walked into the bathroom and discovered that she'd propped an open magazine up on the toilet tank so she could read while in the shower. Now that's dedication.

Speaking of reading, we went to a Harry Potter release party at Borders on Friday night. I bought books 5 and 6 at midnight as well, but never bothered with the party bit before -- I just swooped in at 11:45, bought the book and took it home to read. This time, since I'm not as big a fan as I used to be, I considered just waiting and getting a copy the next day. In the end, though, I decided to go because G is finally old enough to stay awake past midnight, and when she's grown up, I want her to be able to say that she participated in this little bit of history. I think for her generation, it'll end up being one of those experiences you remember, like seeing the original Star Wars is for people my age.

Anyway, we arrived at Borders just after 11 p.m., watched the costume contest (I couldn't see well enough to tell who won, but the three finalists were a Harry, a Hermione and a Luna, none of whom were older than 10), browsed a bit, and then started lining up. At both of the previous releases I attended, they had a number system and called people up in groups according to number -- e.g., "Everyone with a number between 100 and 200, line up now" -- but this time there were colored wristbands that didn't work nearly as well. I've always got my book and been out by 12:15, 12:20 at the latest, but this time it was nearly 1 a.m. before we finally got to the front and paid. G did great at the store, but by the time we got home she'd turned into Grumpy McCrankypants -- understandably so, considering how tired she must have been -- and it was all I could do to get her pajamas on her before she crashed.

After our late night, we both slept in on Saturday morning and did very little for the rest of the day. Today, though, we were back to normal, just in time for G's horseback-riding class at noon. They were learning to use the reins, and it seemed to go well. G's getting a lot better at mounting, too, and doesn't have to be hoisted into the saddle like a sack of potatoes anymore. We've got one more class to go in this session, and I'll probably sign her up for the next one as well since she enjoys it so much. She really wants full-fledged riding lessons (not to mention a horse of her own), but I haven't been able to find them for less than $200 a month, and that's just not going to happen. I can swing $60 for a 4-week class, but no way have I got $2,400 a year to spend on lessons of any sort, no matter how much I'd like to.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


A timeline of my crazy week:

Sunday, July 8
My father's partner, Carmen, dies after being ill off and on for years. I didn't know Carmen well, but from what I do know, she was a very nice woman. On top of that, she was only 60 and should have had many more years to spend with her family, which included three grown children, eight grandchildren, and an army of aunts, uncles, siblings and cousins. And my dad.

Monday, July 9 through Friday, July 13
Despite what I thought was careful planning on my part, I have a lapse in child care that causes me to miss at least half of every workday, all week long. I can't enjoy the extra time at home with G because I'm too busy worrying about not being at work and panicking about when I'll be able to get there.

On Tuesday night, the dishwasher stops working. Yes, I know that in a world where orphans starve and mudslides take out villages, this is a minor annoyance, but I hate washing dishes by hand. It's messy, and it adds time and stress to my already-lengthy nightly routine. Grumble, grumble.

On Thursday, I need to be at work in the evening for a special event, and after hours of drama and miscommunication, finally end up asking my mother and stepfather to pick G up and keep her overnight (only her second night away from me in her life to this point) and all day Friday. G takes this with good grace, but when my mother asks if she'd like to stay an extra night, she says "NO."

During this entire week, I am also so skint that I'm eyeing the change jar on top of my refrigerator -- actually a very small brass planter that used to sit on P's desk at our old place -- and wondering how many gallons of gas I can buy with the contents. We're in no danger of going hungry, but everything else is looking grim. I'm getting about three hours of broken sleep a night ... wonder why?

Saturday, July 14
I accompany my father to Carmen's funeral and the reception that follows. It's not only very sad, especially coming less than two weeks after P's memorial service, but a bit surreal because I've suddenly been sucked into my father's other life. I spend hours shaking people's hands and being kissed on the cheek by friendly strangers, and when I get home, I'm exhausted.


P said for years that my life would be easier if he were gone, but he was so wrong. Not only is it not easier, but when the hard stuff happens, I have to live through it all alone. Are you watching this, P? Do you admit now that I was right?

Thursday, July 12, 2007

You know those days when everything goes wrong?

This is my fifth one in a row.

Murphy and his law can both bite me.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Conversations with G

Me: Hey, G, what do kids do for fun?
G: Lots of things! Playing with toys, reading comics, playing board games, dress-up, basketball, soccer, hockey ...
Me: And what do grownups do for fun?
G: Oh, you know. Golf. Reading. All that grownup stuff.

(Man. Maybe I should just give up and join the AARP right now.)

Me: You need to take a shower.
G: Why?
Me: You had your horse class today.
G: And?
Me: And you stomped around in pony poo for an hour while wearing a helmet and long pants in 90-degree weather.
G: But why do I need a shower?
Me: Because you smell like a ranch, that's why.

(Please, for the love of humanity, go and wash!)

G (at the end of a phone conversation): Do you have any questions or comments?
Me: Um, not at this time.

(Where the heck did she get that one from?)

Friday, July 06, 2007

The anniversaries keep on coming

Eleven years ago today:

And by way of comparison, our very last picture together, taken just two weeks before he died:

Thursday, July 05, 2007

What we did this afternoon

G has been waffling about wanting to get her ears pierced for several months. Today she decided that the time had come, so off we went to good old Claire's to have it done. She picked studs in her favorite color -- purple -- and sat in the chair without flinching. (Later she told me, "I had tears in my eyes, but I held them back.") I have to say that this is amazing progress for the girl who, as a preschooler, screamed hysterically at any new experience, and had to leave her four-year checkup without getting weighed because she was afraid to stand on the scale. And she looks so darn cute!

Congratulations, G!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

A year and a day

"Mommy couldn't wake Daddy up and I heard her yelling his first name. She told me to wait by the door and let the paramedics in, and I did. Then she told me to go into my bedroom, so I went in, and I shut the door.

But I peeked."

-- G to her grandmother, July 3, 2006

Yesterday marked the one-year anniversary of P's death. I had been dreading it for weeks, but when it arrived, it turned out to be somewhat anticlimactic. We had already had a formal memorial on Saturday (an event fraught with more drama than a Tennessee Williams play), so the day itself was only unusual in its normalcy. I know G knew that it was THE day, because last week she asked "Why are we having the party on Saturday when July 2 is when it happened?" But we seemed to have an unspoken agreement that we were going to carry on as usual, and we did: she played and watched television, we went to the supermarket, and we took a walk that was cut short due to the blazing summer heat. Dull, ordinary, normal stuff.

Now you're probably all wondering Weren't you sad? Of course I was, but I've been sad every day since P died, and this day wasn't any worse than the 364 that came before it -- in fact, it was a bit easier than some of the others, like his birthday and Father's Day. It wasn't an especially good day either, but then no day is ever going to be really good now that he's gone. I don't suppose I'll ever see a movie or visit a new place or do anything fun again without remembering that he isn't here to experience it too, or wondering what he would have thought of it.

The day I'm expecting to be really difficult is our eleventh wedding anniversary, which is coming up on Friday. For years and years, the scent of flowers -- not garden flowers, but the sort that come from the florist -- always reminded me of our wedding. Since last year, they've reminded me of P's funeral. Every now and then, someone will deliver a bouquet to the lobby at work, and I always get sick to my stomach when I walk past the reception desk and catch a whiff of that overpowering sweetness. It's a shame; I used to love flowers, and now they're spoiled forever. Thank God I didn't know on our wedding day that I'd end up feeling this way.