One Year Later…

… and my heart still aches.

Romeo in his favorite spot—my lap.

After fracturing and dislocating my left ankle and needing surgery—less than six weeks after fracturing my right leg—I had a choice for follow-on care upon leaving the hospital. Everyone recommended I go to rehab (i.e., a nursing home), but I chose to return home rather than go into rehab. My reasoning was simple. Romeo.

I adopted Romeo from the shelter when he was 12. A few years later he developed diabetes and had done well with insulin and a special diet. But the people who volunteered to take care of him while I was in the hospital were uncomfortable giving him his insulin. One neighbor said he hadn’t eaten any of the food she’d put out for him. So I was worried.

After a very scary trek up 3½ flights of stairs in a chair, the EMTs settled me on my sofa and set up my hospital-issued items. Romeo came out greet me, but he was listless. Aware that he hadn’t eaten, I tried giving him some of his favorite treats, but he didn’t eat them at all. Thus, I knew he was on his last legs.

During the night, he came into my bedroom (where his favorite water dish was) but didn’t get into bed with me. In the morning I called my vet for the name of an in-home veterinary service, then made an appointment to have him euthanized. Lap of Love was able to schedule us for early afternoon. “Dr. Danielle,” the vet who took care of us was absolutely wonderful. I’d told her the door was unlocked, to just come in and I’d guide her (by voice) to the bedroom. As she walked down the hall, she first saw Romeo and gushed about how beautiful he was. Then she turned the corner and saw me and my big-ass cast, and bemoaned my sorry state. But she was lovely and caring, talking me through the procedure, letting me know he was no longer in pain, and treated him with the utmost respect and tender loving care.

She thought I’d had 17 great years with Romeo. When I told her I’d only had him for 5 years, she was even more impressed. She said I’d saved him twice, once from the shelter, and again when he contracted diabetes. (Apparently some pet owners won’t deal with such a disease; thankfully no one I know!)

Romeo’s death added to a very low point in my life, making life nearly unbearable. In retrospect, he had begun to fail a couple months prior. He’d developed neuropathy, I just hadn’t recognized it. And I’m not sure how I’d have taken care of him since I could barely take care of myself.

But I loved him and I’m grateful I never took his love for granted, telling him several times how happy I was that he’d chosen to live with me.

Romeo's spot on the sofa.

I Haz Pikturz!

Here ya’ go!  I downloaded Paint Shop Pro 2019 this weekend.  I went with the full version vice the upgrade since 1) the old PSP isn’t on this computer and 2) it wasn’t much more expensive.  And it’s still cheaper than Photoshop Elements.  Maybe Ps Elements is better, but I have years of experience with PSP.  Not so much with Ps, even less with Ps Elements.

Romeo doesn't care for his namesake mitts.
A hand pat and some sun. LIfe is good.

The photos were taken a couple of years ago, back when I was actively knitting and was regularly on Ravelry.  The pattern is called Mitts for Romeo—because it gets cold waiting on the balconey for your Romeo to show up. With a name like that, I had to make them!  And of course, I had to include Romeo in the picture.  He wasn’t all that excited about it.

Incidentally, I can  find only one of the mitts now.  And Michaels no longer carries (or makes, since it’s a Michaels brand) this type of yarn anymore.  Although I do believe I have an extra skein… somewhere.

Love Is a Funny Thing

Sometimes, if we’re lucky, love conks us over the head.  Oftentimes it is elusive.  And sometimes it sneaks up on us when we’re not looking.

Shadow came into my life for all the wrong reasons.  I chose him sight unseen as a playmate for Kimmi (which of course didn’t work), and I adopted him with another, older male cat at the same time.  (He was an orange tabby; how could I resist?)  But the older cat actually tried to kill Kimmi (my vet said he was just being a cat, but it was much worse than a cat fight), so he had to be returned.

Even by himself, having Shadow was stressful.  He didn’t like the littler box, preferring to make his messes in the bathtub.  Since the box was right next to the tub, I tried filling the tub with water.  That got him to use the box, but the tub leaked into my downstairs neighbor’s bathroom, and I had to pay to repair her ceiling.  I would have returned Shadow, but I didn’t feel right doing so since I’d already returned the other guy.

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Serendipity @ Midnight

Chris Hardwick awards points to guests for funny comebacks.
Points! [photo from]
Last night The night before last (I’m really horrible about posting in a timely manner!) I was still up late enough to watch @Midnight live. It’s a fairly new quiz-type show on Comedy Central hosted by Doctor Who mega-fan Chris Hardwick.  He poses questions to three guest comedians based on some of social media’s wildest postings.  The guests compete for “Points!” and the honor of “Wins the Internet for the next 24 hours.”  Unless it’s Thursday, in which case the winner gets to claim  for the entire (extended) weekend, until a new winner is declared the following Monday.  Unlike SyFy’s now-defunct The Wil Wheaton Project, @Midnight is hilarious.  (Incidentally, Wil and Chris were roommates at one time.  Scifi nerds, unite!)

The show is so hipster-oriented, I often have no idea what they’re talking about,.  Not so much because of the social media stuff, but because of the slang used.  This ignorance of course, is a product of age, which is something the show loves to make fun of.  To which I say, “Just you wait!”  Heck, if you don’t grow old, something’s happened—and it’s not good.

Nonetheless, I’ve learned many things from watching this show.  One of which is a “furry” is a person with a fetish for dressing up like a stuffed animal, and seeking like-minded individuals for various forms of “social” intercourse.  Which means, of course, there are indeed furry-dating websites.  [All this makes me think I ought to change my “Furries” category here, because that is not what it refers to.]

Anyway, back to the discussion at hand.

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Romeo in 2 Parts

Part 1: When Insomnia Is a Good Thing

I’ve battled insomnia most of my life.  Exceptions would be graduate school and the Navy.  Nowadays, it’s more annoying than debilitating, since I don’t have to work.  Once in a while, though, sleepless is rewarded with something special.

Romeo head into the kitchen.
The body may look sleek, but it’s solid—and heavy!

A couple nights ago, at around 3:00 a.m., I heard someone in the new “diggie-box” currently in my bathroom.  Since Shadow was on the bed with me, I knew Romeo had come out of his hiding spot.  When he came out of the bathroom, he looked around, saw the door to the bedroom was open, and decided to go exploring.

Romeo and Shadow get acquainted by touching noses.

A short while later, I too got up for a mug of warm milk to stimulate some melatonin.  When Romeo and I passed in the hallway, he didn’t bolt.  He came into the living room and then ventured into the kitchen, where I could hear him licking out a can of Friskees.  (Gigi loved to lick the can clean, and I got in the habit of putting the empty can on the floor for Kimmi and Shadow.)

Romeo then wandered around a bit, eventually leaving Shadow and me to watch tv (me) and snooze & snore (Shadow).  When I went back to bed, Romeo was apparently still checking things out as he wasn’t under the bed.

Sadly, though, he was back under the bed in the morning and stayed there all day and the next.  I’d really hoped we’d passed that milestone, but knew it would have to be on his terms, not mine.

Continue reading “Romeo in 2 Parts”

Where Art Thou, Romeo?

Romeo has arrived!  I couldn’t wait any longer to bring him home.

Romeo's new homeunder by bed.
Here he is! Under the bed.

The first thing I asked as I walked into the shelter was if Romeo was still available.  He was.  When I said I wanted to adopt him, the gal at the desk gasped, “The 12-year-old?”  I suppose they’re so used to people wanting kittens or young cats, someone actually requesting an older animal is a surprise—and a delight!

Someone had paid for his adoption, so he was free!  I plan to “adopt it forward” and pay the adoption fee for another cat.  I was going to do so as we left the shelter, but the gal at the desk computer had never done it before and it was taking longer than usual.  Since Romeo was scared and nervous, and in a too-small carrier, I didn’t want to keep him in it longer than necessary.  S0 I asked if I could do it later.

Yep, the carrier I brought with me turned out to be too small.  Romeo’s bigger than I thought.  In fact, he weighs more than Shadow, who is no thin mint.  He was so good on the way home.  Even though he was scared and the carrier confining (although he was able to turn around in it), he meowed only once.  I think he meowed once more when we got home, but that’s it.

I put him in my bedroom, thinking it’d be a good place for him to get used to the smell of Shadow and me.   It wasn’t my greatest idea.  I should have put him in a spare room I don’t use so often.  Because wherever I go, Shadow goes.  (Closing the bedroom door when I’m in there doesn’t help, becase Shadow can open the door!)  Since I don’t have anywhere else to sleep, Romeo has to share the space with us every night.  I don’t think it helps his stress level.  But he did come out some time last night to use his box.

So far Shadow hasn’t hissed, and shows signs of curiosity rather than aggression.  He knows something’s under the bed, but hasn’t pursued it much.  So that’s encouraging.

I’m not going to rush Romeo to come out from under the bed.  But damn, I want to play and snuggle with him!

Romeo lashed out at me for taking his picture.
Apparently Romeo doesn’t like having his picture taken.

I’m off to the Alexandria Animal Shelter website to pick out a cat to sponsor.

♪♬Woh-oh, No Domino♫

(A riff on Van Morrison—if  your old enough to remember him, that is.)

The kitty search saga hit another snag; another adoption attempt has failed.  And I was this ->||<- close.  The way these rescue groups act, you’d think I beat and starve my cats.

Domino is a tuxedo cat with an adorable pink nose.
Aw, just look at that sweet face.

A couple weeks ago, I met Domino, an older kitty with a thyroid problem.  Fortunately, I’ve had experience with thyroid problems. Gigi had one, which we treated for two years.  Domino and I got along famously.  He let me hold him, he purred, and he even licked my finger.  And his foster mom was simply thrilled I wanted an older cat.  (She and I seemed to get along, too.)

But, I failed the vet check. It’s a long story that I’m sure no one is interested in.  Suffice it to say the rescue group thought I’d been untruthful in my application, and were concerned that Shadow hadn’t been to the vet in a very long time.

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A Mega-Clowder of Cats

Mildly frustrated with my experiences at the Arlington and Alexandria animal shelters (emphasis on mildly), I did a Google search for cat rescue organizations in the area.  It came back with Fancy Cats and King Street Cats, two organizations I’ve heard of.  A friend had adopted two adorable cats from Fancy Cats a while back.  A neighbor has volunteered with King Street Cats, located just down the road from me.  (There’s also Tails High, which I found from a pet rescue website; and FOHA, Friends of Homeless Animals, which someone recently mentioned.)

I looked through Fancy Cats and found a few cats I might be interested in.  When I emailed them asking about seeing some cats, they replied that I should fill out their online application form.  So I did.  I then received an email asking to elaborate on a few of my responses, mainly having to do with why I’d surrender a cat, but also how my current cat would respond.  I replied once again, only to get a damn phone from them this afternoon, expressing even more reservations.  These had to do with Shadow and his litter habits.  They decided (sight unseen) that Shadow didn’t like to share his litter box and that a new cat would smell his outside-the-box mess and mess there, too.

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Shadow’s Lucky Day

Shadow loves to sleep on his back with his belly exposed.
Shadow in his favorite sleeping pose.

Yesterday was a good day for Shadow; not so good for me.

I visited the Alexandria Animal Shelter in the afternoon to meet Roger and Ivory, a 12-year-old brother and sister pair of cats I’ve had my eye on.  They’re said to be two of the sweetest cats ever.  Sadly, Ivory hissed at me.  It was so unlike her, the staff volunteer was shocked.  She may have smelled Shadow on me, which means it probably wouldn’t have boded well to bring her home.

Update  (I wrote the bulk of the post yesterday [Sat]):  It looks like Roger and Ivory were adopted!  The shelter posted that 14 animals had found “forever homes” yesterday, along with 15 on July 3rd!

Continue reading “Shadow’s Lucky Day”