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Archive for April, 2014

Zombie

I mentioned in passing the other day that my cat had died. Then I remembered I had written a letter to Zombie during the Month of Letters thing a few years back, so the Interwebs might like to know what happened.

Zombie and Lily when Lily was a few months old.

Zombie and Lily when Lily was a few months old.

Truth is, I’m not sure. When I got home from work, I walked around the side of the house to make water for the small fish pond out front and found him beside the crawlspace door that leads under my sun-room. My brain twisted up like a Celtic knot while it tried to wrap around the fact that he wasn’t moving. I think I called his name twice.

I found Zombie in the front yard about four-ish years ago, he was sick and stumbled a lot, hence the name Zombie. It took two of those years to figure out he was a boy because he wouldn’t let me anywhere near him… until we got Lily. My Zombie-boy finally let us touch him–all because a Pit Bull puppy wanted to love-up on him, and gained his trust when we couldn’t.

barbara

I have to sneak because Barbara is so, so skittish.

I never really worried about Zombie crossing the road or anything, because he was such a Ghetto-Ninja. The boy had skills, I tell ya. He didn’t like other cats in our yard and he let them know it. In all those years, he’d never brought a chick home even for a casual fling in the driveway, until he met Barbara. Anyone that understands why her name is Barbara gets a bahzillion points.

When Zombie passed, Barbara was pregnant. Note the was in that sentence.

I don’t know where the kittens are, but she’s noticeably thinner. I don’t dare catch her to go to the vet to be spayed for fear the kittens are somewhere and need their mom. I’ll wait a little while longer.

Barbara still comes to the porch to be fed, but now she cries. I’ll hear her and go check her food bowl, and it’ll be full. She’s not wanting food, so I wonder that she’s calling out to the kittens, or even for her missing Zombie.

I know how she feels. We all miss him, even the Hubs. Lily still looks for him when she goes on the porch. He’s buried beside Spike. He might not have ever come into the house, but he did worm his way into our hearts. We’ll take care of his little lady, and even the kittens if we can find them. Like I wouldn’t want at least one of his kids.

Lily & Zombie

Lily & Zombie

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I’m at work when I get a text from my daughter. There was a picture attached of a four-month-old, mostly white, male pittie puppy.

It said, “Does Diddy want a son?”

Diddy is what she calls her step-father. I almost responded that, no, Diddy does not want a son. Instead, I asked for details.

SUCKER right across my forehead.

I’d seen pictures of his litter when they were first ready for homes because my daughter made certain that I saw them. I’d told her no at least fifteen times because they were pitties and Lily is enough of a handful. We did not want another over-energetic pit, much less to raise another puppy. Turns out that this little boy had at some point found a home, someone had actually paid for him, but then they didn’t take care of him and he’d gotten parvo. They gave him back to his original owner, claiming they’d been sold a sick dog. He was all better, with two shaved marks on his back where he’d been treated by the vet for injection site issues. But now, no one wanted him because he was a “parvo puppy.”

Way to tug at my heartstrings, kid.

The whole story made me think of all the pets you see online that require a re-homing fee “to ensure they go to good homes.” You figure, if someone is willing to pay for a dog, they’ll take care of it. Apparently not.

I forwarded the picture to my hubs and took Amanda’s cue: Do you want a son?

I’m still wondering where the pod is for the alien that replaced my husband, because he said yes and Amanda brought the pup home that evening.

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My daughter said, “His name is Buddah.”

Diddy said, “Um… no.”

The thing that amazed me about this boy is that he was so calm. He and Lily couldn’t be more different. She wanted to play non-stop, and all he wanted to do was cuddle and lounge. He was already potty trained, crate trained, and the perfect age–we would not have to raise another little bitty puppy.

The only hard thing was figuring out a name.

He slept in the bed with Amanda that night, so the next day I took him to the vet, then to buy him a crate and a bed. I put the bed in the child seat on the cart and he fell asleep on top of it while I shopped. Cute overload. The bed was on clearance, and I told the hubs so when we got home.

“That’s it! We’ll call him Clarence.”

I looked at my husband like he’d grown six heads.

“Clarence Johnson, ” he said as the puppy licked his face. “That’s you, Clarence Johnson. You like that, doncha?”

Lord.

It got worse. He has such long legs that when he’s playing with Lily and rolling around, he looks like he’s practicing Judo or something. Which set the hubs to thinking about Anderson Silva, which meant Clarence became, “Clarence S. Johnson. S is for Silva.”IMG_0785

It didn’t stop.

“You’re a bad-ass. Clarence S. Mutha-Fuckin Johnson.”

I can’t help but laugh, because this mellow puppy is now, seriously, Clarence S. Mutha-Fuckin Johnson. And the man that really didn’t want another dog at all is now spoiling Clarence rotten. He’s more active now, playing like a puppy should, but he’s still that squishy, laid back, boy.

I’ve been holding back on telling my friends his new name, in case it didn’t stick, so now you know. But what I didn’t realize, that I only put together today as I was preparing for this blog, is that Clarence was born the day Spike died.

Some things were just meant to be.

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I disappeared from the blog without warning because reasons, including that ice storm that kept my husband and I in the yard cutting down shattered trees and trying to make the hard decision on whether or not the koi pond was worth salvaging. We lost two sections of ornamental concrete wall around the backyard, so I had to take Lily to work with me every day (because she’d eat my couch) and allow our other (well behaved) dog to stay inside for about two weeks until the crew showed up to rebuild the walls.

Yeesh. I love my dogs, but damn. Every minute of my day was slam-packed. It was frustrating to not have time to write. I’d sit down for a few minutes to open a file and inevitably get called away to either walk a dog or throw on gloves to pick up yard debris, so I simply stopped trying before trying to write made me angry at the wrong people (and pets). In that period of time, I also lost two dear friends. And my cat died. I was rather overwhelmed.

The short of it is I decided to give up writing for Lent. No, I’m not Catholic, nor particularly religious. It was a period of time with a set beginning and a set end, and when you have a chaotic mind like mine, you need that structure, and when you find it, you take it. Forty-six days of not doing what I loved, to see if it really was what I loved, and to see if I could live without it. To force myself to be okay with not churning out words every day. I intended to use it to clean my attic–the metaphorical and the physical–among other things. Do whatever, just… not to write. Not to read any articles on writing. No story notes, nothing. Nada. Ziltch. Zero. I went to bed feeling good about the decision.

I almost hopped online to basically say, “I’m not talking to youuuuuuuuuuuuu” on the blog, but, hey… it was Lent. I couldn’t.

For the first few weeks, it went fine. The yard was coming back into shape (still a fecking disaster). I went on a cleaning spree and threw out or donated a whole lot of stuff. I spent a lot of time with the hubs and my daughter. We got another dog (one story at a time, here). I missed a friend’s baby shower–which really ticked me off. I spent leisure time wandering used book stores and feeding my first edition hardback fetish. I hardcore cleaned my room, FINALLY, even though I’d sworn I wouldn’t do it to that extent until the second Luce book was finished. I stole my husband’s fortune cookie one night and the fortune inside matched mine, so I kept them. All in all, I was able to relax that constant noise in my head, and felt better for it. A friend asked if doing this felt like a punishment or a relief. It was a relief because I didn’t have writing lurking in the back of my mind all the time.

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Then about a week or so ago all the stuff I’d used to keep busy started to wind down. Those fortunes were staring at me from the cork-board, and the niggling itch started. So, I cheated, at what turned out to be the perfect time. I read a few articles online and I found something in particular (like I said, one story at a time). It was a way to contribute to a good cause, and give myself a bit of truth help that I desperately need. Then I purposefully put it out of my head and forgot all about it for a few days.

Driving to work yesterday, I realized Lent was over and I could write again. It was one of those, “oh, cool!” moments and not one of irritation and unsure footing that, in the past, made my head swim when it came to the subject. I’d achieved what I set out to do–clear my head and realize that, yep, I missed it, and I was anxious to get back in the game. No sooner had the thought crossed my mind when a song came on the radio that I associate with the current WIP–some things you just can’t make up–and the floodgates opened.

I never did clean out my attic, and that’s fine. I need to find the notes I shoved in my purse yesterday. I need to write a blog about the new dog, etc.

But “need” is not quite the word.  “Want” is so much better.

 

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