So, I got the prescription for “a low-dose SSRI” yesterday (casually mentioning it to the nurse who gave me my flu shot like it was no big deal) and she asked the doc and they called it in for me.  Jack thinks it’s a poor idea.  (Too bad.)  I took it today for the first time, and we’ll see how it goes.  I’m not thrilled about it myself, but I just think of it like, well, getting a flu shot, or buying tampons, or going to work- something I don’t really want to do, but the alternatives are just not all that great either.

 

In other news, it’s getting chilly here.  THis morning I woke up with a cat under each arm.  That was awesome.

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Sweet snuggle girl Marilyn

Sweet snuggle girl Marilyn

My little lovebug, Marilyn.  So purrrfect!

Sheba, enthralled by the Mousebird.

Sheba, enthralled by the Mousebird.

I got a couple of pictures of Sheba today.  We were playing Mousebird.   (The fishing pole toy has mysterious “bait” that is furry and grey, with feathers…hence we call it Mousebird.  It has its own theme song too.  Yes, we are weird here!!)

Sheba plotting her next move

Sheba plotting her next move

Marilyn is my glamour girl, my snuggler, but Sheba is the one that comes out to play.  She makes me laugh.  I don’t know what I would do without either of them.

My amazing PT was showing me some stretches.  She said,

“You’re going to like ‘cat’ and ‘prayer.'”  I thought, why yes, you’re right!

 

I started using my exercise time as prayer time, but the cats think it’s “their” time.  They watch me very intently.  In fact, yesterday I was stretching in the “prayer” position, and Sheba was right alongside me, watching carefully, and doing it too.  I wish I had a photo to post.  It was perfect.  Cats have the right idea, stretching all the time like they do. 

 

Then, when I had to do the arm excercises (seated on a giant ball) Sheba was in my lap, getting petted with every rep.  Who thinks animals aren’t smart?

How do  cats know when we need them most?

Somehow they just know.

 

The other day, I was in the bathroom- without my phone, of course- as I had just awoken from a much-needed nap.  I did not know whether or not Jack was home.  My back started to spasm something horrible and I could feel that it just might become the intolerable, devastating pain that I have had in the past.  I hollered for Jack to no avail, since he was indeed not home.  Sheba came running, bless her kitty heart, and started rubbing, rubbing, rubbing on my legs, and somehow, her calming presence and furry massage allowed the muscle spasm to abate enough that I could get back into the bed and get some valium and my cell phone.

 

I was unable to clean the litter boxes for about two weeks.  Sheba and Marilyn seemed to understand.  Marilyn has had some “issues” with thinking outside the box, so to speak, in the past, but she was perfect.  Like I said, somehow they knew.  They looked at me funny when I kind of dumped the catfood into just one dish from waist-high (the best I could manage) at first, like, “Um. Mom, that’s not how you feed us.”  But they got used to it.  They learned to eat out of only one dish- a good lesson for both.

 

Some people say (Jack too) that animals do not “love” us, that they only have some kind of rudimentary enlightened self-interest: that is, they know who fills the dishes with kibble.  But this has not been my experience. 

 

Even my neurotic first cat, M, with whom I never really bonded, knew when I was sad and would comfort me.  One time I was  deeply devastated over a lost love (some loser boy) and cried and cried, inconsolable.  M came to my bed, lay by my pillow, and allowed his fur to absorb each hot salty tear.   (M was a strange one.  He was very jealous of Jack: when we got married and finally moved in together, M showed his displeasure by pooping under my pillow- clever!- and  I could not find it.  I searched everywhere.  I had to sleep like that.  This is a gross story, I know, and I talk about poop way too much, but M had this jealous love.  He did not want to share me.  He loved me.)

 

All of my fur babies have been rescues in some form or another: M came from a co-worker who asked me to cat-sit and then said she didn’t want him back; Sheba came from down south with five kittens in tow, and Marilyn had had so many homes and been in the shelter twice and a foster home as well (she’s only about four years old, give or take).  Maybe that is why they truly do love me, and show it in strange ways.  They know that I, like the Statue of Liberty, welcome the huddled masses of fur yearning to breathe free…

send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me…” 

 

Like I said, somehow, even though I never got that cat translation dictionary, somehow they just know.

Well, I finally don’t (usually) need a cane to get around. It’s kind of nice. But on the other hand, I’m going to miss the thing. Here are a few reasons why.

1. It just looks damn cool. So jaunty, so Fred Astaire, so proper– yet so steampunk at the same time (unfortunately, mine is not also a sword, but it can be a decent weapon). It was like a fashion accessory. Since I’m so trendy, I noticed all the other hipsters started using them too, so that’s the real reason I’m not using it much anymore. I have to stay one step ahead. Fashion is cutthroat, man.

2. Canes make you look smart. House, anyone?

3. It’s a great conversation piece. It offers variety, for one thing: on two separate Christmases, I had to use a crutch to get around. Do you have any idea how many times I had to hear “God bless us! Every one!” Barf. Come up with a new joke. (addendum: I did hear “you’re you’re just using that as a crutch” at least once too).  The cane, on the other hand, inspired a million hilarious comments, including a rendition of “One Singular Sensation” (every little, painful step she makes…) I laughed so hard my sides hurt even more than they already did!

4. It’s great for waving angrily at motorists that declined to politely slow down for me to cross the street- p a i n f u l l y s l o w l y. If my other hand was free, I could give the finger too at the same time- imagine that! That hurt, but hurt so good.

5. It made a great cat-grabber. If Sheba was doing something naughty (which is too often), I could just kind of hook her off-stage, a la The Gong Show.

6. It’s great for picking up inanimate objects too. Dropped keys? No problem. Shoulder bag? Piece of cake. Same with reaching for high objects. Hook ’em.

7. Moth killa. I love wool. Moths love wool too. I stay up late at night with the lights on; moths come in, ravenous for fiber. Pop! Sheba ate the slowly dying ones. Once I can really move again, I’ll finish getting the woolen items put up until next winter. Until then, moths beware.

8. Clearing out the clothes chute when something gets stuck in there, clogging the thing with two stories worth of clothes. Um, Jack? Yeah, be more careful when you put your clothes in there. That’s why you don’t have any clean “draws.” Thanks.

9. Getting offered seats. I went to see a lesbian band, and I swear those fans were some of the nicest people I have ever encountered. I had not seen more overalls at a rock show ever (the band members are all super-cute; their fan base is by-and-large twice their age. It’s rather sweet, actually). I never had to stand. Seats were premium, and generously offered. Good show, too.

10. Same with getting to the front of any bathroom line. Sort of like how we always let pregnant women go first. We really do.

11. Pulling the car door closed. That trick earned me a look of awe– from someone obviously easily impressed, but nonetheless.

It’s wonderful to have the thing. I found it in a dead man’s basement that I cleaned out several years ago (in exchange for getting to keep the stuff!)- along with war memorabilia and a few other amazing items; I always keep it where I know I can grab it when needed. Because, you never know: I might need to pull stuck clothing from the chute, or have an uninvited moth to kill. Or put my back out sneezing. It could happen to you.

I awoke at 3am, and got up out of bed to enjoy the best part of the day: the time just before dawn, when all the crepuscular creatures are partying.  I love dawn, just before the sun comes up.

 

Once it was light enough outside, I went out on the porch- I have a great second-story porch with a decent view, and a tree that envelops it on two sides (which a previous very naughty cat used as an occasional escape route).  Now, Sheba has an obsession with the porch.  If there is any indication of an about-to be-open door- say, Jack goes out to enjoy a delicious Marlboro, or what have you-  Sheba will run out making a particular meow, used only for this situation. Kind of an urgent triple meow.  It has to mean something specific.  Is it simply “Hey, ma, I’m going out now?”  Is it “OMG, now’s my chance to climb down that lilac tree?”  Is it, “proximity to birds is imminent and my dream of burping feathers like Sylvester will finally come to fruition?”  Because, it’s almost like a “wow!  Wow!  WOW!”

 

Somehow Sheba- who was a wild cat in her younger days, and I will never know exactly what all happened to her, except that it involved five adorable kittens (who clearly all had the same babydaddy)- knows the boundary is not to be breached.  This porch has cat-width railings and she could certainly jump if she had the desire.   But when I tell her “No!”  she knows.  I stopped watching her so obsessively too, as she earned my trust; a couple times I even forgot she was out there for a couple hours, and then found her just lying down, in bliss, or curiously sniffing everywhere birds had been- bliss, again; or just rubbing on the railings- all pure, feline, delighted bliss.