Love and Loss

Weegie Collage 1

Nine months ago Mr. Finger Candy and I quite unexpectedly lost our beloved cat, Weegie, to cancer.  Or old age.  Or some bullshit combination of the two.  It just blew in like a hurricane, laid our trailer park asunder.  Plastic lawn flamingos and tiny gnomes everywhere.

We are childless, or child-free, depending on how you’d like to look at it, and ludicrously devoted to our pets, to a fault (find me another couple who would willingly trade off sleep so one person could be awake with the cat at all times.  Yeah, I thought so.)

So on that horrible Monday morning nine months ago, when I woke with a terrible knot in my stomach two full hours beyond the time Weegie normally would have screamed me into consciousness, only to find her listless, confused and barely able to move from her bed, my life – our lives – changed.  And not for the better.

We took her to the vet, who confirmed that her everything had failed, and when we left an hour and a half later, she wasn’t with us.  We had no options – our girl had just run out of time, in truly spectacular fashion – but I still hold firm to my belief that it’s the worst thing I’ve ever done.  And if I’m being truly honest with myself, I hate myself for having done it.  I probably always will.

In the aftermath, we just fell apart.  And I’m not entirely sure we ever put ourselves back together.  There’s something broken inside me, some vital part of who I was nine months ago that disappeared the moment I walked out those veterinary doors.  I wonder if it will ever return.

Despite the fact that she was the light of our lives, a delightfully LOUD, silly and obstructionist little monster (she was remarkably adept at blackmail for a cat) I’ve had a hard time talking about her many fine qualities, and the seemingly infinitesimal ways she managed to enrich and enrage our lives simultaneously.

But I was reminded earlier today that 13 years ago this morning, Mr. Finger Candy and I catnapped Weegie from an overpriced coffee shop whilst playing hooky from work.  It’s a funny story, one that started with me getting assaulted by a bossy kitty in a parking lot, and ended with me racing against a deadline in an enclosed room with a very curious, temporarily quarantined cat and her horror show of a litter box, so I’m going to tell it.

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Weegie’s origin story begins with Mr. Finger Candy and I blowing off work for the day.  Yay for being productive adults!  But it was a brutally hot August day, and a useless Wednesday Hump Day at that, and by the time we stopped for overpriced iced coffees on our way to work, neither one of us was in much of a mood to bring the bacon.

As I turned off the busy, four-lane road into the Second Cup parking lot, a small, striped brown cat emerged from a cluster of bushes by the drive-thru lane and trotted across the lot towards our car.  “Oh, no no no no no, kitty, stay back, it’s too dangerous!” I groaned, but by the time I opened my door, there she was, furiously sniffing everything, already setting sail on her curiosity voyage.

We somehow managed to cross the parking lot with her pasted to our sides, finally depositing her safely on the store’s patio, where she immediately ambled off to hit up – unsuccessfully – an older couple trying to enjoy their morning coffee.  While Mr. Finger Candy went inside to place our order, I stayed outside with her, fretfully glaring at the traffic streaming by mere feet away.

Ten minutes or so passed, and with no sign of Mr. Finger Candy or our drinks, I went inside to find him animatedly talking to the staff.  “Oh, hey,” he said casually, handing off a whipped cream-topped brew that I was ready to inject straight into my veins.  “They want to know if we’re going to take the cat.”

“Excuse me,” I blubbered.  “Take the cat?”  “Yeah, the cat outside!” piped up the barista, jerking her thumb towards the glass door, where at that very moment a man trying to enter was being accosted by the little striped cat.  “She’s been here for weeks and we’ve been feeding her, but she’s freaking out the customers and she won’t go away.  She seems to like you two.  D’you want her?”

“HELLS, YEAH!” was what I was really thinking.  She was clearly malnourished, totally starved for attention, and trying to survive at the side of a busy commercial thoroughfare with no front claws.  It was a no-brainer.  But then a little further down from that, I was thinking about the cat we already had, Porky, and how supremely pissed she would be if we brought home another animal, to say nothing of the safety or disease concerns associated with taking in a stray.  And so we left without the little cat, slowly, and with many dissatisfied looks back at the parking lot.

At that time, Mr. Finger Candy’s office was another 15 minutes down the road, and for the first 10 minutes of that drive, neither one of us said a word, lost in our own thoughts.  I think my husband was the first one to break the silence with a deep breath and a definitive, “I think we should go back and get that cat.”  And since I didn’t need to be asked twice, that’s precisely what we did (though first we stopped in at my husband’s office, where he literally went in and said he was taking a personal day so we could rescue a cat from the side of the road.  They were totally fine with it, and I think they appreciated his honesty.  We certainly appreciated their understanding.)

We drove back to the Second Cup, confident that when we pulled into the lot, she would be gone, taken by another couple to her forever home.  But there she was, thankfully still on the patio, now stationed directly beneath a large gentleman trying to enjoy his morning scone.  As we got out of the car, she came across the parking lot towards us like an old friend (albeit an old friend who gets up on their back legs to dance around for your whipped cream-topped beverages) and in that instant, it was decided – WE would be her forever home.

Weegie Collage 2

So we went inside and asked the staff if their offer (?) still stood.  “YES, PLEASE take her,” said the barista, glancing at the door, where at that very moment the little striped cat who would become Weegie was stretched out, fluffy tummy pressed against the glass panels.

In later years, I often wondered what Weegie thought about her catnapping.  It must have been an odd thing indeed to suddenly be snatched up and transplanted to an entirely new locale.  But the Weege really seemed to roll with it, crawling up into our car’s sunny back window to enjoy the ride to her new home.

As I mentioned, we already had a cat, a saucy, sometimes hauty girl named Porky that I had adopted in 2001.  When Weegie arrived on the scene, Porky was already 17 years old, totally set in her ways, and completely disinterested in taking on a young, spastic roommate (we came to discover that Weegie was about three years old when we liberated her from the Second Cup.)  I just remember walking through the front door, Weegie perched in Mr. Finger Candy’s arms, and having Porky pull up short at the sight of this interloper, fixing me with an icy green stare that said, unequivocally, “WHAT have you fuckers done now?”

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As Weegie’s health status was undetermined, the original plan was to sequester her in one of the bedrooms until we could have her examined by a vet.  But when we put her down to take off our shoes, she charged into the apartment, laying waste to everything delicious and even moderately tempting in her path while we ran after her shouting, “Oh, no no no no no no, kitty, that’s not yours!  Let us get you your own bowl!”  The three of us could do nothing but sit back and watch in total awe as she laid waste to half a large bowl of crunchies and about two cups of cold water, before savaging a catnip banana and then falling asleep with her face pressed into the carpet for the next four hours.  It was some very impressive and dedicated slothdom.

Weegie 9

That evening, we moved the new cat (then literally called New Cat or Noob; the Weegie moniker wouldn’t come for some weeks) to the second bedroom, along with her new litter box.  Porky sat outside the door, furious (a state that would continue for about a month; she was PISSED, justifiably, although we more than compensated her for her troubles.  Improbably, you might say, she was somehow more spoiled than Weegie.)

At the time, I worked from home as a transcriptionist, and unfortunately, the day’s cat-centric activities had put me way behind schedule.  It looked as though I was going to be up all night, typing my brains out in the second bedroom with our new cat in order to meet deadline.

Or that was the plan before Weegie, once-empty tummy now filled with delicious food and more than a couple of evening treats, began sprinting to her litter box, just behind me and off to my right, at a rate of about once every 85 seconds.  It didn’t take long for my sweet new kitty to totally smoke me out of the room, and Mr. Finger Candy still jokes to this day about the anguished wail of “It smells like poo down here!” I let loose as I fled, gasping, from the room.  We were glad to realize – and you’ll be glad to know as well, because that was kind of a gross tale – that this was the result of a Second Cup diet consisting almost entirely of 35% whipping cream, and thankfully quite temporary.

Going forward, we didn’t see too much trouble from the Weege.  She was actually a fairly easy cat to fur-parent (my mom is reading this and dying inside; hi Mom!)  One or two bummy teeth aside, her health was never an issue.  Until it was the only issue.  But she had no big health concerns, save her tendency to pack on the pudge.  She wasn’t a biter, a scratcher, a lunger or a slasher, although she did have an annoying tendency to dash out into the hall nearly every time we opened the front door.  She wasn’t a picky eater – if anything, we had to encourage her to look more closely at her food to determine if it was even food in the first place.  She was a real equal opportunity feline foodie.  Friendly and easygoing, she had her favourite people, and she treated them accordingly.  She just had a nice, chummy disposition.  It was easy to like, or maybe even love, the Weege.

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And we loved her, so, so much.  We were better people for having had her in our lives.  Miss you, little Weege.

The Blanket

soft kitty 1

The universe works in odd ways sometimes.  So the last few days I’ve been tending to the deeply unpleasant task of disposing of my recently departed kitty’s few remaining earthly possessions.  After her passing last month, we boxed up and packed away many of her things – most of her toys, which still smell like a savage combination of cat breath and nip – while tossing many others (didn’t feel the need to hold on to the litter box; wasn’t too sorry to see that one go.)  But a number of items remained, mostly “our” things that she wantonly appropriated for herself, including a plush, pale turquoise blanket that she loved to nest in and knead.

soft kitty 4

The blanket’s been not-so MIA in the second bedroom for about a month now while I work up the nerve to confront all of the things in our house that do nothing but remind me of her.  Turns out that’s a crap ton of stuff, because she ruled our home with a fuzzy paw, and we let her.  This entire grieving process has actually been made so much worse by the realization that just about every aspect of our lives revolved around her, including the actual setup of our house.

Anyhow, I haven’t thought about the pale turquoise squashy blanket in a while – or rather, I’ve been trying very hard not to think about it.  But the other day, wanting to do some simple nail art, but at a total loss for what to do, I just grabbed the first polish I saw and thought, “I’m doing a gradient with you.”  That polish turned out to be Polished For Day’s iridescent aquamarine Willow, and once I had it sponged onto my nails, well, wouldn’t you know it, but it really reminded me of that blanket.

soft kitty 5

Which was the deciding factor in biting the bullet, doing the brave, unpleasant thing and pulling the blanket out of the second bedroom.  It – and we – can’t stay in hiding from this forever.  Healing starts with washing the blanket and re-incorporating it into our lives.  Heh, that sounds like the title of a self-published self-help book on Amazon – “Healing Begins with Washing the Blanket.”  Or the mantra of the cult I plan on founding.  We’ll wear pale turquoise blankets wrapped around our shoulders and no shoes, because Weegie couldn’t wear them and she thought they sucked.  We’ll also always sport fantastic manicures.

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See, sense of humour beginning to right itself; the Healing Blanket has worked its magic already. 🙂

Measured Meows

Kitten Measurement Collage

Bahahahahahaha!  There’s no such thing!  Fellow cat lovers, I don’t know about your fickle felines, but when my cat starts going off, it’s about the furthest thing from measured as you can get.  We’re talking meows (also mews, rrawows and merows) that break the sound barrier.  It’s kind of insanity-making!

These cats at least seem to be taking a more measured response to life.  I purchased this adorable little set of ceramic measuring cups from ModCloth years ago, but I see these best-seller kitties are still available on their website.  I’ve actually never used them for their intended purpose, as I figure the first time I do I’ll snap somebody’s tail off on the edge of the sugar canister, but they’ve been a cute decorative item, lined up (or stacked and leaning) on my kitchen window.

And so in keeping with the decorative spirit of these measuring cups, I decorated my nails with some matching kitties.  Cute!

Kitten Measurement Awkward

April Band of Bloggers

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It’s that time of year again!  As the warmer weather soothes stiff joints and brushes off the last vestiges of winter, homes beg for the same fresh start everyone promised themselves at the beginning of the year.  Clothes are donated, rooms are scrubbed, and yards are tended.  While the fauna leave their winter dens or return from long migrations, the world blooms with new growth in vibrant splashes of colour.

For April’s Band of Bloggers post, we will answer a few questions about Spring and the ever-loved Spring cleaning.  Feel free to join in and answer these questions in the comments below!

Do you decorate for Spring?

Save some specific Easter decorations that I pull out around the end of March, it’s ALWAYS Spring in my apartment – lots of raspberry red, robin’s egg blue and a pink I like to refer to as “Strawberry Fluff.”  This spattered egg wreath actually sits on a little decorative shelf above the second bedroom bed year-round.  My best friend once commented that I have the perfectly decorated single girl’s apartment – remarkable, as I live with a man, and a pretty messy one at that!

Wreath Pic

Are there any products you find yourself reaching for as the weather warms?  This can be anything; food, clothing, bath and body, wax, you name it!

I suppose like most people shrugging off the final frosty bits of winter, I start to lean towards fresh, fruity and floral scents for both my person and my home.  After finishing off a bottle of hand soap the other day, I reached into my extras drawer and pulled out two choices – some fruity berry thing, bursting with Springtime freshness, and a beautiful Bath & Body Works scent by the name of Winter White Woods, an unexpected favourite of mine that smells like a still copse of snow-laden birch trees.  Glancing outside, I saw that the actual birch trees surrounding my building were laden with snow themselves, so back into the drawer Winter White Woods went – perhaps best to put a bit of distance between winter and Winter, yes?

Do you participate in the Spring cleaning craze?

Living in a condo apartment building, I thankfully have very few Spring maintenance duties to attend to.  But before the summer spiders arrive and drive me back indoors, I sweep down the balconies, wash the windows and frames, maybe set out a few pots of pansies (which I haven’t in years; my dear, late kitty, Porky, LOVED to nibble on freshly potted pansies – would actually race me to the balcony door so she could rip off their little lion’s heads like the savage predator she was – and I haven’t had the heart to buy any since her passing.  Maybe this year.  Miss you, Pork Chop.)

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Don’t forget to visit these fellow participants in the Band of Bloggers and help support the blogger community!

Amanda at Thrifty Polished

Jaybird at The Candle Enthusiast

Julie at The Redolent Mermaid

Lauren at LoloLovesScents

Liz at Furianne

Sandra – me! – at Finger Candy

If you are a blogger and would like to join the Band of Bloggers for our monthly posts, please contact us.

Fall Fun Series: A Small Fall Haul

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Today’s installment of the Fall Fun Series called for a showing of our Fall decorations, but I can’t do that because a) I don’t have that many; my Fall decorating funds (and precious, precious storage) have already been allocated to my Halloween decorations, and b) my balcony, which is where I house my seasonal decorative items in covered storage, has been INUNDATED with terrifically large spiders (and their webs, and babies, too!) that I like to joke (?) are chilling at our place while on vacation from their jobs as extras in the Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter movies – they are seriously that big.  For scale, here is a photo of my cat Weegie sunning herself in a corner window, oblivious to the eight-legged death dangling just above her head.  Also, just to terrify you even further, I’ll note that when she jumped up into the window, the spiders rappelled down from somewhere out of sight I don’t even want to think about, bouncing to a stop just above her head when I think they realized they were on one side of the glass and she was on the other.

spider-snack

So large, aggressive and super smart arachnids have overtaken my balcony; do you blame me for not wanting to go rustling about in those covered containers trying to find an old spiderweb-covered wreath I’ll only have out for a couple of weeks before it’s replaced with a Halloween one?  No!  Or at least I hope not.  Besides, I can’t blog about ANYTHING if I’ve screamed myself to death.

So instead of showing the decorations, I thought I’d do another showing of the scented wax, because – no joke – about three minutes after I hit the publish button on last week’s Fall wax post, a lovely box of goodies from Rosegirls showed up on my doorstep, positively brimming with Fall scents (plus a few winter holiday ones just for good measure, an odd little blank spot in my wax collection.)  And so I did what I always do when I get a bunch of wax that I’m not sure whether I want to sniff or stare at or maybe even eat and slapped it on a cake tray and took pictures of it to share with you!  Man, blogging is a weird animal sometimes.

So what are the most recent additions to my Fall wax stash that have necessitated the purchase of a bigger basket in which to house all the delicious-smelling stuff?  Additions like pie slices in:

Apple Puff Pumpkin Pie, a highly spiced apple blend with an interesting, not-quite-bread/not-quite muffin bakery note.
Apple Colada, a sweet, mild apple tinged with something slightly tropical.
Egg Nog Caramel Ice Cream; Tucking this sweet slice away for winter holiday use.

pie-slice-collage

And then an unexpected bounty of fantastic Fall scents in a variety of chunks, including:

Harvest Bake Sale Noel, a craft-store-in-the-Fall kind scent infused with Bath and Body Works’ musky (and insanely popular) Vanilla Bean Noel fragrance.
Spicy Apple and Peaches Ice Cream; My favourite scent out of the whole sampler – spicy, creamy, fruity and tart.
Toffee Apple Ice Cream, a creamy candied apple scent.
Peppermint Noel; Vanilla Bean Noel strikes again, this time tempering Rosegirls’ nose-burningly strong peppermint.  Another one I’ll be tucking away for the colder winter months.  Lord knows I’ve got enough of those ahead of me!

rg-fall-chunk-collage

Don’t Put Me On the Shelf

Shelf Nails

Well, this is a new level of random for me, a manicure inspired by the decorative rice bowls that sit on the top shelf of the left-side bookcase that flanks my television.  So specific! But accurate, as this manicure IS inspired by those rice bowls, which I purchased years ago from ModCloth, and the top shelf of the left-side bookcase is indeed where they usually reside, along with a number of other family memory-type knick knacks.

Livingroom Shelves

Here’s a better look at our entertainment/decorative set-up, virtually all of it hidden because wires and DVD cases make me ragey, but family photos and pictures of our dearly departed kitty, Porky, do not.  So in hindsight, between the nails and the sweet mementos, this is one shelf I would definitely not mind being put up(on.)

Livingroom

Take a Bough (OMD3)

Bough Hand

As we head into the second and a half week of the Oh Mon Dieu Nail Art Challenge, I thought I’d take stock of how well I’ve fared thus far – namely, not super well! Or at least not super timely. I’ve been a day or two off the pace right from the very beginning, although the rather traumatic passing of my beloved old kitty, Porky, last week really brought things to a screeching halt. Terribly hard to motivate when you can’t stop crying.

But as the sexy as hell Jeff Goldblum once said (I’m allowed to talk about the death of my cat in one breath and the hotness of Jeff Goldblum in the other because he was her human celebrity crush; Victor Garber was the other) “Life finds a way.” And life is indeed finding a way as Mr. Finger Candy and I, and our other kitty, Weegie, attempt to navigate this new, Porky-less normal that has been thrust upon us. I won’t lie, though, friends – losing a pet just fucking sucks.

Returning to my nail art, though, has been its own form of therapy, and I’m glad to have the challenge holding the thematic reins, because creative thinking right now? Is barely happening. Of course, that doesn’t mean I can’t tinker with the themes a bit, bending them to my particular skill set and interpretation, much as I did with these basic boughs, which are my entry towards day 11’s theme of leaves in the Oh Mon Dieu Nail Art Challenge. Because boughs bear leaves (what did I tell you about this higher thinking stuff, hmm?)

Bough Fingers