Good Times Bad Times

I went from having the best shift in the world to the worst shift in the world, previously, evenings 3-midnight with Saturdays and Sundays off; now, overnights, 9:30 to 6 in the morning with Fridays and Saturdays off. Any other time of year it would be slight gradients more palatable, but in the summer, when it’s hot as balls out and the sun stares right at you right when you’re fixing to go to bed, and when there’s nothing on television worth a darn, well, I’ve spent this summer feeling mighty upside-down most of the time. It’s the kind of thing you can try to correct for and keep trying to correct for but that you can’t get straight. If I draw this shift next quarter, I can tell you I will have questions.

It is though a great opportunity to binge-watch television programs. I have watched Parenthood. I have watched Brothers and Sisters. I have watched Ally McBeal. I am now on season 3 of Better Call Saul. And I want to mention something about the third one there.

Anne Heche has died. She is in seven episodes of Ally McBeal. She plays Melanie West, a tourette’s-having cutie who for a moment is a romantic interest for the silly little man known as John Cage. She is delightful in it. I would enjoy watching outtakes of her working in rehearsal with Peter MacNicol. I know she did much more other work. It’s just I recently watched her in this. And this was an actor who lit up the screen. It is sad the context of her end, the firey car crash, the anoxic brain injury. She was my age almost exactly and born in a place I know too well, Aurora, Ohio, though she did not grow up there.

I will say this too about the show Ally McBeal: I found it more compelling now than I did then, mainly because I know more music. What TV show these days would suddenly break into a cover of “To Sir With Love?” Who does that? I don’t know what neighborhood in Boston Ally McBeal’s world is in, but I’d like to check it out sometime.

And Olivia Newton-John as well. It’s odd, if there is ever an earworm from this person for me, it’s “Hopelessly Devoted” from Grease. Then maybe the weird ’80s mainstay “Physical.” Then maybe “Magic” from Xanadu. It’s weird how a musical artist like that can seem so innocuous but can be so vital. If Linda Ronstadt ever goes, you’re gonna have to give me a day or two to process it.

Binging Better Call Saul is a great experience though. I was watching it when it first came out, but I think I lost interest trying to figure out what Mike Ehrmantraut was doing with that stupid battery and the tracker. I had to look it up on the internet this time, and I’m here to tell you, it’s pretty smart. Quite a crafty way for ol’ Mike to meet up with Gustavo Fring. That’s the beautiful thing about Vince Gilligan. He trusts you. In the Mike storylines, there is barely any dialogue. They want you to watch, to bear with a slowly-unfolding story, to cheerfully receive a story not told but shown. So much so that I had to go look up the thing with the tracker and why Mike was hooking up a AA battery to a radio. Okay, here’s what he was doing, ready?

Mike drives away from the location where he tried to kill Hector[b] and unsuccessfully checks his car for a tracking device. Certain he was followed, he completely dismantles the station wagon he was driving at a local junkyard but finds nothing. While looking at a sales display of gas caps, he has an epiphany and takes apart the one from the station wagon, where he finds a battery-operated tracker.

After finding the tracking device, Mike obtains an identical one from Dr. Caldera, studies its function, and discovers it remotely warns the operator when the battery runs low. He replaces the tracker in the gas cap of his sedan with the new one, drains the battery of the one he took from his sedan, and stays awake all night to watch the sedan. In the early morning, someone arrives to change the tracker on his sedan for one with a fresh battery. Because the man who replaced the tracker is actually carrying the one Mike placed on his car, Mike is able to follow him.

Do not mess with Mike. I’m just saying.

Meanwhile today is the day that Salman Rushdie got stabbed in the throat at Chappaqua of all places and the day that we all found out that Former Loser Preznit Carnage the Magnificent likely actually absconded with nucular documents. Can we impeach him yet? I mean, again?

Here’s a picture of my cat.

The Tiger Dream

You can never know what the things you say in your waking world may end up inhabiting your dreams.

My cat’s official whole name is “Henry the Love Sponge.” See, this cat came into my Dad’s wife’s place of work, which is kind of a warehouse. This happened the day after one of the greatest cats of all time, Anna Banana, had been struck to her death by a car.

So Ellen, my Dad’s wife, took on this boy because she was the only one in the place who could wrangle him. But she and my Dad were trying to retire from the cat business, and after Anna, they had one cat standing, a beautiful black girl cat who has to eat every five minutes because of a thyroid condition, which is not unusual for a 20-year-old cat.

So anyway, I have a cat now. This guy. Henry the Love Sponge.

Now when they were taking care of him, Henry didn’t play much; he mainly just hung out on their porch waiting for a human to sit next to him. But I knew that for this one-bedroom apartment fellow, play would be vital. Luckily, we unlocked that box pretty quickly.

Among the narratives I started using for this boy was that he secretly believes himself to be a ferocious tiger. Specifically, I say to him something along the lines of


Which may explain why, in my dreams in my last sleep session, I dreamt I was literally under attack by a large, tenacious tiger. My boy isn’t quite as menacing as the one that was in my dream, but man, does he have some big tiger energy.

Eunuch Cat

It has been a while since I Henry-posted here, but I’ve been doing a lot on Facebook. But today is a good day to Henry-post here because today was a big day for my cat-boy.

I woke up at 7 a.m. This is an unusual event for me. I often sleep until 1 p.m. Because I work at 3 p.m. (for now) and I am a slovenly glutton. I woke up this early because this was the day the veterinarian was scheduled to take Henry’s cute little balls. And man, I mean they were cute. When cats developed balls, they considered aesthetics, unlike the human male. Cute little snowy white pouchy-pouches. Who knew they could be such a problem.

So this has been hanging over my head ever since I took Henry in, what, first week of April? I knew. Eventually. One morning, I would have to stuff him into a carrier and drive him the whole five minutes to the vet, and he would have to get the surgery of surgeries.

The first plan was that my Dad (Henry was theirs before he was mine, long story) would get it done for me before I took possession of the cat. This would save me time and trouble and then I would just get a fixed cat. And after going through this now, I owe Dad an apology for even asking him to do this. I thought there was no big deal to getting this kitty-briss done. The fact is, it’s a really big deal and is why I’m Henry’s daddy for life.

Henry was a stray. He came into the warehouse in downtown Rochester where my Dad’s wife and brother’s mama works. He was skittish and hid but ended up in her lap, and she took him home. But her house had two dogs, one who which found cats to be toys, just the day Henry appeared, they had lost Anna cat to a car-icide. But they were done taking care of cats and I was ready to take care of one, even in my meager one bedroom apartment on marijuana mountain.

Henry has been full of surprises. I have taken care of old lady cats before but never a young gentleman like Henry. The vet said he gave them a lot of trouble trying to take blood today. I told them please thank your vet techs. It told them that eight times. Because I know how difficult it was getting him into the carrier this morning.

He had such a nice morning. His boy woke up early (which should have been his first clue something was up), we played with the bug, we got on the futon, he got to watch the birds in the bedroom and I lied down there with him and pettedddddd him, and then I grabbed him and forced him into the carrier and some guy cut his cute little white furry balls off.

So the vet recommends 14 days in the cone. That seems rather onerous.

But I mean, if the choice is between Henry being somewhat uncomfortable for a while, or me having to fight him on stuffing him into the carrier again in a few days because snot or green fluid is dripping from where his balls used to be, I’m okay with the cone. I need to keep him calm and even-keeled, and as such for reasons nobody cares about, I am sleeping on the futon in my living room tonight and probably for a few nights instead of in my fancy bed because I gotta keep an eye on him and because the bedroom has the best CatTV in the house.

Wow this is tough. Boy is gonna get through it and end up as Steve Austin cat. Better. Stronger. Faster.

Good boy.

Henry the Love Sponge

It’s been touch and go with new kitteh, I can’t lie.

The barfing. The barfing. Holy cow, the barfing. Sunday it was barfing then withdrawing to under the bed. Kitteh was not doing well. Dad and Hick were nice enough to deliver some of the food he’d been used to, but even after that, there was barfing.

Now there was barfing last night too, but it was different barfing. I don’t need to go into the details, but I think the initial barfing was from stress, stress because some moron shoved him into a box Saturday and drove him across town. I think last night’s barfing was because I earnestly offered him too many food choices and he gorged a bit. I’m saying the barf was different. Also last night, no hiding, and in fact he was back at the bowl immediately after. He’s getting settled. And where Sunday I was confessing to my Mom on the phone that I wasn’t sure getting kitteh had been a good idea, today I’m feeling pretty confident about it.

We had a good day yesterday, even if the Tar Heels did blow a 16-point lead at the half to lose to Kansas.

The weirdest part is when I come out to greet him and I can’t find him. He’s always finding new places to perch. Here’s today’s.

This “I know I had a cat last time I came out here” stuff is the most bizarre part of my nascent guardianship. But it is what it is.

And yes, kitteh’s full name has been updated. He is officially Henry the Love Sponge (thanks, Bubba). Anyone who’s met him will agree that it suits.

Cat Daddy

So today I became a Cat Daddy.

A few weeks ago, a little blondie short-hair kitteh walked into the office where my Dad’s wife works. This of course happened shortly after their sweet purrer of a kitteh Anna met an untimely end under the wheels of a speeding automobile. Cats are kind of magic like this. This guy walked into our lives right after we lost one we’d loved and cared after for decades.

So the Farm had its last cat standing, the black-as-night kitteh appropriately named “Blackie.” Then this one walked in and roamed all over the warehouse and wouldn’t sit still for anyone until he walked up to Hick. But their place is more a dog place than a cat place, and the dogs tend to view the felines as toys. And frankly, my folks were kind of looking to retire from the cat-rearing business. So conversations began about old Henry, as she had dubbed him, becoming an apartment dweller.

I’ll be honest, I was inclined to demur. It’s quite a lot to take on, and I’ve been used to a solitary lifestyle for a long, long time. But then I met said kitteh. He’s extremely affectionate. He likes to rub on your legs. He likes to sit next to a person on the sofa and purr. He does NOT like being picked up, or as I think of it, he has a strong sense of bodily autonomy. But there’s a personality to this guy. He’s just lovey.

So it came to today that I found myself driving home from the farm with a meowing, struggling cat in a cat carrier. It’s about a 25-minute drive I’d say, and I was talking to him the whole trip because he did not enjoy being in the box. But the whole time, I told him my concept, that once he arrived at my little one-bedroom apartment, he’d see it as an improvement. That while somewhat short on square-footage, my place, he would be lord of the joint, no bullying dogs, no competing cats, and there would likely be cat trees to climb in his future.

And once I freed him, he seemed pleased to be out of the box. He spent about an hour wandering, rubbing his cheeks on everything. He discovered the windows. He found his litter box (praise be). I eventually got him to eat a little kibble, though I am presenting him with both dry and wet food choices as we go (he came in a bit underweight).

I’m a bit apprehensive about it and have been. I enjoy cats, but being one’s guardian (yes, I watch Jackson Galaxy a lot, but Galaxy’s language is spot-on because, let’s face it, nobody has ever owned a cat) is a lot. Life-changing, really. Not to mention, he’s much more of an energetic kitteh than I had previously thought.

As I write this, he’s watching out the window as if he’s watching American Idol. He’s got a lot in store; a vet visit later in the month, then later a snip-snip and shots.

I reckon this might be fun.