Sunday, October 22, 2006

Biting is Bad

Sometimes I feel like an evil god.

Let me explain.

You know how some misguided people have this warped view of God as an old meanie who is sitting up in heaven, waiting until you do something wrong so he can zap you with lightning? Well, if I was God, I think that's what I'd be like. Except instead of bolts of lightning, it would be water. Case in point: Stan. He goes into biting mode or scratching mode and I reach for the spray bottle. He hasn't actually bitten me yet ( at least not today), but I know he wants to- he's GOING TO- so I sit poised, the bottle in my hand, my finger on the spray trigger...just waiting...and in fact, HOPING, that he will try to bite me, so I can teach him a lesson. Those of you who are seasoned cat owners are probably rolling your eyes, thinking I'm way too uptight, and scarily vengeful, and what a lot I have to learn. Well, he has to be trained sometime!

It's a good thing I'm NOT God, eh?

The problem is, what I think of as "biting," is merely harmless, jolly gnawing to Brad. Last night, he was sitting at the computer, holding Stan ( a feat in and of itself as he is wont to climb on the keyboard- Stan, not Brad) and his fingers were in Stan's mouth! I grabbed the spray bottle and gave a hearty blast, but at the last second, Brad's arm moved in the way and the next thing I know he's looking at me with a bewildered face, saying, "Why did you just spray me?" We NEED to be a united front! What is not acceptable to one parent must be unacceptable to the other! I guess we need to talk about the definition of "biting." I guess that's the difference between the seasoned pet owner and the first time pet owner.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Peter Marshall

Here's a quote I like from Peter Marshall:

" It is a far, far better thing in the realms of morals to be old fashioned than to be ultramodern. The world has enough women who know how to be brilliant. It needs some who will be brave. The world has enough women who are popular. It needs more who are pure. We need women, and men too, who would rather be morally right than socially correct."

In the first line, he said " in the realms of morals," but I think you could substitute the word "standards" or "worldview" there as well. The world has enough people who are going with the flow. It needs some who are willing to stand out and be different. And I'm not necessarily talking about a "cool" kind of different - but perhaps a kind of "different" that people may not understand or appreciate at all. Not different for the sake of being different- there's quite enough of that and there is little or no virtue in arbitrary strangeness- but because it's what God has asked of you - it's what you were meant to be.


Monday, October 16, 2006

Stan of Green Gables

Life with a kitten is interesting. Never having had a pet of my own before, this is all new ground for me.

Stan seems to think that we are his personal climbing walls. And he sees my feet as independent creatures that he needs to attack. He sees his reflection in the exterior of the dishwasher and the oven door, and just about goes crazy trying to get at the kitten he sees. I'm afraid that I can see an Anne of Green Gables complex developing within him. ( ANNE: The only real friend I ever had was Katie Morris, and she was only my window friend. MARILLA: Window friend? ANNE: I discovered her in the window of Mrs. Thomas' bookcase, which was the only window which hadn't been smashed by her intoxicated husband. I lived with them before the Hammonds. I used to wish I knew the spell to step through the glass into Katie's world, which was so beautiful.)

( Just to clarify: my husband is not in the habit of being intoxicated.)

Stan can be VERY loud. We shut him in the laundry room at night or when we go out, so he doesn't have accidents in the rest of the house, or scratch things to ribbons. ( This is just a temporary thing, until we know that he is house-trained...) And if we had gotten a parrot, he could not be a louder screamer than this kitten. We can hear him crying all the way upstairs at the opposite end of the house. Not that our house is mansion sized by any means, but I was quite impressed with the way his voice can carry. He certainly knows how to tug at the old heart strings.

Brad had forgotten how much he is allergic to cats. We are still not sure what we are going to do...I'm afraid that Stanley is like Anne Shirley in more ways than one; right now, he is here "on trial." I am so amazed at how strongly I want to keep him. I never thought my heart could be captured so quickly by an animal; when he settles down in my lap and starts purring, I pretty much melt. Let's just hope he can last the week without any major catastrophes, like dying his hair green, insulting visitors, or losing any of my keepsakes from past tragic romances.

Maybe we should spell his name with an 'e' at the end. "Stanne." Hmmmm....

Friday, October 13, 2006

Stan the Man

Brad had the day off today and decided to accompany Penny and me on our weekly yardsale outing. The first yardsale we went to was in our subdivision and shortly after we arrived, the proprietess casually mentioned that they had free kittens. All our heads sort of swiveled around in unison and our eyes lit up. KITTENS?

I can't remember if I reported on this but for Brad's birthday, I sent him on a treasure hunt...and he ended up opening a bunch of presents that all had a common theme: cat stuff. For three years I have resisted the acquisition of a household feline; but I always knew that sooner or later, I would give in because Brad really wanted one. This summer, I knew the time had finally come to cave to his wishes. After his birthday, we visited Petsmart, kept our eyes on the paper and generally were aware of all things kitty. But nothing happened.

So this morning at the yardsale, we swooped into the garage and looked at several kittens, about 8 weeks old, running around. The little girl of the house was holding a male, gray tiger kitten and he was the one who captured our hearts. His name is Stan. ( Brad calls him Stan; I call him Stanley.) He's already revolutionizing the household. Ahem- next thing to do: gotta wash the living room chair slipcover. I guess he had a panic attack and couldn't make it to the litterbox.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

In the Ghettooooooooooo!!!

In case you're curious to know how my interview went, it was fine. Unlike my last interview, I swung the other way and laid awake late worrying about it. I rehearsed my weaknesses and strengths this time; no more winging it and showing up unprepared. But she didn't even ASK me about my weaknesses or strengths! Man!

Well, she wants me to come back on Monday for a second interview with her boss, but I'm thinking, ehh....I don't think so. I have no doubt that I could do this job but it's a shall I say this...I think "ghetto" is the word I want.

They have an inmate as a janitor. Problem #1. I saw him when I first drove up; he was collecting trash outside or something. I almost kept on driving. Not too confidence inspiring to see someone in front of the library in a white jumpsuit advertising the fact that he's from a correctional facility. I don't know HOW that works. There was no one watching him either. Whaat? I mean, I'm not anti-criminal or anything. Wait - what am I saying!? Yes, I am! I know I probably shouldn't be but it kinda makes me a little nervous. I mean, I know it's wrong to be judgmental...but what about being wise? Isn't there a balance there? The lady who interviewed me asked in passing if it bothered me...What was I supposed to say? At the moment, it didn't. I was just like, Whatever. But later on, I started thinking, " What was THAT all about?" I don't know. Part of me says, there but for the grace of God go I ... but the other part of me says, if I want to work with convicts, I'll work in a jail, thankyouverymuch.

And then there were a few other things that came up in the interview that kind of raised some red flags and made me gulp a little. Nothing too horrendous. Nobody has been murdered in the library or anything. The interviewer said, go home and talk to your husband and make sure he's on board with this. I knew Brad would be like, "Um, NO." And sure enough...he was. That's fine. That's what husbands are for- to keep you from making unwise decisions. I think if I was single, I might have said yes. I was so gung-ho ( desperate) and thinking, " I'll do AN-Y-THING! I don't want to turn anything down that might remotely fit my skills and personality." But, I'm glad to have the confirmation from my husband that I can "just say no"; it helped to tip me off the fence into the "No" pasture.

There's another library position in a library closer to home, in a better neighborhood and I submitted an application today. The lady said she would be calling people next week. Hmm. Okay. Keep the ol' fingers crossed. But I'd advise against holding your breath.

Just a suggestion: If you want to get rid of the temptation to go downstairs late at night and eat, get someone to tell you that they just saw a cockroach down in the kitchen. And that it got away. Maaan. I can never go into the kitchen again.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Hold the Phone....Stop the Presses...

...Ladies and Gentlemen, I am in a good mood. And I thought I should let you know because it's a good thing to share the happy moments as well as the grumpy ones. I think too often I give inordinate time and attention to the grumpy moments. So, here's the balance.

Today, Brad had half a day and when he got home, we went outside and did some yardwork, so now the place looks pretty spiffy. Perhaps it was the endorphins from the extra exercise that contributed to my good mood.

We went off to Sam's Club to pick up a few items and renew our membership and decided to have a little supper while we were there. ( No - it did not consist entirely of eating samples.) If you are ever in a Sam's Club, you MUST go to the little snack-bar place in the front and get a premium ice-cream bar. Even if you don't want one. You have to get it anyway. You'll be glad you did. It's worth all 200 something calories. Skip the one with milk chocolate coating over dark chocolate icecream and go straight for the milk chocolate coating over raspberry swirl icecream. We each got one and it was absolutely superlative bliss on a stick. They were Godiva. Need I say more?

In the middle of eating this fabulous creation, my phone rang and it was a woman calling about a job application I had mailed a couple of weeks ago. Since I hadn't heard back from anyone, I had pretty much given up on it...But tomorrow morning I have an interview for a library job at 10:00 a.m. That just put me ON TOP OF THE WORLD. Okay- so I haven't even had the interview yet. Okay- so I have no idea if I will get this job. Okay, so the pay isn't super-wonderful and it'll probably take me half an hour to get there. I don't care! I have an interview! Just the possibility of a job is enough to launch me out of my mental rut and make me feel a little more alive.

And...more good news. When I got home from the trip the other day, I found something waiting for me in the mail: my passport. I have never been to a country where I needed one...until now. Last week, I procured a roundtrip ticket for myself to England for a visit with my sister's family. I'm leaving in three weeks! I have wanted to go to England ever since I can remember...and everyone else in my family has been, at least once. Actually, I think they've all been twice. But something always conspired to keep me here.

I am really excited and happy! I just wish Brad could come but I realize that it was miracle enough that we went up to NH last week.

I can't believe this is actually happening. Hurray!

Friday, October 06, 2006

Left Behind

Last night as I opened my suitcase to take some things out, I was a little creeped out to find something I'd never seen before. Something I know isn't mine. I found a little blue and gold earring in among my sweaters. I was a little boggled until I realized that it probably belongs to some poor TSA woman who was searching my suitcase yesterday. There was no piece of paper that announced that my suitcase had been opened; I guess they leave their calling cards in a different way these days.

SO! If you are a TSA baggage checker from either Boston or Detroit who just happened to stumble upon this blog, and you are missing a little gold earring with a tiny blue stone in it, leave me a comment, eh? And I KNOW my suitcase wasn't really packed neatly, but...I refuse to be embarrassed. Come on, it was the return trip, okay?

Then, in the middle of the night, I had a fierce itch between two of my toes. A little later, I itched in several other places. In the fogginess of my sleepy logic, I was seriously convinced that the TSA woman who left her earring behind must have also had fleas and that some of them must have jumped off into my suitcase and now had taken up residence upon me. Fortunately, I was merely delusional.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

One year ago today...

...we drove by our house for the first time. Very strange to contemplate.

And today...we got home from our convention/vacation. We really couldn't have asked for a more wonderful time; perhaps I'll take the time to report a few of the highlights at some point. As great as it was to get away for a change of pace, visit family and friends, enjoy the New England foliage, and gain some spiritual encouragement, it is GOOD to be home again.

Monday, October 02, 2006

October 3

I went in to our local PRC recently to do some volunteering and one of the other volunteers said, " I saw a picture of your brother today." My mother, who also volunteers there, had been telling some of them about Andrew and showed them his picture. "He was so handsome," she said. "Yes," I said." He is." She noticed my use of the present tense, and seemed to be only slightly weirded out; but she is a Christian, and replied in a way that made me know she sort of understood. But I didn't really take the time to explain the whole reason behind why I said 'is' instead of 'was.'

I consciously chose to use the present tense. I know that it's kind of nit-picky, but sometimes it bothers me a little when people use the past tense in that context. It's one thing when people say, " He liked this" or "Remember when he did that" or "He had a funny way of doing this..." because the past is the past. But there's just this little tiny part of me that rises up to correct people when the past tense is used in a sentence like, " He was my friend..." which limits him to just the past. ( Not that anyone has said that to me, but I'm just giving a hypothetical example.) I know what they mean, but it's important to remember that Andrew still is. He may have finished earthly life two years ago, but he still exists. And somehow that is a deep comfort to me. It is a crystal clear reality that I am going to see him and be with him again sometime in the future. If we saw him before and we know we will see him again, then he must be somewhere now - he's just gone away for now. It's a good thing it's not a permanent absence because it would just be wrong for the world to be deprived of such a wonderful person.

I was thinking recently about how for me ( and many of us), October is a scar on the year; time and grieving does have a way of bringing relief and healing but this time of year will always be difficult, or at least sad to some degree. I was also thinking about how, sooner or later, everyone has these little windows of darkness in their calendars; everyone has a scar or two - or more- in their year. Perhaps some scars are older, further along in their healing than others. I'm not trying to seem morbid, but that's just fairly obvious. Death is inevitable- so far- and pretty much every death brings sadness to someone. It can be a tad depressing until one remembers that at some point in the future, hopefully not too distant from now, time will cease to exist as we know it. October and all the other months of the year will become obsolete. There will be no sad anniversaries. No more dread. Ways of reckoning time will be irrelevant. There will be no separations to mark because there will be no separations. And all tears will be wiped away. No more scars on anyone's calendar.