Monthly Archives: May 2011

Goodbye, Cappuccino

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This weekend was a sad weekend as m’girl and I made the difficult (and necessary) decision to put an end to our cat’s suffering.

Cappuccino lived almost 17 years, and my wife was her owner for almost all of her life. To hear my mother-in-law talk about the first meeting, Cappuccino was the one that adopted my wife when, as a kitten, she hopped up on her cowboy hat and wouldn’t let go.

Cappy (as we have called her) moved from her birthplace of Texas to Arizona about 12 years ago. Since we’ve only been together for about 2 years, I don’t know much about her early life…so I’ll blather on about the time I had with her.

When I moved in with m’girl, Cappy didn’t warm up to me quickly. I started calling her “The Grumpy Old Curmudgeon” because when she wanted to be fed, she let me know. And if I tripped over her because it was dark, she reacted in a way that I imagined her calling me 4-letter words.

But like fungus, I eventually grew on her. She started rubbing up against my legs like a normal cat, and liked it when I petted her. But she didn’t turn into the nicest cat, either. She had a particular way she wanted to be petted…and if I didn’t follow suit as ordered, she’d try to nip me. She wasn’t mean, per se, but she had NO problem letting me know what she didn’t like.

Later, we moved her bed out from the closet to the corner of the bedroom next to my side of the bed. However, after finding out that MY big recliner was in front of HER much smaller bed…well, she’s a cat. She took over MY recliner.

And when I say took over, I don’t mean she just laid there on the seat. Every time I passed by, she made a sound closer to a growl than a meow. I may not know how to describe the sound, but I knew exactly what she was saying. “Pet me, dammit!” It didn’t matter if it was 9:00pm, 2:00am, 10:00, whenever. Every. single. time.

A couple of months ago we noticed she would make a weird howl at random times of the day (and sometimes the night). Concerned about any suffering she might be experiencing, we took her to the vet. After a few hundred dollars of testing, all they knew is that her kidney functions were getting worse.

Some time later, she started getting much worse. We went back to the vet to learn how to give Cappy subcutaneous fluids much like an IV but just under the skin, and not necessarily in a vein. That helped for a couple of days…but not for long.

After coming back home from Tucson on Saturday afternoon, we found that Cappy had been vomiting, and was now hiding under the bed and would not come out. When I went to retrieve her, I knew the end was near. We spent the night cleaning her up from a couple of accidents, and just held her.

Sunday morning we knew it was time. I won’t go into details except to say the Goodyear Animal Hospital went absolutely above and beyond what they had to do to accommodate us. We received a card in the mail yesterday, signed by everyone that was there that sad morning, expressing their condolences.

Today was the day I picked up the final step in our journey with Cappy. After we left, they made an imprint of Cappy’s paw in clay, fired it in a kiln, and painted it with her name.

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With moist eyes and a heavy heart I say goodbye to the second cat we’ve lost during our short marriage. But I’m glad I knew you, you grumpy old curmudgeon.

Cappuccino

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Category: Personal

Mother’s Day, Bubba Style

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I have always found family holidays like Mother’s Day a bit of a challenge. However, after years of lamenting that my family is more than a little dysfunctional, I’ve come to the realization that everyone has their challenges in this area. No longer are we the country that has mom within driving distance, or has both parents still married “after all these years”.

This year, I am going to celebrate Mother’s Day by telling you the four mothers I am blessed to have.

First of all, there is the woman that gave me birth. If you have been reading this for a while, you know that she lives about 2-3 hours away and is the closest blood relative that I have. I would talk to her and go see her except the fact that she wants nothing to do with me because, in her words, I am “strange.”

After four and a half decades of life on this earth, I have made peace with the fact that I may never see her again. The decision to estrange herself from me is hers, not mine; all I can do is accept it for what it is.

That being said, she is the woman that gave me life and for that she has my respect and my love, if not my presence.

The next woman that comes to mind on Mother’s Day is my stepmother. She married my dad over 25 years ago and has stuck it out with him for better and for worse. To say we didn’t get along when I was growing up is an understatement. I resented the fact that I didn’t have my “real” mother anymore, and I’m sure she resented the fact that she had four more kids in her house when my birth mother abandoned us by leaving us at our grandmother’s house for almost two months before dad drove eight hours to come get us.

Nonetheless, this is the woman I call “mom” the most. Not only has she stuck it out with dad all this time but she took care of us kids in the best manner she knew how to do. We were never forced to call her mom, but even then I recognized the sacrifices she made to guide us to adulthood.

For this, she is the main person I think of when I think of “mother.” And not only does she have my love and respect but my undying gratitude for filling a tough, demanding, and certainly thankless role.

The third woman is my ex-mother-in-law. Counting the time we dated, I was with her daughter for seven years. She always did her best to make me feel welcome when we were together. After we both got divorced in the same year, we became friends and support systems for each other. I was really worried about her when she divorced her husband of 37 years; she had always been a stay-at-home wife and mother and her identity was her husband’s wife and her children’s mother. Finding her identity has been a struggle, but she has grown tremendously since.

I am proud to call her not only friend but mom.

The last person that serves the role of mother to me is my current mother-in-law. To say this woman has the gift of hospitality would be an extreme understatement. She came to Arizona from Ohio when we got married, and spent almost every hour either baking cookies or doing something else to make things easier on everyone else.

My father-in-law has some health issues that require her to provide assistance every day, and she performs those responsibilities admirably. On top of all of that, she’s just a good person and friend.

For that, she’s someone I am proud to call my mom.

I guess I could still focus on the dysfunction of my life and have a negative attitude. Or I could recognize my situation for what it is: extremely blessed.

Thanks to all the moms: mine, yours, and everyone else’s, for making this world the wonderful place it is.

Family pic 2010

Category: Personal