Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A eulogy to Captain. Even if he never could read.

(the night we brought him home)

Yesterday, we made the difficult decision to put Captain down. I took him to the vet in the morning to drop him off for what we thought would be a tooth extraction. The vet called shortly after to say that he had found a mass in Captain's abdomen during a pre-op check and wanted to do an x-ray. He asked if it were possible that Captain had eaten something foreign and I immediately thought of all of Mallory's Squinkies that he has chewed up, swallowed and then later regurgitated. It sounded like this was what we were dealing with...
(hanging out in the fridge in my old apartment)

But the vet then called again to say the x-ray revealed something much larger than a Squinkies, and given how fast it was growing, how it was already starving Captain to death, and how he was also dealing with his thyroid issue plus the heart murmur he's had all his life... there was not much hope, and no time to waste in making a decision. So I slipped out of work early to be with Captain one last time.
(Captain's first Christmas - in the tree at Bruce and Dana's)

Breaking the news to the kids was hard. Mallory cried a little at first but seemed to quickly get over it, whereas Liam started out stoically but then had a big cry at bedtime. As for me, I cried pretty much all day from the time I heard the news, including an hour-long stint at my desk while I tried to figure out what to do (do we bring Captain home for one more night so the kids can say goodbye?
(loving the unpacking on Elizabeth Street)

Ultimately we decided not to, and it was the right call. Captain hated being in the car so forcing another couple of trips on him didn't seem fair. And, he was already on an IV for fluids at the vet's. I thought it was nice that he didn't have to take another jab in the end, just another drug added to his drip.)

(posing in the newly-reno'd kitchen on Elizabeth Street)

Captain was with us for exactly twelve years. We adopted him in November 2000, when he was roughly 10-12 weeks old (he was a stray, so can't say exactly.) I decided to get a cat (with Chad's blessing - this was less than a year before we got married) and we held out for an orange and white tabby. We finally heard there was one available at the vet's office in Wallaceburg, so we drove out one night after work to check him out. There were a brother and a sister in the cage with him, but Captain was the one for us.
(enjoying leftovers from Chad's 30th birthday ice cream cake)

We drove home with him on my lap and the minute we got him into my apartment, he ran and hid under my bed for the rest of the night. But it didn't take long for him to warm up to us and become part of the family.
(helping me study for my business degree - loving the desk lamp)

Captain was with us through our wedding and moving into our first house on Elizabeth Street. He was there as we fixed that house up and gutted the kitchen. He caught the bats that flew down the chimney until we finally figured out where they were coming in and plugged the hole up.
(waiting for baby - right before Liam was born)

He was there, however reluctantly, when Liam was born and then Mallory, and when we bought the lot on Braemar and eventually moved there. He was there through a lot with us. It will be strange not to have him going forward.
(hanging out with Chad)

He was a bad cat in so many ways, knocking over glasses of milk and jumping onto the counters and bolting out the door if we left it ajar too long; but today I would have been happy to shove another pill down his throat or stop him from rummaging in the garbage for scraps from dinner. I suppose we are all doing a little bit better today as it all sinks in. Mallory came home from school with this awesome picture she drew in memorial:
 ...and now she is asking when we can go to the pet store to get a new cat. We were at the store a few weeks ago and she saw a kitten there who looks exactly like Captain, and she wants to get him. And name him Captain. And she is worried that if we put it off any longer, he'll be gone. And then what will we do, because we have a house with a cat door built in, and what if there is no cat to use it?
(as an itty bitty kitty)

We may well get another cat someday, but for right now, I am still too wrapped up in my first Captain. He was a loyal friend and he will be sadly missed for a long time to come.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Best moments

Best moment this weekend: when Liam, just having lost his third tooth and having left it under his pillow for the Tooth Fairy, came downstairs in the morning and announced that the Tooth Fairy had taken his tooth but neglected to leave any money in return. Upon hearing that, Mallory, who has only lost one tooth so far, ran upstairs to her room and brought back the $5 bill that the Tooth Fairy had given her in exchange for it (a one-time-only rate expressly reserved for that first tooth.) She's a sweetie. As it turned out, the Tooth Fairy had indeed left Liam a toonie - it just worked its way down his bed overnight.

Or, maybe it was when Mallory, excited about the debut of Disney's new Princess Sofia on TV, came downstairs to watch the movie dressed in what she calls her "Princess Diamond" getup. (Methinks Chad needs to put his glasses on to watch TV.)

Or maybe it was the impromptu snowball fight we had Sunday morning when out for a walk... I don't think there is anything in the world that Liam enjoys more than a snowball fight.

It definitely was not today, when i picked up the phone and called the vet and reluctantly agreed to spend $500 (GULP) to have Captain sedated and his rotten teeth pulled in the hopes of fixing him up. I am not someone to take heroic measures to save an animal, but this does seem like responsible (albeit painful) pet ownership. Am I right, or am I crazy? Hoping to have a happier kitty on our hands by this same time tomorrow.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The one where we are thankful for nine lives

I thought I'd be updating last week with more Christmas prep, but then life got in the way, and by 'life' I mean a sick little cat. A few weeks ago Captain stopped eating asmuch as usual and started losing weight, and a full blood work-up and several hundred dollars later we found out that he had a tooth infection (and also required a higher dose of his thyroid medication). For two weeks he was on antibiotics and turned back into his happy self and started putting weight on again, but last week he stopped eating, cold turkey. His tooth does not seem to be infected anymore but he is not eating anything except for small amounts of tuna that I am forcing on him in desperation. And he does not seem to be drinking much, either, which is why I'm constantly chasing him around with an eye dropper full of water. A couple of days ago he seemed to be coming around, but now I think we are back to square one. Trying to figure out how we're going to fit the vet visit in this week in the midst of the regular hustle and bustle, which already includes a morning working from home while the manufacturer comes to check our leaky window... Oy.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

It's beginning to look a lot like...

We've been spending some of our spare weekend hours over the past few weeks getting the house ramped up for the holidays. If it doesn't happen before December then it won't likely happen at all. Things just get too crazy from December 1 onward. I know some people begrudge the extended timeframe during which Christmas is celebrated, but I don't mind it one bit. If you're going to go to all the trouble then you'd might as well enjoy it as long as possible. Plus, there have already been some Christmas events that have come and gone to start putting us in the mood. We have already gone to our local Santa Claus Parade, and our Operation Christmas Child gift boxes had to be packed and dropped off last weekend.
So, other Christmas tasks have been on the to-do list, too. Tasks such as planting my amaryllis... which I really hope I did earlier than last year, because last year the bulb bloomed... on December 30th. I stalked the stores starting on November 1 this year and bought the first bulb I could find.
The  garland has been strung on the mantel. Last year's lights bit the dust and those were the last incandescents we had been using. These ones are LEDs and they're a little blinding if you look at them for too long. Not quite the 'warm' and 'homey' vibe I was going for, but it's the way of the world, I suppose.
The side table has been transformed from 'Halloween' to 'Christmas', but this will soon disappear - maybe even this weekend - because this is the spot where we put our tree. The table gets relegated to the basement for the season.
The display on the buffet in the kitchen. I'd still like to get a banner made to hang along the top of the mirror.
My wreath survived a year of storage in the basement and it's back, baby! Still love it just as much as I did last year.
And, the stairs. It has taken me several years to work the kinks out of our holiday decor but I think I am finally there. I have tried a few things in different areas and now I know what I like. I like red and turquoise and white and silver and a little bit of green, I like vintage, I like clear lights rather than coloured, and I like the garland swagged on the staircase like with ornaments and stockings mixed in better than any other way I've tried it. There are lights, too. They just weren't on for this shot.
Perhaps best of all is the outdoor decor we put up this year... for the first time since we've moved here, I simply adore it. Pictures to come.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Just a regular Saturday

Subtitle: All Hockey, All the Time
The day starts when one of Liam's neighbourhood friends rings our doorbell shortly after 9 a.m. The two of them wind up playing 2011 NHL Xbox in the basement. Liam makes a point of running up to his closet to get two jerseys from opposing teams for them to wear while they play, lest they forget whose team is whose.
 Neighbour boy goes home, and another neighbour boy comes - he's actually brothers with the first. (They're two years apart in age and Liam is between the two, so it works really well for us!) Now they're playing road hockey on the driveway.
We send neighbour boy #2 home eventually, because Liam has to get ready to go play an actual ice hockey game with his team.

The day finishes up with an LHL game. That's the Liam Hockey League, for the uninitiated among you. That deserves a blog post all its own so I will leave it for another day.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The spitting image of my public school self

Tonight before bed, Liam finished reading the greatest book of all time. Well, one of them, anyway.

He was a trooper. It took him a couple of weeks to finish and I hung over his shoulder half the time, reading along with him. "You can't put it away for tonight!" I would say, "Don't you want to find out who gets the next Golden Ticket? Don't you want to know what happens to Augustus Gloop when he goes up the pipe? Don't you want to know more about the Oompa-Loompas??"

He enjoyed the book and has already asked me to track down a copy of Charlie and The Great Glass Elevator for him. I'll do that, and while I'm at it, I will also look for The Twits. That was another great Roald Dahl book and the nastiness in it will appeal to his little boy self.

This is fun stuff, enjoying the same stuff as your kids - whether it's a book with Liam, or a song with Mallory (singing along with Taylor Swift in the car) - it's hard to miss them as babies when they are turning into such cool little people to hang out with.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Ready for the Zombie Apocalypse

Since the iPad came to live with us a couple of months ago, we've been playing a lot of games on it. For better or for worse, one of the kids' favourites is this:
So I suppose I should not have been surprised when Mallory brought this home from art class today:
Should I be mortified? Really I just can't stop laughing.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Halloween 2012: Post-Sandy edition

I am behind... I know everyone else posted their Halloween photos three days ago. I guess my excuse is that I wasn't overly smitten with my Halloween night pictures this year and if I'm not excited about it, I'm not chomping at the bit to share. I was later getting out of work than I'd hoped to be and things were a little rushed as a result. I don't think we got costumed up much later this year than we have in years past, but because it was raining, it was already dark. Consequently... not nearly as many pictures this year as in the past. THANK GOODNESS for our little session in the woods!
Chad dressed up as Metro Man this year to be the counterpoint to Liam's Megamind, and I was Glinda to go along with Mallory's Dorothy. Though to be honest, I look like a pretty half-hearted version of Glinda... I mean, I'm wearing an old prom gown with a running jacket underneath to stay warm, and a cardboard crown from Burger King on my head. I think in the future my mantra will be: I either go all out, or don't go out at all. Mallory, though, loved my outfit, as did lots of little girl trick-or-treaters we passed on the street.
As we've done in the past, we had a quick dinner with the family before going our separate ways trick-or-treating. I was lucky to get this one picture of them all on the porch (in the rain) before we parted. In this shot, Mallory has been outside for all of twenty seconds, but she is freezing to death. She wore a winter coat over her costume for the rest of the night.
The boys... you'd never guess Chad's costume was sized for a 12-year-old boy. He cut it apart and fit pieces of it over top of other clothing that ensured he was, well, covered. I think Liam thought they made a pretty cool pair. I think the neighbours wonder about Chad now.

Liam's friends actually came knocking this year, and the three of them went out together, with Mallory and the other parents and ourselves tagging along behind at a bit of a distance. I think Liam felt very grown-up about the whole arrangement.
We didn't get a shot of Mallory and I together until we came home from trick-or-treating. She was not really game - can you tell by her face??
But, the loot made up for it. The best part of the night for these guys is separating all their treats out into piles. Chips with chips, chocolate with chocolate.

So, we had our first Halloween rain-out, but it didn't really dampen spirits. Liam probably stayed out longer than ever before - Mallory threw in the towel a little earlier. I'm hoping it's a little warmer next year, and that whatever I wind up dressing up as, I can fit some warm clothes under my costume a little more discreetly than this.