Friday, February 16, 2018

Recent Adorableness: Harris the Nurse


I'm still sick, but I'm now into to the dramatic, freestyle part of the program, where I wake up in the wee hours with an asthma attack. It happened at 5:30 this morning, and my coughing was so intense and prolonged that I didn't see a single cat for hours afterward. The challenge is to stop coughing long enough to take two puffs of an inhaler. If I can, it's soon all over; I can breathe and go back to sleep. This time, though, I reached for a glass of ice water while I was still shaking, and it ended up all over the floor.

That was still better than when I took Tamiflu on Tuesday night. Check out the long list of side effects: the common ones are nausea and headaches. The scarier ones include hallucinations, delusions, delirium, and seizures. I read the list and figured I'd probably be fine. Wrong! One capsule made me feel so sick I couldn't move or speak for several hours. I decided I'd rather have the flu than go through that again.

So I'm sticking with cough syrup and Sudafed. Tea, toast, chicken soup. A spoonful of honey for a sore throat. Lots of sleep. And Harris. He loves me! He curls up against me and nurses on my earlobes and washes my neck. He stretched his paw across my wrist yesterday, rested his head there and fell asleep. The best medicine ever.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Where's the PB Been?


We finally made it home to my family in Pennsylvania for "Christmas" last weekend. Sadly, we lost my beloved uncle (and godfather) earlier in the week, at age 93. We arrived in time for the viewing and funeral. I miss him, and I always will. He was one of the kindest, warmest, funniest people I've ever known. At least he had a brilliant, if rather surreal, send-off: full military honors, and all the events were packed with a motorcycle gang of 60 denim-clad Vietnam vets and their wives, since my uncle, a WW2 Navy veteran, had been adopted by them as their "mascot." They filled the church around his dwindling family, old neighbors, and older friends.

Now I'm home, coughing like a Victorian consumptive in a Masterpiece period drama — quietly, but emphatically and regularly enough so that you know It's Serious. As soon as anyone coughs on Masterpiece, that's it — you can be sure they're a goner.

But I just have a cold. I thought it was the flu at first since it came on with fever and chills, but I felt better the next day. I must get some cough syrup because I need to speak at a hearing at City Hall tomorrow night. I represent the neighborhood Garden Club's position on reviews of architectural project proposals when trees are in jeopardy. (My victory record stinks but I persist, and I have faith.)

I've been in no mood to post here recently, so I took a little break, but I expect I'll be back more regularly soon.

In other news, the cats are all fine and dandy. Toffee is a model cat. That doesn't sell papers (or give me good stories) but it is awfully nice for those who with him. Wendy likes our (female!) cat sitter more than me; Wendy always investigates her coat and bag with interest, and lets her come closer than I ever can.

I miss gardening and so I bought a few little herb plants: basil, thyme, and mint. Lion sneaks over to them at night and is eating all of my thyme. Harris shocked me by having strong, minty-fresh breath one day, too — instead of his usual old-fish breath (and we don't feed fish except for the occasional sardine). He is learning how to grab hard treats and carry off items that don't belong to him (including a whole, gift-wrapped bag of treats intended for another household) with three fangs instead of four. And now poor Possum needs to have a tooth extracted, too, but it's a little one on the side, so it won't affect his lovely smile. We keep brushing, but tooth resorption can't be controlled that way, or any way.

Cough, cough. More later.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Recent Adorableness

Harris being cute:


Harris also sleeps cute:


Wendy also sleeps cute until I wake her; then she flees.


Friday, February 2, 2018

Local Rodent Facsimile Refuses to See Shadow, Requests Lawyer

It didn't go so well. But I don't remember when it ever did.

First, I overslept and woke to a ringing phone. I had to take a long call before the festivities could commence. It was not a fortuitous beginning. We'd been expecting three inches of snow but there was none, and that was disappointing. A snowy Groundhog Day is traditional and lovely. Instead we have a slippery one.

As soon as I got Frank Yankovic's Pennsylvania Polka playing, I could tell that Possum would not cooperate. Here he is reacting to Frankie, as we Pennsylvanians call him:


I hoped it was simply that he prefers an Andrews Sisters' rendition; I could sympathize with that.  (This year I was in the mood for the classic movie version.) But no. He was Not in the Mood.

With some trepidation, I scooped him up from of his box facsimile burrow anyway. I'd recently re-injured my back while picking him up, so I concentrated on using leg and ab muscles this time, and it mostly worked. Then we had a brief, lively, extremely unwilling polka session. When he leapt from my arms, I commandeered Harris, who was a more enthusiastic partner. 

Then it was time to place the Reasonable Local Rodent Facsimile on the windowsill and to note if he saw his shadow. Possum swiftly and blindly fled from the sill, but in my opinion, he did look down for a split second upon his faint shadow. I was unable to document that, but here he is afterward, where he landed:


I told Possum that he had disappointed me. I said I felt he'd broken our agreement, obstructed my traditional ritual, and failed to fulfill his obligations as Local Facsimile Rodent. (I said he stank as a rodent, too.) I asked him what his problem was. He said he wouldn't answer any questions without his lawyer present. I asked him who his lawyer was, and he refused to tell me. He said I'd have to issue a subpoena, and that even then he would plead the Fifth, whether during private questioning or before a subcommittee. He said he'd want transcripts of everything. 

This cat has watched too much Rachel Maddow. I said I planned to investigate this matter to the full extent of the law. Then I left him alone. 

The polka was still playing, so I repeated the windowsill experiment with Harris, a more willing if less groundhog-shaped critter, and he did see his shadow. Six more weeks of winter, folks! 

Possum came over to me later and tried to charm me: batting my arm, squawking, and trying to crawl into my lap. I referred him to MY lawyer, assuming he'd received instructions from HIS lawyer to try to win me with false statements and insincere actions. But I've watched too much Rachel Maddow, too. 

I can't imagine a better fate than a long and lustrous winter.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

"Reasonable" Local Rodent Facsimile Selected

Happy February. I could have ended that statement with an exclamation point but it wouldn't have fooled you. February is more of January, and we need to make the most of it, by doing nice hygge things as they do in Denmark. To me, that means napping, wearing woolens, drinking tea and cocoa, eating lovely baked goods, and taking walks when I'm not napping or reading under a knitted throw.

Tomorrow is Groundhog Day, one of those rare holidays that requires no shopping — except for a groundhog, if you don't have one handy. I'm a Pennsylvania native, and there are no groundhogs for rent or lease in Boston as far as I know. So, as usual, I had to select a Reasonable Local Rodent Facsimile to look for his shadow tomorrow morning.

Lion and Toffee don't resemble a groundhog in the slightest, and Wendy hates me, so that narrowed the field. Harris volunteered. He loves attention and he's game for new experiences that don't involve veterinarians. But enthusiasm isn't everything. I had to choose the most qualified candidate:


"Possum," I said, "You have been chosen unanimously to be my Reasonable Groundhog Facsimile again this year." He roused himself to argue with me:


He said he doesn't like being pressed into service to view his shadow. He said he intensely dislikes dancing even the briefest of Pennsylvania Polkas with me. 

I agreed that are better polka tunes to dance to. And I reminisced about spending many an hour as a Pennsylvania kid listening to polka tunes on Jolly Joe Timmer's polka radio show, sometimes willingly and sometimes not. Possum listened impatiently. 

"But that's not the point," I said. "The point is that we dance to The Pennsylvania Polka on Groundhog Day. And that requires a rodent. It's traditional."

Possum said that Harris would be a more willing RGF. Harris likes to dance. 

I said. "Possum, you are experienced. You were named for a similar type of rodent. You are also the ideal shape for the job, being round and, well, flabby — quite like a groundhog who's packed on a few pounds for the winter. You also have some of the groundhog's lovely tawny coloring. Really, you're the best groundhog facsimile around."

"Get yourself a squirrel," said Possum.

"But, Possum, how can I dance with a squirrel?" I asked. 

He had no answer to that. So I ended the conversation, knowing that, tomorrow morning, my "Reasonable Rodent Facsimile" was not going to be all that reasonable. 

Stay tuned for the festivities.