Saturday, July 14, 2007
Friday, July 13, 2007
Thursday, July 12, 2007
I got my New Jersey State property tax rebate form in the mail on Monday. With it, I can apply for a 20% rebate on my property taxes. For me, that amounts to about $375. On Tuesday, I got a notice from my mortgage company informing me that my monthly payment was increasing by $50 to cover the cost of my increased property taxes. On Monday I was up $375, and by Tuesday I was down two and a quarter. If I get another rebate I won’t be able to pay my taxes.
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
There were plenty, and my attention turned to a grey short-haired 7-year old whose owner had turned him in because of allergies. We looked at each other, and his eyes had the desperate look of an animal who really wanted to get out of that cage and come to a loving home. Meanwhile, the wife was checking on a litter of kittens at the other end of the row, and had picked up a black fur ball with tiny sharp claws and that squeaky little kitten howl. Simultaneously, we turned to each other with our furry choices. Her heart was set on the kitten, who by this time had taken a death-grip on her sweater, and the only way we were going to give him back would be to give back the sweater with him. My grey hair went back into his cage and our sad eyes said goodbye. I always wondered if he found his home.
We called him Kitty, because neither of us could decide on a name, and once he began to respond to Kitty, it seemed pointless to try to change it. My ex and I settled into roles of cat care. Hers was the playful friend and mine was the care-giver and surrogate mother. Luckily, Kitty would eventually wind up with me.
In 1996, when the wife became the “ex”, Kitty perched by the door for a couple of days, awaiting the return of his play-pal. “She isn’t coming back,” I would tell him. It took a little while for the cat to accept his one-parent household, but it was soon after that we began a bond that many people do not have. I always wondered if he bonded to me because I had lost my friend, or if I bonded to him because he lost his. It doesn’t matter. I never had any children, so he became my "boy". It's odd, I know, but I don't care.
He responds to my voice the way a dog would. “Hey, buddy!”, “Breakfast”, “No”, “Fancy Feast”, “Food” and “Bedtime” are all parts of his vocabulary. He is smarter than some people I know and the two of us have been together so long that we know what we are going to do before we do it. He wakes me up if I oversleep and comes into the living room late at night to remind me that I need to get to bed. The list of things that he and I do together would start to sound more like what two human friends do than a man and a cat. He follows me around like a puppy from room to room, and it still amazes me that after 16 years he is still frightened of the vacuum cleaner.
He has been having his regular yearly check-up, and for the past 5 years or so, I have been having blood work done on him. Last year, he started to show signs of kidney failure. It’s rather common in cats as they age. My vet called this morning with the news that he is in the early stage of renal failure. He will have to be on a special diet and she will be monitoring his blood work every four months now to see how it is progressing. The diet may help, but of course, it will only serve to postpone the inevitable.
Being at work when one receives bad news is perhaps the worst possible place to be. I have been into the stall in our men’s room several times to stifle my sobbing over losing my friend. Premature as it is, the thought of not having him around sends me reeling. Of course, I am not foolish enough to think that the little guy would live forever, but whether it was now or when he is 20, the thought of not having him near me is more than I can bear. Perhaps it was that news that sent me over the edge, since I have been dealing with some other personal issues for the past couple of weeks, and I suppose that the combination of issues has caused the house of cards to begin to implode.
Maybe I’m acting silly or maybe I’m overreacting, but my first instinct when I heard that my friend was having a problem was to cry and wish that I could help him and make him better, but I can’t, and he can’t help himself. So, perhaps it is the futility of the situation that is grinding at me. He won’t know why I cry a little when I see him and hold him a little tighter every day.
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Monday, July 9, 2007
1. Name between 5 & 10 songs that have made an impact on your life. I’ll leave it up to you to decide how many you wish to describe.
2. Pass it onto five other people with a link back to your own post and this one as the original.
2. Lucky Man - Emerson, Lake and Palmer. I was in my cousin's garage, rifling through his record collection (with his permission) and I came across several LPs that I hadn't heard. Jethro Tull's Thick as a Brick, Thunderclap Newman's Hollywood Dream and ELP's first album which contained this song. The synthesizer solo at the end is the theme to the progressive era and served as a gateway for me to a lot of great music. In those days, it was all about finding great music through other great music. Genesis was Keith Emerson's favorite band, Greg Lake begat King Crimson, and Carl Palmer led me to Atomic Rooster via The Crazy World of Arthur Brown. You had to be there.
4. I Saw Her Standing There - The Beatles. A bit obvious, perhaps, but this was the first Beatles record I owned, and you know how it is with The Beatles. They got a six-year old interested in music and lucky for me, my parents never considered them enemies of the state or long-haired hippies. When I think about it - geez - six years old. What are six-year old's doing these days?
5. America - Yes. Having always been a Simon and Garfunkel fan, I was amazed when I heard this long-form take off on their classic tune. Unpopular music wasn't as easy to find in those days as it is today, so finding the long version of this song took some scrounging. We had to call record stores and run around like idiots looking for stuff. Briefly, a single (short version) came out, but it's a lame excuse for the real deal. Listen to it back-to-back with the Paul Simon version, and you'll know what I mean.
6. Aerial Boundaries - Michael Hedges. Steve Vai once said, "Nobody on God's green earth plays the guitar like Michael Hedges." How right he was. Michael died in 1997, and I saw him perform six times, the last of which was at the auditorium at The Seaport Museum. Michael was amazed at the place, and said that he could "just stand up here and write." Two weeks later, his car skidded off California State Route 128 in Mendocino County. I never felt a sense of loss for someone I didn't know like I did when Michael died.
7. Sunday Will Never Be the Same - Spanky & Our Gang. This song came out in the summer of 1967, a few months after my father died, and it was almost as though the song was written for my mother. It's pretty grim stuff, and as a kid, things like this will straighten your ass out in a hurry:
Sunday afternoons that make me feel so warm inside, have turned as cold and grey as ashes as I feel the embers die. Sunday will never be the same. I've lost my Sunday song. He'll not be back again.
As for the other five people, I'll leave that up to you. If you wish to make a list, go ahead - just don't hold me responsible for breaking the "chain".
Sunday, July 8, 2007
Which isn't the pertinent question. The pertinent question would have been, "Why do we need 2 lines?" But I kept my questions to myself.
Then, it was on to the supermarket, which, followed by the buffet and the liquor store, seemed to be the perfect end to the Trifecta. The only thing that would have made the day complete would have been a visit to the D.M.V.
Two trusted friends - one furry, the other shiny. The shiny one stayed hitched to the rail while the furry one went in pursuit of a nice shady spot.