Saturday, January 26, 2013

Buddy is no Maru and I survived another birthday

I don't know that I've ever tried to write with such a headache before.  This may prove interesting. It's not awful, just awfully concentrated behind my left eye, so I'm squinting, and being already afflicted with interesting vision -- well, writing just got more interesting!  [Note to self:  Spare your readers.  Do NOT revise post by substituting accurate adjectives for "interesting." Sometimes "vague," like "fun," is good.]

My mother and I share a birthday, and I am glad to say that we did it again, day before yesterday.  Especially glad am I because she was, and may still be, in her small town ICU.  I spoke with her, not because I dutifully or joyfully hit ICU speed-dial so that we could gush about getting older together, right on cue, no.  Rather, my bone-weary half-sister Lale, a true force of nature, pulled one of those tricks.

You know what I'm talking about.  I mean, how many years did you fall for the old "pull my finger" gag?  Admittedly, I am probably the world's most gullible person, still -- I should have had my guard up.  But Lale feels strongly that she knows what is right and then, well, there is that "force of nature" thing going on.

So I'm semi-awake and chatting with her, getting the update on the Mother-Unit's health when Lale says, in one breath, words-in-a-taut-string: "Ask her yourself, here she is..." and BAM!  There she is, mother of moi, me, her 29th birthday present, languishing on the other end of what has to be one of those genius phones.

My phone?  Bottom of the bottom of the barrel.  I have to push certain plastic parts in different directions to be able to half-hear the person or (most often) the automated bill collector on the other end.

But we had a nice chat, we did.  She's cogent -- Lale told me that she remembered her husband was dead (it's been a few years) after only one reminder -- and that's an accomplishment for any hospitalized person these days, much less an elderly woman in an intensive care unit.  I should remember to tell her, and Lale, that I promptly lose my mind whenever the elevator doors even open onto a critical care unit.  I have what is known as "ICU psychosis," engendered, I'm told, by the constant noise and light, drugs, etc.  But I know the underlying truth:  It's just like giving a Permanent Hall Pass to my natural craziness.  I see and hear things, experience the darnedest adventures -- last time, I spent an entire day attempting to help three Archangels successfully blow my head off with legally obtained and properly permitted shotguns.  They were lousy shots.  Apparently, I kept taking one arm to use for pointing to my big bedhead head, which I kept raising off the pillow -- trying to make the target easier to hit.  The good thing is that my nurses and doctors, despite repeated interrogations ["What the hell are you trying to do?"], never did understand that I was attempting to assist in my own assassination by God's Blessèd Assassins.  Good thing, too, that I never pointed them out -- all three Archangels were slumped in ratty old outdoor aluminum-framed chairs -- the old-fashioned woven plastic kind, plaid.  One of them being terribly overweight, his butt was hanging a bare half-inch from the ICU floor.  Off to the side was an equally old tiny television set, perched on a TV dinner tray table, rabbit ears accented with twists of foil.  The three holy ones would watch a few minutes of infomercials, then load up and fire off shots at my head, then curse when their projectiles just busted out another window, or ripped through a beeping IVAC pump.

Other ICU psychosis experiences?  Most involved schemes of escaping the unit.  I once even called my Brother-Unit Grader Boob, thanking him profusely for having landed a helicopter on the hospital roof, then belaying down with a team of White Hat Black Ops to rescue me from my false imprisonment beneath a respirator.  It still astonishes me that anyone gave me a phone to make the call.  Apparently -- they had just extubated me -- my babbling about my brother was construed as a need to call and express my love for him, and my gratitude for having survived near death.  Instead, I regaled him with praise, saying "I didn't even know you knew how to fly a helicopter!"

So my mother did great -- she was, in fact, sitting there eating a slice of birthday cake that the food service folk had specially prepared for her.  If they can stabilize her blood pressure, I think she's headed home soon.

But you gotta be on your toes around that Lale girl... She thinks my phone phobia is a made-up thing, something I invented to avoid talking to that wing of my Fucked-Up Family.  But no, it's real as can be.  I dislike phones, always have.  But that dislike has blossomed into what I think is a real technical phobia -- I mean, I probably need psychiatric treatment to get over it.  It's not so bad when there is business to conduct.  I could, at this point, yell at Walmart pharmacists all the livelong day.  But chat with a person about... life... and "stuff"?  God help me, I start hoping to see my slouching, crabby Archangels taking aim.

No offense to TW, whom I've only spoken with a couple of times, and each time hung up with a smile from ear-to-ear, but the best phone person, for me, is the oft-mentioned Grader Boob.  I think because we both profess to be teachers and promptly enter the Twilight Zone of Student Stories.  It takes about 30 seconds for the both of us to be reduced to tears from laughter.  Both TW and Grader Boob, however, can also piss moi off to no end with what must be a genetic tendency to refuse to directly answer Important Questions.  You know, of the "How Are You, **Really**?" sort.  These tend to be asked after I've been informed that they've taken dives down stairwells or slipped on ice and broken their beloved shoulders, or lost a long loved love.  Then, I guess I become, once again, that annoying chubby little sister who just wouldn't get it, anyway.


So, yeah, I had a birthday!  It was great.  Coffee in bed, and not just once, but twice.  Music of all sorts.  And a card from the ambulance-chaser lawyer who got me a check for $1,000 15 years ago after I was injured in a car accident.  He always encloses a very useful calendar, too, that we promptly affix to the fridge.

For my birthday repast, I insisted on Indian take-out.  My beloved favorite restaurant had moved to a location so far away I had not the heart to make Fred and Ruby drive the distance, so intense research turned up a very funky nearby place that provided us with beaucoup, beaucoup delicious fare.

Normally, I ask for cherry pie in lieu of birthday cake.  The restaurant menu, however, lured me toward one of their two desserts, a sort of pudding that was pure heaven, while Fred went into ecstacy with pistachio ice cream.

Then we lay in bed and moaned.

I had hoped to also watch a movie, but alas, Xfinity On Demand tricked me, and the free flicks I had picked out turned out not to be so free.  Yes, I do refuse to pay... even on my birthday.  I think that, too, is genetic.

But I had fun watching "Chopped" with Fred.  He's a hoot.  And a very good cook.  Bless his bones forever, though, he got upset over an idea I've long been considering.  I thought it would be great fun for all the people who do the cooking for Fred's Wednesday Night Suppers (you know, with the Militant Lesbian Existentialist Feminists) to have a "Chopped" competition.  We could choose someone to put together "mystery baskets" of odd ingredients and see what resulted.  But sweet Fred actually got teary-eyed over the potential hurt involved in "competition." My heart swells, right now, just remembering:  "I don't like competitions.  People get hurt."

Okay, honestly?

I felt like saying, "Oh, come on, we're talking more like a theme party than a serious competition... and the Mystery Baskets can be engineered as more 'easy as pie' than real gourmet challenges!"

But then I saw that he actually had tears in his eyes.  No shit.

Fred's waters run deep.

I had forgotten that he won't even play board games, or cards.  That he eschews most sporting events due to their tendency to insist on scoring, and winners, and losers.

I love Fred. What he stands for.  Still... c'mon.  Anyone wanna do a Chopped Challenge with me?

So... that was my birthday.  It was fun, my mother didn't die, the food was fantastic, and the company, perfect.  La Bonne et Belle Bianca Castafiore, however, ate THREE entrée-sized servings of saag paneer and was running back-and-forth most of the night, so I ended up awake the whole night-after-the-birthday.

Which takes this narrative quite easily into yesterday, when I was exhausted and highly feverish, rather peevish, and in a shitload of pain.  Some people with chronic pain believe that if you have a good day, the following few days will be spent "paying the piper."

I am one of them!

I am still paying that talented piper today, but at least my mood is good, Fred seems to have recovered from the suggestion of the cooking contest, and Bianca is no longer racing for the loo, screaming insults against the Indian sub-continent.  [Oh, she and Sven are on the outs.  Kind of a good thing, really, because we'd have had to order four times as much food.  I think they'll get back together.  I don't believe in "soul mates" nonsense, but those two are cut from the same cloth.  Now, Cabana Boy has been nosing around, and that may spice things up a bit -- but, God, I hope not.  It may well be that the Adult Faction of Marlinspike Hall is ready for an extended period of Bland Times.]

The Walmart Wars continue, but now are in the hands of three investigatory bodies -- one regional Board of Pharmacy, the Tête de Hergé Department of Health & Human Services Office of Inspector General's Office of Investigations... and my insurance company.

But there's always a fuck-up, correct?  I emailed my Go-To-Guy and his Super Nurse on the advice of the insurance company, asking that they call the company directly to get the prior authorization thang taken care of, and submitting directly to them a new prescription.

Oh, dear Lord.  Wham, bam, I got three responses within an hour from my intrepid medical team.  Their reaction was pure outrage that Walmart had claimed their office had failed to respond to two requests for prior-authorization schtuff, and they were going to, by Jove, set those people straight.

I felt my brain explode a little.  I did not respond, for two reasons.  One, it was then late Friday afternoon, and nothing goes right in the "business" world on late Friday afternoons.  Two, explaining in detail the steps I had already taken to exact justice for us all would only have made the water so very, very muddy.  There is also a three.  Three, my dear doc is a devout person, and I hate to put something annoying on his mind at the approach of Sabbath.

But please, please, hope along with me that they did NOT call this particular Walmart Pharmacy, now under investigation, and try to submit ANOTHER Rx.

In other news:  I was thrilled at Panetta's announcement of the reversal of policy regarding women in combat.  Somehow, I kind of doubt that you know why I was thrilled.  But in proof certain that Fred and I are, like Sven and The Castafiore, cut from the same cloth, we shared the rationale of gladness.  If Hawks, usually of the TeaBagger sort, truly are outraged at the thought of Cindy Lou in a body bag, maybe they will temper their Hawkishness.  Maybe, probably at a subconscious level, they will avoid armed conflict and war, the better to avoid Cindy Lou sloshing around in black plastic and a pine coffin.

Yes, we all know women have been involved in "front line" combat for a long while now, particularly since the "front line" so rarely exists any longer.  Cindy Lou driving a Maintenance Vehicle in support of a fighting outfit is at much on the "front line" as the men she is following.  And, as Rep. Tammy Duckworth hilariously pointed out, she did not lose her legs in "a bar fight."

There is another side to me (at least one other!), though, that also concurs with Duckworth and other career military women -- their career advancement has been diverted and denied because of a failure to recognize their actual battle experience, or through denying them that "opportunity." Honestly, we are talking less about hand-to-hand, muzzle-to-muzzle nonsense than we are more strategic jobs.  And man, do I wish the machomacho men spewing idiocies would calm down and read the provision more closely -- the physical requirements for any combat positions are not going to be changed.  Anorexic and weak-kneed Cindy Lous are not going to attempt lugging Big Bad Linebacker Lou to safety after he's been hit by enemy fire.

I'd have to go check my facts and I don't feel like it at the moment (ahh, the integrity of my blogging), but I believe the Israelis chose to remove women from front line positions after a study revealed that male soldiers' attention became all addlepated when faced with decisions such as choosing which fallen soldier to attend to first, as a medic, when one was a woman, and the other a man.  Yeah, well.  There are many fogs to war.

What else?  Oh, I will miss Tom Harkin.  He did good work.

Oh, and I like the bangs.

I disagree with the ruling about Presidential appointments during congressional recesses.  Did I hear it would be appealed to the good brothers and sisters of the Supreme Court?

I thought Hillary was masterful in her hearings.  I still am using my "Hillary for President" water bottle but doubt it will still be in use by 2016.  I also found think we will never know the truth of what happened that day in Benghazi, not if Hillary can help it.

The thought of the many Syrian refugees makes me want to cry, a not very useful response. And my brain is befuddled by Egypt.

I tepidly applaud Iraq's parliament in trying to prevent Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki from another term.

Okay, the truth is... I am trying to fake myself out.  Do a sleight of hand against my own hands. What is really weighing on my mind... drones.  Drones and Obama's hit list.  I have a hit list of my own.  It started as a joke.  Then one day, I thought about it.  Given the chance, the right circumstance, yes, I would pull the trigger to take out one of those who made my list.  And I'd accept the consequences, which I imagine would occur faster than I could blink.  I like, too, the idea of taking someone out without the loss of so many military pawns, foot-soldiers, kids, fighting under some ridiculous cover story.  And "collateral damage" makes me weep and want to hide for shame.

Some folks need killing in the worst way.

All right, yes.  I also have the vague suspicion of a suggestion of a soupçon that killing of any sort is wrong.  That killing without the courtesy of a look-in-the-eye is cowardly. (Oh, scratch that last sentence.  I don't believe that.  I made it up.  I lied.)

These are the types of issues that send me back to White's Book of Merlyn.

There are so many things about which we all think, about which we do not speak.

An amazing segue, on par, even with "anyway..."!

Cat stories, that's what we need!  Here is an update and a FAIL cat video, starring The One, The Only BUDDY -- all in an effort to save this headache of a blog post!

Okay, whom shall we update first.  Marmy FluffyButt?  Yes.  Why not?  She is beginning to warm up to me again, although at the rate she's warming, I'll be stiff and cold by the time this feline decides I'm worth giving another chance.  Ever since I was put in charge of treating her chronically infected and leaky eyeball, she has cast me into the outer reaches of Hell.  And I don't think Marmy's Hell is the more accessible "circle" or ring.  She spurns Dante.  "Nine circles of suffering? For having put stinging goop into mein eyeball?  The outer atomic layer of the ninth circle does not approach sufficiency of suffering, although the theme is correct, since daring to touch mein eyeball does line up well with Judecca, the hooman Alighieri's spot for flaming Iscariots..." When I heard her say *that*, well, shivers went up my spine.  Her geometrical preference is less for spheres and more for one e-t-e-r-n-a-l line.

But she remains sweet, in spite of the damning obsession 'n all.  Especially after the sun goes down, at which time she has had a good 12-hour nap, and greets her humans as if they were long lost pals.  She will let me rub her beautiful head, scratch her silky chin, and lightly pull on her magnificent poofy tail.  She thinks Fred, Bianca, Sven, the Cabana Boy, and all of the Manor Domestic Staff are the greatest.  Whether she will ever cuddle next to moi again is doubtful.  {sniff}

Dobby!  He continues to bring a smile to the face of all he meets and greets.  If he failes to meet and greet you, it is because, being a very small animal, he is frightened and is hiding in my closet, where stress is making him shed profusely on all of my clean clothes.

We've always been able to hear The Dobster approach, even from as far away as the Over-Sized Pink Opalescent Gala Ballroom.  His toenails made a pleasant tap-tap-tap and he could never figure out his continual failure in sneakiness.  Suddenly, one day last week, I watched him pass by me and realized that I heard... nothing.  Thinking that the Good Lord had decided I needed deafness added to the Affliction List, I consulted with Fred (whom I could hear, O Hosanna!) and he could no longer hear the tap-tap-tap of Dobby, either.

Putting the little guy under surveillance, it turned out that he is assiduously pulling off the ends of his not so talon-like talons.

All the better to tippy-toe behind his frequent attacker, the huge Buddy Boy, and enjoy the thrills of jumping on his head for a change.  Last night, I even saw him tear by the overgrown kitten, who, hearing not a sound, never even knew he'd been bested.

Dobby continues his late night howling, and we've narrowed the causes down to two:  a continual mourning for our beloved Sammy and/or an annoying demand that we break out the laser dot toy.
Both are a bit distressing.  It's time for him to simply think fondly on Sweet Sammy, and when we do break out the laser dot toy, he no longer wishes to chase it, but settles down in an old-fart-in-a-raggedy-barcalounger pose so as to better enjoy the light show.  He leaves the chasing to Buddy, who is thrilled to do it and chases with abandon, albeit also with some confusion, and to Marmy, who has but one plan of attack -- to eat that damned red dot.  She gulps enough air in the chase to cause hours of entertaining burping.

As for updating Buddy's growing fan base on the Maine Coon's progress?  Lordy, lordy.  EVERYTHING is a game.  Therefore, we are often thankful to have undertaken the "soft paw" training when he was truly a baby.  Otherwise, we'd have even deeper and many more scratches from all the "play."

It turns out he suffers a bit from separation anxiety. Because of his constant desire to "play," and this desire's inappropriateness around all the Haddock antique treasure in the Manor, he is restricted to our Private Quarters. Most of the time, it is Fred who takes off in Ruby, and since I'm typically ensconced in bed, he's okay -- though he does visibly perk up upon Fred's return.  But should the both of us leave for a bit, we return to find the neediest cat west of the Lone Alp.  It is very sweet but makes me sad that he is upset, ever.  He's such a happy guy, you see.

His latest Life Adventure is, unfortunately, his first ailment.  Thankfully, it is but a runny and irritated eye.  I am guessing that the newly self-declawed Dobby may have whacked him in the face, though you can never rule out lightening-fast Marmy FluffyButt.  In any event, Fred is gently putting medication in his eye -- and Buddy seems cognizant of this as help and not attack.  As we say so often around here, and to almost anyone, cat or human:  "What a good boy!"

So, let me close this potpourri of a post with a FAIL video of Buddy the Outrageously Large Kitten, and his refusal to stuff himself in a box.  As the YouTube title explains, "Buddy is no Maru."

If you've never watched Maru... you should!

1 comment:

  1. A belated happy birthday to you!
    I think I should/could/would paint something from Tintin in honor, as one of my postcard paintings...
    Or some Indian food.
    Or a cat...
    Or Hillary!!!
    Anyway, I;m sorry you had to pay for the pleasure, but glad it was pleasure!
    Bon Anniversaire!


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