let it snow, let it snow, let it snow

By the time you read this, the snow will be gone. I, for one, will be sad to see it go.

I love the snow.

I grew up in a beach town. I learned to ski in the local Southern California mountains, on snow blown in by snow machines. Snow that falls at my own home, in my own yard, still feels magical to me.

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I know that many Portlanders were frustrated by it. I completely understand why: kids out of school, difficulty getting to work, having to shovel your way out the front door or the garage or the driveway. I get it. And I know how lucky I am that I work part-time, that I have a husband who is a teacher (and gets snow days, too!), and that we didn’t lose power or heat. I do.

Still, to me, these days were so welcome. I loved seeing the snow pile up so quickly that first night and then stay and stay and stay! I loved seeing Bonesy frolic in the yard and on the deck, swimming in snow. I loved being at home with David and Quinland and whichever of Quinland’s crazy friends decided to hike over and then stay over. Every 6 am call from Portland Public Schools announcing another day off was music to my ears.

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The kids* had the best time: sledding on the hills at the middle school, building a snow fort, making snow angels and throwing snowballs. They dug out all our snow clothes and boots and gloves, got them soaked, and then hung (or flung) them all over the laundry room. Q  even hiked a mile in the deep snow to see Hannah on her birthday – almost two hours to get there! (*Edited to add: These kids are all in high school; most of them are seniors.  Everyone is a little kid when it snows!)

People who deal with snow on a daily basis for months at a time might roll their eyes at my naiveté. They know that I’d grow sick and tired of it just like they do. They are probably right.

For now, though, I’m celebrating the minor miracle that this last snowy month has been to me.

99 things– #61 through #65

I found a list of 99 things, and I will be bolding the ones I’ve done and explaining a bit about each. Because I have a tendency to yammer on, I am doing 5 of the 99 at a time.

61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies. Oh, my goodness, yes. Technically, I was never a Girl Scout myself, though I did a stint as a CampFire Blue Bird and sold Almond Roca in 1st grade. But I was a Girl Scout Leader for many years and that definitely counts! Yes, the girls do the bulk of the cookie selling themselves, but their parents/leaders are always deputized into bringing the order form to work. (My humblest apologies, coworkers of the past! and I hereby promise to buy your daughters’ cookies, coworkers of the future!)

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62. Gone whale watching. Hmm. I wouldn’t say I have gone on a whale-watching expedition of any kind, but I have definitely watched for whales – successfully! – a couple of times. The first time I saw a whale was on a ferry from Seattle to Friday Harbor, and the second was on a ferry from Port Angeles, WA to Victoria, BC. (While on a different trip to Victoria, David went on an official tour in a rubber raft to see whales, dressed up with all his students in stylish waterproof suits . . . and not a single whale showed itself.)

63. Got flowers for no reason. I am the queen of buying myself flowers for no reason. Unless, of course, you count “I walked past the flowers section of Costco” as a reason.

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64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma. I semi-successfully donated blood when I was a freshman in college. I was really excited to have reached 110 pounds, the minimum weight requirement to donate. (Let us all bow our heads and have a moment of silence for those bygone days.) The blood donation went fine, but my blood pressure – which had also just barely made the cut at 90/50 – plummeted down afterward, causing me to faint. I got to lie on a cot for ages, drinking orange juice and eating cookies, until I felt like I could walk again.

I tried donating blood again last year. My weight and blood pressure (both much higher now) were not the problem this time: it was my ridiculously difficult-to-stick veins. They stabbed around until my arm was black and blue, managed to eke out a quarter unit of blood, and then gave up. They couldn’t even use what they’d gotten, because the blood-to-preservative ratio in the bag wasn’t correct. Maybe I’ll try again in another 30 years.

65. Gone sky diving. No, and I probably never will. I’m not afraid of heights – and I’d probably enjoy it – but my structural-integrity-phobic side is haunted by thoughts of parachute failure.

Current score: Four out of five, 31 out of 65 in all. I’m up to 48%!

(Again, if anyone reading was involved in any of these, feel free to add facts or correct my memory… and I’ll keep looking for photos.)

For those of you following along at home:

    • #1 through #5 are here.
    • #6 through #10 are here.
    • #11 through #15 are here.
    • #16 through #20 are here.
    • #21 through #25 are here.
    • #26 through #30 are here.
    • #31 through #35 are here.
    • #36 through #40 are here.
    • #41 through #45 are here.
    • #46 through #50 are here.
    • #51 through #55 are here.
    • #56 through #60 are here.

Continue reading “99 things– #61 through #65”

goodbye, black and white cats

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Jinx and Fu have moved out of the house. The transition was a long time coming, but it was necessary, so one month ago, I posted the following on Facebook:

Jinx and Fu need a new home. We thought we had lined up a home with someone they know and love, but it fell through. They really can’t live here much longer, and I really don’t want them to go to a shelter.

They are sisters and litter mates, and we became their foster parents four years ago, when they were 8 years old. They are super affectionate: Jinx (long hair) loves to be picked up and cuddled and given belly rubs; Fu (short name, short hair) loves to curl up and nap on you and adores being brushed. They both love to play and are vocal when they want your attention. They are in perfect health. They are indoor cats, though we let them out on our back deck since it is so high.

If you or anyone you know would be willing to take two cats who are sweet and beautiful (and vocal and need lots of attention), let me know. (They are bonded to each other, so I’d love them to stay together.) They have their own incredible cat tree/ condo/ scratching post extravaganza, which of course goes along with them.

Luckily for us, the person they know and love (at the home that had fallen through) decided to make it work rather than lose the cats to someone else. I feel incredibly blessed that they are now in a place where they will be cared for and appreciated.

Because, frankly, they were not receiving that appreciation while living here with us.

We knew it was a mismatch from the very beginning. David is super sensitive to noise – as anyone who has ever brought their kids over to play can verify – and these cats never stopped meowing. Ever. Well, unless they were asleep (or, apparently, posing for pictures). So when they were happy (meow!), or sad (meow!) or frightened (meow!) or mad (meow!) or excited (meow!) or glad (meow!), their interjections never failed to let you know.

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Since we had made a commitment to take the cats in when their owner moved overseas, it seemed to me that we should find a way to make it work. We had the cats sleep in the garage at night (as they would literally meow all night long), which solved one major problem: we were incredibly sleep deprived the first few months. Fu, especially, was so noisy at night, it was like having a newborn in the house. But, of course, it didn’t solve the whole situation.

As soon as the former owner returned to Portland, I asked him – multiple times – to please take the cats back, but he didn’t. That was fair – he had no responsibility to do so – but it was disappointing.

David lived with the noise for four years. Many, many times over those years, he expressed how hard it was for him, how he was avoiding coming home after school because the noise was getting to him so much, how resentful he felt towards the cats and – ultimately – toward me for insisting we get them and keep them.

I realized that because the noise didn’t affect me the same way, I hadn’t been taking his discomfort seriously enough. He was more than just annoyed by the cats. He truly hated to be in the house with them if he had to listen to them. Although I loved the cats (Fu, especially) and felt responsible for them, I had to admit that their ability to live in our home should not trump David’s ability to live here peacefully.

Still, it wasn’t easy to let them go. Although David felt we could just open the front door and let them out to fend for themselves – I think he was kidding – I wanted them to go to a home that was as good as ours, if not better. (I mean, heck, they weren’t all that fond of Bones, so they might consider it a boon to get out of here.)

It was easier said than done, though. I didn’t want them to go to the Humane Society or to some random stranger on Craigslist, as I feared for their lives with either of those options. No cat re-homing agencies I found would take cats of such advanced age. I asked anyone who complimented their beauty, but got no takers.

I finally resorted to the Facebook post, which inspired Addison to welcome them in. I have visited them a couple of times in the last month, and they all seem to be doing well. I felt like a non-custodial parent coming for a visit, arms full of toys and treats I thought they might like. I was amused a week later by a photo that showed a puffy pink bed lying empty, right beside a very-comfortable Jinx reclining in a cardboard box.

I’m so glad they are feeling right at home. I miss them around here.

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Inspired by this week’s Challenge Prompt: “Animal.”