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.”

2016 – a year of answers

3 366 There are years that ask questions and years that answer. Zora Neale Hurston

There is a famous quote that seems appropriate today:

There are years that ask questions and years that answer.
— Zora Neale Hurston

For me, 2015 was a year that asked questions. I’ve been spending a lot of time wondering about the state of my health. Why have I been spending so much time in bed? Why have I missed or avoided so many social engagements (and not hosted many of my own)?  As a worried David asked me a month or so ago, was I getting sicker? Was I depressed? Or had I just given up on life?

Whatever the cause of my lethargy, are there ways to boost my energy level? If not – and if my energy is so limited – am I using it in the best possible way? Why have I spent so much time sleeping or reading instead of enjoying time with my family? (For that matter, why can I not seem to sleep without taking my phone – ie, my Kindle – to bed with me?)

At the most basic level, what kind of life do I really want to live? In what kind of environment do I want to live it? With whom do I want to share it? What could I accomplish, if I figured out how best to do it and really put my mind to it?

I’m trying to look at all my questions with curiosity, not reproach. (Just in case I am depressed, there’s no point in beating myself up for everything I have failed at over the last year!) But I want 2016 to be a year of answers, a year that shows me who I can be and what I can do.

I mean, it is the year of the big 5-0. The year my only child turns 18. The year I will run my first mile (in April) and my first 5K (in November). I might as well make it a year of exciting self-discovery as well!

3/366: “There are years that ask questions and years that answer.” ~ Zora Neale Hurston ~” by theunquietlibrarianCC BY

plan #15 – start being a friend

Friend Requests

I have been terrible about accepting friend requests on Facebook. I don’t delete them or anything; I just let them sit there, unattended.

I’ve tried to rationalize over the years (yes, some have been waiting for a response from me since at least 2010) that I can only manage so many people on my Facebook feed before the whole thing spirals out of control. But perhaps I am just trying to feel like less of a horrible human being, since – as I think more carefully about it now – every reason I can come up with sounds shallow at best and resentful at worst.

Sometimes I’ve thought, “Well, I hardly know that person!” What, so if you don’t know them well, they can’t have anything to say that you’d like to hear? This could have been a way to get to know them better. Worse still, I admit that I’ve thought, They want to be my friend? HA! They wouldn’t have given me the time of day back in junior high!” Seriously, Lori? Perhaps they have matured since they were twelve… and perhaps you have not. Have you honestly held a grudge for that long?

But maybe it’s not a grudge at all. Maybe I haven’t let go of the insecurities I had way back then. I am famous notorious for my willingness to share my faults and failings with the world; perhaps the people I was worried would find fault with me then are the same people I am worried will judge me now. For what, you ask? Well, mostly for not living up to my potential. Back in the day, I felt like I was going to be someone. I was going to do something amazing with my life. I didn’t know what that was, exactly, but I was going to make a difference in the world.

Instead, I have lived a pretty quiet life. With the exception of the years I spent teaching, I’ve worked steady but unchallenging jobs. I haven’t found a cure for anything or solved a world problem, nor have I written a novel or even managed a team of people. Most of my successes are more personal. I have a strong, long-lasting marriage; a fantastic child; incredible friends; a loving, close-knit family. I’ve seen the world, made people laugh, and been an extra mom to a tribe of young people I adore. I don’t undervalue any of these things, which are more important to me than fame and fortune. I guess that deep down I just expected myself to get those, too.

Anyway – do you want to know why this whole friend request thing is on my mind so much today?

Believe it or not, two different people I know had teenaged sons die this week. Both had been sitting in my queue of friend requests for ages. (In both cases, I only realized I had not accepted their requests when I went to offer my condolences. They’d showed up in my queue periodically since they were “Friends of Friends.”) For all these months, I could have gotten to share in their lives, and instead I feel I popped in opportunistically at the last minute. I am, of course, devastated to think of the pain they must be going through, but I’m also feeling regret for not having shared more of their happy times with them before I shared in their loss. I might have gotten to know their children in life if I’d made the effort when they reached out to me.

So tonight I went through and accepted a ton of friend requests. I skipped the people I have never heard of; I’m not sure why they want to be friends with me, anyway. I’m a little concerned that I still skipped over some people on the list that I do know. Apparently I have a little more soul searching to do!