death

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This weekend, we had to say goodbye to our cat, Meeko. She was, as Jared put it, “the best foot-warmer, sink drinker, and bathroom buddy ever.” She was all those things and so many more.

Jared already had Meeko when I met him, and his obvious love of her was one of the things I immediately dug about him. It took a long time before I ranked anywhere near him in her eyes — I could be petting her, feeding her treats, but if he got up and walked away, she’d jump off my lap and trot on after him. Nothing personal, I know, he was just her world.

Little by little, she came to love me — not as much as Jared, of course, but I think I became a very close second. In the last few years, after he started traveling more for work, she started falling asleep over on my side of the bed. A purring cat is better than a warm glass of milk when it comes to facilitating relaxation and sleep, let me tell you.

In addition to loving those of us who fed her and scooped her poop, she also loved sunbeams, balls of paper, chewing on plastic bags, running water, and curling up on available laps.

If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you might remember that we almost lost Meeko a year ago. Her kidneys were failing, which is pretty common in older cats, and she was having some crazy thyroid problems. We got her stabilized (although she continued needing a pill twice a day and fluids injected a couple of times a week), and, well, we got an extra year. We knew it was borrowed time, but that doesn’t make it much easier when you see the end coming.

We spent her last morning petting her, feeding her tuna, and memorizing her sweet little face. She died very peacefully in the arms of the person she loved most in the world. For that, I’m thankful. I’m also a little surprised at the different ways she made herself part of my day, and all the ways I’m missing her.

I knew it would be weird to work without having her lay on my desk, batting pens off the side and drinking out of my water glass. I assumed it would makeĀ  me sad to look over at where her cat tree and litter box were. I didn’t realize I’d tear up every time I went into the bathroom and didn’t have to wait for her, or how I’d turn the sink faucet on — just a trickle — for her to drink and then realize she wasn’t there.

She was pretty talkative, too, and every time I hear a strange noise, I look around to see what she needs. The kitchen is sad because she’s not standing in the middle of it, staring at us and willing us to give her food or a new water bowl or attention or who even knows what she wanted. When I let the dogs out in the back yard, I realized I could leave the door to the screened-in back porch (which we got for Meeko) open, because we didn’t have to worry about her getting outside.

The first night I slept in our bed without her, I kept thinking I felt her jump up on the bed. Jared found himself being careful when he moved so as not to kick her.

The dogs know something is up — I don’t know that they really realize she’s gone, or, if they do, if they, like, miss her, but they definitely had their own little dynamic. Mainly, Meeko was in charge. They could come up and sniff her, and even put their noses right on her, as long as she wasn’t looking at them. If they approached her head on, forget about it — she’d let them know who was boss and encourage them to find another route. They always listened.

This is going to take some time to get used to. And even though it hurts, I’d rather have the pain that goes along with the memories than forget about her easily. She was just a tiny little thing, but the hole she left behind is bigger than I can explain.

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When we first moved into our house (our first home!), we had this weirdo neighbor who covered his windows with tinfoil and would sit in his car for hours reading the paper, but wouldn’t talk to us if we happened to go outside while he was doing so. And, our cars were parked next to each other at the time. Once, we were having a party, and I went over with a friend to see if he might like a drink, and there was a note saying, “If you want an appointment, leave a message with your name, the reason, and also the time you’d like to die.” So, we knew he wasn’t normal.

Also, the first time we met him, he accused us of calling the police and saying he was dead. We hadn’t, but it plays into the story. That was the only time I ever really talked to him.

So, about a year and a half ago, we noticed that his car hadn’t moved in a while, which wasn’t too unusual, but it really seemed like it had been a while. So, Jared looked a little more closely, and saw that (are you ready for this, because it’s kinda gross) it was COVERED with FLIES! Oh, and also, there had been an awful stench for about a week in our house (and we shared a wall with the guy).

Not wanting to do a false “Hey, we think this guy is dead” call because obviously that pissed him off before, we called our realtor, who called the police for us. They came and found that he’d been dead for possibly a month or so!!! Just so you know, it was his nasty garbage that smelled, not him. Anyway, the HazMat team came in full suits and everything and suggested we leave for the night because, when they went to move him, they thought he might burst (he didn’t, though).

He was a renter, and the folks who own the place have been (sort of) working on it, but it’s been a year and a half. Oh, and they live a couple of hours ago away, so do you think the the lawn has been mowed lately? Nooo. And is Dead Guy’s car still sitting in the driveway? Yeessss. And, actually, other than the fact that sometimes I think I see him in his car, I’m okay with it being there — it at least makes the house look occupied. But the lawn is another thing.

And, since it doesn’t look terribly occupied, I think vandals have gotten to the fence. Nothing huge, but there’s a board that’s broken and some others that have been obviously cut. And, since his fence connects to our fence, this concerns me. Oh, and I think people were throwing bricks at our roof a few weeks ago, because we had one topple down our roof (it sounded like a person was dropped on it), and our other neighbors found a brick lodged in their fence.

You’d think we lived in the ghetto to hear some of this, and we don’t. It’s not fancy, but it’s a relatively nice, quiet starter neighborhood with an occasional keg party (occasionally ours), but apparently we have hooligans. Who knew? At any rate, I’m hoping some new, fabulous couple moves in soon so we can have someone to gossip about the hooligans with. And maybe drink with, because sometimes it’s hard to wait for J to get home from work before having a little glass of Chard.

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