Milestones

A year ago today Mr. Darcy and I donned fancy clothes and in front of our nearest & dearest, vowed to choose each other every day for the rest of our lives.

toasting

That was the best day of my life.

It has not been a carefree year for us. I look at this picture and remember how incredibly happy we were despite a year where we fought The Cancer, started a new job, bought a house, and moved all while planning the wedding. We thought that we were on an upswing after all that stress. And we were but it didn’t last long enough. Upswings rarely do.

The thing is- even though we have had a rocky first year, we as a couple are not rocky. Despite all the sorrow, we have done our best to navigate it with tenderness, grace, and humor. It’s often been downright brutal and we’ve fallen apart and put each other back together again and again. If there’s one thing I can say that’s good from all the bad it’s that we are stronger for our troubles. I would not wish anyone else by my side than Mr. Darcy. Even when we’re fighting, even when we’re lost in our own grief, and especially when we’re laughing. Marrying a guy who can make me laugh when I’m crying is among one of my smartest choices in this life.

This past weekend we got ourselves an anniversary gift.

otis sits

His name is Otis and he is a seven week old Australian Shepherd and Catahoula Leopard mix.

As we drove home with him, I cried. I was just overcome with how much I needed him. We both need something happy to turn our attention to and to love together. A salve for our wounded hearts. Enter Otis, the best present ever.

otis comes home otis sleeps

We’re hoping year two has less troubles and more joy. I think Otis might help with that.

I love you, Darcy. Thank you for being my person.

Dash: The Stair Master

I managed to capture Dash waddling down the stairs and had to share. Please note: this video contains the word anus as well as a cat butt.

 

This is the first time in his life where he’s encountered stairs so I cut him a little slack. At this rate, he’ll be fit and slim in no time!

It really was rad.

(Editors Note: This story starts out badly but ends happily.)

I woke up hearing the all-too-familiar sounds of a cat about to barf.

My eyes shot open and there was Dot about to throw up between us on the bed. I quickly shooed her off and she ran under the bed. I fell back to sleep. What felt like minutes later, Mr. Darcy was up and shuffling around.

“What’s up?”

“I smell shit,” he mumbled. And low and behold, Dot had pooed by his side of the bed and lovingly covered it up with a curtain (how dainty of her). He managed to clean it up while half-asleep.

Then when I got up I moved the covers only to discover a poo-shaped something fly off the bed.

“What the hell?!”

“What??”

“Jesus, what IS that? IS THAT POO?”

I turned on the light and got closer to it. It was a hairball-shaped like a turd. Oh and LOOK AT THAT! Someone had vomited on our bed.

DOOOOOOOOTTTTTIIEEE!

We stripped the bed and Mr. Darcy went back to sleep. I fed the cats and went off to dance class. Later, Mr. Darcy put the puke-covered cover and the down comforter in the wash. We were running around trying to pack the house up plus pack for our weekend away while the wash was in the dryer. When Mr. Darcy went to collect the laundry he discovered that it wasn’t dry. Not only that, the comforter had ripped during one of the cycles so feathers were EVERYWHERE when he took it out of the dryer.

I’m not kidding when I say it looked like many birds had been murdered in that laundry room. The cement floor was covered in them as well as all of his clothing. Frustrated, he tried cleaning it up and right when he was about to lose his cool entirely, I took over. I made him go upstairs and take a shower because we were already running behind to catch our ferry. I quickly realized a broom was no match for the feathers and grabbed the vacuum. We managed to get everything done without any blow ups or breakdowns and were on our way, 40 minutes later than we had originally planned to leave. Maybe we could still make the ferry at 3:35?

We arrived in Anacortes at 3:00pm and were told they were full for cars but could take walk ons. DAMN IT! I needed my car since I was the day of coordinator for the wedding we were attending and was going to be schlupping  stuff around. We looked at each other dejectedly and decided we’d be first in line for the 6:35 ferry. We killed an hour at a brewery with sub-par food and then ran down our iPhone batteries waiting in the ferry line. Finally, after a 30 minute delay, we boarded the ferry and were off to Orcas Island for the wedding of good friends.

Orcas Hotel on Orcas Island, the wedding reception venue and our lodging for the weekend

We arrived, quite tardy, to a boisterous crowd of wedding guests and a bride who was not at all put out that I was four hours behind my scheduled arrival time. Even though she is a friend of mine, they hired me and I do not like to be anything but professional in those situations. After grabbing a drink, we retired to our bedroom to get some much-needed shut-eye in preparation for the wedding the next day.

It was raining when I woke up but the owner of Orcas Hotel predicted that it would clear up around 11am. True to his word, it did. Sunny skies and beautiful vistas surrounded us.

The view from Orcas Hotel.

I spent the day running around arranging flowers, tables, displays, etc. while Mr. Darcy leisurely lounged in our room, alternating between reading, napping, and playing on his iPhone. To his credit, he was my on call assistant or would come downstairs with money when I summoned him to buy me lunch. It was good for him to have a little getaway since today is his first day at his new job. It was a much-needed transition for him.

I like to think this will be their album cover and that their music sounds like Wilco meets Twisted Sister meets Weird Al.

The wedding ceremony was in this tiny, quaint little chapel in the middle of preserved wetlands. The light was magnificent in there and I can only imagine the professional photos will be breathtaking.

The bride and groom walked out to the theme song from “Revenge of the Nerds” which is so them and so awesome. They worked tirelessly on every little detail of the wedding and it showed. They even had activity books that they designed for the guests to play with while they waited for the ceremony to start complete with a crossword puzzle, guest name word search, and mad libs!

Once back at the hotel, I was ready to imbibe just a smidge since it’d been a long day and my day of coordinator duties were tapering off.  (I would not have done this if these people had not been my friends.)

Let’s get this party started! (As in, let’s eat & drink all the things I have avoided for 6 weeks and pray I don’t get sick.)

The happy couple at their sweetheart table enjoying comfort foods like crab sandwiches, hush puppies, and fried chicken.

They even had a photo booth which was a huge hit with the guests. We snuck away during the reception to take ours since it had been over-run with people.

Mr. Darcy wrote the sign. And it’s true, we DO hope they have as much fun at our wedding as we did at theirs. Because we had a blast!

It really did get us excited about our wedding which is only four months and seventeen days away (eek!). I especially loved their ceremony. It was so touching, sweet, funny, and full of love. They had someone from each side of their bridal party speak about them which was just so heartfelt and lovely. And their vows to each other had the audience in tears (I was!). I’ve enjoyed the wedding planning process so far but the thing I am most looking forward to is writing the ceremony with Mr. Darcy.

There were three cakes baked lovingly by the bride and dancing after dinner. Mr. Darcy boogied with me to a couple songs (he doesn’t like to dance). There was even an amazing sunset complete with a rainbow! I do not think they special ordered that but it couldn’t have been more appropriate.

We got home yesterday to two angry cats and a mountain of boxes to fill. We’re trying to pack as much as we can while still being able to live here until Friday. Meanwhile, the cats are anxious and alternating between being very close and snuggly and running away from us. I suppose that isn’t different than when we’re not moving, come to think of it. These next few days are going to be CRAZY for us but if everything goes according to plan, come Friday we will be in our new house. We’re just waiting for the call to sign the docs and get the keys. Keep those fingers crossed for us and send us good packing mojo.

I’m grateful we got to take a mini-break to celebrate the wedding of our friends. It really gave me perspective. The chance to focus on someone else’s happiness went a long way in infusing me with energy.

So BRING IT, week. I’m ready for you. Don’t let the bags under my eyes deceive you!

**The bride has collected an amazing collection of vintage crockery which she is renting out via her new business, Rad Crockery. If you’re a local and need to rent cool plates and such, check her out!

What’s gotten into you?

Sometimes we’ll be sitting on the couch either talking or watching TV when we hear a cupboard door slam shut in the kitchen.

We’ll stop to listen closely.

Then it slams closed again and there will be a woeful cry.

We share a look.

Again, the door bangs closed and another wail.

No, our apartment is not haunted. Unless you can call this little beast a ghost.

That’s our cat, Dot. She has taken to sitting on that red rug and banging the cabinet door repeatedly when she is hungry. The kicker is, 90% of the time she JUST finished eating or still has a plate of food out. We can’t figure out this new rebellion.

Mr. Darcy says, “All she needs is a kitty-sized tin cup that she can bang against the cabinets crying out Attica! Attica!”

(Please excuse my messy counter tops.)

This post should not be read while eating.

When I can distinguish the hunger meow from the my-butt’s-about-to-blow meow, I’ve reached the pinnacle of closeness that I never wanted to achieve with my pet.

Let me put this plainly: Dash, our carbaholic chubster cat, has been having a case of the squirts. This is too much information for you, I realize. It’s too much for us to witness, frankly. Our pain is your pain. You’re welcome.

Last week we were forced to roll up all our throw rugs to avoid scrubbing on our hands and knees the dark circles, remnants of a kitty gone bad and a butt gone squirty. Dash was so bad off that morning he was wandering the apartment crying his sad poo-is-a-comin’ meow, inconsolable and distraught. He paced the apartment until RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME he just squatted and began emptying his bowels on our hallway rug. The litter box was about 5 kitty steps away BUT NO.

Butt, no! I should say.

I started adding rice to his food and that helped for a bit. Our daily texts involved updates on The Poo Situation and the consistency of our cat’s shits. It has come to this. Gone are the flirty innuendo or shmoopy texts replaced sadly with “his shit seemed firmer.” Bed linens have been washed because I don’t know about you but I do not enjoy sleeping on a pillow with a poo stain. No thank you. I’m not sure what is worse- waking up to discover your pillow has been smeared while you slumbered or having to wrestle your cat into submission while you try to clean his hairy butthole.

It’s a toss-up. They both win for grossest.

It seems we are not out of the woods yet. Around 4:30am last night our nostrils were assaulted awake by the distinct odor of Dash shit, forcing a sleepy Mr. Darcy to leap from bed to dispose of it lest we die in our sleep from the stench. The very fact that we can identify which cat has pooed is deeply troubling to me. Why should we have children when we’re already at that stage where our cats well-being and shit cycle consume us, where we can distinguish his cries and jump to action?

There is a point when you become too close to your pet.

And we have arrived.

Cat-tastrophe

(My anniversary give away will be open until Friday morning. Winner will be announced Monday. Have you chimed in yet?)

My cats are acting like assholes.

Dash is the one on the left. Dot is the one on right.

I am assuming this is because they are hungry and pissed off that we’ve changed their food. We have tried just about every grain free wet food available in the hopes that they will drop some weight. We’ve dumped a lot of money into this experiment and we’ve had more misses than hits. This is what happens when your cats get hefty on “junk food”. Let this be a cautionary tale.

There are a lot of conflicting recommendations for how to feed your cat. Some swear by dry food only. Some swear by wet food only. Some do a combo. Some can leave out dry food all day and their cat will self-regulate. We cannot do that because Dash is fresh off an intervention from over-eaters anonymous (oops, guess he’s not that anonymous anymore- sorry Chubs!). Dash will eat and eat and eat dry food. He is a carb-a-holic. While his sister, Dot, who is currently suffering from the runs (poor dear!) (please don’t wipe your bum on our rugs!) is a dainty eater and only needs to lose a pound or two.Plus she has to endure a big brother who will bump her aside at the first opportunity to gorge on her food. It’s a hard knocks life for her.

I’m at the point where I am desperate for a compromise because we’re all so miserable. The cats are all up in our grill complaining, hissing at each other, snubbing their noses at most offerings of food. I don’t want them to be hungry but I also can’t allow them to be so hefty because it’s unhealthy.The cans tend to say, feed 1 oz of wet food per 1 lb of cat. Dash is/was 20 lbs. THAT IS A LOT OF WET FOOD. I don’t think he can consume that much. The vet said feed one can of wet food in the morning and at night with no dry for Dash and some dry for Dot. Which means we have to stand vigil over them while they eat to ensure Chubs (Dash) doesn’t barrel over and eat all of Dot’s. 90% of the time Dot takes a bite and walks away.

Why must they be such jerks? EAT THE FOOD!

I don’t think  I should have kids. This is all too stressful.

It really ties the room together.

Along with a new couch, we splurged on a new rug. It matches perfectly and we love it.

Thank you overstock.com.

Unfortunately, our cats love it too. (If you recall, my cats have a certain affection for rugs.)

If you look closely you can see how the cats have picked at our pretty rug.

From the moment we laid it down, they’ve been all over it. They are huge fans of plush wool and mistakenly think it’s their new scratch post. NO CATS IT IS NOT.

So now we spend our lounge time on the couch taking turns yelling at the cats to KNOCK IT OFF. We often come home to clumps of the rug pulled up. As much as we love this rug, it does shed a lot and sadly, is a magnet for pet fur.

We bought a rug with animal magnetism. Awesome.

I suppose as long as the cats don’t fuck up the couch, I can handle the rug being a bit beat up. The couch was a lot more expensive than the rug.

Now can someone please explain why a chair- which is similar in shape and assembly as a couch but smaller- is practically as expensive as a couch? WHY?

Humbled

I am generally a believer in good.

But yesterday? The internet really made me a believer.

I was not going to ask for help. It’s not my style. Ask any of my friends and particularly, Mr. Darcy, who has repeatedly told me he’s going to help me pay the vet bill to which each and every time I have responded, “NO YOU WILL NOT.” Because I like to be emphatic and stubborn. And, okayfineIadmitit, proud.

But when Tomato wrote that post and I read his kind words, I started to think about how if the tables were turned, I’d do what he was doing. I have done what he did. So why am I refusing to let people help me when I need help? I suppose that’s another topic for therapy. I am not comfortable feeling needy or vulnerable or weak. In that moment when the vet announced the estimate I was simultaneously overwhelmed with worry over my cat’s lives and utter panic over my depleted bank account and I just. . . crumbled.

You can’t always pick yourself up all by yourself.

It’s a very good thing to have friends who are not only generous but also pushy (cough TOMATO cough- in a good way, of course) and for that I am thankful. I am so very, very moved by the outpouring of support and love via your sweet words and generous donations. I woke up yesterday to hundreds of dollars in my pay pal account and I cried. At 6am. I CRIED.

You have, time and time again, showed up for me and even if I have not met you in person I want you to know you have touched my life and my heart and I am sincerely and profoundly grateful.

To say thank you seems small but it is all I have. These two little big words: Thank you.

This is me virtually hugging you.

Hello Sizzle Reader…

She calls me one of her best friends and I don’t take it as a vanity title. It is a title I covet with pride. It is a title that has been quilted together from years of memories and experiences. Laughter and heartache. Support and strength and always a helping hand. This afternoon as I was finally catching up on my blog reading, I caught her post this week about her cats. Hopefully I am not blowing her next blog post, but the cats came home safely late last night. They also brought with them a hefty price tag of $2,500.

Sizzle doesn’t know I am doing this. Although, in order for you to read this, she will have had to have swallowed her pride and pressed the approve button. If she does this, it will be another example of her growth that we have all faithfully read and followed right here on this blog for the last few years. She earns a living raising money for other people and she is the first to offer a hand when someone else needs it. So today, I am writing this post to let everyone know that you can send your latte money to Sizzle and make a HUGE difference in her life. I know the kind of numbers she gets here on this blog (let’s just say I would kill to have those kind of numbers on my own site ). By my estimate, she only needs 2500 people to donate a dollar and put this whole thing behind her. Or 500 people to donate $5. If 250 people donated $10… well, let’s just say Mr. Darcy would probably be getting lucky tonight (and sleep with a lot less guilt) by putting this whole thing (as well as the Sizz) to bed.

It’s easy. If you have a paypal account, just click on Send Money. It will ask for an email address, sizzlesays at gmail dot com.

Give what you can. And if you don’t or can’t give anything, do NOT feel bad. After 20 years of friendship, I can tell you, just your positive thoughts will mean a lot to her. It’s just that $5 will mean $5 more to her! 🙂

xo
Bob AKA The Tomato

P.S. Apparently if you donate her true identity is revealed. I know you’ve been dying to know her real name.

Can you think good thoughts?

As I was getting changed out of my work clothes last night, I stepped in cat puke. Upon cleaning it up I saw that there was a flower petal in it. To be specific: an Oriental Lily petal. For those of you who do not know, lilies are poisonous to cats.

I should have never brought home that lovely bouquet Mr. Darcy sent me at work. I knew lilies were toxic to cats but I didn’t think about it. I just thought about enjoying the flowers. I have been beating myself over this all night. Apparently the flowers started to die and drop their petals which dropped to the floor where one of them ate it.

I don’t know which cat. And because I love my fucking cats I took both of them to the emergency vet last night because if I guessed wrong then one of them could go into renal failure within 36-72 hours if they weren’t put on an IV drip to keep fluids flowing through their kidneys.

I knew it was going to be pricey. It’s $60 per cat alone just to walk in the door. I sat in the waiting room with Mr. Darcy trying not to lose my shit as they cried in the exam room without me there to comfort them. The doc came out and went over the itemized break down of cost.

$1,200.

For one cat.

And that’s just the starting price.

I couldn’t risk it so I gave the go ahead. And with that, depleted my entire savings account.

I don’t have credit cards because years ago I filed for bankruptcy and have since been on a track to save money for the down payment assistance program to eventually buy a house and to pay down any debt I have (my car, student loan, etc.). I have worked two jobs for two years so I can afford to do these things as well as take trips if I want, buy furniture if I need it, treat friends and family when I feel like it. I finally felt like I had my money situation on track. And now every cent of it is gone. Because I brought poisonous lilies into my house and my cats are freaks who will eat anything. Because I was negligent. Because I love my cats so much I would not risk their health on a maybe.

It’s just money.

I keep telling myself that.

Thank God I have the money to pay. Imagine if it was seven years ago and I had NO MONEY? What would I have done? I would have had to walk away and hope neither one of them died because I would not have been able to afford it.

Fucking money.

As long as they come out of this okay, it will be fine. I think about them in those cages without each other. They’ve never spent a night apart until last night. And as much as I complain about them waking me up at ungodly hours and eating my socks and puking on my rug, I love those little shits and they make my house a home.

It’s hard when you love something or someone. How it can break you open in a heartbeat.

Think good thoughts for them, ok?