Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Forever Home

September 24, 2018

Ziggy came to live with us 6 years ago
He came in as a 17lb, 5 year old black cat
He is now a 20lb, 11 year old black cat and is more loved as each day goes by
His nicknames range from Ziggy Boy to Chubzilla to Count Chubbula to Zigmund Zigaby to Zigs to Zigladon
Ziggy follows Lucy around the house and sits next to her whilst she's watching TV, eating breakfast or reading
Ziggy sits on Sean while we're watching TV after Lucy has gone to bed
But he sleeps with me
Only Lucy can pick him up
Only I can brush him
And only Sean cleans his litter box
Ziggy is spoiled
And we're spoiled for having him
He completes our little family
A couple years ago, Lucy wanted nothing more than to have a little brother or sister
So much so she would get upset with me when she asked for one and I would dodge her questions
When I finally explained to her I could not have more kids, she held my face in her little hands and assured me she was ok with that as Ziggy was her brother and he was more than enough
But Lucy has always wanted more cats
And for a short time, we did indeed have two cats
Herbie lived with us for a few months
But poor old Herbert Sherbert the 3rd was not happy as a house cat
He loved us and we loved him but he loved the outdoors more
So he went to live with Uncle Michael and Neenie at the lake
Herbie is happy
We are still sad
In 2016, we started looking for a new cat
We'd go to the shelter a couple times a month in hopes of meeting the perfect cat
But then a cat bit me and I was on antibiotics twice a day for a week and scared of shelter cats for a year
We (I) finally worked up the courage to go back to the shelter
I just don't get too close to the cats
So we started looking again
But we could not find the right cat for us
In June, we were in Reading at a Family Field Day and started chatting with an agency in Wakefield which fosters and places cats
We looked at numerous pictures they had at their booth and were also directed to their website which showcased an even broader field of cats up for adoption
Lucy started to get more excited but first, we had to make sure we were all up to the task
So we had many long family conversations about cost and responsibility
I'll pay the adoption fee! Lucy declared
Honey, that can be up to $200
It's worth it Dad!
So it was agreed
We'd look for a second cat to join the family
Sean and I would cover the vet bills but Lucy would pay the adoption fee
We figured a 5-7 year old male would be best; old enough so he was out of his kitten phase and a bit more chill
A little younger than Ziggy in hopes of keeping Ziggy young
And a male because Sean said he had never had good luck with female cats
Lucy wanted a Maine Coon Cat
I wanted a Norwegian Forest Cat or a Rag Doll
Sean just wants someone else to clean the litter box
Lucy and I then spent one lazy afternoon on the website for the agency in Wakefield
And we stumbled across Andre.....a 7 year old Maine Coon cat
I emailed about him, filled out the application and we waited
But nothing happened
Yesterday, with not much to do, and Lucy frustrated because we never heard back about Andre, we took a ride to the MSPCA shelter (same place we got Zigs, same place the cat bit me) to have a look around
As we wandered through the cat room, I kept seeing this little gray and white kitty getting all kinds of love from people
Until they realized her age and then they'd walk away shaking their heads and saying it was too bad she was so old
I was standing in the corner as Lucy and Sean went from cage to cage peering in with curiosity and anticipation of finding the perfect cat to come live with is
At one point, Lucy sought out a volunteer and peppered her with questions about one cat in particular only to find out the cat was going home later in the day
Dejected, Lucy hung her little head and frowned
The volunteer, this wonderful woman called Cristeen said to Lucy let me flip through the book for you and see who else we have
Lucy perked up and we returned to the cat room while Cristeen looked for Lucy's cat mate
Then Lucy spotted the little gray and white kitty
And then Sean spotted the little gray and white kitty
Sean popped open the cage which was high up and the cat jumped into Sean's arms
Lucy melted
Sean melted
Cristeen came back into the room and found Lucy and Sean with the cat called Harley
She's not quite what you are looking for said Cristeen
Can we hear about her? asked Lucy Can you get the paper on Harley and tell us about her
Cristeen looked to me and I nodded
Harley is a 15 year old female cat
Her owner was forced to give her up when her adult son moved home with various dogs
Harley was looking for her forever home to retire in
By all accounts, she is a pretty healthy 15 year old cat and had been well taken care of until the dogs moved in
And by all accounts, our daughter had fallen in love
Sean and I exchanged glances and shoulder shrugs
Cristeen gave us time to discuss
Lucy pointed out to us that Harley only had a few years left and didn't she deserve to spend those last few years with a family who could love her and take care of her?
And Lucy assured us she would work with Ziggy (who is pretty chill) to get him to understand how much Harley needs us
Then Lucy pulled out all the stops and went straight for our heart strings:
If we take her home guys, when she does die, she'll die in a house full of love ..... isn't that the best thing for her? I don't want her to be alone......
Even Cristeen the volunteer knew Lucy had just sealed the deal
Minutes later, we were sitting with Jenny, the adoption counselor
Lucy could not contain her excitement
And Jenny and Cristeen were just as excited for both Lucy and Harley
As we completed the paperwork, Lucy kept babbling away to Jenny about how Harley deserved a forever home in her old age and assured Jenny we were just the family Harley needed
Plus, she told Jenny, I'm paying to adopt Harley so that should tell you how important this is to me
And then Jenny, bless her heart, did the most wonderful thing anyone could have done for Lucy that day - and for us as Lucy's parents
When Jenny slid the adoption papers across the table, which were pre-printed in Sean's name with a signature line for him, we realized Jenny had also made a line on the paper for Lucy to sign
Jenny turned to Lucy as Sean signed his name and said
Lucy, I'm also going to need your signature as you're paying the fee and Harley is your responsibility
Lucy, with her head held high, beamed as she signed her name with the flick of her pen
By the time we left, everyone knew Harley was going home to a house with lots of love for her to live out her final days because as Lucy said
Hey! We all gotta die sometime and it should be in a house full of love......
Welcome to the family Harley Girl

One Belt Away

September 8, 2018

Last night, she sparred for 6 minutes, did at least 30 crunches, 30 push ups, 100 punches and planked for so long her body started to tremble and though she’ll deny it, she was brought to tears with less than a minute to go
But she persevered and now she is a brown belt.....
One belt away from her black belt
We will sleep with one eye open from now on
And could not be more proud of The Goose

All by myself

August 3, 2018

I'm the only person in the office today
I mean LITERALLY the only person
My one call was cancelled
It is so quiet, I am not only caught up, I am working on next week's calendar items
I also engaged a telemarketer in conversation for 20 minutes, had coffee with the Fed Ex Freight guy, used the motion board I got with my stand up desk for 25 minutes, shared my grandmother's blueberry muffin recipe with the mail girl and made a playlist
It is not even 1pm.....

Happy Birthday to the Other Queen

August 1, 2018

For some, today is a day to celebrate National Raspberry Cream Pie Day or National Girlfriends' Day
Others will partake in events for National Scout Scarf Day or Worldwide Web Day
It is also Respect for Parents Day and International Childfree Day which confuses my head a bit but who am I to judge
Some people will use today to kick off Inventor's Month, Fishing Month, Peach Month and Happiness Happens Month
There will also be, I am guessing, birthday remembrances and parties for Claudius Francis Scott Key, Herman Melville, Mother Jones, Henrietta Lacks, Dom DeLuise, Jerry Garcia, Coolio, and Jason Momoa
But for me, I will spend August 1st celebrating one of my all time favorite people
She's smart and sassy, no bigger than a minute and single handily brought back Talbots
She loves penguins, feeds the birds, chipmunks, deer and chickens which frequent her backyard and talks to all of them in a sing songy voice that makes you wonder if she is not in fact Snow White
She's up on politics, down with Jesus, and adores the Blessed Mother
She still watches the Golden Girls and Designing Women as if they never went out of style or off the air
She's retired but has never been more busy and has a schedule which rivals the Queen's
She can relate to the youngest person in the room, the oldest person at the table and everyone in between
She's soft spoken but packs a powerful punch with her words and her laugh will bring tears of joy to your eye
She can put you in your place with a single arch of her eyebrow and build you up with a nod of her head and five encouraging words
She says things like:
beggars can't be choosers
if wishes were horses beggars would ride
praise the Lord and pass the ammunition
dogs barking, can't fly without umbrella
She sends text messages filled with emojis and GIPHYes
And she still sends cards for every occasion and thank you notes for gifts received
She is Grammy and Grampy's eldest daughter and Aunt Nell and Uncle Ed's favorite niece
She's a younger sister, an older sister and an aunt to so many nieces and nephews
She's a wife - 51 years this past February
She's a mother (1 boy, 6 girls, all natural child births ladies..... ALL NATURAL.....all 7 times...)
She's a Noni to 4 adoring grandsons and 2 doted on granddaughters
She's a friend to many, a companion to some, a lifeline for others and she diligently prays for every single one of us
She's been strong in the face of adversity and vulnerable with a quiet strength and faith that sees her through to the other side
She's taken a lot of shit from people over the years but has never complained, she simply shrugs, and knows that this too shall pass
She is more than I could ever hope to be
Loretta Kearns, you are, and continue to be, the only person I will go out of my way to wish Happy Birthday to on Facebook.....
And not just because you are my favorite Mum but because you continue to be one of my favorite people in the whole wide world
May your day be filled with well wishes, love, frosting (why bother with the cake), and whatever your heart desires
Happy Birthday Mum!
Hang onto your wishes and dreams
Eat your veggies, say your prayers and keep being you
Love the bag, love the shoes, love everything, love you!

At the Car Wash

June 10, 2018

Sent Lucy and Sean outside to wash the cars
The sidewalk and the side of the house have never looked so spic and span clean
Also, Sean may be giggling louder than Lucy 
He definitely screams louder than Lucy
And Lucy's aim with the hose has improved dramatically since last year

Two Belts Away

May 14, 2018

So proud of this little knucklehead......
She packs a mean punch and has one helluva kick
She can do more push-ups than most people I know and does 40 jumping jacks without breaking a sweat
She's sweet, stubborn, sassy and selfless
And now she's two belts away from being a legit black belt
Well done Goose, well done!

The girl has got moves

May 8th, 2018

Was lazily flipping through old pictures on my phone the other night ... around 10pm
This gem of a video popped up
I watched it
Laughed so hard and loud, I woke Lucy up
Her noodle legs slay me
She had just turned 7
Now she’s 9
And her dance moves are still epic

Party like it's your birthday

April 13, 2018

Lucy turns 9 Monday
This is the first year we've not had a birthday party
Her choice, not ours
When she turned 2, Lucy loved Nemo
So we turned the house into the Great Barrier Reef complete with jelly fish, swimming fish and waves
At 3, we transformed the living room into a zoo with wild (stuffed) animals lurking around each corner
For her 4th party, we went on a dinosaur dig
There were excavation sites, a dinosaur egg hunt and homemade fossils
By 5, Luce was a full fledge cat lady and decided a Kitty Party would be the perfect way to comemerate her milestone birthday
We had a cat adoption center with kitties (stuffed) and adoption certificates, kitty crafts and a mouse hunt
By 6, Lucy had developed a love of Pokémon and that was the chosen theme
So with red and black sharpies, we turned 100 ping pong balls into poke balls
The kids designed and created their own Pokémons and we all became trainers
When she turned 6, Sean introduced her to Star Wars
She was hooked
So birthday 7 was Star Wars themed
We made light sabers and learned how fight like a Jedi
We battled storm troopers, and Darth Vader and pinned the saber on Yoda
At 8, Harry Potter was the favorite
We made wands and practiced spells from our spell books
We hatched dragon eggs, attended potions class and had a Quidditch Match
Then, we searched the yard for the Golden Snitch
8 was a kick ass party
I could not wait for her 9th birthday party
But this year, on the cusp of 9, Lucy announced she did not want a party
I was gutted.......I love planning and hosting her parties....
When I asked her why, she just shrugged and said just because
So I did not push
Instead, we asked what she wanted to do
Without hesitation, she requested a day of fun with her oldest and dearest pal Jake and then a sleepover movie night with pizza and white cake because Jake does not like chocolate
No problem we said, we'll make it happen
We can also have a party I offered....
No thank you Mumma...
A few nights ago, she finally told me why she did not want a party
It made my heart hurt a little but also made me marvel at how far she has come
She is more self aware and better able to self regulate
She's stronger and more mature
And she is able to look at things more matter of factly and from more than one point of view
She still struggles and sometimes it all gets the best of her
But she's being the best Lucy she can be
And somehow, she's hung onto her naive innocence
She's turning 9
No party
No ping pong balls being turned into snitches or poke balls
No light sabers, wands, spell books or dinosaur digs
No fanfare
But she's promised me we'll still have cake....

Happy Birthday Beverly

Back in April, when Lucy turned 9, one of my favorite authors turned 102
I wrote this in honor of her birthday

April 12, 2018

When I was a kid, I had a list of authors I loved and adored:
Judy Blume, Lois Lowry, Laura Ingalls Wilder, EB White, Paula Danziger, Michael Bond and Carolyn Keene to name a few
And then there was Ramona Quimby written lovingly and funnily by Beverly Cleary
Those were among my favorite books
I connected with Beezus - the older, put out by her kid sister, sister
But I secretly wanted to be Ramona
When I was a kid, I wrote Mrs Cleary a fan letter
I can't remember if she wrote back, you'd have to ask my Mum
But I knew I adored her
Because of her and Judy Blume, I really wanted to be a writer
In my head, these two women, the other authors, along with their characters, were my friends
When I was in my teens and and as a young adult, I would pick up Mrs Cleary's books and read them simply because they were an easy read and made me smile
(I'd also re-read Judy Blume's books to keep some of my angst in check)
Now I read them as a Mum with Lucy and I not only smile but am reminded of my own youth
I am reminded of why I love reading and writing so much
I am reminded how lucky we are to have the written word of so many great talents.....
Of how lucky we are to have such easy access to these wonderfully written works
And how lucky I and my daughter are to have the education to read these words
Today, Beverly Cleary is a 102 years old
She is a Living Legend.... how lucky we are to have her wit and wisdom on paper preserved for years to come!
Thank you Mrs Clearly for Ramona, Beezus, Henry, Ralph the Mouse and Socks
Happiest of days to you - and thank you for being my friend

What I am Thankful for

Also back in March, I was cleaning out some papers and came across this gem Lucy wrote back in November

College is not for everyone

Note Lucy left for me on the table back in March
Sean posted it to my Facebook page with the caption "Told you we didn't need a college fund"