Hell of a Guy
I do not fear computers. I fear the lack of them - Isaac Asimov

Friday, September 16, 2016

Camping, Not for Me…

09/16/2016

Not long ago The Nancy and I decided we would take her dad up to his camp and spend the night there with him. He is 87 and not very agile, he walks with two canes (too proud to use a walker). We wanted him to have one more night there before he is completely incapable of doing it.

We got to the camp at Big Bear Lake around noon that Wednesday and made preparations for his arrival. His caretaker was bringing him, the four of us excited to stay. Unfortunately after we had eaten lunch and had some time to sit around the fire pit, which is something he has always loved to do, The Nancy’s dad decided he was not feeling all that well and he and the caregiver headed back home.

Now, The Nancy and I could have packed up and left as well, but she decided since we were there we should continue with the plan and stay. I am not a camper. Even a remote thought about spending the night at any place without running water and an in-house bathroom give me chills.

In 1957 I joined the Boy Scouts. At some point not long after I joined, the scout troop went on a one night camping trip. We spent the night in tents in woods – no running water, no bathrooms, no nothing. The entire time I felt dirty and as if things were crawling all over my body. The experience left me traumatized. I never wanted to camp out ever again.

Fast forward to 1980, my youngest daughter was in a father/daughter group sponsored by the YMCA called the “Indian Princesses.” Twice I went on a father/daughter outing with her and spent the night in the woods – about 12 girls and 12 dads. It was not a particularly exciting event for me, but I did it. I never wanted to do it again. Thirty-six years later I found myself in a similar situation. This time I did it for my father-in-law. It’s a damn good thing I love the guy.

With her father gone, we sat around the fire for a couple of hours – there was no TV or other entertainment there, finally about 10pm we went inside the camping trailer and to bed. Some facts: 1. No one had spent any real time in the trailer for a couple of years, 2. The trailer had had no maintenance in a couple of years, 3. It was musty, dusty and very warm in the trailer, 4. The trailer’s beds were nasty.

Rather than attempt to get into one of the beds, we decided to sleep in recliners that were there. We covered them with sheets, opened a sliding door and aimed a fan at full speed at the chairs to try to cool the place down. Not ideal but manageable…or so we thought.

To be fair, it was less awful than I thought it would be and worse than I would have liked. I did not sleep well and The Nancy didn’t sleep much better than I, either. Fortunately morning came, albeit not that quickly, and we were able to pack up and get the hell out of there.

Note to self: I hope this experience is permanently burned into my memory so that if I ever again have an asinine idea to camp out again, I puke.

And that is all I have to say about that…

 
Monday, September 05, 2016

I Just Called Her Kitty…

09/05/2016

She came to live with us in late September 2005. We had been in this house just under two months. We had already assumed temporary ownership of Stella, mixed breed black lab, and to be frank, I had not wanted any pets. She came with her brother, at least we were told they were related, but they definitely looked different to me. At that time, she was Angel, he was Friskie. Living here on The Farm, we thought it appropriate to change their names to Lisa and Oliver.

Stella, Lisa and Oliver soon developed a love for one another. Stella was a very patient host as the two kittens climbed on her, bit her tale and took over her space. There was never so much as a second they didn’t get along. Oliver was the wilder of the two kittens, he loved to be outside roaming around fields of The Farm, and it was one of those times he ran into something a little bigger than he and did not come home. 

The two paragraphs above were written two weeks ago. I just didn’t feel I could finish this piece then, so I stopped. Just how does a 72-year old man fall in love with a cat, or any animal for that matter, but it happened?

Frankly, the kitty was a pain in the ass; she was as demanding as any human could ever be. She spread her hair everywhere. Places in the house I absolutely did not want her to sleep in, she did. She seemed to have a “spot of the week” every week…a living room chair, one of the guest beds on the second floor, our bed. She loved to annoy me in bed. She would sleep between my legs causing me to go through agonizing contortions in order to rollover. She liked freshly drawn water in her bowl, and would sit beside it and meow until The Nancy or I reacted to her “command,” sometimes just moments after we had filled it.

About a month ago she began to act a little strangely, strangely for her. She lost a lot of weight, she was not eating. We got her to the vet and the diagnosis was intestinal cancer. We took her home and tried to make her comfortable, but knew the end was near. Finally we made the decision to put her down. I could not bear to watch it, Nancy did.

I was once told to dogs you are family, to cats, staff. Man, was that so true of Lisa.

I miss Kitty, R.I.P.

And that is all I have to say about that…