It is a little tricky to write the next post after a Dead Cat Post. Nothing looks right touching borders with it. And also, it's difficult to think of something else to talk about when the Dead Cat is a lot of what's on my mind. Like, I buried him, and I keep thinking about him being cold and wet AND SO ON LET'S CHANGE THE SUBJECT.
I'd thought I'd be relieved when he died, or at least a large part relieved. I knew I'd be sad too, but I thought I'd feel relieved not to be tensing up every time he had a breathing fit, relieved not to be wondering each day if I'd find him dead---and, if I may be utterly frank, relieved not to be buying/changing the elevated levels of cat litter a cat with kidney disease goes through.
Instead, I find I'm thinking a lot about the details of him dying, and especially about the details of burying him. I have never felt something as floppy and soft as that cat, after he died. It was as if his bones had vanished. And after I dug a hole in the back yard and put him in it, putting in the first shovelful of dirt felt wrong. Twisted and wrong. Packing the dirt down nice and firm felt almost as bad. It feels WEIRD and WRONG and CRAZY to put something that used to be alive into a hole in the dirt, and then put the dirt back in and leave it there.
It doesn't surprise me that EVERY culture of ALL time has come up with stories to help us cope after we pack the dirt down. Part of the reason it doesn't surprise me is that I just made that up---I have no idea if every/all have done it. Seems like it, though, doesn't it? I can't think of any cultures that don't have at least one story, and I have a vast cultural knowledge that includes SEVERAL DIFFERENT TOWNS in the United States.
Oh, actually I DO have a subject that isn't too jarring with thoughts of mortality: my mother-in-law is coming for a visit, and she emailed me last night to say she was coming October second through fourteenth, and could I let her know right away if that wouldn't work so she could rearrange the whole trip, which has already been arranged.
Well, that's just under two weeks. Two weeks is too long for houseguests, and that much alcohol won't be good for my liver. And why is she asking ME and not her SON? She didn't even cc him on it, so if he gets involved it's obvious I involved him. No: I have to tell her myself that two weeks is too long, and I have to counteroffer one week.
Actually, there is another possibility, and that is that I will GIVE THE HELL UP. We have SEVERAL TIMES worked up the nerve to say "howaboutoneweekinstead?" and she has NEVERTHELESS COME FOR TWO WEEKS, each time making such a lame non-excuse there is no answering it (example: "I could only get the airline deal if I flew on Tuesdays or Wednesdays"---as if that somehow eliminated the possibility of arriving on Tuesday/Wednesday and departing the following Tuesday/Wednesday, instead of what she DID do which was to arrive on a Tuesday and leave THREE WEDNESDAYS LATER). My point being that then we get the worst of both worlds: we have to work up the courage to tell her, and then she comes for two weeks anyway, so maybe it is time to either have a Big Confrontation (zero chance of occurring) or else stop trying to prevent her from doing whatever she wants since she's going to do it anyway.
[Edit: Also, she asked ahead of time if we had any plans for October. And we said no, because she'd said that if we DID, she would find a time when we DIDN'T.]
Okay, so here is my question: How should I reply to her email? And if you think of an awesome reply, test it out in your head first: is it something a polite person could seriously say to another person, without causing a rift in the fabric of time and space? I need REALISTIC DIALOGUE here.
Life-improving products, part 4 - (Continued from part 1, part 2, and part 3.) Stearns Youth Life Vest (photo from Amazon.com). I’d been too scared to take the kids to any body of water oth...