Friday, January 4, 2019

Whirlpool

It could be a jungle or a ghetto, real or imagined it doesn't matter, for they are there, by the gaggle or the dozen or the pair, they will reach for you, they will grab and clutch and attempt to pull you in to the quicksand and the whirlpool, they are egomaniacs and angry old men, they are the captains of industry and the head of the PTA, they will come at you with all sorts of petty grievances and trivialities and the belief in their god and their righteousness and you will stutter and stammer, you will slip on the piss they have left on the floor, they want you to feel like them, they want you to be like them, they don't understand why you run until your lungs burn and your feet ache to escape their clutches, and if they can they will trip you up on that slick concrete smelling of piss and you will spill head over feet into that whirlpool and you will be the only one screaming as they laugh and ask those questions, submit those queries, tsk and tut and shake their heads in disapproval while you swim and swim and gasp and grab for an edge that always seems to be getting further away, there is rain beating on the windows and a memory of you and your father walking, heads down in a driving wind as the frozen rain clung to your hair and you searched for something, and your father smiled and let out a little cough and said beware the fools and idiots and suckers of souls my boy, and then you are back in the water and a taste of salt on your lips and the brightness of the stars except they are not stars but parking lot lights and you wonder why and where and how this lake got in this parking lot, you are not the fox or the hedgehog, you are not the captain but they are still pinning the iceberg on you, another medal pinned to your second hand coat to go along with that loser button, and my aren't you gettin' a bit old kid to be wearing those buttons on your lapel? and you slip under the water for a moment and the world never looked so kind but up you come once again to the tsk and tut and tug and as you make for the edge and pull your self up on the sand you wonder where the parking lot and the lights have gone and you have lost your keys and your nerve and your shoes and in the faint blue glow of a dark room you can hear the footsteps of your cat and the creaking of your mind and if it's real you do not know nor do you much care...

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Random Thoughts While Sitting in the Wrong Office and Waiting for the Ass Cam

I had stumbled into the office for advanced pain management somehow, mainly because i forgot to bring my handy instruction sheet telling me where the surgery center was but it being a dual office they figured i was for the other window and told me to sit down and wait. Needless to say i could only grin at my bumbling because as i attempt to unlearn all i know i've realized that bumbling isn't a bad way to get through the day. It's a damn bit more interesting than having a plan but in this day and age it seems you must have a plan. So there i sat, thinking about the rise and fall of my hunger, this being Thursday and not having eaten since Tuesday all in the name of science and ass cams. I quietly watched the patients of the advanced pain management office. Many of them were elderly or infirm, i realized these pain meds, what i could only imagine were a delicious concoction of opiates and Valium and Xanax, were meant to soften the blow of the daily pain and an impending death. Of course i wondered if any had tried that wonderful herb and i also understand that at certain points even the most concentrated of extracts might not do the trick but i also know that either will the heftiest dose of opiates. That both would deliver relief but one would offer a peaceful and cognizant way out while the other would offer a crippling stupor. The difference i surmise is dignity and one of problems of this modern medicine is they are not much interested in dignity particularly when it comes to checking out.

Strangely that night i came home and was reading more Alan Watts who happened to touch on this very subject. The fact that we lie to grandma as she lay dying, telling her she'll get better and that things will be okay. Why? we both asked. If there is one thing (of the many) i truly loved and admired about Pops was that he wanted to die with dignity. He wasn't interested in quantity but in quality. He didn't want to take up space if he couldn't live the way he wanted and knowing that he wasn't going to be able to was perfectly fine with death. And so later that day as i lay in my gown i was grinning like the idiot. The last time i had been in any sort of medical facility i was looking at my father in his gown with his hospital footies and there i lay in my gown and hospital footies as they read off the same first and last name but different birth date and wheeled me away for the ass cam. Needless to say the cocktail of dope they gave me was fantastic and i was in and out faster than many local fast food drive-thru's.

Robert Anton Wilson often talks of the patterns or coincidences that occur every day. The day before in one of our more civil conversations i was talking to the Breadwinner about medical care and medicine and death. It was about how utterly lacking our country mainly is in this area, spurred by something Ms. Daisy wrote and how through my study of Watts, Wilson, McKenna etal that i was convinced that every disease and illness could be cured by something already on the planet. Not to say those substances once found wouldn't need a little tweaking but that while science is a marvelous thing it sometimes looks in the wrong places and goes back to another of Watts ideas of survival and profit. Big Pharma has no interest in pursuing ideas in holistic or natural medicine mainly because it cuts into the bottom line. Cannabis is the poster child for that and until they see where the shareholders can be happy they don't give a fuck about your health, happiness, or life. Unless of course they can keep you alive on a combination of chemicals that in a nutshell could cause: nausea, diarrhea, constipation, heart attack, internal bleeding, elephantitus of the nuts and whatever else you want to toss out.

So what happens when the cure is worse than the disease? Through the magic of religion the western world has stigmatized death as something to be shunned and avoided and sure we all want to live but what happens when the terms living and existing can only be loosely applied? I've watched people live in fear of death when what they should be doing is embracing it as the natural progression of life. As Neil deGrasse Tyson said one day, if we could all live forever what would ever get done? in short nothing, hence why we should take advantage of the days we have which in turn leads back to Watts and how when we get sucked into the game of profit and survival we lose sight of what actually is important. And no that's not to say we should just all chuck our responsibility to the wind and have orgies and get wasted but what it does mean is when we get wrapped up into the arbitrary-ness of things we forget what matters as life devolves into a struggle when it should really be a game, with joy, with pain, with things that have no tangible way to accumulate but just are. The fact the modern human needs to be in control is our greatest weakness and so we attempt to control the uncontrollable when we should really be sitting back and enjoying the ride...

The coincidence, to go back to Wilson, was that this procedure is something many people get and bitch and moan about and maybe what i may have learned is to sit back and not worry. Not in the shit your pants sort of way which the prepping for can easily make you do but in the relax and don't worry kind of way. The doc gave me a funny look when he told me the worst part was the prep and i told him i didn't think it was that bad. Sure i got hungry but that goes away and while some might be put off by the incessant trips to the can for anyone who has ever had an intimate knowledge of cheap malt liquor it was pretty much like the morning after, except probably less painful. Another afternoon come and gone, i'd say i'm looking forward to the next one but i don't like to get too far ahead anymore, i'm just looking forward to the now.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

State of the Nation - High Risk Edition

Greetings kids! it is i, the philosopher clown, come to stand upon his milk crate and piss squarely into a strong wind, to blabber on about the cesspool of capitalist bullshit and the burning need of consumption without which modern life would disintegrate into dust (and with which modern life will disintegrate into dust). A man with no discernible skills, of below average intelligence, a man without (gasp) a job let alone a fucking Korea (see career), a man so well versed in the wu-wei he could write a book on it except that would defeat the whole fucking purpose now wouldn't it? And so we begin this pagan ritual of end of year lists and trysts and bullshit, in a year that has brought us highs and lows and all things in between, in short another year of treading the terra...

It was roughly this time last year when (dec. 10) when our hero fell to the floor in mind-numbing pain with back spasms, i once thought they lasted for eight or so hours but now realize it was more like ten, a night that saw the worth (in the Breadwinner's eyes) of my pain and suffering not worthy of the few hundred dollars spent to get him some relief. Of course it was two days later as i talked to Pops that he broke the news that he had cancer, and not just one form but most likely two. Yes it may not have been the best week i've ever had but here i sit and in that year i've got on with things just as Pops has told me to do. Of course if i could call Pops i'd give him the fucking bidness for knocking me into the high risk category and thus upping the lovely ass probing by a couple of years and so next week i get to drink a ton of ass cleaner and spend the day shitting my brains out so that the good doctors can have a nice clean view of my colon. If not for the boyos i'd probably just laugh it off and take my chances but i owe it to me boyos to try and stick around for a bit and so precautionary measures will be taken. I'm not entirely thrilled with this prospect but hey man you buy the ticket you take the ride right?

And so as is usual with this diatribe i can say that the doc told me it's quite possible i'll live another year, there's some things that need to be tweaked in order to get me back to optimum fighting shape but i'll get there. As the ravages of aging have decided to kick the hell out of my back mainly but also the knees, hips, ankles, elbows, i've taken to the pool and become the fish i once was, swimming 3 or 4 times a week in order to be able to don the Speedo that so many soccer moms and bitter aging hipster women are breathlessly awaiting... surely you jest you say and surely i do i reply. Like any addict the pool has now become my new favorite place and like any addict i probably push myself too hard but if i'm gonna be addicted to something it might as well be something healthy right? i'm sure it's a bit better for me than the blow and Xanax diet of yesteryear. Of course i have noticed the mind does not wander as much in the pool as say when i'm plodding along on a treadmill, the runner's high is quite different than splashing along where sometimes the main goal is not to drown but nevertheless i quite enjoy the feeling and tiredness of the body when i drag myself out of the water...

Other than my father's passing the most important thing to take place this year was the re-introduction of psychedelics into my existence. Granted it was only a matter of time considering the in depth course of study i've taken up with a reading diet heavy in Terence McKenna, Robert Anton Wilson, and Alan Watts. A study not meant to find any great or deep meaning but a more a study of just to "be", which may very well in turn lead me to a deeper understanding but let's get the fuck out of here now, that's all bullshit, as the old zen koan goes, a student asked the Zen master, "who am i? why am i here? the Zen master looked rather quizzically at the student and then burst out laughing. As i eat those tiny mushrooms that open up the mind i sometimes wonder if i'm not getting closer to the laughter than the question which makes me think i'm closer to the question than the laughter but that all of course depends on when and where and what i'm doing. Of course Wilson will tell you you can attain the same level of consciousness by meditating or if you're lucky you can just take psychedelics and get there faster. Being lazy and having a love of riding trains while tripping balls i chose to go with the latter. Looking back i see that my first trip this year was a month before my father passed and i believe it had a profound effect on how i viewed the world and how i handled things since. Hence why i stockpiled a nice little stash of those magnificent fungi and hope to keep this practice up when the opportunity arises or when i need to reacquaint myself with the cosmos...

There are strange residual effects to the this new course i've plotted. Call it the third eye or the opening up of those fifth-sixth-seventh circuits of the brain (or eighth if you care to get that far). There was an incident not long ago where i got so zonked out of my skull ripping bong hits i thought i was going to pass out, first came the sweats, a wave of heat so hot that i went to the bathroom to splash cold water on my face, then came the shakes as the cold came roaring on, the whole time i was very cognizant of my breathing and the smile on my face and the lucidity and cohesion of the thoughts racing through my mind. I know to some this would be a nightmare, a trip to the ER to come down and it's not something i advise doing every day but fucking hell was it beautiful, every sense was in tune with the eternal cosmic joke, as i said to my friend sitting on the couch to my right, "if only i could tell you the ideas in my head but at present they are coming to fast and furious to put into words." The smile never left my face, it was the history of existence/non-existence in the span of 15 maybe 20 minutes, the hot, the cold, the yin the yang, the light, the dark, it was all there and it was something to behold... it will all shake out in the end kids, as i said i've bought the ticket and so i'll take the ride, why not sit in the front seat and get a good view...

So where does this leave our hero? Obviously right where he is... attempting to blend his psychedelic rigmarole into the age of modernity while not losing sight that it's all just a game, that modernity and the masters that be have made it a game of chasing carrots, that we are all tricksters and con men and it all depends on who you are conning. Is it yourself? or is it something or someone else and the trick becomes avoiding getting entangled in that web, to remember that work is play if you make it that way and really that's the only way it should be.






Friday, November 30, 2018

Listen the Snow is Falling

There was a strange synchronicity that the song playing was called Death in Mid-Summer while i watched the first snowflakes of the season slowly drift through the headlights. I had just cruised  through the blackness of late November, as usual casually dragging off the vaporizer and contemplating the stars in the sky. It's a favorite past time of mine and as i pulled into the driveway this song came on by one of my favorite bands and as is apt to happen my mind began to drift and wander, yes the lyrics and the title had me thinking of Pops, i thought of how he had given the boyos their nicknames of Little Mac and Five-Star and how the boyos loved those names, i thought of his old place, of that apartment i spent so much time in last February and March as i cleaned out the remnants of his life, of how up until the age of 48, the same age i am now, he had tried to do everything right, or right in the sense that the actions he took were what he thought were right, what he was taught growing up in the America of the 1950's and 60's. And what did those actions get him? a wife who walked out at the first possible opportunity and a shattering of this so-called American Dream... but don't get me wrong, this is not some melancholy post for as i sat in my car thinking and listening to the words and the music a smile crept across my face, for in the last 26 odd years of his life Pops got to do exactly what he wanted, i could see him sitting in his apartment, the lamp on  the table next to him glowing, the snow blowing in off the lake, the television tuned to the Cavs or the Tribe or MSNBC, a book in one hand and a cigarette in the other. What he realized once he got over the hurt was that he had a freedom very few people are ever afforded. He spent his days reading and thinking and getting laid. He spent his nights working and days crunching numbers, studying the things he had always loved. How could i not smile thinking about him. It had turned out alright in the end. That smiled slipped into a grin as i exited the car and stood feeling the wind nip at my face, it was a beautiful four minutes, thinking about the three people i loved most in the world...

Friday, November 16, 2018

The Hundred Foot Waves

Today it has been six months to the day that my father died. It seems like both an eternity and the blink of an eye. To say he has dominated what i've thought and written about in the last six months is an understatement and easily proven by just looking back through this little exercise in futility which i've dubbed "the lounge". Sometimes i wonder if there is an hour in the day that i don't think about my father. I'm sure there are a few that pass where he doesn't cross my mind in some way but those are more the exception than the rule. What i do know is that i miss him and that the last six months has been spent trying to deal with the loss of the person who knew me the best and who, in simple parlance, was my best friend. Then again i'm not sure he was my best friend as he was more than that, he was my dad but to simply call him that would understate the human being he was. He was a fucking gem.

This situation i'm in is not unique and i understand that everyone goes through it at some point. If things go as planned the boyos will one day deal with it and i'm doing my best to leave some kind of blueprint or guide into how to go about it. I'm not sure it's the correct one as i'm easily prone to bouts of silence and brooding away in my own thoughts, though i make sure i talk to them often about their grandfather (and every other topic that comes to mind.) I also know that what i miss the most is our long and meandering conversations that would touch on everything from politics to philosophy to strip clubs to the Cleveland sports teams to his grandsons and his ex-wife, to his only son's not so upstanding past, and to the mistakes and triumphs of this whole living thing. I miss his rational way of thinking and the inflections in his voice when he was railing against the right wing or talking about  or to his grandsons. Mainly i just miss him and that's okay. I'm supposed to. I'm also supposed to get on with things and so i have to the best of my limited ability.

The internet is a vast and useless wasteland used mainly for commerce and influencing elections, (Pops would love that sentence) but every now and then one stumbles across something that somewhat reminds us that the human race is just as capable of great beauty and compassion as it is violence and hate and destruction. And so it was one day while perusing the wasteland that i stumbled upon something written by an elderly man, it was a response to someone young who had just lost a loved one and in it was some of the wisest words i had ever come across. If i had any technical ability i would have copied and pasted or something but fuck all that non-sense as it's difficult enough for me to post a simple blog entry let alone figure all that shit out. Luckily i've read it so many times i about have the damn thing memorized.

This anonymous man wrote about the one-hundred foot waves that will wash over you when you lose someone you love. How in the beginning they come fast and quick and you wonder if you're ever going to make it out or if you're going to drown in the force and strength of the waves but rest assured he says, you'll make it. Of course once you get past high tide it doesn't mean the waves will stop, they'll keep coming and they will have the same effect. In fact they'll always keep coming at you but that will just help to prove how much you have loved and been loved and even as the time passes and you can see the waves coming from far off, you can feel them wash over you just as they did in the beginning, you'll still come up for air, you will still get through it. It may not hurt any less but you will understand how to cope and survive. He wrote of how those waves leave scars and how you should be proud of those scars. How if you are lucky you will have many. How those scars are proof of the love you have had for those in your life. How he, as an old man now, has many scars. How most of his friends and his family are gone and that each day he wears those scars proudly, not to forget them or the ones who he loved and that if we are lucky those waves really never stop as in those waves are a reflection of you and the people you loved the most. I'm sure i don't do the actual letter justice but that's the gist of it.

And so now i deal with those waves. Now i usually see them coming from far off. I've learned how to breathe and not drown as they wash over me. I've learned to wear my scars, i've learned to show them to my sons and to tell them that they too will one day have them and that it will be alright. That it will be a sign that their old man did more than just wander around the house muttering to himself but that he passed on something just like his old man passed on something to him. And if i could find that old man who wrote that letter i'd give him a great big hug and ask him about the waves and his scars. I'd buy him a cup of coffee and sit and listen to those stories, the stories that cause those waves, the stories that leave those scars, cuz in those stories are more than words and memories but that intangible thing we call love. For a guy who grew up in the Rust Belt my father loved the ocean. I tend to think he'd enjoy that letter and also agree with it. I miss Pops.







Friday, October 12, 2018

How to Die

It was the morning of December 10th when my father first told me about his cancer. It was a long conversation that covered many topics from treatment options, to possible outcomes, but most importantly it was a discussion on mortality and life in general and a lengthy discussion about death.  From that first discussion the old man and i were under no illusions as to what the outcome was going to be, the same outcome we all face sooner or later my father just had a better idea of when that sooner or later was going to happen. As i've stated before, his surgeon called him the most rational patient he'd ever had. Staring down death my father never blinked. We talked about it extensively in those last months and he was fine with it, it was an inevitable part of life and i think knowing he had lived life as a decent and honorable human being helped. He had raised children who were independent and intelligent people (my sister anyway) and was appreciative of every minute spent with his grandsons, his three boys as he called them. He didn't bitch and moan about his plight or fate or whatever you want to call it, he accepted it and prepared for what came next. His biggest worry was being a burden to his children, to his last breath he was selfless.

The day after my father passed as i sat in his room and cleaned out his stuff i noticed the answering machine blinking. It was his special lady friend, a phrase pulled from the Big Lebowski as my dad often called me Dude. I called her to see if anyone had notified her about my dad. My big sis had and we had a conversation. She told me that she felt as if she knew me and my sons, she said my father would light up when he talked about his grandsons and how that boy of his was a never ending source of amusement and wonder to his old man. It was one of the themes that kept popping up with my father, his unconditional love for his children and grandchildren and his immense intellect. To say i think about my father a lot would be an understatement. I also know that his passing has had a profound effect on me and how i view things and deal with people. My father used to laugh at how as a child i was not one to tolerate injustice, a trait he himself possessed and a trait that i realize has been passed down through generations on his side of the family. In my youth the battle with the injustices of the universe would drive me mad, i wore my emotions a bit more on my sleeve than Pops did, of course as i've gotten older i understand the universe is a cold and cruel mistress not much interested in things like justice and the like. Now and then though i still have my issues with it but much like he taught me how to live my father taught me how to die, with a grace and a dignity and the thought that it's too late to correct things when the clock strikes midnight so you best live and love to the best of your ability while you have the chance. Which in turns leads me to the shit show.

The shit show started Labor Day weekend when the Posa, aka the Breadwinner's father, was admitted to the hospital. He hadn't been feeling well but when one cries "wolf!" so often no one really takes it seriously after a while. After some blood work and the like it was determined he had indeed had a mild heart attack which necessitated another procedure which in turn led to him being scheduled for triple bypass which in turn led him to being shipped from CenPenn, as the Pennsyltuckians call it, to the VA here in the Burgh. This of course meant that my humble abode would soon be turned into a motel and much like my recently dear departed little Claudia i do not much like when my house is invaded by strangers... well maybe not strangers but you get the idea. My whole little routine would be thrown off and frankly i like my little routine, it gives me time to daydream and pull tubes and spin records and generally fuck off while being the domestic handmaid that i am. And so it began.

With the Posa being shipped west the audible delight from the Breadwinner's big bro was palpable. Big Bro aka The Captain of Industry, is a 45yr old man who thinks daddy owes him something and hence uses him as a cash machine. A quick list of the Captain's fuck-ups would read something like, massive credit card debt at 24 (which daddy bailed him out), tossed out of the army after spending six months in the clink for "possession" of MDMA (for which daddy provided the lawyer and flew to Germany to cry in front of the judge), knocking up his girlfriend in daddy's house (who he subsequently did marry but not before finding out he had knocked up his other girlfriend in the army), moving his new family into daddy's house, being pissed that he didn't get a lavish wedding, his bride being even more pissed, and of course the list could go on but i'd run out of fucking room. Needless to say the Captain now runs his own business, signed over to his wife due to that little felony thing and consistently is in debt to his daddy for six figures, an amount he has no intentions of paying back and would shed crocodile tears on his father's demise until of course he saw the will which has apparently been changed to short the Captain of his debt... and that's just the first sibling.

The Trainwreck, aka younger sister, is a morbidly obese, chain smoking mental case with a soon to be 12yr old daughter who is already looking to be a bit of a handful. Her issues are also a plenty but can mostly be traced back to her weight which in turn leads to her own wrecked self-esteem and her penchant to quit on anything that might be a tad bit difficult. She actually owned her own business at one point and was doing well until her shitbag partner somehow forced her out. Which in turn led her to moving home and living in her father's basement. Toss in the hyper-active younger brother from Denver who can't sit still and is everything the Breadwinner loves, (don't worry it's not gonna get all Greek mythology kids). Since he can't sit still he's always doing something, be it fixing things to making corn hole boards and smoking salmon to sell on the internets. He's not a bad sort but believe me when i say his hyperactivity can get on my nerves as well as his habit of filling the Breadwinner's head with home improvement projects all of which i'm somewhat disdainfully looked upon as unfit to undertake let alone complete.

And so for ten days this is what i dealt with. Of course not all of them were here all the time but at least one of them was here and usually more than one, and yes sometimes all of them. All the while i went about my usual business of taking care of the boyos and running them to practice and games and school and helping with homework with the added fun of cleaning up after adults who seemed to think my house was a motel and that the maid service (see me) would handle the clean up. But let us not forget the Posa.

The Posa, staring down his own mortality, became a quivering ball of tears. He sat and told the Breadwinner that he was scared and that he wanted to see his granddaughters get married and see them graduate and see them do all kinds of things. (Note, she has no daughters.) As the dutiful daughter Breadwinner went and saw him every day, usually multiple times and listened to him whimper about his plight. This is a man who treated her like shit her whole life. Told her when she was a child "he didn't want her." Her older brother and her are less than 13 months apart. The Posa was an emotionally and physically abusive asshole, he preyed on his wife's low self-esteem and weight problems to control and manipulate her. His idea of showing love was throwing money at his kids and his two middle kids, the Breadwinner and her hyperactive brother, received very little, and yet there she sat listening to him and taking care of him and worrying about him. He spent every waking moment on the phone calling every person he knew to drum up sympathy, to make himself feel loved. I get it, the guy was scared, it's a natural reaction. He also kept asking when i was going to visit.

Let me state that i am an empathetic and compassionate human being even if this next paragraph or so will seem to prove otherwise. While i believe all humans deserve those things i also believe some do their best to negate those things by not ever exhibiting those qualities themselves. By being self-centered, abusive assholes whose utter lack of humanity disqualify them from said feelings. I put the Posa squarely in that category, i don't mind someone being a miserable SOB but when you toss in the aforementioned traits i don't have time to be arsed anymore. I showed my compassion to him by not visiting. My utter indifference to his existence would most likely have come shining through and i wasn't going to sit there and fawn over the man as he wished. It doesn't really matter to me if he lives or dies. I know this might seem a rather callous view but it's the one i hold. Being the ever present navel-gazer it has crossed my mind that he may be just a pawn in the never ending game of fuck you played between the Breadwinner and i. Having received very little support of any kind during my father's illness maybe i'm being the selfish asshole and returning the favor. Then again this is a man who has done nothing to earn any one's empathy or compassion except for his youngest and oldest children.

My father showed me how to face the end with grace and dignity. He didn't bitch or moan or whimper about things, he looked it squarely in the eye and accepted it. He didn't want or expect sympathy, didn't want attention, he wanted to get on with the days he had left, to read and talk to his siblings and children and grandchildren and not be a burden even though every one of those people would have given anything to help him. He as an intelligent and thoughtful guy. The Posa is the exact opposite. Even though he's no longer here my father is still teaching me things. It's another in the many lessons i hope to pass down to the boyos, both spoken and unspoken and after that it's up to them what they do with this knowledge.

As for the Posa? After quintuple bypass he's back home and on the mend. My house is back to normal just the way i like it. There was a point where i was a bit pissed that a man like my father could get the shit end of the deal while the Posa keeps on going. It was the shadow of the younger me and my problems with the universe and it's meting out of justice. It's alright though, somewhere i could here my father laughing, smiling, and saying "let it go kid, it's gonna be alright." As usual the Old man is right... and i have.










Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Claudia 1999-2018

It's been a bit of a shit show around here lately but i'll get to that soon enough, what i need to get to now is this, my little cat, me beloved Claudia left this world on September 7th at the ripe old age of 19. She was what i called my most cattiest of cats, a skittish little imp who wasn't fond of many people but those she was fond of had a little companion whose little motor never stopped humming away. She hated when she had to move house/apt and would usually spend the next week hiding under a bed pissed off at the notion that we had the gall to move her from her last abode. When her younger brother Zuko arrived she decided that she would live in a bedroom and not leave hence necessitating the relocation of a litter box and food and water. It's why i love cats so much, they do not believe they are your pets but that you are theirs and you will do what they ask... or suffer the consequences. When she took up residence in said bedroom she spent nights sleeping next to my head and i'd often fall asleep to the sound of her purring happily away in her cozy little spot tucked between pillows and a headboard.

And so over the last year as i watched her decline it was tough. Her descent into very old kitty age saw her develop what i called "kitty dementia", albeit mildly, or maybe she decided she was to old for this living in one room shit and she decided to come out. She had lost her hearing and had some eyesight problems related to some other health issues but until the end she was the sweetest little cat i could have asked for, she still loved her head to be scratched and like pushing her face through a little circle i'd make with my hands, the same things she had done since i got her at five weeks old. Having moved to a stiff couch for my back she no longer slept next to my head but each morning she'd come slowly down the steps and meow a few times letting me know she was ready for her morning milk. She had always loved her milk and over the last year i gave it to her multiple times a day, i wanted her to be happy and nothing made her happier than a bit of milk and a kitty treat, once again her little motor going as she watched what i could only guess was my blurry figure with her failing eyes. I nicknamed her Little Butt when she was a kitten cuz she was such a tiny thing and it was a name that stuck until the end.

That Friday morning things went south fast and i knew she was in pain and so i grabbed the carrier and made for the emergency room. I won't go into the details but i knew it was the end. Somehow i figured that her being so old, having had a good life, and knowing she was in failing health would have made it easier but in reality i was lying to myself. And so a tall man with a small cat did his best to sputter out the words at the desk while he wiped the water from his eyes. After a brief exam the doc told me what i already knew and so they gave her a bit of pain medicine and brought her back to me so i could say goodbye. As i held her she laid her head on my shoulder and i talked to her as i always do with my cats, i'm a crazy cat person, i'll admit it freely, i told her how much i loved her and that when she got to Kitty Valhalla to tell her brothers Pablo and Louie and her sister Sylvia that their old man said hi and that he loves them. I sat there for a while scratching her head as she laid in my arms, told her how much i loved her and then it was time. I had her longer than any pet i had ever had, i drove home with more than an empty carrier, through the mist in my eyes i smiled at the thought that she had still gotten her last bit of milk and a treat that morning. Each morning i find myself still waiting to hear her call for milk, keep looking for her to be sitting in the kitchen and purring away. She was the last of the original three, i'm happy i got to be her human.