Hello, Little Man

I have a brand new cat I want to share with you! This sounds weird, but his name is Seamus and I’ve had him about eight years.

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Doing his best to sit on my lap

If you’ll remember, Seamus was the cat who hid under my bed for four years. He got stuck behind the refrigerator for a day or two when we were new to each other, because he was so wary of me.  Didn’t even warm up to me when I rescued him from behind there and gave him treats.  He eventually slept on the bed as long as Murphy was there and once he accidentally took a nap on me but upon waking, realized his error and scampered in horror very quickly away.  He did have some warm fuzzy moments with Woney, that heifer, a few years ago which really ticked me off because I have put in the work and the effort with that cat.  For the last few years he has tolerated me and even liked me a little from a distance.  I could pet him but we shared no warm fuzzy moments unless I turned on the sink for him or gave him canned peas.

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For the first month after Murphy and I went to the vet and I came home alone, Seamus was a mess. A total mess.  He wandered the house meowing forcefully at all hours of the night and it just broke my heart.  He kept calling for Murphy and when Murphy didn’t answer, Seamus would jump on the bed and sniff for him.  He’d roam then sleep in the dark curled up on one of my pillows I’d stuffed in my closet and then would roam some more.  I think his appetite suffered, too, but it’s hard to tell when you go from two cats to one.   The food bowl always looked full.

After a few weeks in a fit of discontent and anger, I guess, Seamus wallered onto my pillow and tried to snuggle me. I think he was just looking for something to annoy, something like Murphy who Seamus used to annoy all the time, and I was the only live being in the house.  When cats snuggle humans it’s sweet and soft and kind of lazy, but when cats snuggle other cats it’s more forceful and annoying and involves a lot of scenting things by ramming their faces into hard objects, walls, corners, and books.  I do believe it also involves rubbing those giant fang teeth into soft smushy parts like faces and bodies.  Seamus did all of that to my face and my hands thinking I was a cat (and to be fair, there’s still a fine coating of Murphy fur everywhere) and then contented himself by selecting a wad of my hair with his paw and chewing on it.  Like bubble gum. Smacking and everything.  After a good half hour of that, he climbed onto my chest so he could have better access to my face and began rubbing his gigantic whiskers on my cheeks.  I could barely breathe but I let him stay and after many, many minutes, he put his paw around my neck and went to sleep.  We now do this every night and while it shouldn’t, it sometimes annoys me.

See, in the middle of the night I wake up to a cat purring in my ear. It sounds so sweet because who doesn’t like a cat who purrs?  It’s just that Seamus purrs like a Bengal tiger.  It’s huge.  It’s loud.  It’s forceful because the purring is usually is accompanied by a wet nose in my ear, claws in my hair and chest rumbles at a volume I’m fairly certain my neighbor can hear. This part I love – nearly every morning I wake up with a cat at least partly on my hip.  He’s taken naps with me, where he’ll stuff himself into the crook of my arm and rest his head on my bicep then sleep so hard he snores.  He comes running, his big fluffy tummy swaying, every night when I unlock the door.  I’ve never had a cat greet me with such exuberance nor heard a cat purr as much as Seamus, not ever in my life. If I’m home, then he’s no more than two feet from me at any given time.  I guess I will never pee alone again but I am used to that because I never peed alone with Murphy either.

I, of course, like to think it’s me Seamus is excited about. Murphy was a natural cat bonder who bonded not just with me but with Luke, with Sandi, with the neighbors down the road, with Pee-Tah, with Freddie.  Etc.  With Seamus, I really feel like he likes ME, and I don’t really want to hear any different, despite any evidence there is to the contrary, thanks.  I don’t want to hear that I’m his Murphy substitute or that he’s just looking for something to cuddle because it’s his innate instinct to smother live beings with affection and teeth scraping.

So this is my new cat. What do you think? Should I keep him?

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Pee-Tah Moved

I bet I didn’t tell most of you because I couldn’t really tell it without crying, but Pee-Tah moved away from me. He’s done it before and he’s very good about keeping in touch and visiting, but it still feels terrible when I want to go over to his apartment on a Friday night in my pajamas to watch Jason Bourne do unspeakable things to bad guys.  Or speakable things.  Jason Bourne is one of those guys who isn’t really all that good looking on the surface but then he does something like knock out a guy with one punch and you find yourself dealing with overactive ovaries and wondering why it all of the sudden got hot in the room and speculating about why you feel compelled to fling your bra at the television screen.  Like how women react to Dammit Todd.  Those people are the good-in-motion people.

Pee-Tah arranged nights with each of his close friends to pack a section of his apartment and then have dinner together. I was slated for the kitchen packing night which works out well for me because Pee-Tah has only expired foods in his pantry because he forgets to eat, but he has great appliances and gadgets, all clean, barely used.  Packing his kitchen is easy.  Toss the food and place the unopened gadgets, already packed securely in their original packaging into the storage bins, then tape, date and stack.  After packing, we went to dinner and planned on talking about his new house, his new friends, the dates he had planned, but instead we decided to cry and touch fingers while people around us assumed we were a couple.  In a way, we are.

“I didn’t realize everything I would be leaving,” Pee-Tah whispered. “I didn’t think about leaving you, really.  I know we will see each other but right now you are just around the corner.  You won’t be around the corner anymore.”

“I know,” I choked. “I can’t come lie on your bed and you can’t serenade me with the piano, and I can’t rummage in your cabinets and steal expired raisins.  I can’t go to anybody else’s house in my pajamas and fling my bra at Jason Bourne.  Even if I could, I don’t want to!”

We sniffled for a while, watched our poor waiter flit around desperately trying to take our orders, and then talked about the logistics of the trip. That made it worse because Pee-Tah said with a warbled voice, “Pilot Frank offered to ride with me in the moving truck so I wouldn’t have to go alone and I said no.  Why did I say no?!  I don’t want to do this by myself!”

“I don’t want you to, either!” I wailed.

Then we looked at each other, and looked away and then looked back and I said, “I can go.”

Pee-Tah didn’t even hesitate. “OKAY!” he hollered.  “OKAY, CALL YOUR BOSS RIGHT NOW.”  Because she is great, she also said, “You can go,” and our short notice travel plan was born.

I’d like to talk briefly here about the moving truck but I have to be honest with you, I don’t think I’m going to be able to do that. You should’a seen that thing!  It was huge! Enormous!  Pee-Tah’s plan was to attach the tow trailer on the back for his car and have some good-in-motion moving men load the truck, and all of that worked out pretty well except for the part where Pee-Tah wasn’t fully packed yet and he and I loaded the last of it for a few hours.

I took a thousand pictures of that truck before ever clambering in it and when I say clambered, I mean clambered. Two steps with hand rails just to get to my seat, and my seat was a bench that I shared with Pee-Tah with storage underneath for our snacks and my purse.  I worried about us driving that thing for 14 hours to Minneapolis.  Would we be safe?  Would the car be safe back there?  Madre worried about us being safe, too.  “Drive carefully,” she fretted.  “Don’t go too fast,” she instructed.

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Once we hit the road, I no longer worried. There wasn’t a soul on the road that could hit us at any speed and cause us any damage.  That truck was a Sherman tank.  That truck was a hoss. That truck was indestructible.  The only worry about that truck was filling it up with diesel and I don’t even want to know how much of Pee-Tah’s money we spent on that bill.

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That truck also rode like one of those fat shaker machines – you know, the kind where you can strap yourself in and then jiggle with a cocktail in one hand and a cigarette in the other and still get a full and effective workout? That kind.  It was pretty loud, too, so Pee-Tah and I spent a lot of time speaking very deliberately and forcefully to one another while I shook my fat and Pee-Tah just shook his bones because he doesn’t have any fat.  When our 14 hour drive turned into a 21 hour drive because we never got over 50 mph because of the enormity of the truck (“don’t drive too fast,” Madre said), Pee-Tah and I spent a lot of time doing singalongs to 80s ballads and 90s love songs.  I sing great.

My favorite part of the trip, after spending 21 hours with Pee-Tah in a moving truck, and after sleeping about 8 hours total over two nights, and after the conversations we had about what we’d like God to say to us when we get to Heaven, and after we planned my next trip via plane to MSP, were the dinners we had at the truck stops. Truck stops, y’all!  I had dinner at some truck stops!  I love truck drivers.  I always have.  I’ve always felt very safe seeing those big rigs with all the lights on them when I’m driving in in the middle of the night in my small sedan.  I know not everyone feels that way, but I always have.  The truck stops were such a rewarding experience for me, but I am always particularly moved when I see someone in their element.  Those men (and probably women!) could back those trucks into the skinniest of spots.  They had beds in the back where they slept for the night on the exit ramps.  Some of them brought family members and all of them were friendly.  Plus I got to eat truck stop food which was not only plentiful but delicious. Well, as delicious as it can be when the partaker has given up all grains.

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Pee-Tah and I woke up on our last morning together at 4:30 am. Something like that.  We were puffy-eyed and sleepy but we had things to do:  he had to complete a home inspection and I had to catch a plane.  We performed our morning ablutions and ran out the door together where he fired up his big rig with a car attached, and I climbed into an Uber with a guy who desperately wanted to be an actor and wore all the gold chains and cologne to prove it.  We didn’t cry, we did hug, and we took off for our business.  It was the only way we could do it; otherwise we’d still be clenched in a lover-like embrace at the entrance of the Holiday Inn while people walked around us and wondered why we were boo-hooing like toddlers.  Pee-Tah’s house was inspected and then purchased and my plane was caught.  We talked later that night and were right on the edge of losing it when his mother arrived to help him move in.  We talk every so often to make plans for my next flight out there so I can decorate my room.  I have a room.  It’s the one with the full size bed.

I’m okay. Pee-Tah is okay.  This is what being a grown up is.  We make our choices, the best ones we can, but we never lose sight of what is important. He is important to me and he always will be.  He moved, but he’s never far away and I’m so damn thankful for that.  Plus, we are good-in-motion people and you don’t just get over the good-in-motion people. You keep them, because they are the best.

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