The old Bonkity-bonk-bonk ain’t doing so well these days. A couple weeks ago he came down with what seemed to be an ordinary head cold, but when he couldn’t shake it, we took him to the vet. She gave him some low-grade antibiotics that seemed to help him shake the cold at first, but then it returned with a vengeance, so back to the vet he went. She doubled down on the antibiotics the second time and threw in some steroids for good measure, and, once again, the old Bonk rallied and seemed to be his old self again, until his eye blew open. Specifically, his right eye. The pupil won’t open and close the way it’s supposed to. A lot of the time it just won’t close at all. He washes off the right side of his face a lot, as if he’s trying to clear his vision, and every so often he’ll be walking across the floor as normal as can be until he stops suddenly and shies away from nothing at all, ducks his head, turns, and then keeps going as if he hadn’t done anything disturbingly weird. And just lately he’s been drooling a lot. A whole lot. “I think he had a stroke,” My Darling B said, and watching him slobber all over himself tonight I couldn’t find any reason to disagree with her. She’s taking him to a specialist in the morning who’s suppose to have the kind o’ learnin’ that enables vets like him to gaze into a Bonk’s very soul through his eyeball and tell us what’s wrong with him. My guess is, he’ll look deep down in there and see that he’ll want to run a lot of tests that will not incidentally cost a butt-ton of moola. That’s what the last specialist did, anyway. I’m thinking we could buy a couple dozen cans of Tiki Cat and make him a lot happier.
My Darling B has been in the kitchen all morning stewing a batch of chicken thighs in saffron and a bunch of other yummy-smelling stuff, in preparation for turning them into meat pies.
After stewing them, she piled them on a platter, placed the platter on the dining room table, then went to work on the broth. I happened to pass through the dining room while she was working and the first thing I saw was Bonkers the cat sitting on the windowsill not two feet from the pile of chicken. He has no scruples at all about pouncing on food left unattended so I can only guess that the spices B used when stewing the chicken must have masked the smell, else he would have been all over it as soon as she turned her back.
Bluh! Bluh! Bluh! Blearrrrgh!
That’s how our oldest cat said “Good morning!” to me at four o’clock in the morning today. I’m in bed at four o’clock in the morning. I had been sleeping, up until the cat began singing his gastric antilullabye. That kind of thing tends to wake me right up, though, and then I start thinking that I’ll have to go clean that up because, if I don’t, I won’t be able to find it and wonder where it is until I’m doing some light house cleaning and find myself suddenly staring at it when I least expect it, or I’ll find it almost immediately after getting out of bed by stepping in it with my bare feet.
I don’t want to do either, so I get out of bed. At four o’clock in the morning. Did I mention how early that is? There are many things I don’t like to do, and very, very low on that list is getting out of bed at four o’clock in the morning, particularly in winter. I get chilled. It sucks.
Also, I have to turn on the lights to find the puke, which hurts my eyes. The lights, not the puke. I didn’t get any puke in my eyes. That sounded needlessly icky, didn’t it? Sorry. But you weren’t the one cleaning up cat puke this morning. I already mentioned how early, didn’t I?
I found it almost immediately because Bonkers was sitting right next to it. He looked as tired as I felt, and hadn’t moved an inch since horking it up. Cats aren’t as thoughtful as dogs are and won’t lift a finger to clean up after themselves. Next time, we’re getting a dog so I won’t have to do this at oh-dark-thirty, all I’ll have to do is stick my fingers in my ears to block the sound of the dog lapping up his mess.
So I got the paper towels and the spray bottle and cleaned it up, washed my hands in lye and then crawled back under the covers, which had cooled off so I had to curl up tightly in a ball and try to generate some warmth on my side of the bed again while B and Boo snored gently over on the other side. The only time B wakes up for these things is when Boo, sleeping in the crook of her knees, wakes up and tries to hork on the bed. That makes for some exciting midnight theater, I can tell you.
Trying to think of suitable drivel to release upon the world is never an easy task; trying to do it while Bonkers the cat is squatting beside the grand exalted throne deep in the heart of drivel HQ going “Ehhh! Ehhh!” makes it even harder.
Bonkers doesn’t go “Meow” like other cats. Bonkers goes “Ehhh!” It’s an improvement. He used to bark like a dog. Well, not exactly like a dog, but so close that you had to wonder if he wasn’t raised by a German shepherd. But the “Ehhh!” can still be kind of unnerving, especially when he does it over and over. Sometimes it’s like he’s about to speak.
For many people drivel comes easy, so easy that they rake in stunning piles of money in exchange for their mental drool. I can’t understand it, but they’re all over television and radio every single day. How do they do it? If I could figure out the answer to that riddle, I’d have the tiger by the tail, the jinni in the lamp, a goose that laid the golden egg, and all my readers by the short hairs. But, as you see, I have no discretion when it comes to self-control. I know lots of metaphors and I’m not afraid to use them, even though I should be.
Still, it bugs me. After dinner, My Darling B and I were trying to remember the last good television show we saw and couldn’t come up with anything we thought was worth paying the four to six hundred dollars a year we’d fork over if we succumbed to the herd mentality and subscribed to cable television. I think the last program we all watched together was either Lost or Heroes, two shows that were mildly interesting when they started but lost me so fast I felt like Wile E. Coyote chasing the Road Runner.
And I don’t mean they lost me intellectually; I mean they started to suck. I stayed with Lost for two seasons because nearly every series has quite a few hiccups in the first two seasons while it tries to find its feet. There was plenty of time for Lost to live up to its promise, but it never did. It just kept sinking lower and lower. After the bug-eyed guy showed up I couldn’t even figure out what it was about any more, and walked away.
And Heroes, what a waste. I would’ve given it a chance by sticking with it through the second season if it didn’t make me feel like such an obvious schmuck for doing so. I haven’t watched any television series since.
B stuck with both Lost and Heroes to the bitter end, like a marathon runner obviously in great pain but determined to cross the finish line. And like those psychos she wept in pain and wondered why she was doing it, but she crossed the line, she got the t-shirt, she can say she did it. I still don’t know why, and to this day she’s not sure she can explain it, either. Poor thing.
I burp this up after succumbing to curiosity and searching out several episodes of the old Star Trek series. I’d turned up several blogs that celebrated the can-do spirit of the original show and, in a fit of nostalgia, caved in and let myself waste an hour or two with whatever was available on YouTube, and you know what? That show sucked. Like a victim of an emotionally traumatic experience, I had no clear memory of how bad it was: The hammy acting, the clunky dialog, the piss-poor production values. It was such a bad show in almost every way, and I spent just about every afternoon of my teenaged life watching every episode, most of them three or four times.
Drivel. It’s what’s for dinner.
Out Go The Lights!
I’m still trying to sleep off the effects of this head cold I caught, so this will necessarily be brief before I have to go medicate myself with my hourly fistful of over-the-counter drugs, drink a pint of water and stretch out on the recliner for my early-mid-late-afternoon nap.
My symptoms today are a lot worse than they were the day before, and they were plenty bad yesterday. “You look like shit,” My Darling B observed, gazing across the dinner table at me. “I hope you don’t take that the wrong way.” I was too burned out to take it any way at all.
This morning I had a clear head for about an hour, long enough to make the ceremonial pot of coffee and eat a bowl of granola before I wrapped myself up in quilts and retreated to the recliner with a hot cuppa joe and the Sunday paper. I barely touched either of them before I was drifting in and out of consciousness.
I’d forgotten how much I hate being this sick. For an hour or more I struggled to keep my eyes open as waves of congestion swelled my face up and filled my eyes with tears. I could read three or four paragraphs before I had to put the newspaper down, reel off a yard and a half of toilet paper from the roll I kept at my side, and explosively blow a quart or two of snot from my sinuses. Finally I just gave up, popped a couple decongestants, stretched out with my eyes closed and prayed for death.
When I finally came to again, round about two in the afternoon, I was feeling well enough to make myself a cup of tea, and passed a few hours by reading a few chapters of the book I’m chipping away at, The Making of the Atomic Bomb by Richard Rhodes. It even made some sense, unlike the news stories I was trying to figure out this morning. But I can tell a relapse is coming on quickly and I’ll have to go pop a couple more decongestant capsules before becoming an inert lump on the recliner once again.
The photo’s from yesterday; B snapped it while I was out like a light. She’s been babying me as much as she dares, but mostly she’s trying to keep her distance, and I don’t blame her one bit. The cats, on the other hand, aren’t squeamish at all about my condition. The great thing about cats is they’ll curl up with you whether you’re healthy or sick. All they’re looking for is a warm lap, and once they’ve claimed it they’ll stubbornly stay there no matter how wetly you sneeze on them. They can’t catch your bug, so they don’t care.
You Know What They’re Thinking
Bonkers is feeling much better today, thanks for asking. The vet gave him some meds for arthritis and some painkillers because the meds don’t kick in for two to three days. He’s up and around this morning, almost as active as his old self. Hesitates a bit before jumping up in my lap, as if he’s thinking about the twinge he’s going to feel as he pushes off, but he jumps up nonetheless, happy to be home.
Boo is not happy at all about Bonkers coming back from the vet. She skulks along the far side of the room when she wants to get past him, growling at him the whole time. She’s like that every time he goes to the vet without her, I guess because he smells funny when he gets back. She usually gets over it fairly quickly, but she was still hissing and spitting at him this morning while I was trying to get some meds into him.
The odor of the wet food I was sprinkling the medicine on pulled her in like a crappie on the end of a well-baited line so we gave her some, too, but she was very upset she had to be in the same room with Bonkers and wouldn’t stop spitting at him until My Darling B turned on her and cut loose with a barrage of hissing and spitting that sent Boo reeling back on her haunches. If communication is the proof of intelligence, then Boo confirmed hers, because her face said, “What the hell, woman?”
Even though I put her in a bedroom and closed the door for a well-deserved time out that lasted several hours, she managed to keep her sour mood going through the rest of the day. The first thing she did when I finally opened the door to let her out was hiss at Bonkers, who was standing in the hallway to see if she wanted to be friends again. The poor guy couldn’t figure out what her problem was and followed her from room to room as if to ask, “What’s wrong?”
If the funky smell of been-to-the-vet Bonkers drove Boo to hissy fits, being stalked by him made her even crazier. She skulked across the far side of the room, as far away from him as possible, growling as she made her way behind sofas and under chairs, to get a bite to eat and a drink of water. When she found Bonkers standing in the doorway of the dining room on her way back, she not only had another hissy fit, she gave him a couple swats on the nose, too, earning a good drenching from the squirt bottle.
Backing off with a genuinely hurt expression on his face, Bonkers tried once again to figure out what was wrong by following her across the living room, but Boo very pointedly answered that she did not want to talk about it, and eventually he gave up and curled up on the pile of dirty clothes I had sorted to wash and took a day-long nap.
The cats let me sleep until around three in the morning, when Bonk let out a tentative wail, then ran into the bathroom to hide. He hasn’t done that in months, not since we bought robot cat feeders. After he woke me up, Boo walked across my face, the same thing she used to do when she was hungry and wanted me to get up and feed her. What the hell?
Sometimes it takes me a while to figure these things out. When enough of my nerve endings were fired up, it came back to me that one of the things I tried to remember to do before bed, and utterly failed at, was reload the robot cat feeders. They hadn’t even seen kitty kibble since the dish spun it all away at nine-thirty the night before. Since they weren’t about to let me go back to sleep, I got out of bed, trudged through the murk to the kitchen and reset the feeders so they could have a little after-dark snack.
After that, a passing storm kept me from getting back to sleep right away, and when it finally let up I think the change in pressure made B roll over and start sawing lumber. I spent the rest of the early-morning hours alternating between dozing off and whispering, “Turn over, dear.”