July 1, 2012 (this day)

I’ve had a rough week.  It began with the period that wouldn’t end, which was, for a change, heavy and crampy as well as unwelcome.  On Tuesday, we lost one of our cats for several hours.  Carole had the carpets cleaned and went out, and when I came home, Thatcher (named for Ebby), the extremely fluffy black one, could not be found.  We searched the house then started searching the neighborhood.  In around four hours we must have spent close to $200 – registering his microchip (who knew you need to register them?  We know now), putting an ad in the newspaper, buying fluorescent poster board and a trap.  We tried searching the neighborhood.  I cried a lot.  I’ve had terrible things happen to pets and I’ve had pets die young and tragically.  This was somehow worse.  I would picture him out there frightened and hungry, and I knew that quickly his fur would become matted and he’d bleed and it would be awful.  And his twin sister cat here would be a constant reminder that she had once been a twin.  We’ve only had this cat for a year, and he is very sweet but I think I over-reacted, even to myself.  I’ll blame hormones on a rampage for making me extra weepy.

As that situation was going on, I got a text from someone at work saying someone else we work with was in hospice and not expected to make it through the night.  I worked with this woman every day for four years.  For the past year she’s been battling lung cancer and I’ve seen her a few times and kept in touch on Facebook.  I wasn’t great friends with her.  If she had left work, or if I had left, I probably wouldn’t have kept in touch beyond Facebook.  But she truly was someone I admired at work, and when we talked about promoting someone, she was my number one choice, despite some wackiness.  She really really cared about the clients (adults who have developmental disabilities) and her pets, and homeless pets, and she donated much time and effort to cancer charities before she got her diagnoses.

The cat showed up from I don’t know where.  He was in the house all along.  The next day, Carole left on a trip.  That day, my co-worker died.  Everyone at work was very, very sad, and we had to talk about what to do to honor her and what the arrangements would be.  The next morning, the missing kitty was panting, and that frightened me.  I considered that part of his hiding could have been that he’s sick or in pain.  I’ve had a cat do that before.  I had to go to work because my work partner was getting blood work.  She was also leaving early Thursday, and Friday, and I had to work late even though Carole wasn’t home to look after the critters.

And all this in tremendous heat.  I cannot take the heat.  Our house is over 106 years old (it was here in 1906, and that’s all I know about that) and we do not have air conditioning.  The weather is usually mild and daily I can see that the average high temperature is ten or fifteen or twenty degrees cooler than it actually is.  We had the highest low temperature ever in June.  I didn’t even cool off at night.  Carole had put one air conditioner in the living room window and a curtain across the kitchen doorway and I know I live in some kind of crazy denial that this year, the temps will be average and it won’t get so God-awful hot.

I truly can’t take the heat.  Extreme cold is easier for me to handle because in the cold, I don’t feel like I’m going to die, and I can use the whole house.  Part of my difficulty with this heat situation is that I can’t walk the dog or even take her outside for a change of scene for very long before she’s panting.  So we’ve been living in the living room and it could be much much much much much much worse.  But it’s been difficult.

I went to the visitation for my co-worker Saturday and that was difficult in several ways.  I’m going to come back and think about self-consciousness as a form of pride and a for-certain character defect that I have to an unhealthy degree.

The period is over, the cat is safe, the co-worker is gone, the living room is cool.  The heat continues and my mother gets here in a few days and I’m not sure we’ll all fit comfortably in the living room, especially after the kids and Erika’s cats get here as well.  The cats, it turns out, are the only ones who like it.  They stay upstairs and bake voluntarily and shed fur I can’t clean because it’s too hot up there.

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