Friday, March 31, 2006

life with the cats

Life continually changes. This I know. The most recent change for me and my dog has been the addition of two cats to our lives - and with only one night under our belts - I'm inclined to thing this one could be the biggie.

Moving to South Dakota was nothing for us. Pack up a truck, buy a map, and hit the road. The new house was a little daunting, with lots of work to do to make it livable, but that we managed rather well. The that was a bit more challenging, at least for Bailey. I adapted rather easily after buying a new parka and some gloves. And Bailey and Buddy (Steve's dog) were fast friends.

But now we're adding the cats to the mix.

Yesterday was bound to be difficult as I woke up thinking about how much I didn't want to get out of bed. This is uncommon for me, as the coffee is usually enough of an incentive. I faced a day with little to do, so napping seemed the best option. I took it. Didn't get into the shower until 3. When Steve arrived after work, he told me it was time to introduce the cats to the house and to Bailey - my heart rate soared. So this is the thing. The thought of the living with the cats was fine, the reality of it was a little scary. I like cats, and these two are particularly nice - both male, soft and declawed. My first thought wasn't for me, but for my dog, who has never lived with a cat, and who would prefer to catch them or chase them up trees.

And my fear was justified when Steve opened the kennel. Bailey sniffed his way to the kennel and grabbed a mouthful of orange fur. Thankfully there was no flesh involved. And the cat he chose to taunt remained surprisingly unconcerned with the situation. I pulled Bailey back by the collar, and started to sweat thinking, how is this going to work.

I pulled out the instruction sheet that I got at the pet store about introducing dogs and cats. And now the trial period begins. Bailey goes into the bedroom, and we let out the cats so they can get used to the place. Bailey barks from behind the door. One cat hides behind the sofa. The other seems quite happy to roam. I sit in the bedroom with Bailey for awhile, trying to calm him. He does okay after awhile. Then we introduce the cats to the upstairs, where they will live until the dog get used to their scent, and realizes that they are a part of the pack.

So in the meantime, I wonder how this is all going to work out. Worst case scenario, the cats live upstairs. I could do this, but don't think it's the optimal solution. Best case scenario, Bailey gets used to the cats, and they have safe places to get themselves out of his way should they piss him off.

What I hate is that, while I can adjust to all of these life changes, and feel quite happy about them, my dog just doesn't get it. And at his age, he shouldn't have to. After all, he is an old man, set in his ways, and I have totally busted up the little peaceful life we shared. Part of me knows that with the health problems he's experiencing, he won't be around much longer, but I want the rest of his life to be peaceful and good. And adjusting to the cats, I wonder if it's just too much to ask.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

sunday morning

Friendships are weird things. Sometimes they serve us - sometimes they make us feel sad. I feel a close friendship slipping away, and I'm not sure that I've done anything to cause it, which leaves me feeling helpless and out of control. I'm sure the problem is that my location has changed, and I have healed, which leaves my friend in a strange position. She was accustomed to "taking care" of me. In fact, we met when I was most needy. Now that I am feeling myself again, and have taken back control of my life, I no longer need to be taken care of. Therefore, her role has changed. In addition, she was diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, and I am unable to be there for her. She expects that I should be, but I can't - or won't, due to my own current life changes.

I am hurt by her tone and her comments, but she doesn't see it. She feels abandoned, and I feel unable to do anything about it.

And what is the lesson in this? That the relationship was never truly balanced? That it served its purpose for the short term, and that it is meant to pass as our lives change? Still working that out. I suppose it will resolve itself in due time.

I have been thinking about how most of my friends are very happy for my happiness, and applaud my courage. And these friends, while they do offer their concerns, also share my joy. And no matter how many miles, or days we spend apart, they remain. It's comforting to know they will be there. And I will be there. Perhaps these friendships are not based on expectations, but on something else. Do these friends share my view of the world and relationships as ever-changing? Do they realize, as I do, that physical presence is not essential? and that caring can continue across miles and time? What makes these friendships work, and others fade away?

I do continue to care, but refuse to put myself into the line of fire. I learned this the long, hard way once. In fact, my friend helped me to learn this. Wonder if she thought it would ever apply to her?

Tuesday, March 21, 2006


So it's been awhile. I guess this starting a new life thing has me busier than I expected. And then there's the sharing my space with other living things, including a man, which I promised myself I would never do. Though I still have had very few, "oh shit - what have I done" moments, I wonder how long that can possibly last. I spent so much of my life waiting for the ugly shoe to drop, that I continue to look for the mud.

Tonight is one of those rare occasions where I find myself alone. I am much better with it than the last time it happened. This makes me feel good. I am feeling more secure in my surroundings which is huge. I know that as the end of the month grows nearer, my roommate will become permanent, which gives me a lot to think about. I already keep his puppy, and will soon have his cats to think about. Other critters to share the space of a passionate dog person may muck things up a bit.

I remember thinking that I would only let a man leave a toothbrush and a clean pair of underwear at my house - but it didn't take long to break that rule. I now find myself surrounded by male "stuff." It is pervasive and bold. Products with names like "Red Zone" and "Spiderwire" - a whole new language. But I'm learning to speak it - always was a good student. Tonight we put fishing line on my new "rod" - a thoughtful gift...I think. I might have preferred tulips in another lifetime. But somehow enjoy this new foray into the world of fish and men.

And so I am making space - in closets and dressers and nightstands - for this "stuff". And my stuff isn't quite as organized as I hoped it would be by now. I know I've only been here three weeks and a couple of days, but it feels longer, and I wish I weren't on deadline, as I want to be doing other things.

So am I ready for this - I don't know. I'm just swept along in a current that I'll call love and comfort. I'm enjoying the ride, though like any good rollercoaster, sometimes it makes my stomach lurch.

I want to sleep now, but have work I should do. And it does call my name despite the hour.

Life is good.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

mixed feelings

So I asked the Universe to let me feel again...and I do. Thanks...sort of.

Though I do like this feeling thing, I must say that there seem to be too many feelings running around inside of me today. I'm just not sure which ones to pay the most attention to.

Last night was a little difficult for me. It was Friday night, and I was home alone and not sure what to do with myself. The biggest problem I see right now with this move to a new city is that I have no friends. I could have used an adult beverage and a little intelligent conversation after spending the week with my computer and a couple of dogs who seem to have forgotten where to go potty. But there was no one to call. My new significant other was out doing his thing, which I think is healthy, but I had no "thing" to do. So the first thing I'm feeling is a little friendless.

To my friends who live other places, know that you are loved and treasured, but I sure wish I was close enough to meet you at Starbucks or this wonderful little coffee shop I found here called Black Sheep Coffee.

I am also feeling a little nervous as "his" parents are coming today and my place looks quite unfinished. It's not that I think they'll care, but I do. And wish it were a little more together.

I am also saddened, as my "sister" is going through treatment for breast cancer, and helpless, because I can't do anything to make it better.

I am also joyful because of how I am finding life here in Sioux Falls, but a little fearful that I'll have a hard time finding like minded friends in this "Red State." I'm sure they're out there, but how do I go about finding them. I am also a little pissed off that I moved to the first state in the Union to ban abortion unless the mother's life is in danger. Whew, I thought Texas was "red".

And I'm a little tired...of cleaning and arranging and accumulating boxes of trash. I'm tired of finding the right tool and going to the home improvement store when I'd rather have a pedicure. And I'm tired of spending money on necessities instead of frivolous things.

I haven't found a good card shop yet, and this might be a problem.

And my soon-to-be-ex has decided to be difficult, which makes me angry, but anything but surprised.

Oh, and I forgot the love part...yes, that remains, and it's cool.

So perhaps I will draw little faces in a notebook that represent all these feelings so I can have conversations with them. Since I have no friends, they may come in handy.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

some things just feel right

Some things just feel here in a different house in a city I'm getting to know just feels right.

I find myself in a little old house that needs a lot of care and repair, but it has real potential. Sometimes I feel as if it's a reflection of me. For so long I was just like this house - needing a lot of care and repair. Over the last year I finally broke down and gave into it, nurturing myself and fixing the broken parts. And some days were hard - the task overwhelming. Like cleaning the kitchen in this little house. A dark film covered all the walls and ceiling, but after just a couple of days of attention, some physical labor and a few screws and nails, it's clean and sparkling. I look at it and smile. I saw the potential when I first looked at it - knowing that underneath it all, it had the potential to smile again - just like me.

It's morning here...and the first time since I moved that I felt compelled to think about this move. I keep waiting for the voice in my head to scream, "what the hell was I thinking?". But I don't hear it. Instead my heart says, "this is right." And I am happy. The weather is a little foreign, and the streets unfamiliar. But something about it feels like home. Maybe it's the sidewalks on the tree-lined streets. Maybe it's the weather, which reminds me of Ohio. Maybe it's the people dropping by and bringing coffee or the kids running around the front room. Or maybe it's the way Steve makes me feel secure and protected. Or maybe it's all of that. I barely remember feeling as peaceful about a big life change.

Just last month I wondered how it would all go down. How could I possibly get everything done in time to be here by March 1st? And somehow it happened, and the only thing to do now is to settle in, make some new friends, find a few outside things to do, and take care of me. This I will love. There are no commitments or people pulling me in many directions. There is only what I want to do - where I want to go - what I want to have for dinner.

Of course the dog is having a couple of adjustment issues. He really hasn't figured out that I'm not going to leave him here, but he likes to sleep next to the bed on the floor by me, and when he wakes up I am there, and he sleeps again. The good thing is there have been no mornings where he woke me up really early. I think he's a little tired still - from the move and all. But he has a new little black and white companion named Buddy. Cute and puppyish, he keeps Bailey company when I run out for awhile. They seem to have hit it off nicely. And soon Bailey will know this is home, too. It will just feel right - the space under my desk hasn't changed at all, and it's still a comforting place for him. I did buy him some boots - okay, laugh. I didn't buy them for the cold, but his arthritis is acting up, making it difficult for him not to drag his back feet when he walks. His poor little claws were wearing down to the quick, so the boots protect his feet. If they keep him warm, too, so be it.

So here we are, in a place that feels just right. And I - I feel just right, too. And if this is change, change is good.