A More Serious Flavor of Tough News . . .

Cats, predators and office burglaries of the past week aside, I’ve also been dealing with some very difficult news in my capacity as Secretary for my Naval Academy class, as one of my classmates was killed in duty in Iraq last week. So my job now (a very, very small one, in the grand scheme of things, of course) is to be the conduit for notifying the entire class about news, services and memorials related to our fallen classmate and his family. So it’s been a kind of cheerless couple of days of incoming and outgoing posts related to such sad matters.

I’ve been so long and far removed from active duty military service that it’s always a sobering reminder to think about the people I trained hard with for years being the ones who are often deepest in harm’s way abroad right now, be it in Afghanistan, Iraq, or elsewhere. Or at home, for that matter, since we lost classmates in the Pentagon on September 11th as well.

For our 20th Anniversary gift back to the Naval Academy, our class raised funds to renovate Memorial Hall, the place at the Naval Academy where the names of all alumni who died in combat or on active duty are recorded. We already had a good number of names from our class on that wall, so it’s tough to add another now to the room that we, on some plane, thought (or wished) we were renovating for someone else.

A lot of the folks who know me only from my art and music and writing world connections are surprised to learn about my military background, which I take very seriously . . . and which leads me to have nothing but the deepest admiration for my peers who are continuing to serve our country, just the way we once trained, together, to do.

I just wish it didn’t take losing one of our classmates periodically to hammer that message home.

Siamese Cats . . .

. . . . are fantastic pets, most of the time. They bond amazingly strongly with each other, and with their owners, and want to be together, all the time. They are also extremely vocal, and will happily carry on conversations with each other and their owners for extended periods of time if you keep talking to them. These are good things, most of the time, and the reason that we like the breed so much: you have the small, low maintenance element of a normal cat, plus a dog-like affection that’s better than the diffidence that most cats extend humans, except when they’re hungry.

However . . . last night, I learned a downside to these behavior patterns: we had to keep the sick cat in a room by herself, so she could sleep off the anathesia and begin to mend without the other cat trying to sit on top of her all the time. The well cat, who has in the past six years never been separately from the sick cat for more than a few minutes at a time, spent the entire night sitting outside the closed room, yelling at the top of her lungs about how much she wanted to get in to be with the other cat. And when I say yelling, I mean yelling . . . if you’ve not heard a Siamese at top volume, you have no sense of just how loud a cat can be.

I finally got up around 4:00 AM or so (or, rather, got out of bed, since I hadn’t slept much all night) and took a blanket and a pillow into the room with the sick kitty, and let the other cat come in and lay down with us. I can’t leave them together unsupervised until Amy gets the drain taken out, and I can’t let Amy out of the room until she gets her lampshade collar off, since she can’t handle stairs with it on . . . so if tonight’s like last night was, I think I may end up sleeping on the floor of the office again, just to keep them quiet. Amy gets the drain out Saturday morning. I dunno if I can do that for four more nights.

I’m at my C+CC office now, which reeks of polyurethane curing, since we’ve been working on refinishing our stage risers, so the combo platter of organic chemical fumes and lack of sleep is putting me in a decidedly wifty mood this morning. And, I know, I should stop posting about the cat . . . there’s nothing more tedious than cat people going on and on about their cats, and Lord knows there are plenty of “My Darling Cat” websites and blogs out there. So I’ll try to keep it to a minimum, but I have a feeling this is not going to be a very productive week writing-wise. Sigh.

I did, however, see an intersting sight this morning on the way to work, that in my sleep-deprived state took on a surreal and bizarre different flavor . . . so I think I have a topic for a poem today.

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