Airing Dirty Laundry

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Giz August 29, 2007

Filed under: meow! — airingdirtylaundry @ 8:26 pm


Meet my furbaby, Giz. Her name is pronounced with a soft “g”, as in “goat”, not a hard “g”, because, well, that would be a nasty name for a cat. Giz’s given name is Gizmo, but we’ve never called her that. My brother named her when he was a kid (and he’s now 28! Gulp! My BABY brother!). Giz was a stray cat from the farm across the street from the house I grew up in. As a kitten, she got attacked by another cat and her face was pretty messed up. She actually had a hole through the bottom of her mouth under her tounge that you could stick your finger through and see it come out of her chin–gross. My mother (who loved all animals EXCEPT for cats) nursed her back to health. She bandaged her chin and filled the “hole” with Neosporin and fed her with an eyedropper until she was able to eat on her own. Once she recovered, my mom decided to keep an eye on her. Giz never moved quickly (which was probably one of the reasons she got so beat up–she just wasn’t able to get away fast enough), and would spend days burrowed in the mulch in mom’s flower beds. When she got hungry, she made her way down to the dog’s pen to get a few bites of Sarge’s leftover food. My mom had another dog, Heidi–a pomeranian mutt, that Giz loved to pal around with. We had always joked that Giz thought she was a dog because that’s all she knew.  Pretty soon, Giz was INSIDE.  Curled up on mom’s pillow.  So much for mom hating cats.  Giz won her over.

At some point throughout the years, Giz got gingivitis and had to have a bunch of her teeth pulled.  From that point on she was restricted to wet food, meaning that you could never just leave her for a weekend.  Once my mom passed away, I knew my dad would never want to deal with caring for a high-maintenance cat.  I didn’t even ask him to.  After mom passed and Mike and I headed back to to the town I grew up in, I threw the cat carrier into the car.  I didn’t need to.  On the way home, Giz curled up on my lap in the car and fell asleep.

Mike was unemployed at the time, so he was home alone with her all day.  In 2 months time, he got so attached to that cat that it was absolutely uncanny.  I jokingly said that I had adopted her so legally she retained my maiden name.  He was visibly upset and argued that WE had adopted Giz, so she should have OUR last name.  I never brought the subject up again.

Almost 3 years ago at a routine vet checkup, the vet commented that she had lost 2 pounds.  “Big deal,” I thought, “who wouldn’t want to lose a few?”  On a once 8lb cat, it’s a bad thing.  After testing her, he told us that her thyroid was not functioning correctly and that we’d have to give her pills twice a day.  As agreeable as she is, she took the pills without a fight.  At the next checkup, the vet told us that our options were to continue with the pills, or take her to a clinic in Pittsburgh that offered radiation therapy.  They would keep her for a week, blast her thyroid with radiation, wait for her to emit some of it so that she was safe enough for limited human contact, and send her home.  The kicker was that radiation therapy was $1200.  It was right around Christmas and money was tight to begin with.  The clinic only performed the radiation treatment every so often, and although there was usually a waiting list, there was one opening in the early January session.  We barely hesitated.  Even though Giz was close to 15 years old and the vet tried to talk us out of it because of her age, and even though it was expensive, we knew we would find a way.

I dropped her off on a rainy Monday morning, with copies of her X-rays, a bag full of canned food, toys she would never even think of playing with, a pillow from our bed (which was destroyed after her stay there because of the radiation), and a single-spaced page of typed instructions, her likes and dislikes, quirks, and all of the things that make her different from every other cat in the world.  The clinic called me daily with updates, but it was a long long week.  On Friday, Mike picked her up and brought her home.  For 2 weeks, we could pet her sparingly and only if we washed our hands immediately.  She had special cat litter with special handling instructions because of the radiation.  She couldn’t sleep in our bed and we actually had to shut our bedroom door to keep her out.  She was never a crier, but she sat there at night and wimpered for hours.  It broke our hearts.

Fast forward over 2 1/2 years, and she’s still fine.  She’s relatively healthy, except for a heart murmur that she’s always had that’s getting worse as she ages.  And the subcutaneous IVs we have to give her weekly to flush toxins from her organs–that just started about 9 months ago.   And me sticking a needle into the scruff of her neck barely bothers her.

She sleeps on my pillow, and because I’m such a heavy sleeper, she moves over to Mike’s pillow at around 5AM if I’m not up already and licks his head until he wakes up and feeds her.  If she can’t wake him up by licking his head, she sits on his chest and head-butts his chin.  She’s adorable.  She’s snuggly.  She greets us when we come home from work like a puppy.  Even though she still doesn’t move quickly, or much at all, she purrs so loudly you can hear her across the room.

She’s my link to my mom, and as long as we can keep her alive without her being uncomfortable or in pain, we’ll do it.  No matter the cost.  I’ve never truly believed in reincarnation, but every once in awhile I catch myself wondering if my mom’s soul or spirit or essence is in that cat.

Mike and I have a plan for when one of us either comes home one day and finds that she’s no longer alive (I just can’t type the “d” word) or if she’s close to passing.  A plan for telling the other person based on numerous scenarios–don’t tell me if I’m away somewhere longer than a 3-hour drive, tell me immediately if I’m at work and I’ll come home, that kind of thing.  We’re at the point that we leave the contact info for the regular vet and the emergency vet in plain sight whenever we’re away for a weekend and Mike’s sister stays here with Giz.  We know it will happen someday.  We can’t avoid it, but we’re trying our best to be rational and be prepared.

And whenever the day comes that she goes quietly to wherever cat spirits go after death, we’ll cry.  Uncontrollably.  And miss her every day.


There’s nothing wrong with getting something for free!

Filed under: giveaways — airingdirtylaundry @ 8:22 pm

Or, in this case, getting something for free in return for naming a crazy-looking chicken on Loralee’s Looney Tunes.  The prize is an gift certificate!  How cool!  Go. Now.

Just don’t come up with as cool of a name as I did!


Good Times! August 28, 2007

Filed under: friends — airingdirtylaundry @ 8:20 pm


Ok, so I figured out how to add pictures–woohoo! I figured I’d better give you something to LOOK at instead of just words.

I can not tell you how excited I am! My friend Michele from Phoenix (on the left) and my friend Christine from Seattle (on the right) are coming to beautiful Pittsburgh to visit in a few weeks. I first started talking to Michele a few years ago solely on a professional basis. She’s in the transportation industry and owns her own company. Over time we became friends, although we still only talked during work hours and had a lot of email communication. Last September, Mike and I had to go to Phoenix for a wedding and I suggested to Michele that she and I get together. Christine, her friend from Seattle, and Michele came to pick me up at my hotel and we spent the afternoon at a crazy luxurious spa. I had never met Christine before, and I had never met Michele in person, but I felt like we had all been friends forever. (Either that or I totally horned in on their friendship and they totally humored me.)

Over Memorial Day, I flew out to Phoenix to meet up with Michele, and the next day we flew up to Seattle to hang out at Christine’s house. I was with a whole bunch of people I didn’t know–Michele’s son, her boyfriend, her friends Amy and Rudy, and Christine’s family and friends. You would think that I’d be kind of apprehensive about spending a weekend with virtual strangers, all of whom had met each other before. But I wasn’t. Not at all. And from the second I walked in the door, I felt like I was part of their big extended family.

I learned a lot about myself and a lot about all of them that weekend. Almost everyone there had fought their way through some really tough times and are now at a place in their life where they never forget where they came from, and never take anything for granted. Compared to what they went through, I’ve had it relatively easy. Their families are closer than I ever was with mine. They truly love each other and care about each other, and accepted me as one of their own–no questions asked. 

Christine’s teenage son and Michele’s teenage son, who had grown up together in Seattle before Michele moved to Phoenix, were two of the most conscientious kids I’ve ever been around. They are wiser than their years, respect authority, but still have the fun that teenage boys are destined to have. I only hope that I can someday raise my children to be the kind of people they are. 

So Michele will be in town for work for a week in the middle of September, and Christine is flying in over the weekend.  It also happens to be the weekend that Mike will be away for a boys-only weekend in Las Vegas.  So Michele, Christine and I will be checking out the sights in Pittsburgh during the day and then lounging around in the evening in our PJs while drinking Christine’s signature apple martinis and watching Lifetime.  Massages and pedicures may be on the agenda also.


Workin’ 9 to 5

Filed under: daily grind — airingdirtylaundry @ 10:04 am

. . .or more like 8 to 5, lunch optional. Or 7:30 to 5. Or 7 to 5. Or 7 to 6. And sometimes weekends.

I took the day off work yesterday. A scheduled vacation day. I needed “me time”. We had friends in town all weekend, I had a long week at work last week, and I just needed a day to decompress and unwind. My idea of unwinding was to finish painting the foyer, stairwell, and upstairs hallway. Oh, and pay bills. Exciting . . I know.

I loved it. I loved every minute of it. But during my breaks and while I was making dinner, I caught myself checking my work email remotely. Why? Why do I torture myself this way? I have what I consider to be a “job”, not a “career”–even though I’ve been working for the same company for almost 11 years. I don’t hate my job, but I also don’t jump out of bed each weekday morning in anticipation of what lies ahead. There are no lives or livelihoods (except for Mike’s and my FINANCIAL livelihood!) at stake–I am not a doctor, nurse, surgeon, etc. But for some reason I’m dedicated–more than I should be. I am in an industry where women do not just climb right up the corporate ladder; I’m a woman in a man’s world. I can do my job, and I can do it well–exceedingly well–but I feel my skull bumping right up against the glass ceiling. And I just accept it. And continue to check my work email from home. On a vacation day that I NEEDED to take from being so burned out.

This blogging stuff is addictive. I feel like I just vented to a friend and now can get back to my day. Love it! I should have entitled my blog “My Own Personal Bitch Session.”


Are you ready for some football? August 26, 2007

Filed under: football,secrets — airingdirtylaundry @ 10:04 pm

Why am I getting excited about the impending football season?  That’s not a rhetorical question.  I’m excited because there are games to watch and money to be won.  College football, Steelers, fantasy football.  I am JACKED UP AND RARIN’ TO GO!  I’m normally in 2 fantasy football leagues, although this year one of the leagues fell apart and it looks like I’ll only be in one.  BUT, I’m in a 4-3-2-1 league, where you pick 4 games each week (college and pro with the lines, and/or the over/under on the pro games).  My grandmother always told me that I’d be a “golf widow”–left home alone while my husband was out golfing.  Instead, my fear was becoming a football widow.  I didn’t grow up with football.  My Dad still doesn’t know the difference between a wide receiver and a running back. My husband is in 4 fantasy football leagues and the 4-3-2-1.  From the time we were dating, football ruled our lives.  When we met with our priest for our marriage classes before we got married, Mike rushed through the sessions so that he could go to the Pitt football game immediately afterwards.  By mistake, we got married on the day of the last football game in Pitt Stadium before it got torn down (although that’s a story for another post.  The mistake was the TIMING of the marriage, not the marriage itself, BTW.  Don’t get the wrong idea. It all worked out.  No regrets on either of our parts.)  Football keeps me interested from September through January.  If I miss a game, I don’t get upset and it’s not the end of the world, but if we don’t have anything going on, at least Mike and I are TOGETHER.  There are weekends during the fall and winter that we barely move off of the couch.  Lights are dim except for the TV and the laptop stays on all the time.  Some of those weekends have been my favorite weekends that we’ve spent together.  Better than a romantic weekend at a bed & breakfast that I know he wouldn’t enjoy.  We don’t need candles, we don’t need soft music.  We just need each other.  And a Steeler game.  And it’s all good.

Airing Dirty Laundry secret of the week: I LOVE Navy football.  Dimlemma: Pitt plays Navy at home this year. Pitt is going to suck ass this year.  Not that I’m not optimistic where Pitt is concerned–I just think that the team is too young, too inexperienced, too limited, and just not a TEAM in the true sense of the word.  Am I a traitor to root for Navy?  We probably won’t go to  the game, it’s on a Wednesday night–WTF?  I already warned Mike that if Pitt is getting blown out, I’m showing my Navy pride and rooting against my alma mater.  The guilt.  It’s already eating away at me.


Hey Jealousy!

Filed under: Uncategorized — airingdirtylaundry @ 10:06 am

Two reasons for this blog:

1. I’ve been reading scads of other blogs and I’m jealous.  I compose blog posts in my head.  Something funny happens and I think, “Damn, I should write about that in my blog.  Oh wait.  I don’t HAVE a blog.  Put that on the to-do list.”  I see all of you as cyber-friends, even though I don’t really KNOW you, and, since my comments are few and sporadic, you have no freaking clue who I am.  Please, let’s be friends?  I promise, I’m not some stalking wacko.

2. I started a blog once before that was meant solely for documenting my pregnancy so that I could surprise my husband after the child was born with the blog.  Problem is, I haven’t gotten pregnant yet, so there’s not much more to say than “still trying . . .”, which quickly gets old.  I also struggled with the idea of a “private” blog on the internet.  So once the time comes that I DO get pregnant, I guess I’ll just resort to the old-fashioned hand-written journal.  Also, my husband was using our computer for something real quick while I was logged on under my user name and saw the blog after 2 entries.  So much for the surprise!

So, here I am internet!  For all of the world to see!  Please come be my friend!