I went out and cleaned the snow off of the lights and windows and drove off. It was really slick. I cashed a check, drove home and called the cleaning lady. "I'm not making you go out in that," I said. "You get a paid vacation today, I'll give you thirty next week." She works an hour on Saturday mornings. She's been here to clean once and the house is a lot better.
Princess staggered out of Patty's bedroom. "Princess? Are you OK?" It was pretty obvious that she wasn't. I'd have to take her to the vet Monday.
Leila called, and I told her we'd have lunch the next day when it was less slick. Actually, she suggested it. I asked if I could borrow her cat carrier, telling her Princess was sick. She said I could pick it up when I saw her.
The next day Princess seemed normal but I was going to take her to the vet, anyway. I took Leila to lunch -- and we both completely forgot the carrier. I went by Felbers on the way home. Not much going on there, but there was someone with pot. I was glad I could get some, it's been scarce and I was almost out.
I couldn't get Princess in until Tuesday afternoon. I went to get Leila's cat carrier, came home and got Princess. I picked her up, and she's lost a lot of weight. I was worried.
That carrier was completely necessary, as I found out last year when she had the ingrown toenail. She doesn't like the outside at all. She'd started howling and clawing as soon as we went through the door. I still have scars from the clawing.
The vet had very bad news; sixteen year old Princess wasn't sick, she was dying. She had no diseases but all her organs were shutting down; she was literally dying of old age. I went ahead and had them do bloodwork and inject plasma because she was severely dehydrated.
I started crying in the vet's office. At least, a tear or two left my eye despite my efforts to keep those damned tears in. "I can't even bury her," I said. "The ground is frozen solid."
There was pained empathy on the doctor's face. "We have cremation facilities," she said. "Talk to your daughter and see if she wants euthanasia." She had some fancy cat food that was for cats that refused to eat, and some appetite stimulation pills. "Don't get your hopes up," she said. I got Princess to lick at the food once, but that was it.
I'd tried to call Patty from the vet's but had gotten no answer, probably at work or in class, I thought. My pocket buzzed against my leg on the way home. I took Princess inside and checked my phone.
It had been Patty calling me back. I called her back. Phone tag. I made Princess comfortable on the couch next to me. Little One came up, jealous. I tried to explain to the silly little cat that Princess was dying and needed me, and started crying hard. Uncontrollably.
The phone rang. It was Patty. "H-hello?"
"Dad? Are you ok?"
I sobbed some more, powerless to stop. Princess was Calie's kitten, the last surviving one in the litter. Patty's been in Ohio for almost ten years but her cats stayed here. I was losing an old friend. No, an old family member. I was probably crying as much for Patty as for myself.
I told Patty about the vet visit, how Princess had no disease but was just too old to stay alive much longer. "Like Bill last year," she said. He was my step father, "Grandpa Bill" to Patty who had known him all her life.
Getting old sucks. The worst thing about it is everybody dying all around you. My dad is next, he's dying of liver cancer thanks to whoever manufactured all that polychlorinated biphenyl transformer oil he was exposed to in his career as electrical lineman.
At least I have a valid reason for the blues now. Happy lights won't help, just time. Ironically, Princess is beside me right now, and healing won't start until she's gone.
But no more pets. When Little One is gone that's it. It just hurts too damned bad when they die.