Wednesday, 20 November 2013

The Circle of Life

Twelve years ago, almost to the day, a wonderful creature came into our lives. Tonight he left it.

While wandering through Park Royal mall, I happened upon the pet store, and noticed they had a fresh litter of kittens. I can't recall how many kittens they had exactly, but I remember they all looked very similar, except for one; one was noticeably smaller, and had no tail. I also remember that every single kitten had already been bought and was reserved; except for this runt.

GOD he was a cute sonofabitch. I bought him, and when he was ready to come home, we named him Newman. Yes, after the Seinfeld character of the same name. He couldn't have been named better. I don't know how many times I came home from work, and was greeted at the door by his cute face and could imagine him saying:

"helllllllllooooooo, Daddy".

With disdain.

What a character.

I won't bore you with Newman stories -  I could go all night - but I'll share this one. Not long after we got him, while we were living in Richmond, I got a frantic call late at night from Tracey. I was working at SportChek in Park Royal, and she was yelling that Newman was missing. She was afraid he had fallen off the balcony. I came rushing home, and she was right; the clumsy little bastard had managed to jump up on the railing on the balcony (which was plenty large, BTW), and fallen off. Now, we were living in an apartment building with underground parking; our parking spot was about as far away from our actual apartment as possible. It wasn't even CLOSE to where he would have fell off. But after lots of searching, we finally heard him meowing, and finally found him INSIDE THE ENGINE OF THE CAR THAT PARKED NEXT TO OUR SPOT. You read that right. He found our parking spot (remember, I was at work, the car wasn't there!!), and, scared, found his way into a warm, safe spot until we came for him. We when extricated him (and the guy that owned that car probably still doesn't know what happened to his car that night), he was completely covered in oil. That was one really interesting bath.

What a character.

He was so small when we got him, he could hide anywhere. Behind anything. In any tiny spot you could possibly imagine.

It wasn't long before he got so fat he was nicknamed "the Belly". And it wasn't one of those ironic know, when you nickname a 400-pound behemoth "slim"....he earned it. He never met a can of kitty food he didn't like. He just BECAME "the Belly". We hardly ever called him Newman anymore.

"Hi honey, how's the Belly?".

I wasn't asking Tracey about indigestion.

Until recently, our password when our alarm company called us was simply "belly".

In fact, you know when you go into online banking you get a personal phrase that is supposed to indicate to you that you are at a legitimate website? Ours is "the belly is tubby".

I guess I should probably change that.

What a character.

As he got sicker and sicker, he lost so much weight he was almost unrecognizable. We've been going through pictures of him and he looks like a different cat. It took him 12 years, and kidney failure, for him to get back to the same size that he was when we first got him.

Well, that's not totally true....he was skinny again, but he never lost his belly!! It still hung down to the ground. It was his trademark, after all!

Every time we lose a cat, I write a blog about how he/she was one of the greatest cats of all time. At some point, you've just gotta wonder...I mean, they can't ALL be the best cat ever, can they?

Between Cleo, Pepe and Newman, we have been blessed with some of the most incredible companions you could possibly imagine. They were all close to perfect in their own way. It was like living with the kitty equivalent of The Beatles (at least the Beatles that everyone cared about; sorry Ringo).

Tonight, in Kitty Heaven, the band is back together.

The circle of life.

Rest well, Belly....we love you very much.

Saturday, 9 November 2013

It's the most wonderful time of the year!!

It's that time again, as pre-Christmas has arrived at the Engemoen house.

Two weeks from tomorrow it all happens for real. The lights, the tree, and the village. The village is undergoing an upgrade this year, once I can figure out how to do it. Planning, diagramming, storyboarding, oh my this is going to be a lot of work.

Yes, those gifts are all for the wife, and yes, it's only November 9th. I know I have a Xmas shopping addiction.

She's worth it, though. Just don't tell her I said that.

A few days ago we were discussing our upcoming New Year's trip to Vegas. She turned to me and said "you know, Disneyland isn't that far from Las Vegas".

Twist my arm.

So now our 7-day trip to Vegas is going to include a 2.5 day jaunt to the Happiest Place on Earth. New Year's Eve on the Vegas strip, and a few days in Disneyland at Holiday time as well. Boy I have it rough.

Dinner at Sinatra, in the Wynn. New Year's Eve dinner at the Eiffel Tower.  Dinner at the Blue Bayou and Carthay Circle. Oh that's going to be a hard week.

Hard on my weight, maybe, but that's what Xmas is for I guess.

Oh, and it's been almost a year since we brought this little monkey into the family.

After all the trials and tribulations, and after we tried to find her a new home, she has turned into the sweetest cat you could imagine. She still isn't totally sold on being in a multi cat household, but she's coping. And when she gets an opportunity to be in a closed room with me and no other cats around, she is as happy as any cat I've ever seen. So sweet and loving. What a change from the chaos she was creating a few months back. Unreal.

Newman is still hanging on. He's starting to fade a bit and it's clear he probably doesn't have that many months left, but it doesn't seem as if anything is imminent. He's still tolerating his twice-a-week treatments and although he doesn't like them, he's a good boy and lets us give them without too much fuss. Such a special cat. We are going to miss him to death when he goes. We are hoping he will make it through one more Xmas. He has just turned 12; it is so unfair that we are going to lose him at such a young age, but they have been 12 wonderful years. What a character.

Hope you cotton-headed ninnymugginses are all well and are looking forward to Xmas. The most wonderful time of the year.