Thursday, March 24, 2011

Adding to the family, willy nilly

A couple of weeks ago, Kaitlyn told me she had a sister. When I asked her who her sister was, she replied "I don't know, but she's coming soon." I confirmed on Facebook, and I'll confirm again in this blog, I am not pregnant, no matter how much my daughter (apparently) wants the opposite to be true.

A couple of days ago, Kaitlyn informed me that we would be having a party. Since her birthday, she has been obsessed with parties, so I take this all in stride. When I asked her if she was having a party, she said "no, you're having a party." Okay, I thought I was done with entertaining for awhile, but I can throw a party for a worthy cause. "I'm having a party?", I naively asked. "Yes, for my daughter." I nearly drove off the road. I'm too young to be a grandmother!! That kind of killed any conversation right there as I contemplated why my daughter, at the tender age of three, thought she had a daughter....

Finally, yesterday, she told Miss PJ at school that she had a sister. I'm not sure if Miss PJ knows Kaitlyn doesn't actually HAVE a sister, but she played along anyway. When she asked Kaitlyn about her sister, Kaitlyn was not able to provide a name, but was able to tell Miss PJ that her sister "was as tall as my mommy." Hmmmmmmmm...That could fit a wide range of ages as I'm only a smidge bigger than a leprechaun.

So, to recap. In the span of two weeks, Kaitlyn has verbally added at least two members to our little family unit. As long as she keeps talking about her imaginary siblings and offspring and does not reveal my animal hoarding, I think I can count this as a positive thing.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Who did it?!?!

Not all of the animals we foster come in with perfect house manners. We deal with all manner of hazmat cleanup from those with four legs, as well as those with two. We work with everyone to make them adoptable. In fact, we have at least two prime canine candidates (pleasedeargodinheavensomeoneadoptHavocorMayhemsoon) who weren't perfect to start with. Not saying they are perfect now, but that's not the purpose of this story. :)

Generally speaking, if there's a "hazmat" incident, the first words out of our mouths are "Awwwww, maaaaaannnnnnnnnnnnnnn!" Really, any disappointing incident (mischievous diabetic dogs eating the last of the donut sticks, furniture being blown off the twenty foot deck in scenes reminiscent of "Wizard of Oz", the possibilities are endless) is met with an "Awwwwww, mannnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn!" Given the fact that the two adults of the house were once in the Army, "Awwwwwwwwwww, mannnnnnnnnnnnnnnn!" is pretty darn tame.

KIC has developed a rather endearing, and almost accurate, knee jerk reaction to the phrase "Awwwwwwwww, mannnnnnnnnnnnnnn!" As soon as the words are out of my mouth, her immediate reaction is "Who did it??? Who PEED? Was it Havoc?" There are several variations of what follows after that, but those three questions are the first out of her mouth every single time. And every single time, *I* nearly pee laughing. I hoped that fostering would have a profound affect on my family, this just wasn't quite what I was expecting.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

My child...

...isn't the smartest in her class.
...still requires some translation when she speaks.
...can't pick out her letters just yet.
...can't pick out her numbers just yet.
...isn't completely comfortable around people she doesn't see on a regular basis.
...prefers to self-entertain as opposed to being part of a crowd.
...doesn't always use utensils when she eats.
...has to be reminded to say "please" and "thank you".
...doesn't always put her shoes on the right feet or her clothes on the right way.


My child is...
...great at figuring out how things work.
...loving and helpful with all of our foster animals.
...always willing to offer comfort to others when they need it.
...loves to read stories to her "babies".
...always up for an adventure with her parents.
...over the moon when she gets to visit with people she knows and loves.
...excited about legos and animals and princesses and Botino and Teema and kitties and Havoc sometimes and Wellie Wonka when it's time to play on the bed and *pause to take a breath*

My kid is three. She's got plenty of time to be challenged in school, or at sports, or by life. Right at this moment, she's a happy, well-adjusted kid who loves her animals, loves her parents and who brings happiness and joy to people lucky enough to see her smile. She is easygoing and blends in seamlessly. She's on the right track developmentally, but even if she wasn't, we'd love her just the same. We are incredibly lucky and blessed to have such a great kid and will continue to revel in what she has and what she brings us as opposed to what she doesn't have.

You may think this is the ranting of a mom who is worried that her kid may never measure up. Does it matter? She's three. This isn't a knock on parents out there whose kid is exceptionally gifted and who should be starting their Mensa application, or the ones whose kid shows great potential to be the next superstart gymnast, or whatever. We're just not going agonize about what she can't do, and be thankful that she doesn't eat her own poo, or anybody else's. Life's too short to constantly worry about what she can't do and how she measures up to her classmates and friends. KIC is KIC and that's good enough for me.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Mischief Hughes Shoup June 1998 - February 2011

In June of 1998, a coworker's purebred Siamese had a litter of kittens. I had to put down a stray I adopted that year due to feline leukemia and wanted another kitty. When my coworker told me about the litter, I immediately laid claim to the runt of the litter. I didn't care about the appearance, I didn't care about the sex, I just wanted the runt and I was going to name it Rascal. When August came and the kittens were ready to go to their new homes, I went to meet and pick up Rascal. While at my coworker's home, I decided to bring home two kittens. I felt that Rascal needed a playmate since I would be gone 10 hours a day. I knew it wouldn't make my roommate happy as we agreed upon one kitty, but I felt it was the right thing to do.
I remember deciding that I wanted the kitten that looked most like Rascal. Rascal was a classic tuxedo kitty and there happened to be another tuxie in the litter just like her. On the spot, I decided the other kitten, a female, would be Rascal's companion. As I was shooting the breeze with my coworker, I felt an itch on my foot. I looked down to see that the as yet unnamed kitten had scratched my foot and was staring with great fascination at the blood dripping down my foot. I should have known then exactly what I was getting myself into.
I brought the kittens home and predictably, my roommate wasn't happy. However, she helped me pick out a name for the kitten. Since she looked like she had dipped her nose in paint, her name from that day forward would be Mischief. It kind of fit with Rascal. What also fit with Rascal was Mischief. They were inseparable. Wherever one was, the other was not far behind. Getting two kittens that day was the best decision I've ever made.
Through the years, Mischief was a constant companion for Rascal and I. Mischief put up with a lot of crap from Rascal and had no problems letting us know it. Mischief was true to her part Siamese nature. She was talkative, she was inquisitive and she was a lover. She put up with a rotation of foster dogs and foster cats and only asked for a warm body to sleep on at night. She greeted visitors with a litany of complaints, but made them feel right at home when she slept with them. She was the first kitty to accept KIC and even slept with KIC in her pack and play. I had no reason to believe that our time with Mischief would be so short.
On February 14th, I had to make the difficult decision to have Mischief euthanized. During the previous week, she had one last go round with the foster dogs and inexplicably, her health started to decline after that. Less than one week after the incident, she started suffering from congestive heart failure. It seems that her heart wasn't as strong and healthy as it should have been, though we couldn't have known as she never showed any outward signs. I took her into the vet first thing but knew that by the end of the day, it would be her last day with us. I hope she felt my love for her when she took her last breath.
I wish that I had been more appreciative of my time with her. She always seemed to know when I needed her most and gave me comfort in my times of need. Her sister and I miss her very much and not a day goes by that I don't feel a twinge in my heart for the kitty she was. I know that when it's your time to cross over, there's a reason you're needed on the other side and I know someday I'll know what that reason is, but until then, I'll miss her something fierce.
Rest in Peace, Miss Mischief Hughes Shoup. You are gone too soon, but you'll never be forgotten.

Thursday, March 3, 2011


Whomever coined the phrase "look before you leap" had me in mind, I swear. When animals and children are involved, I tend to leap and then look around confused when things aren't as I expected. I was contacted by a previous HART adopter about some kittens living under a shed in December 2010. I didn't think to ask questions like "how old are they?" or "are they feral?" or "honey, can I take in three new fosters?" I leapt and then looked back and said "Oh. Whoops."

The kittehs came with names: Garfield, Morris and Shadoe (my spelling to differentiate her from the millyun other "Shadows" out there). Garfield, straight outta the box is a dude. Just a dude. He'll hang with you, he'll clean your hair, he'll play with you or he'll do his own thang. He don't care. Morris has always wanted to be friendly but stopped short EVERY single time. Shadoe is just feral. She don't need you, she don't like you, she ain't gonna like you, she don't need nuthin', thank you very much. Now where's her food?? None of that really matters to me because for the most part, once you're one of my fosters, you'll always have a home. Unless you're on notice like Havoc and Mayhem, but I digress.

The beeyootiful picture you see on the top right is a picture of Morris' hips and pelvis. With or without a veterinary degree (and I'm not a vet, I just play one on television) it's pretty clear to see that his left hip ain't quite right. When he went in to have a couple of appendages removed (don't worry, it was just his testicles), I asked the vet to check out his hips. I was concerned that he had neuropathy which would cause a weakness that would never go away. Ever. What I wasn't prepared for was a diagnosis that would cause my heart to stumble. At some point, before he was found living under a shed with his siblings, Morris had both hips and his pelvis broken. His pelvis has healed, though it is wonky, and one of his hips has healed, though it also healed wonky. His left hip is still broken and hurts him every time he walks. He's been living like that before December. At a minimum, he's been in constant pain for at least three months!! And yet he continues to walk, he continues to eat and he loves to antagonize the other cats! Such an indominable spirit to go that long in constant pain.

The vets say he will need a surgery on both his hips to fix the broken hip and to heal the other hip properly. The total cost will be approximately $3000, including aftercare. If you have been looking for a worthwhile cause to donate to, look no further than his guy. His chances of being adopted and being a sweet and loving cat to a wonderful family will significantly increase with this surgery, not to mention his overall quality of life. Can you help me, and HART, give him the normal life he needs??

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Can you hear me now?

Since the very first ultrasound where you could see KICs visage, I knew she would come out looking like her father, and she did. I often said I needed a maternity test to prove I was her mother (apparently the scars and stretch marks weren't enough to prove I was her mother). At around 11 months, I KNEW KIC was my kid. She, much to my chagrin, inherited my tiny, crooked ear canals. Yeay her. What this meant for her was round the clock antibiotics for the ear infections that plagued her. It came as no surprise when I first heard the words "She'll need tubes." Nor did it come as a surprise when I heard "She'll need another set of tubes and an adenoid removal." *sigh* On February 25th, that's exactly what we did...KIC got a second set of tubes and her adenoids removed.

It's tough to explain to a three year old why they are at the hospital and why they can't eat or drink. The well equipped play room helped with the distraction quotient and we all admired the yellow pajamas. I would like to know how come kids get pants when adults don't? Kids have far LESS modesty than adults yet they get to cover up more? Seems kind of odd. The day went well and Brent and I were very relieved to have it over and done with. If your child ever has to have surgery and you have to go in and "assist' with the anesthesia aspect, I HIGHLY recommend asking for a lil something to take the edge off. Irish carbomb, jello shooter, shot of morphine, whatever it takes man. If you've been there, you feel my pain. If you haven't, I pray that you don't ever have to know what I'm talking about. Seriously.

The recovery period is a two week period. TIC alternates between happily zooming around and being cranky to the max. This too shall pass and the liquor cabinet can ALWAYS be restocked.

Huge thanks to everyone for the calls, the emails, the texts, the lovely card in the mail and the Facebook posts. We appreciated every one of them and thank you for thinking of us. Ya'll are the best, seriously!