They look so innocent in this picture! How dare they add to my workload!

“My continuing calm recovery”

I decided that a “continuing calm recovery” was a much better way to phrase what I consider the opposite of having a nervous breakdown. I am amazed at the difference!

We have two cats. One is named the “the one that throws up all the time,” and the other one is named, “the good one.”

Now it was my turn to feed them. I wonder why I am bothering to microwave one teaspoon of cat-food in a dish for 4 seconds. Does a kitty care if it is cold?

I can hear the parrot in my oldest son’s room starting to wake up. We own a Sun Conure parrot, and at night it’s in a “sleep cage.” We adopted this parrot when it flew into our lives two years ago. I’ll write more about this annoying creature on another post.

I can share definitely share that this bird is a hell of a lot of work; it is as demanding as any of my children! However, kidding aside, I have relieved myself of a lot of this bird’s care, due to Connie’s encouragement. When the bird wakes up, it wakes up my oldest son. And it has become his job! Wow, am I really making inroads!

It is time to organize my weekly vitamins. I am having flashbacks of my mother and father when they lived with me. It took them at least two hours to sort out all their medications for the week.

My big question is, “Is that Ginkgo really helping my memory all that much?”

My tennis friends will say no, because I have been messing up on the scores big-time for a while now. I used to be the “reliable” one, that knew who was serving, etc. I feel useless about that, lately.

But before I despair too much about that, just picture four, middle-aged women arguing about what the score is, and who made which point. And then we all agree! None of us can remember! The problem only comes when one of the players can’t admit to this frailty of middle age.

Unfortunately, I could not continue my “blog typing” until I placed my ritual morning phone call to my father. My father has been very upset lately that I am “rushing” him off the phone.

I was able to get off the phone a little quicker than usual. My dad started whining that I wasn’t giving him enough time. I reminded him that I still have to call my mother (that line has been working for me, lately). He let me go.

I am trying to stop myself from feeling guilty about not spending more time with my parents. Feeling guilty is definitely not helpful, so I have to stop that! I have used up my allotment for the next ten years.

But seriously, if my mom gets sick, my writing career will be over.

This morning, I received a call from my father. My father and my mother are my responsibility if anything happens to them. I keep their morale up, especially since my mom’s illness. They will have been married 60 years soon.

Having elderly parents creates so many ironies with role reversal.

My father had a car accident and totaled his car on the way to see my mom her first day in the hospital. I tried not to panic when I received his call, and drove to go rescue him. It was not much different than having him as one of my teenaged children. Recently when my son had an accident I had to do the same thing.

My dad has not driven since the accident for two months. He has been very, very depressed. He is scheduled for a driving test soon to determine if his license will be renewed. I have been encouraging him to try driving again. He loved to come over to tutor my oldest son, but I really wanted him to have independence.

I have mentioned to my dad that it would be helpful if he would go to see my mom. She is only five minutes away from where he is. He is in an assisted living facility, and my mom is in a nursing facility. They are not together because a room has not been available yet at the same location has my father.

I did try to arrange for a volunteer to drive my father to see my mother, but he refused. My dad has less and less energy; I’m sure a lot of that is due to his depression. I’ve tried to drive my dad to see my mom, but he says it’s too far for him to walk to her room.

So when my dad called, and said matter-a-factly that he had gone to see my mom – well, I felt just like a mom whose child had taken his first steps! Wow! I let him know that it was probably the “most helpful” thing he has done for me in a long time.

“Will He Be Called Killer?”

I could write a whole essay on our family and pet disasters. In the past, on separate occasions we had two dogs that I had to give away because I was definitely going to have that nervous breakdown. I found both of them homes, before someone put me in a home.

Even the white cat threw up less!

You can see where I’m going. I am not a good judge of dogs. Last week, my husband brought home a dog and all of my children were quite excited. Michael waited patientyly to hear what I would say as far as adopting it. Before I opened my mouth, Michael said, “It’s mom’s decision since all the work will fall on her.” I loved hearing him say it like that. He really didn’t expect me to say yes.

This was a dog that Michael said is so small that instead of taking it for walks, it would need to be carried. I always had thought about getting a dog because it would encourage my children to walk. My children consider exercise as opening the refrigerator; they are almost too lazy even for that.

I also remembered Rosa. She hates extra work, and she hates animals. It is my house though. I will find a way to swing Rosa in my direction. However, how could I possibly handle more noise and mess? The mess is hopeless because of all the damage the cats have already inflicted.

Now the noise is something else. On the other hand, since our bird already compromises my hearing, would I really notice the dog yapping? Our bird makes a sound that is indescribable to anyone that doesn’t know anything about Conures.

People will see this beautiful, tropical creature and before the words come out about how beautiful it is – they are stopped dead in their tracks by “that sound.”

Here is my description: Just imagine fingernails on a chalkboard with the volume turned up to over a hundred decibels. Quickly they cover their ears and run for the hills. I will have hearing aids prematurely, I’m sure.

Tiki is a beautiful bird, but I’m deaf from his screeches!

I am told that this dog has not made a sound. Well that’s it then, I was sold! Wow, am I ever a pushover!

Now I began my process of “extraction.” “In order for me to even slightly consider this animal,” I said, “I need to know that I’ll have absolutely NOTHING to do with it.”

Michael said, “Well, of course I’m at work so . . .”

And I said, “But on your days off you can take it to the vet. Right?”

He reassured me that he would do his part. I did agree that if this animal were dying, I would take it to a vet before Mike’s day off. I know they both believed me about that.

Our whole family went through a lot when our first real pet died. It was only a kitten, and it had liver failure. It had lived with us six months when it slowly died. That was quite difficult for me. We fed it food with a syringe for a whole month. Sadly, that was familiar since I used to feed Jason with a syringe.

One of my children agreed to put out food and water, and be the “responsible.”

Michael said, “Let’s go get him then. Come on, it’s right down the street at a neighbor’s house.

I said, “I don’t need to see it. I’m not involved. You go do your thing.”

Just as I was enjoying how exciting this all was, I remembered something else. If they went to Petco it could turn into another $500, just like the last dog. Remember, I’m the one that gets the bills. I have given up worrying about finances because it has been so horrible.

Michael carried the dog into our house. It was a Teacup Chihuahua, very small, and white. He placed its trembling body into my arms. I’ve held this creature for only two minutes this entire day. It felt like a new baby was put into my arms. I could get used to this. I’ll wait until no one is home to have my turn.

Well, I guess the good will outweigh the bad. This is just another adventure in my life.

I am open to something new again.

© Judy Unger and 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Judy Unger with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

About Judy

I'm an illustrator by profession. At this juncture in my life, I am pursuing my dream of writing and composing music. Every day of my life is precious!
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  1. Janet O says:

    Congrats on Killer!! (I’m goin’ with Reggie’s choice, LOL!) He needs a tiny black leather dog collar with spikes. Huggies! Janet O, PS: He really is adorable.


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