Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Sometimes All Your Mondays Don't End on Monday

So Carl calls about 12:45 p.m. on Wednesday and he is slurring his words and I ask him why and he says his tongue is swelling and his lips are swelling. So I insist that he call the advice nurse at Kaiser who says he needs to be seen immediately, which is, of course, what I told him. He calls me back at 1:15; I am in the middle of an interview with an MIT professor--which, of course, has been impossibly hard to schedule--and I say, "Sorry, must go, ta-ta and all."
I fly home and we go and when Kaiser ascertains that his throat has not swelled shut, they let us sit for eons. But in the middle of this, I need to pick up Blue, our lovable but incredibly dumb dog, from the vet, where I have taken her to have her get a shot for the pinched nerve in her neck (she now needs cortisone every eight weeks). I figure I can get her groomed too and have all her shots. So I go to pick her up and she's still damp (and groggy because they have to sedate her to give her the bath--we know this) and they say, "Here, just let us blow dry her," whereupon she immediately has a seizure and turns into Cujo.
Meanwhile, back at the ER, Carl is about to die--of boredom. And they finally call his name, and this other man (who earlier told the security guard that he was "f---ing ugly" and that he would not be "ordered around by someone who looks like a terrorist") jumps up and says, "Yes, I'm Carl Skolnik." Thus begins the lightning round of "To Tell the Truth" as the real Carl Skolnik stands up and says, "No, I'm Carl Skolnik." The real Carl Skolnik finally proves who he is and the fake Carl is vanquished back to the waiting room.
Meanwhile back at the vet, the real Blue emerges and we wipe the strings of saliva from her mouth and I lift her into the car, whereupon we have a total transfer of evidence to my black slacks and burgundy angora blend sweater. I look like Santa has shaved over me.
Then I drive back across town (five miles, 45 minutes) to the ER; Carl is now in Room 11, where, they say, "Gosh, the swelling seems to have gone down." Of course it has. It's been five hours. They say that it might be the result of the antibiotic he's been on for the last three weeks or it could be his blood pressure medication that he's been taking for three years but that he needs to see his regular doctor immediately and they'll get him an appointment. Which they do. For Jan. 20, first available. And he kindly points out that he has had both a heart attack and a stroke and it probably isn't a good idea for him not to be taking blood pressure medication and they say, "Yes, well, good luck with that."
My boss asked me if I wanted to work from home the next day. Between Cujo and Carl and the workmen, I think being in the office, which on most days resembles the Mad Hatter's Tea Party, will be a welcome relief.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

All Hearts Can be Changed When You're Owned by a Cat

Some of you may have missed the very tense drama at our house on Tuesday when Beatriz, the Wonder Cat, became Beatriz, the Wander Cat. Carl was getting food for Blue and Bea shot out the door and was simply gone. After much recrimination (self and otherwise directed) and a frantic search, he went to get posters printed and I went to work, furious, upset and furious, because of course, the cardinal rule of the house: Do NOT let the cats out.

He distributed the posters. He talked to people in the neighborhood. He even had a tip from a Jehovah's Witness.
When I pulled in about he was standing on the front step scanning the neighborhood. My headlights caught a glimpse of a fluffy white butt under his car so I sprang from my car, grabbed her, and we both carried her inside, where one of us sobbed openly and one of us--the atheist in the family--openly admitted that he had been praying all day.

Now to put this in further perspective, I must tell you that Carl was NOT a cat person when he moved in after our marriage. He loved Bella, but she was easy to love, and even though he went with me when I got Bea, they hadn't really bonded.

Until baseball season.
That's when she began sprawling on his morning newspaper, flirting, begging for attention, charming him, twirling him around her paw, until one morning, I heard him say, "You have to move, hairbag. Daddy has to read the baseball box scores."

Daddy? Yes. And then, improbably, Dada, as in, "Dada will move you so you're comfy and he can read the box scores."
Carl is not a sentimental man, as many of you know, nor is he given to gushing or mushy stuff.
So that's all the more reason to look at the attached photo and smile…and know that all hearts can be moved.