My 12-year-old uses the words “epic” and “fail,” but not together. Epic means spectacularly wonderful in middle-school-speak, while fail refers to anything that falls short of what one might hope. Tigger sprinkles both terms liberally in conversation, as you might expect of a person at the Age of Drama.
I’m here to tell you, November was fail.
Oh sure, it had its high points. Thanksgiving went well, even though the pumpkin cheesecake stepped out of the oven with the Grand Canyon of cracks in the top of it. And then I dropped a jar of jam on it, resulting in a dent next to the crack. My inner Martha demanded that I cover all the imperfections with a sour cream and powdered sugar topping before serving, but my exhausted outer TR said “screw the topping, let’s eat.” And verily, it was delicious.
On Sunday we dressed up (that’s “wore jeans with no holes” in Seattle-speak) and watched my pal Gungaboy and the rest of the Seattle Men’s Chorus perform their spectacular holiday show. That event earned an “epic!” from Tigger, who liked it so much she wanted several CDs and begged to be taken to the upcoming concert of the Seattle Women’s Chorus as well (yes, we’re going).
The rest of the month, however—fail, fail, fail. For one thing, it’s on record as one of the top ten wettest Novembers, in a city where it rains every day in the fall. Only this year, instead of the gentle misty rain we’re accustomed to, it poured buckets, day after fail day.
Our cat died.
Some scurrilous reprobate robbed my husband’s car.
But wait, it gets worse.
A pretty, gray and white cat took up residence in our yard. I called it Dominic. Feral, unwilling to come inside or be petted or cooed over, the cat showed up at the door for the meals we provided, and sheltered under the garden shed. Dominic had longish hair, making it difficult to judge its gender. Over time, the cat got noticeably fatter. So plump, in fact, that we suspected it to be pregnant.
We didn’t want Dominic to have kittens under the shed where we couldn’t get to them. If kittens were to be born on our property, we wanted to handle and tame them. So we borrowed a cat trap from a crazy cat lady of our acquaintance, made an appointment with the vet, and baited the trap with tuna.
Dominic loved tuna. SLAM! Trapped cat. Technogeek took it to the vet.
What I thought was going to happen: Dominic would be judged a pregnant female and we would keep her in a large cage in the laundry room until the kittens were born and weaned.
Or: Dominic would be judged a male. He would be neutered and vaccinated, and then we would return him to his carefree life of fresh air and free food.
What I did not think about or expect at all: Dominic would be tested for FIV (kitty AIDS), found positive, and euthanized. But that’s what happened.
We could’ve just brought him (he turned out to be male) home and released him anyway, but FIV is incurable, much like the human variety. Dominic was not the least bit tame. During the exam he completely flipped out, tried to climb the walls, and bit the vet so hard he (the vet) had to go to the emergency room. So we would not be able to care for him, give him medicine, etc. And since FIV is highly contagious, he would likely spread it to other cats, including the kittens we will probably get soon.
The word “euthanized” implies that he was “put to sleep” for his own good, out of mercy and compassion. But really, he was put down for the good of other cats. I think it was the right thing to do, but I’m still uncomfortable with it. I feel awful. Dominic never bothered us. He just showed up twice a day and ate the food we gave him. Then we caught him and had him killed. Fail.
That was last month. Thank god it’s over.