10 July 2013

Deployment Kitty

Little Kitty Hera seems to think
that she can best help me sew by
stalking my scissors and then
pouncing on top the fabric
as I try to cut it.
I know, I know, it’s been months. Consider me properly chastised for bad blogular behavior. Even my Twitter, Etsy and Facebook pages are hurting. It’s been hectic and crazy as always, but even extra so, and I have lots of news to report on what has kept me away from the interwebs so long. Some of this news is of the very depressing kind, some of it is on the opposite end of the spectrum. I’ll start with a quick rundown of the highlights, and then we’ll see where I end up from there.

1) My fiancé deployed to the dreaded sandbox. He made it over there safely, and I hear from him as often as he can spare, but it still sucks. Having now experienced both the leaving and the being left behind due to the Military, I much prefer the leaving. Being left behind sucks way more.

2) I am no longer a Platoon Leader. My year and some change finally caught up to me, and they drug me out of my Platoon kicking and screaming and forced me into a staff job. The one perk: my work life now resembles a more standard 9 to 5 job, except for the fact that my days still start at 0430 and go until about 1730 or 1800 (5:30pm or 6pm for you non-military types). I still terribly, terribly miss my Platoon, and I’ve been stuck on staff for over a month now…I am just not at all a staff officer. Not remotely.

3) In other very sad news, my family’s dog, Achilles, died recently. She was epileptic and only about four years old, a wonderful Greater Swiss Mountain puppy with just the sweetest personality of any dog ever, and we all loved her dearly. I would always wrestle her when I was home to visit, and although she easily weighed the same as I do, she wasn’t too difficult to get into a submissive position (probably because she refused to use her teeth and claws, which would have been the obvious advantage for her in any wrestling contest with a human of equal weight). Anyway, my mom called me in the middle of the night after it happened. They had let her out to pee for the evening before bed, and she had a seizure and hit her head and fell into the lake and drowned. It was over very quickly, but still…we were all heartbroken. I cried most of that night, and in my dreams my little Achilles came to visit me, so I gave her a hug and told her to go play with the other puppies. She always took her guard dog duties very seriously, so I am sure she is still doing her job and keeping my parents and youngest brother safe along with Atilla and Cookie, the other two puppies we lost.

4) In slightly less depressing news, with the help of my wonderful and amazing fiancé Orion (well, he helped until he deployed, and then I finished it), we constructed a replica of us in our wedding wear for the big ceremony and reception to use as our cake toppers. The resulting statue was a little heavy to put on top a cake—at least in my (not so) humble opinion—but I figure we’re using multiple cakes on stands instead of a layered monstrosity anyway, so why not have the statue on a pedestal too! The final product looks pretty awesome, if I say so myself, and is definitely the best thing I have yet made. The little Orion portion is sporting a kilt in his family tartan, old-school style, and the little Anden is wearing the dress I’m making. Orion helped me construct the frame/skeletons out of armature wire, which for me has always been the trickiest part. Armature wire is very unforgiving and very stubborn, so it was a huge help having an extra set of (much stronger) hands to bend it into the right humanoid shape. He made the skeleton for the mini-me, and I made the skeleton for the mini-him. Then, unfortunately, he deployed and I had to complete the rest on my own, but the adding of the foil and then the sculpey and then the painting are the easy parts.

5) So this last story starts out a little pathetic, but it ultimately ends on a happy note, promise. So. There I am, 4th of July, the day after I dropped off my fiancé at his unit for their deployment. It’s about 2200 (10pm) and I never even bothered to change out of my pajamas or brush my teeth or hair all day, so I’m pretty much as messy as I get. I’m sitting on the couch with a gallon bucket of Blue Bell on my lap, watching The Glass House on cable, and eyeing the wine rack…when all of a sudden this loud, pitiful meowing comes from outside my apartment. I am not entirely sure whether I am really hearing what I think I’m hearing, so I mute the television and listen more closely, and sure enough it’s some very sad-sounding meows, accompanied by the neighbor’s dogs yapping and some very suspicious sounding teenage laughter. So I sigh, put my ice cream back in the freezer, put on some real clothes as quick as I can, pull my hair into a somewhat less-messy ponytail, throw on a pair of flip flops and head outside. But by the time I get there—roughly 2215 or so—there’s no dog, cat, or kids in sight. I walk around the apartment complex for a while, but see nothing and no one. So eventually I give up and go back inside.

Then, about an hour later, I hear the sad meowing come back. No dogs or kids laughing this time, so I just go outside immediately and low and behold, there’s a little kitten right on my doorstep looking thin and underfed and very, very lonesome. So I call to her, and she jumps right up into my arms and starts purring. She was mostly black with little brown speckles all over her, like a reversed tortoise-shell pattern almost, with one golden-cream colored paw. She had a collar on, but no identification or anything, and she seemed pretty thin. I took her inside and gave her some milk—it was all that I had, although in hindsight apparently milk is difficult for cats to digest—and then promptly started kitty-proofing my apartment. As an artist I tend to have my crafts spread all over the place, but I couldn’t have a little kitten accidently swallowing a bead or heaven-forbid a needle, so I picked up everything and ran the vacuum just to be safe.

Now, Orion and I debated getting a kitten before he left so that I would have something to cuddle while he was gone, but we ultimately decided to not acquire a pet since it would bond with me and then resent him when he returned for taking my attention away from it. He kept joking that I would come home from work today and he would have brought me a kitten from the pound, and I kept telling him he better not. His point was always, “If I bring you home a kitten, you can’t say no. You’re going to keep it.” And I would always reply, “I know, but they’re work and responsibility and I’m barely home as it is, and with all my projects I like to do, they’ll be destroying them and getting in the way! The wedding dress I’m working on—all that silk chiffon—will be clawed to shreds! We can’t get a pet.” But clearly the gods had other things in mind for me, because this little kitten chose me. She parked herself on my doorstep and mewled until I let her in, and she seems bonded with me from the first.

I took her to the vet the next day to see if she had a microchip or if they recognized her, but there was nothing and they’d never seen her before, nor had anyone in my apartment complex. The vets said she’s about 6 months old, although she’s very small for her age which means she was probably on her own for a while. She now has kitten food and all her shots, an appointment to get spayed, more toys than she knows what to do with, a catnip-infused scratching post, a fuzzy cat bed complete with pom-pom she paws at, spectacular purple-glitter food & water bowls…she’s already spoiled rotten and made herself completely at home. Little Kitty Hera prowls around my apartment like she owns the place, to include my lap. She demands that I hold and pet her for at least 20 minutes whenever I return from work, and makes the cutest little half-purr, half-meow, half-chirping sound when she wants attention…which is more or less all the time. She even stalks me and then pounces up on my lap to give me little kitty-kisses on my nose.

Like I said…spoiled rotten.

So I am now the adopted mommy of a kitten—I maintain that she found me, rather than the other way around—and I have a new collar, complete with protective pentacle charm, already in the mail. Now that I seem to have acquired a real familiar, I should probably start brushing up on my magical practice. Apart from daily lighting a candle for my fiancé while he’s away, I have been somewhat lapse in that area of my life. It’s definitely time to get back involved. The gods are calling me, and they sent me a kitten to show the way.

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