Irises

I took the day off yesterday, which is good because yesterday was dumb. Iris had been ill for awhile and I decided enough was enough, and I made an appointment for a vet to come over and put her to sleep.

Naturally, she woke up having a good day. She actually got up off the bed in the morning, had her tail in the air, drank 80 tons of water from the water bowl. I’d been bringing water to her in bed. Water in bed. Like it was dehydrated Mother’s Day or something.

I encouraged her to come outside with us and she did! I thought, Oh, man, is it too soon?

By the time the vet got here, Iris was back in bed. Edsel had been glued to her all day, which is unlike him. Generally he’s glued to me.

The vet came in with an assistant, and she looked Iris over. “This cat is in pain. She’s high on the grimace scale.”

Apparently, you can tell how much pain a cat is in by the position of her ears, her little cat lips, and her whiskers. Iris had all those signs going on.

The vet opened a tin of treats that Iris wasn’t interested in. “They’re sheep lung. Cats usually go crazy for them,” said the vet.

SHEEEEEP lung? What in the anthrax. How revolting.

“Ah, now THIS cat is doing great on the grimace scale,” said the vet, and when I looked up from fussing over Iris, there was fat-ass Lily, her grimace-free face buried in sheep lung. “THIS cat is really happy.”

“My perfectly well cat does not need to be scarfing all the dead-cat treats,” I told the vet, who took the tin away and got out some high-powered catnip. The whole point of these shenanigans was to see if Iris responded at all, and she really did not. Lily, who wishes to become part owner of Sheep Lung Delectables, LLP, also did not respond to the catnip, which the vet had sprinkled ON her. But she did settle in next to Iris.

“Lily is having a calming influence on Iris,” noted the vet, who was asking me questions and taking notes. I guess I had to pass the is-she-off-able test. But sadly, we were passing it.

The vet explained everything that was going to happen, even though I knew because I’ve done this before. But it’s always good to be prepared, because sometimes pets have reactions that might upset you if you didn’t know they aren’t really conscious.

“OK, I’m ready to give the first injection when you are,” she said.

I’d already told Iris everything I needed to tell her before the vet got there. So I kissed her gray head and said I was ready. Iris’s. The vet had black hair.

If I didn’t love Lily before, this next part was amazing. When the vet gave Iris the shot, Lily reached out her paw and touched Iris on her back. She never left the bed through this whole procedure.

“Do you want to hold Iris for the next part?” asked the vet. I had been at the end of the bed, sitting in Edsel’s dog bed with him. I got on the bed and the vet gave me a pad and then placed Iris on it. We were waiting a bit for shot number two. The vet was examining Iris, and said Iris, in her opinion, was a lot sicker than we’d thought. She felt a mass in Iris’s stomach, and she also mentioned lymphoma, and she thought the mass might have been affecting Iris’s lungs. She didn’t like how Iris’s heart sounded, either.

I was just reacting to this news when

FLOOMP!

“I let the orange cat in. I hope that’s OK,” said the vet assistant.

It turns out? I have never given catnip to Milhous. And it turns out? Catnip makes Milhous act like John Belushi in his later days. He was ROLLING all over the area Iris had been, then LEAPING over the bottles and instruments and even his sister, Lily. It was then he noted Lily had catnip ON her, so it was about that time he began licking and rolling about Lily’s person, a thing Lily let him do because she’s Lily.

“It’s like he’s doing coke off a stripper,” I said.

“Does he often bring comic relief?” asked the vet.

“Milhous is the most hilarious cat I’ve ever had,” I told her, and mentioned the trash can riding and the pirate walks across the top of the fence.

“I think he came in on purpose,” said the vet. “I think he knew we needed to lighten the mood.”

Well, we certainly had. What an ASS that buff bastard of a cat is. He kept poking the vet in her nether regions, and eventually the assistant had to … gently remove Stoned Cold Steve Milhous and his high self.

Remind me to never get that cat any catnip. Ever.

Anyway, eventually the deed was done, and Iris had some rather gruesome reactions that further convinced the vet that she was really very ill. She knows my vet and is going to call him with her notes. I’m not mad at my vet about it and I still like him a lot.

Afterward, Ned came over to dig a hole. I told him not to look at Iris, whom I’d wrapped in a towel and put in a basket, but he did, and then he spent 10 minutes on my porch steps, sobbing. I tried not to be irritated by this, as I’d emphasized I needed stoic from him. Stoic. I needed more Milhous, fewer sobs. But Ned loved Iris, and she him, so I understood and found myself saying, “It’s OK. It’s OK that my cat is dead.”

It turns out, digging a hole is hard. I helped, but it was like when Prissy helped with Melanie had her baby. Whereas Ned came with muddy boots, I was out there in my Jessica Simpson bunny slippers.

I DID go to the store to get lime, because you’re supposed to put lime in the hole. I forget why.

Anyway, the deed is done, and I get irises from Chris and Lilly later in the week to plant where I buried her. C&L, too, had a rotten day, as they lost one of their horses yesterday. Lilly said that horse, Tex, was so used to winning things that any time he heard a voice over a speaker, he’d start to walk forward, because he just assumed he won.

As soon as Ned was done at my house, I sent him over to Chris and Lilly’s to dig THAT hole.

So, it’s done. And already Lily has walked into a room and I thought it was Iris. I imagine that will happen a lot. That was the only time I cried, was when that happened. I’m sure good, heroic Lily is delighted that her mom looks at her, is disappointed, and then cries.

So that’s the story of dumb yesterday.

I’m so glad I got to have an Iris in this life.

Nails & Tails

I’m almost too busy to even HAVE a blog anymore, which I know is ridiculous. What with my nine kids and all the hog-slopping and brick-laying. I like how hog-slopping is always my go-to, and I don’t really even know what that means.

I’m working a lot. Is the thing. Nights, weekends. The part where I’m working a lot is temporary till things get settled. Meanwhile, expect me to be unreliable about blogging.

Today I left the house to see my trainer in person, making it the third day in a row I’ve left the house. As I shut the door, I saw Edsel give me a look like, “seeeryuslee?” He’s not used to me being a gadabout and leaving him solo.

Anyway, in sum, doing a lot and not blogging a lot. Since 4 of you read me anymore, I don’t feel that bad about it.

As I was saying, before I interrupted me, I left the house at 7 a.m. today to head to trainer, and it was weird to be out at all, much less at that hour.

I last saw my trainer in person in February 2020, before my

SURGERY

when I said to her, “See you in two weeks!”

I guess that was, like, two weeks on Pluto or something. And speaking of Pluto, when I got there, her yellow Lab, Hank, whined at the gate. “He never does that,” she said, and then ridiculously asked if I wanted to see Hank. Give me a break. Hank was like 78% of why I was there.

Since I was last at my trainer, she got another Lab mix, because one 100-pound creature wasn’t enough. So 160 pounds of dog came barreling at me, beside themselves at seeing my ass, and I have to tell you I found it delightful. Then I got home and Eds was playing Your Cheatin’ Heart on his dog harmonica. His snout was glued to me for about 47 minutes, a thing that didn’t annoy me in the slightest.

Anyway, as soon as I got home from the trainer and had Edsel’s snout surgically removed, I had to stampede to the vet, because Iris has to get B12 shots every week. Doesn’t “B12 shot” sound phony? Any time I ever heard of anyone getting one, I secretly figured they were getting a shot of LSD or something. B12 shot. Pfft. It’s like Shirley Maclaine’s “health drink” in Postcards From the Edge. This is Iris’s second shot, and I think she seemed a little perkier last week, so whatever it is in that shot, let her have it.

By the time I got home from having my cat shot up with the dragon on her back or whatever, I was five minutes late for work. So you see what I mean? Now it’s lunch and I’m writing as fast as I can before the siren song of work beckons with its fin.

Oh, but you know what? Back when I used to leave the house and drive to work, before COVID punched, I often saw this young girl on the next block, waiting for her bus. I would wave at her, and she’d wave back unless other kids were there. If other kids were there, she’d nod. It was ridic. I’d 100% forgotten about her, because human and not housepet, till today when I was driving Iris to the vet and there she was, masked and waiting for her bus. She looked older. So did I. We waved fairly enthusiastically, for old time’s sake. Also because no other kids were anywhere.

…Hell. Iris just projectile vomited. I mean, it was Exorcist level. I phoned the vet, who is sick of me, and they don’t think it’s related to her shot of crystal meth. If it’s not, then it’s related to her irritable bowel disorder and this is depressing.

Poor Mrs. Iris head.

In other news, this weekend I was fully vaccinated so I drove out to the country and went to my friends’ general store.

I purchased many needed items at said store, such as birdseed and plastic pink flamingos for my yard. I did not attempt to feed the flamingos the birdseed.

These flamingos were modeled after the same pair that Jackie Kennedy sent to Kate Middleton for her yard.

On Sunday, I actually walked into a restaurant—coincidentally the last restaurant I ate in before “everything happened.” Everyone says that. I also refuse to say “COVID hit,” because I am sick to death of that phrase. My point is, I stood in line, ordered my food and left. I did not linger. Then, finally, my super-social weekend ended in a trip to the pedicure place: my regular spot, Elegant Nail & Tan, where they offer no tanning.

I should really stop going there. Not because they put up plastic shields only between you and the pedicurist, but none between you and the next patron, who is six inches away germing in the next chair. No! I should stop going there because it’s in my old neighborhood and I should really try to frequent places in this hood. Be more June-ny from the block. I once went to VIP Nails nearby and, eh. Very Important Person Nails. I mean, I can’t even get behind that name.

I see there’s another nail place, Nails & More, nearby, and I will stop there just because I want to know what’s “More.”

Nails & Strippers? Is it politically incorrect to say strippers? Is strippers the “transvestite” of 2021?

Nails & Fortune-Telling? I’d be all over that.

Nails & Tongue Sandwiches?

Nails & Snodgrass?

Further reports as developments warrant.

Oooo, Nails & Tails, where they have cats and dogs each time you go in.

Anyway, that is what I did all weekend, and now I likely have all the variants, which I think is also a math term, but do I know for sure? Nails & Math.

I’d better go back to working. I’ll go check on poor Iris, as well. I hate that she’s ill.

Vaxxed and faxed yet never relaxed,
June

Purebread

We’re winding down on my Jane Goodall life, wherein I exist only with animals, as I will be fully vaccinated this weekend.

I guess I don’t KNOW that Jane Goodall only lives with chimps but that’s how I see her. Living way out in a hut somewhere, among primates. There’s no, like, Rhoda Morganstern human neighbor popping in. No Larry from Three’s Company. No Wilona from Good Times.

And speaking of current and modern, one thing I do know for sure about Jane Goodall is she picked a hairdo and stuck with it.

One could maybe guess that chimps don’t have a lot of hair salons, and perhaps this is why the constant updo. But I’ll bet even the primates are looking at each other going, “Oooo oooo oooo! Wish Jane would change it uuuuuppp!”

Chimp talk. By June.

Not that I am one to talk about hair, and anyway I just digressed. My POINT is, soon I will be able to be amongst the living, sort of, and all my blog posts will not be about my pets. However, today is not that day.

BTW, I do have an eye appointment today, as they are holding my contacts hostage until I get my eyes examined because I whistled at a not-hot girl, and I will probably get the COVID three days before my shot is fully effective. If this happens, I will be most put out.

Anyway, animals. My Jane Badall life.

First of all, I woke up in the middle of the night to find that Iris was using my open hand as a pillow. I think maybe I fell asleep scritching her cheek and so did she. I did not dare move, and now I probably have a kidney infection along with my COVID. She seems maybe a little perkier today, although it’s 8 a.m. and she hasn’t packed a lotta living in.

Also too, Edsel. That is my other Jane Goodall-living-with-animals story.

Last night I ordered Panera, as I forgot to defrost the chicken to make my Hello Fresh thing, and I think I don’t LIKE chicken. I think I overcook it or something, maybe. But lately the texture is bugging me. Anyway, I ordered the Panera salad with (wait for it) chicken and strawberries and blueberries and mandarin oranges. You know that one? And I asked for different dressing but they gave me that stupid poppyseed one so now I will test poz for the heroyyne along with my COVID and my broken kidney.

I once saw a movie where a character pronounced “heroin” “heroyyyne” and I have never gotten past it.

My point is this.

I was happily eating the salad despite the stupid poppyseed heroyyyyne dressing, when I noticed Edsel’s head in the Panera bag. Why was his HEAD in the bag? The food was with me. Was he doing his Unknown Comic impression yet again?

He emerged from said bag with the bread. You know how Panera gives you that really good bread? I love that bread. When I get Panera, I save said bread till morning, then I warm it up and put a little butter and honey on it. Why the stubborn pounds?

But there was Eds, bread in his maw.

“Goddammit, Edsel,” I said, and reached for it. Which is dumb, because did I actually want the bread now?

And that dog, that GODDAMNED DOG, tug-of-warred me with the bread. He didn’t drop it in shame. No. He DUG IN, and PULLED his side of the bread with all his might.

What a JERK.

Finally, I wrested the loaf from his jerk-ass jaw, and then I was all, Well, now what?

And he

TOOK

THE

BREAD

one more time, like he was a starving peasant and not someone who had just enjoyed his kibble-filled dinner moments before, and he began RIPPING the bread like he was Henry VIII at a long table. He just needed a pimp cup of wine.

By then I was really just interested to see what he did with bread and no thumbs. He didn’t miss a crumb, that ass.

It was a few hours later that I heard his stomach rumble. He was practically a dressed turkey, so much bread was in him.

“Rrrrrrrr–roowwww-mmmm-wrrr,” offered Edsel’s stomach.

“Good,” I said. “I hope you feel like hell.”

“Rrrrrrr, PFFFT!” revealed Edsel, and this is when the gas started, resulting ultimately in me letting him out at 3 a.m. I was awake anyway because I was admiring how I was Iris’s pillow. Once she moved, I let the Pillsbury Dogboy out. I imagine he went out and produced some bready stool. It was upper crust, possibly. I do not know. I did not accompany him and his BREAD ASS.

So, in sum, did not enjoy the little loaf from Panera yesterday.

Jane Goodall, reporting from Greensboro.

The Iris saga

I can’t remember what kept me from writing on Friday; it’s possible I was just tired. I go through these phases where I wake up 79 times a night, and it’s so irritating, and then I get bone tired and sleep like a LOG one night, and when the alarm goes off I hit snooze 407 times till it’s, like, 8:26. I have to be “at” work at 8:30. And I have 2,000 pets to slop first.

Anyway, that mighta been what happened—I can’t recall. Then yesterday I had my trainer and then Iris had her now-standing appointment to get her B12 shot at the vet. Her pancreatitis/IBD is allegedly going to be helped by said shots. Last time she got really sick, the vet sent me home with a bunch of medicine for her, and when I called him the other day due to a new bout of ill, he said, “How did the B12 pills go?”

…The B12 pills?

Sure enough, there they were in the pet medical cupboard, and, yes, I have a pet medical cupboard. I’d opened them, and when I looked inside, I remembered the shape of them, which is odd. Ah. Yes. The B12 pills.

“Those never entered her digestive tract,” I told him. I remember trying those. And trying to hide them in her food. And yeah. No.

No one will believe me that you can’t pill this animal. Only Ned believes me, as he has seen me try and was all, “Holy shit.” Who can take a nothing pet and suddenly make her seem unservile?

I hadn’t known those B12 pills were all that important. I’d given her the white liquid medicine during her last illness, and that went OK-ish, but who knew the B12s were really a thing?

So now I feel guilty.

“B12 can really help cats with pancreatitis,” said my vet, who is probably ready to report me to Animal Cruelty. Is there, like, a place called Animal Cruelty? What does the receptionist say there? “Good morning. Animal Cruelty.”

So that’s why I was driving Iris to get her shot Monday. Because (a) she wouldn’t take a pill and (b) when she wouldn’t, I said to myself, eh. B12. Hooo care?

She’ll get these shots every Monday for a few weeks.

So, normally what woulda happened is, since I had my trainer at 7:15, likely I’d have gotten up earlier and blogged, then trainer, then Iris to vet, then home to work. I would have packed a whole lotta livin’ into my day before work.

But what DID happen is Iris got sick in the night Sunday, which is part of this IBD/pancreatitis thing. She has flareups. Sometimes she even throws up blood. It’s during these lows, where she gets very lethargic or very whiny, that I say, What am I doing? I should put this cat down. And then she perks up and acts like Iris and it’s all very confusing.

The reason i am telling you all this, is I slept till the last possible second on Monday, before my trainer, because I’d been up with Iris and I was tired. So then when I was at the vet parking lot, I put a note on Facebook, checking in from the vet.

“Bad night with Iris. No blog today.”

Then they brought the cat back out and I drove home and commenced my workday, which began with urgent projects and had my annual review in the middle and ended with, oh look. Urgent projects.

By the time I checked Facebook again, I had like 29542038240-4 248937201304 messages under that post.

“I’m so sorry.”

“This is so difficult.”

“I’ve hired a bagpiper to play Amazing Grace, Jooooon.”

“Thousands of us are in the streets with candles, JOOOOOOOOOOnnnn.”

“Here in England, we’ve shoved Prince Philip mourners aside. Because Iris.”

Oh holy shit. Everyone thinks Iris is dead. Or lying on her deathbed, while I hold her paw. Meanwhile, over in real life, she was sleeping in her circle on the bed. Iris always sleeps tucked up in a circle.

I re-read my original post. Oh, hell, had I Dooced my situation? I hadn’t meant to. But I could see how my post, combined with checking in at the vet, looked like this was the end. My only friend, the end.

But in fact, it is not the end. I did look up the Got a sick pet? Kill ’em in your home! people. I left a message, they called me back, and I never called THEM back. This is the hardest part. How do you know when? I did finally Google it, and giving B12 to cats with Iris’s illness can work. So I guess we see if it works? But meanwhile, while you and I are talking, she’s out there howling. She never howled before she got sick. So then I feel guilty again about keeping her going.

I’ll never forget that time Ned and I were in one of our not-speaking bouts. This was a long one. We’d stopped speaking in early December, and he called me on February 1 or 2. He was at the vet with NedKitty, who, if you don’t know, he LIVED for. Oh my god he was obsessed with that cat. It was his first cat, left behind by a girlfriend who had had enough of Ned’s shenanigans.

So, I did a U-turn outside of work and dashed to the vet. For NedKitty was very ill and it was “time.”

I remember getting there and just feeling ill and also being glad I had on a cute ensemble. I was ill at seeing Ned after all that time, and ill at how bad NedKitty looked. She was just bones, and had that hunched thing that those of you who have cats know from. At this point I imagine the ONLY people still reading this post are people who have cats. Anyway, she was near death.

The vet popped in. “We’ve run some test and this and this and this and this and this are wrong with NedKitty,” She was like 15 or 16 at the time. The cat, not the vet. We can put her to sleep, or we can do aggressive treatments you’d have to keep up at home. She’d need an IV drop three times a day, and you have to hire a sherpa and climb Mt. Kilimanjaro daily, as there is an herb at the top you must cut fresh. Then you must ride on top of a train to dry it out, and that train will take you to a forest where a white witch will concoct a brew that NedKitty must drink upside-down while you chant the words to Hiawatha.”

“OK,” said Ned.

OK. That’s what he said. “OK.”

I looked at that hunched bag of bones on the table. OK???? That’s what my insides were screeching. OK???? You’re keeping this cat GOING???

And he did. For 10 more months. He now regrets it.

So I don’t want to be that guy. But Iris IS NOT a bag of bones. I don’t know, man. It’s torture.

Anyway, that’s why I didn’t post anything yesterday.

That one rare one where June finds cats

I don’t know if I have a gift or I’m an idiot savant or I’m Rico Suave or what the deal is. But last night, after dinner, which was a fattening hamburger because that’s what Hello Fresh sent me and I am powerless, after that, I took a walk.

Pretty much every time I take a walk in my neighborhood, something interesting happens. In this case, I thought it would be the cool car parked behind the Masonic hall.

“Ooo,” I said, and wondered where Gramma’s Eastern Star ring was. (I know where it is. I just meant it made me think of her mysterious Eastern Star activities. Eastern Star is like girl Masons. It’s the sexy Bugs Bunny of the Masons.)

But see how just beyond the car is another parking lot? That goes to a church, of course, because every freaking thing here is a church. Good GRAVY, South. At least in Michigan it went: Catholic church, bar on the corner. Nother Catholic church, nother corner bar. What this town lacks is any corner bar. Corner bars. Where everyone’s dad could be found!

I once heard that all men’s activities with each other are side by side. Sitting up at bars together. Sitting at sports events together. And all women’s activities are facing each other. Which is not true if you count pedicures.

My point is this. I walked on, to that parking lot, and I got the feeling I get. The “there’s an animal about” feeling. First of all, I heard a rustle in the leaves under the tree. Which could be anything: a squirrel, a drunk guy. In this hood it’s not out of the realm. But I stopped, because my feeling.

And here’s why there’s something wrong with me.

WHO ACTUALLY SEES THE CAT IN THERE EXCEPT ME. And this is my phone, zooming in on it as best I could. So it was even LESS clear to the naked eye. My eye wasn’t actually naked. It had on the cutest outfit.

“Hello, kitty,” I said, and remember a few years ago on Facebook, at the end of the year they’d take all the words you’d said that year and made a big circle out of them? And the words you’d said most were prominently displayed in larger font and bolder colors? And you’d be all, “Here’s what I said the most this year!!” and those of us who were sick and fucking tired of hearing about your kid Pevyn were not at all shocked to see a giant green PEVYN at the center of your circle?

If you did that for my whole life, for all the words and phrases from my entire existence, I assure you the biggest one would be, “Hello, kitty!” My first WORD was kitty. Go ahead. Ask my mother.

As I scanned the whole woodsy area, there, my eyes adjusted and I saw two more kittenish cats. I think this clear-as-a-bell one, above, might be grown up. And jaded. But the other two were smaller.

“Hello, kitties!” I said, in a shocking turn of events.

Now, feral cats would pick up their skirts and run. These two younger ones did not. Miss Camouflage, up there, never moved.

One even came out and started batting at the leaves. So I named him Russell. “Hello, kitty,” I said to Russell, and at this point everyone was bored with me and my conversational skills. I kept my distance. These images are of me zooming in as hard as I could.

This is the best photo I got, of Alexander Graham Bell, there, next to the telephone pole.

I sat with them for awhile, trying to remember if I own a — what are those called? A friendly trap. A jovial trap. Oh, hell, you know what I mean. And I do not. I borrowed the last one from an older man in my last neighborhood when there was a stray gray kitten, and he and I (the man, not the kitten) struck up a little friendship those last few months I lived there. I really, really liked his house, and he said, “Well, just hang on. I can’t live THAT much longer.”

That was nearly 3 years ago. I wonder how he is? That house had a screened-in back porch, which is one of my dream scenarios. Now that I’ve had a mail slot that goes right in the house, this is my next goal.

Anyway, cats.

I sat with them for quite awhile, and while they never let me pet them, they hung around, cautious but not horrified. They looked fed, and their fur was soft. There are houses behind this woodsy part, so I began to wonder if they lived in one of those houses. So I didn’t try kidnapping them.

Yet.

Ima go over there today, being some food and water, which is dumb cause they were clearly fed. But just in cases.

So anyway, that’s my latest in what is now 6 hundred billion cat sightings in my life. Does anyone need a cat? You know who doesn’t?

Luff,
Juan

Alexis and Crystal, Milhous and Edsel

I just want you to know that I did my trainer today—I don’t mean I fornicated with my trainer. First of all, COVID.

I KEPT MY APPOINTMENT with my trainer despite having an ax on the side of my head. I don’t know if it’s a migraine or just a bad headache, but it started last night around 4:00, and

Dear June: 4 p.m. is not “last night.”

I was in the middle of a very stressful work thing, with one of those out-of-nowhere, can-you-copy-edit-this-by-EOD things and yes. It’s true. I am not a copy editor anymore. I am transitioning to being a copywriter. So they still use me as a copy editor from time to time and this is one of those “to time”s.

First of all, I couldn’t find the thing I was supposed to copy edit. Sometimes they send you a link and you click on it and the link is to, like, 20 folders. Oh, thanks. This is specific. Anyway then I did find it, after a Jetsons video call with a coworker who walked me through where to find it by sharing her screen, which was generous. Now I have two screens.

But then it was of course complex, and required me to check facts, and we were in a hurry and guess what, copy edit you can’t rush through. So then what do you know, I got a headache. A bad one.

Migraine meds haven’t touched it, and today it’s, like, a bad headache. Have I said that?

Could it be a side effect of my vaccine, even though I got that vaccine four days ago? I don’t know. I went to bed early and awoke in the dead of the night with my head throbbing and also I was crackly. Do you ever breathe in and sound crackly in your throat? I think it’s my asthma. Why is everything falling off of me? Other than this weight?

The grandmother I’ve turned into had asthma. Or, as she called it, “my stupid asthma.”

Anyway, feelin’ fine, is what I am. Hello, world.

As I was lying there throbbing and crackling, I realized it was Tuesday night, which meant trainer early Wednesday. SON OF A BIRCH TREE.

Naturally, I showed up for my trainer and let her know the great sacrifice I’d made, showing up and all. “Could this be a side effect of the shot?” I ashed her. We both had our second vaccine on Saturday, and on Monday we had both had trouble circling our arms, which comes up often for adults.

“It could be,” she said, as she sashayed from one foot to the other with weights in her hands. “I woke up with absolutely no energy.” At this, she leapt across my screen. “I’m a limp noodle.”

“Only a trainer would say she had no energy while she leapt about like a gazelle,” I pointed out.

Anyway, my throat has mostly stopped crackling unless I breathe in really hard. Is it pleurisy? Is that what I have? My point is I feel like hell and I hate to complain.

In other news, Iris is still on her morphine and boy, does that cheer her up. She’s old Iris, rolling about and simpering across my ankles. It’s kind of nice to have Iris, fmr., back. It’s too bad it takes morphine to get it. Also, she seems not thrilled with her new food, which I am mixing with her old, and for a blind cat she certainly is good at leaving all the new-food pellets.

Naturally, Milhous just loves it, because he is the first finicky cat I have ever had (remember when he was a kitten and wouldn’t eat??) but adores any expensive prescription food I bring in this house.

The other day I poured Edsel’s dog food in the bowl, and does anyone recall when last fall I accidentally ordered two huge bags of dog food, and I told you I probably had dog food till April? I was right. I’ll probably run out near the end of this month. I wish I could make money off this dog-food-prediction skill.

Anyway, I poured his food out and then went to let him inside, and I saw Milhous, finicky-ass Milhous, run to Edsel’s bowl and begin eating the dog food.

“Well, this ought to be good,” I thought, as I let Edsel in. It was going to be like that scene in Dynasty when Crystal and Alexis fell into the pool.

But really, Edsel just meandered over there and began eating like a cat head wasn’t in his bowl. And Mil left the building. So it was far less dramatic than I was hoping it would be, which is the story of my life.

I have got to go. I have to begin working, all while an ax is sticking out of the side of my head, and while I’m Cracklin’ Rosie in my throat, and why do I have to live in such a work ethic-y country?

Axially,
Joop

Blended lettuce

We’re facing a moment of truth together: One of you told me to get this jar of powdered, plant-based something-or-other to lower my cholesterol. I have added a scoop to my coffee because said scoop of plant is allegedly flavorless. Let’s see what happens.

{sips}

Hunh. That really is flavorless. Unless I have the COVID. It’d be just my luck to get me the COVID while I’m waiting for my post-vaccine two weeks to be up.

…Nope. Really is lacking in any flavor.

Do you know what I miss? Are those Lick-M-Aids, with the big vanilla stick, and you put said stick in the bag of colored sugar. Ask me how my diet is going on the Noom.

I HAVE GAINED WEIGHT.

How is that possible? I’m over here blending lettuce, and don’t tell me it’s from working out with my trainer. I am not paying a trainer to GAIN weight. I am not paying Noom to GAIN weight. This whole thing sticks in my craw.

No, I’m serious. Reese Witherspoon, my personal friend who pops in to visit me in this charming neighborhood, blends two heads of romaine lettuce, a crap-ton of spinach, a pear, an apple, a lemon that she cuts the rind off of, and some protein power or coconut water and drinks that every day and celebrities are nutty why do we make friends with them?

So I got all that stuff and blended it and I can tell you do not add the lemon. I deeply regretted the lemon. But most days this past week I’ve had that damn smoothie. And?

Gained weight.

COME ON.

So, that’s it. I’m just a chubby person now, and no one point out I’ve been a chubby person the whole time you’ve known me. In my MIND I’ve been svelte but temporarily bloated for, like, 25 years.

Anyway, what’s new? I couldn’t write you yesterday because — and by the way, don’t answer “Nothing much” when someone asks you what’s new. Must you be boring? I’ve found any time you press someone on that, something actually is new.

“What’s new?”

“Not much.”

“No, really, what’s happened this week?”

“Well, I’m radioactive.”

Anyway, I couldn’t write you yesterday because I am working on something huge at work and I worked on it all weekend so I could get ahead, and when I came in here and saw my laptop yesterday I didn’t think of it as “place to blog” but more “place to finish work.” Which I won’t, for a week. The thing is due next week. But I want to keep ahead of it and not panic.

…White guy just pulled up across the street, then a Realtor® pulled up and they shook hands. OK, fancy white guy is not interested in living in the formerly condemned house across the street. He’s looking to buy it and rent it to god knows who, or maybe he’ll fix it up and flip it, which I can live with. Living in a transitioning neighborhood is sort of riveting. Seeing who comes in, seeing who goes out.

Since that house across the street went up for sale (“As-is. Copper plumbing was stolen.”), it’s been interesting to see, like, BMWs drive down our usually quiet street. It’s just so jarring.

What was I talking about? …Oh. Nothing.

So, this weekend I mostly worked, but I insisted I take Sunday off, as it was Easter and you all know about my deep religious practice. I toyed with making hard-boiled eggs, but did not. Instead I went to the cemetery, which seems like an Easter tradition with me now.

I didn’t go to Forest’s cemetery, mostly because I didn’t think of it till I got to the other one, but also because I see that one every day. It’s not a special cemetery.

I went to the really good one in the neighborhood Ned and I almost moved into.

Do you remember back when I was actually dating Ned, and we’d been together two years, and he said, “I have to decide if I’m going to sign another year’s lease or move somewhere cheaper.” Do you remember that?

We’d been together TWO YEARS plus, and there he was, thinking he was going to sign for another year in his place. And I said, “You know, we’ve been together two years. Did you ever, you know, consider moving in together?”

I could tell he had not. It had not even dawned on him. I spent much of that relationship being appalled at how differently we looked at things. But I do have to say, whereas he had no thought of moving forward, he has, till this day, remained in love with me, while I’ve waxed and waned in response to the above. So, in a way, he’s been more committed than I ever was.

So, it took him awhile to (brace yourself) decide. Like, a few months, it took. And one snowy night I drove over to his apartment, and we went down to the bar next to his downtown apartment for trivia night, and at one point in that night he just said, “OK. Let’s move in together.”

Oh, I was so happy. I felt like I’d gotten the golden egg or the golden goose or the Little Golden Book or something.

So then we had to look for a place. Please note I said it was a snowy night when he said OK. We moved into our new place on October 1th.

IT TOOK PRACTICALLY ALL YEAR.

My point is, the first place we looked at was really, really nice. And it is my personal belief that Ned wasn’t really into the whole idea until he saw the place. It was a beautiful old house with window seats and crystal doorknobs, and right down the road was the cemetery above. Also, it was even closer to work than I am now. It was so close to work that if I hadn’t walked to work, it would be shameful.

Anyway (brace yourself), I was sold right away but Ned had to

DECIDE

and we lost it. We lost the house. And we always speak of that house the way I do about the paint color Quietude. Like there’s nothing quite as good.

Anyway, that’s the cemetery I went to.

And that about sums it up, because other than that it’s been trainer and work. Oh, and they condemned the house next door. So now the condemned house across the street is being sold, but we have a brand-new condemned house next door. It’s like Whack-a-Mole. My hope is they get bought, fixed and flipped. And then I will live next to people with, you know, jobs and regular addictions to craft beer rather than anything illegal.

Look, I’ve put in my time. I’ve been generous and understanding and given the people next door ice because they didn’t have running water. I’ve listened and I’ve offered suggestions (but never cash). But after awhile you lose patience. I don’t know how Jesus did it. Didn’t he ever roll his eyes and say, “Oh my Dad, go to NA already”?

No offense to anyone, but I hope me living here doesn’t turn me all Republican.

OK, I gotta go. I have to shower, as I had trainer, did I mention? Oh! Before I go, speaking of narcotics, Iris is on morphine. She had another bad bout of her IBD, and we switched her food and I have to drive her to the vet once a week to give her B12 shots (I had B12 to give her in PILL FORM, and we all know how that went) and in the meantime, she gets liquid morphine to get her through it.

Man, does she like morphine. She’s rubbing her face on chairs, and chirping happily, and she fits right in around here now. So.

I did ask the vet, “Am I being awful, keeping her going?” And he said no. He said no the LAST time. He probably thinks I’m dying to kill Iris, but whenever I hear people being all, “Oh, we give Bosco an IV twice daily, and then once a week we screw off her head and air out her brain,” I am sorry to tell you that I judge. I think, “Give poor Bosco a break.”

So I hope I’m not being that person with Iris. I see times she seems to enjoy her cat life, and she’s GAINED weight since her last bad bout, so. Am I misspelling “bout”? It looks weird.

OK, really going. Hitting the shower. Literally. I’m just gonna go punch it right in the cock.

Love,
Jooooooooooooooooooooon-a

The one where June gets into a car accident while remaining home

One thing Noom does is set a step goal for me every day; yesterday it was 2,300, and considering I used to plow through 10,000 steps a day, 2,300 doesn’t seem like that big of a deal. But try working from home.

…Oh, you do?

Anyway, I had to (a) take my stupid phone with me everywhere to make sure it counted the steps and (3) actually get up and walk around.

So after an intense day at work, where I did not, in fact, get assigned “walk around the room” as a task, I still had 1,000 steps to do. So I (wait for it) walked into my living room, and I was in there, walking in place, when the accident occurred. I normally would’ve walked outside, but it is cold AF and was going to freeze overnight. This worried me, as I have two little baby dogwood trees I planted in the fall. I’ve been obsessively making sure it rains each week, because if it doesn’t I have to water (instructions per Chris and Lilly who own two plant businesses, so shut it), getting the weeds out from around it, exclaiming over everyone’s little buds when they popped out. So I wondered about covering up my little trees, or bringing them inside to sleep with me.

Anyway, that’s why I was walking in place, inside my living room yesterday evening when

A

DIRT

BIKE

zoomed out from my neighbor’s back yard. As a dirt bike does. It

ZOOMED

out from the back yard, past our shared side yard, ACROSS MY YARD

and this is the moment I saw the cop.

“Wait. What the—” I said, forgetting to step anymore.

A cop was chasing some asshole, an asshole I now hate with the fire of a thousand suns. The cop was on foot, the ASS was on a dirt bike, I guess. I don’t know what it is. Anyway, the person (ass) on the bike, SCREAMED at a furious pace across my yard and

BOOM!

into MY CAR.

“WHAT THE FUCK,” I yelled, not only forgetting to step but also to stay safe inside. I RIPPED my door open and ran out there, and it really was impressive, this cop. He’d grabbed the kid (I think it was a kid), whose shoe came off in my yard as a result, and the kid got away but they went tearing through the yards across the street and out of my view.

The dirt bike or whatever it is lay running, STILL RUNNING, FFS, and still plowed into my poor car, which never goes anywhere or does anything. My car, that I’ve put less than 2,000 miles on in 17 months of owning it.

I walked over to my car but couldn’t see the damage because dirt bike was on it.

At this point, the neighbors had all come out to see what the heck was up. “Who was that?” we all asked. It wasn’t long before other policemen showed up, and one of them removed the dang bike from my car. I have scratches and dents on the fender and the hood.

“Goddammit,” I said, and turned to go inside to call my insurance.

And then I saw the tree.

“NO!!!” I screeched.

That asshole had run right into my little dogwood tree. You could see his stupid, inconsiderate, selfish-ass tire tracks go right across it. And he’d ripped off the top of the tree.

“Oh, NO!!!!” I screeched, and I realize I’ve gotten all Tom Hanks and Wilson over my little trees, but I really am attached to them.

At this point I started to cry.

“I AM MOVING OUT OF THIS GODDAMN NEIGHBORHOOD!” I screeched to the audience at large. Then, sobbing, I called Chris and Lilly to see if they thought my tree could be saved.

Meanwhile, neighbors gathered and started cleaning up the debris. He’d also driven through some bushes at the side of the house. I watched a neighbor take my tree’s little broken branch away, so I couldn’t see it. Another neighbor came over with a sheet, and someone got a stick, and they covered my little broken tree like it had passed or something, but really it was to protect it overnight.

Chris and Lilly, who thought one of my cats had died, so hysterical was I, assured me the tree would live. The top got taken off; the roots were fine.

It had just made so much progress, and now it has to start growing from scratch. Poor little tree.

I know I’m being weird about the tree.

The police talked to me and gave me a report. They caught the idiot. I don’t know much, but he did not steal the bike; it was his reckless driving that got their attention. His mother made him leave it at my house and they arrested the kid (again, I think it’s a kid).

There’s almost no chance the thing was insured (*****I know maybe his mother might be*****), so I have to pay the deductible myself to get my car fixed. Today, the bike is gone and I imagine someone vultured it and I don’t even feel bad.

“The law finally came to YOUR house! You’re one of US now!” someone texted from my neighborhood.

OK; that was kind of funny.

I’m so mad about that damn deductible. Just when I was getting ahead on savings and stuff. And I am heartbroken about the tree. I’ll let you know how it’s doing.

And that’s how I managed to get into a car accident while I was home.

Oh, and after it all died down? I finished my damn steps.

Impactfully,
Juan

The one where if June had been a decent person she wouldn’t have to do all this.

Have I told you guys about my quest? I’ve told my mother, I know that, and now she’s reading that this is today’s topic and slamming her laptop shut in disgust. “Get some original material, you damp ham.”

In 1992, when I was 26 for half of it and 27 for the other half, and that’s the problem with a July birthday. Oh, sure, I was always on summer vacation and the weather was always good on my day, but I can’t say, “In 1978, I was 13.” I have to say, “Well, I was 12 for seven and a half months of it and 13 for four and a half months.” I guess everyone has this problem, with the exception of my pal The Poet, who would say, “In blah blah year I was 30, except for the very last day of it, when I was 31.”

She was born on New Year’s Eve, see. Which has to kind of suck since everyone is celebrating … not you.

Still. Your birthday is associated with champagne and streamers if your bday is 12/31. Which is funny since she’s so mild-mannered. She’s not a streamers, shout at midnight kinda gal.

And my birthday is in the dead of summer, associated with lying about with lemonade and watching a dragonfly, which is so not my personality. Well. The lying about part is.

How is it that I get off on these tangents? Oh, right. ADD. Minus the H. Sans H.

So I have a quest. It all began in 1992, when I was 26 and then I was 27. Did you know that part? Perhaps I need to cover that more thoroughly. I was working in my hometown at my first real job in which I had to wear dresses and jackets and so on. And somehow at work I read about how our local symphony was providing grants or scholarships, I forget which, to teach adults piano. And I mean, “adult.” I fit the bill, sort of.

I also remember that my coworkers wanted to start an on-site Weight Watchers meeting and I wanted to join just because everyone else was doing it, but at 127 pounds I either didn’t qualify at all or I just barely did. In either event, I wish to go back in time and punch myself right in the ass.

If I even had one to punch, that is.

So, I applied. For the grant or the scholarship, whatever it was, and I got in. I got to take free piano lessons. And lest you think I was somehow gaming the system, I worked full time, usually more than 40 hours a week because we had events all the time that I had to go to, and I made (are you ready?)

$17,000 a year.

When I think of how that place mistreated me, and never appreciated anything I did. I was managed by two damp hams, I can tell you that. They did not encourage my strengths. We’re doing StrengthsFinder at my current job, where they treat me better.

My point is this. I took the free piano lessons for I think six months or so. I went every week to this woman’s home, and she could always tell if I’d actually practiced or not. And when I did well, she’d say, “VERY GOOD, June!!”

I’m very rewards-based. All I need is a “very good” or a “You’ve advanced to the next level” and I am all set for months. You’d think that wouldn’t be so, what with my people-displeasing personality, but there it is.

I liked her, that teacher. And I went pretty faithfully, practicing on my mother’s keyboard. One song I had to learn went: All day, all night, Marianne. Something something something sifting sand.

…Oh, it’s a real song! As opposed to Bone Sweet Bone, which I learned when I took piano when I was 10. Well. For seven and a half months I was 9. Then I was 10.

The point of me telling you about all day, all night, Marianne was that right after this, I moved to Seattle and met my friend Marianne 47 seconds later. I always thought it was prescient that I learned that song.

But Seattle is why I’m on a quest. Because at the end of 1992, I decided to move to Seattle, sort of on a whim because those bosses at my first real job pissed me off. And at the end, there, as I was wrapping things up and packing and all, I didn’t go to my very last piano lesson. I just didn’t show up. I remember being in my room and making the decision that I just wasn’t gonna go.

And I’ve felt bad about it ever since.

I mean, that teacher was so nice, and I just feel like she probably bought me a goodbye card or something. She was that type. And I just fekking didn’t show. Even if she hadn’t gotten me a card, I still should’ve thanked her for teaching me all day, all night, Marianne.

But of course, that was ages ago and I can’t recall her name. And for years it was just a thing I figured I’d have to feel bad about.

But for some reason, the other day I put on Facebook part of my saga. I asked people from my hometown if they could guess who my teacher would’ve been. And do you know within minutes people had some guesses? I had two names. One person I found on Facebook and I wrote her.

“Yes. I took piano lessons in 1992…” I began.

The teacher wrote me back saying she wasn’t my teacher, and that I’d probably feel better if I just let this go. Well, maybe. But if I can FIND the person and apologize, wouldn’t that be even better?

The other person I spoke to on the phone. She was just a delight, and totally understood. “Oh, those things eat at you,” she said. She wasn’t my teacher, either, but she suggested I call the symphony and see if they can figure out who the teacher would have been. So that’s my next step. Probably I’ll find her and she’ll be all, “WHO are you?” I mean, I know that’s probably the case. But I feel bad anyway and want to apologize.

So that’s my quest. That’s my Nancy Drew moment for the week. Now, where the hell is Hannah Gruen with my luncheon?

The one where June says “eye purveyor” like it’s a thing

I am still on the floor, with a mat underneath me, holding my laptop on my, you know, lap. I just got done with m’trainer. But hang on. I gotta get more coffee.

…I have returned. This room is a mess. The mat is splayed across the floor, resistance band on the mantle, weights all over the place. Especially on m’hips. BAHAHAHAHA. I’ll clean it up when I’m done, as I have gotten oddly tidy during this, our break. I’ve been oddly tidy when absolutely no one comes over and sees my oddly tidy house.

My trainer told me a funny story whilst we were stretching today. Years ago, she had a new client and they were walking outside my trainer’s neighborhood. She made me do this too, sometimes slinging weights around like I was a mall walker. Anyway, said client had been through a bad time and had gained a lot of weight. She was telling her story to my trainer, saying how bad she felt about herself and how heavy she’d gotten.

“BE QUIET, CHUBS!” said my trainer, then looked in the horrified face of her new client.

The neighbor’s dog, Chubs, had been barking at them, and without thinking of the dog’s name, my trainer — well, you understand. Then my trainer was laughing so hard it took her a moment to explain to her new client. Who stayed with my trainer for 7 years and they are still friends. And by the way, she lost the weight. So the neighbor had to change her dog’s name to Slender.

Today, said trainer made me lie on the floor. I could do that part. I was a champ at that part. Then I had to bend my legs and sit up without any government assistance. She made me do this like 10 times. I struggled with this.

“Is it hard on your back?” she asked.

“No. It’s hard because I’m a fat fuck,” I said, and then my trainer said I had to be kind to myself, and give me a break. I’m the reason I’m a fat fuck. Why can’t I be honest with myself? If I’m not honest with myself, who will be?

So, that’s how that’s going, and I’m still Nooming. I know I just told you yesterday that I was joining Noom and I’m all proud that I stuck with it for a day. Really, I think this is day three. Or maybe four. Whatever. Am I rail-thin yet? Why not?

I used to be one of those people who was really really thin due to zero effort on my part. Then I wasn’t. I have always found that unfair. If I’m gonna have this nose, I should at least get “she can eat what she wants and never gains weight.” But no. I get both of those AND THIS HAIR, TOO. Come on.

At least I was blessed with this personality.

Today I have to scream over to the eye — not doctor. To the guy who sells me my glasses and contacts. What’s he called? Eye purveyor. I have to go to the eye purveyor, as I am plumb out of contacts and let me tell you: Working out in glasses is a pain in the ass. Not to mention these are the glasses I bought on Propofol, so careful readers will realize how old these glasses are.

2015. I bought these glasses in 2015. I had that outpatient procedure where they knock you out on the Propofol and look down your throat, and when I awoke, they said, You will feel normal but you are not normal.

I mean, God said that when I was born.

But they said, You will FEEL normal but you are not. Do not drive. Do not make major purchases. Do not run to Vegas and elope.

Ned, who was in charge of me that day, naturally insisted we use our “day off” after my surgery to run errands. So while we got cat food and shopped for kale, I remembered my contacts were ready at my eye purveyor. I use dailies so I have to go there every 90 days, same as cash. So we headed over there to pick up m’quarterly contacts.

I believe I really should have been resting but Ned is not a resting person. It’s one of his annoyinger qualities. Ned has no resting heart rate.

He owns zero footrests. Or headrests. You get my drift.

Anyway a few days later I got a call from the eye purveyor. I really need to stop saying that.

“Your new glasses are in,” he said.

“My what?”

Turns out I’d tried on and purchased new frames that day, the day of the Propofol. I was Michael Jackson, buying everything up. And thanks, Ned, for stopping me. “You seemed normal,” he said, clearly not listening to my aftercare instructions.

But the thing is, I did GREAT buying my glasses on drugs. They are a black-frame cat-eye, with teensy rhinestones on the tips. I look like a secretary from 1956, which is of course my whole point.

I have gotten new frames since then but they hurt. They assault my ear. So I still wear the scratched-up, wrong prescription, this-is-your-purchasing-power-on-drugs Propofol frames.

God, I was rich when I lived with Ned. We each paid like $550 a month on rent. We split all the utility bills. And he was rich, so he paid for most frills, like dinners and trips and shit. I used to be able to go to Banana Republic and just get a sweater without thinking about it. I know that’s not, like, how Bill Gates determines if he has wealth, but trust me. A $90 sweater is major for me normally. It really was nice to be rich. I paid tons of debt off that year and so did he. If only we weren’t over there murdering each other every other week.

Ned was describing that year to a friend not long ago. “We’re talking right in each other’s faces, screaming as hard as we could at each other,” he said. Yep. That’s how it went. But we sure had extra cash!

I’d better go. First of all, this shirt doesn’t breathe and I’m all hot and it’s annoying. Second, I wish to straighten the room even though Edsel is now fast asleep on the mat looking cute. I had a weird feeling today. I let him out first thing, as per usual, and as I watched him wander to his poop portion of the yard, I thought, “One day I’ll be letting a puppy out here instead of old Eds.” Then I got a terrible chill. I always want a puppy. But I don’t want a puppy instead of Edsel.

I don’t know why I do that to myself. The whole time I had my magnificent cat Mr. Horkheimer, the whole time, I thought about how one day he’d die. I could never enjoy him because that thought was always there. I mean, I did enjoy him. I adored that giant, unflappable cat. But the thought was there. By the time he did die, I was all mentally prepared.

I guess this whole post is about the dumb stuff I tell myself. I didn’t mean for it to have a theme. But there you go. We have ourselves a theme.

OK. Ripping off this sweaty sticky shirt and heading for the showers in the locker room, where I will playfully whip my towel at the other men.

Life. Boy.

June