June disrobes

Lately, I’ve had to get up fairly early, to shower and do my hair and makeup and put on actual clothes that aren’t my cotton Frida Kahlo robe. I wonder if Frida Kahlo would’ve worn a robe with the drawings of one of her heroes?

The reason I have to do this is because I have been on camera as part of my work. I am not an online sex worker. What are those apps called where men pay money to look at women? All I can think of is MySpace, and welcome to the current hip mind of June Gardens. PayCash? CashApp? No, that’s a legit app, I think. Oh, what IS it?

Dang. If anyone knows what I’m talking about, alert me.

Anyway, I’m not one of those. Obviously. Because I can’t even think of what it’s called. Also, I’m certain there’s a giant call for men looking to pay money to look at 55-year-old women. We don’t need an app for that because Lisa Rinna is providing that service for free.

At work, see, I am interviewing people, see, because I am writing articles about the cool things our client is doing, and putting those stories on their website and also on social media. And that is why I have to look like a decent functioning member of society and not someone who works in her Frida Kahlo robe all day.

We’re gonna look back at this pandemic time as super extra weird.

Speaking of extra super weird, do you remember like 5 or 6 years ago when everyone they hired at my job was named Alex? We had, seriously, 10 people named Alex. Now it’s Jamie, or some iteration of that name, but spelled in a different way. I swear there are 47 Jaymees there now. It’s been kind of fun to watch the ebbs and flows of that place. Imagine the stories The Poet could tell. She’s been there more than 30 years.

My point is, I was showering and putting gel in my hurr when I thought, Oh crap. I guess I have to blog today too. I’d sort of forgotten it’s an everyday thing. So here I am.

Clementine already has a new home, and for that I am sad. I got a message from a woman who is a single mother with one child, no other pets. Not that her child is a pet. Anyway, that’s ideal for Clementine, who I can tell will bond hard with her human and NOT WITH OTHER PETS. Not that she wouldn’t have adjusted. It just never would be her jam, I don’t think.

So the woman and I texted back and forth about the transfer. We work totally different hours. Well. Between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. we are both actually at work at the same time, but she works 3 to 11 and I work 8:30 to 5.

“5:00.” Since the pandemic, the end of the day is what you might call blurred. Some days, if I have plans, I’ll say, “I am stopping at 5:00.” And then the next day there will be a bunch of “You still there?” messages. Relaxing.

We really need to cut this out. I mean, in our society in general. It’s not good for anyone.

But anyway, in talking to the woman, we figured out the best solution would be for me to drive the kitten to her work, where her boyfriend could take it home. She works way out, at the Amazon distribution center. I’ve never been there.

The sun was just setting as I headed there last night, and there was a light sprinkle. By the time I was driving back home, there was a downpour, and it was pitch black out, and I could not see anything. Oh, and I was at one bar on my gas things. What are those called? They’re probably called the same thing as that app where men pay to look at women.

Why are men so odd? Visuals are so important to them.

Anyway, I got home, but felt much like Tom Hanks did after he reached the island with pieces of the FedEx plane floating with him. I was disoriented and traumatized. And then I got the sads. Oh, I was sad. I think I cannot handle any more kitten fostering for awhile. I’ll just get through the missing Iris parts and then try fostering again. I conflated the whole grieving process, I think.

Clementine’s new owner has already texted me to say she’s doing great, which is good to hear. I was worried she would be scared. That sweet kitten.

I had better go. I have two interviews to do today and in between I have a meeting with a coworker named Jamie. I am not making that up.

Tonight I get my hair cut, she says, not going. I got the color done at the beginning of May, and the COLOR is OK, but my CURLS have disappeared. I think part of it is the dye itself sort of knocked out the curl, which happens, but also the cut was not a curly cut, so I am headed to the Deva Cut place in my neighborhood for a real curly girl cut. I can’t help it that they call it “curly girl.” I don’t like it any better than you do.

Also this week, The Princess Bride is playing at my old theater. Last week I saw Vertigo there. And coming soon? The Big Lebowski.

I’ll alert you to my hair situation tomorrow. I am looking forward to my hair sproinging and not lying there like Garth’s hair.

Party on,
June

Book of Juan returns with a special edition where she talks about cats!

Dooce just came back after a hiatus that was longer than mine, if you’ll forgive the phallic innuendo. She announced that she is sober, which, good for her. I am sorry to tell you I have nothing exciting or major like that to update you on. Cause I drink like once a year and get a migraine. So, no comeback with a WOW. (Check it out! Bo Whoa Bo Ricks!) Just back with more all-June’s-regular-crap all the crappy time.

It’s my uplifting attitude that brings you back year after year.

For the last five or six weeks, who knows how long that was; it’s a blur and this sentence is finely constructed and I cannot get enough of myself.

Anyway, since May 1, I had newborn teensy bottle-needing kittens

and you’ve no idea how time-consuming and bottle-consuming teensy newborn bottle-feeding kittens are. Plus also I have my trainer in the morning. Plus too too, work is King Kamehameha busy, so in sum you were my lowest priority and I am sorry. I had no time to talk to you, and had to go on a break, like Ross and Rachel. Now I will not even have tens of readers. I’ll have fives of readers.

But on Saturday, on this, our past weekend, I returned the kittens to their rightful owner, which is actually partially true. A friend of mine, a former coworker, is adopting the B&W one, and note that I am so pressed for time that I can’t possibly spell out black or white. Makes no difference if it’s black or white. Doodoodoododo, hee-heee (grabs parts).

Anyway, I returned the B&W and the B to the shelter, but they are not yet two pounds, which (a) is absurd, as they are 8 weeks old. But (2), my friend the adopter is now fostering them, in sort of a rent-to-own situation. She will foster them till they’re two pounds, then return them to be neutered, or spayed. What do you do with boy cats? Oh, hoooo care.

The point is, they are no longer with me. And I returned home and cleaned the kitten room and enjoyed the silence.

Actually, that’s not true, Ellen. Name that classic moment in TV. For as soon as I was done at the shelter, I had to screech over to my friend Wedding Alex’s, as she was having a birthday party for a one-year-old. I mean, not just some random one-year-old. Her child. She had a birthday party for her child, who you may have guessed by now because nothing gets past you, is one.

Here’s the issue. I have gained 400 pounds since we have been shut in, here, and nothing I had fit. “What about your dress?” I thought, combing my closet hoping there was a secret Mama Cass section I’d forgotten I’d put in.

I got a dress from Stitch Fix last year, and I kept it and then canceled Stitch Fix because what did I need clothes for? I spent most of summer 2020 in my Frida Kahlo robe. Looking more like Diego Rivera by the minute, with that whole sitting in the house eating thing I did.

By some miracle, the dress fit, and if the dress fit, you must a quit looking for something else to wear cause did I mention nothing fits? So I threw it on and headed out the door, kitten carrier in hand. When I got home that night, I perused my Ring doorbell alerts and saw this.

THE GIANT PRICE TAG WAS HANGING DOWN MY BACK. I went to the party like that. I recall one moment there, when I was concerned with the food table, as I am Diego Rivera, that Wedding Alex said, “Your tag is showing.” But I assumed she meant that little tag on the back that says, “Made in China” or whatever. OH MY GOD.

So that was my relaxing Saturday. Sun’s out, tag’s out.

So if that weren’t enough to make your weekend the best it can be, if hanging my price tag high weren’t enough, I also got a message, which of course always makes me go,

“WHAT.”

Any time I get a message, I am bugged. I do not like to be interrupted.

It was the friend of a friend, messaging me to say she needed to find at least a temporary home for a kitten and could I help.

Could I help.

So thank God I cleaned out the kitten room, because one day later, it’s full again. This is Clementine. She is 4 months old and everyone here hates her. Edsel fears her, Milhous (MILhous, of all people) hissed at her. She’s cloistered here till she gets shots anyway, but I let them look from a distance. Clementine got bottle brush tail and hissed at everyone. I have always heard dilute torties are bitchy.

But with me she is a dream. She makes a lot of eye contact and is very purry and cuddly. I can’t help it she doesn’t like anyone here. I can’t help it her dilute tortie comes out. Anyway, does anyone need a kitten?

I gotta go. I had all sorts of trouble today with this post, with typing it before work, then losing the whole thing cause Mercury is retrograde, and then finding it and publishing it on my lunch “hour,” like I ever take an hour. I rarely even really take a lunch. Why did a pandemic make it so we can’t turn work off?

I just looked over at Clementine and she began purring from across the room. This is a seriously nice kitten.

All right, I gotta go. It’s called working, sweaty.

In which June says, “miracle nipple” with a blown-straight face

Remember when my posting schedule used to be reliable and steady? …Yeah.

I’m writing to you on a Sunday because I know I will not have time for you tomorrow morning. Also I am writing to you from outside, because, (a), I am a great outdoorswoman, and (2), I need to dry m’pants. It’s a long story. It’s actually NOT a long story; it’s a stupid story. I was watering my dogwoods and the outside faucet is very dramatic. So. Pants. Wet.

Anyway, let’s see. On Friday afternoon, I left my house (!!) and drove to the restaurant I used to go to every Friday before there was a pan in our demic. Remember when I used to have dinner with all my neighbors on Fridays? This time, we didn’t meet in the restaurant, but rather across the street at this brewery, that has walls that open and also you can sit outside. The plan was to get food from our regular spot and then eat at the brewery, but there was a food truck available with lobster rolls so you can imagine how that went down.

Right before I was due to arrive, I felt a nagging migraine coming on. Honestly, that migraine complained about my hair, my income, the cut of my jib. But I DID NOT CARE, as I was finally GOING somewhere, so I took and pill and headed out, like I was in the Pink Floyd movie or something.

Oh, it was good to see my neighbors, which is dumb because of course they live right here, and I traveled to see them someplace else. I ordered a Prosecco, which when the bartender opened it, the cap SHOT across the room and hit someone, so basically someone got killed and it was my fault and I was all, “Could you pour the Prosecco, please? She’ll stop bleeding in a moment anyway. JUST POUR.”

Then I was immediately drunk.

The next morning, I had to get up early with my one-Prosecco hangover, and get to the hairdresser. I made the appointment to finally address my roots AGES ago, and the appointment was finally here. We got a pen and wrote an address on them forthwith.

FOUR HOURS AND 15 MINUTES I was at that salon. I really didn’t know what I was going to do with m’roots. But we decided to leave the roots there, highlight the shit out of my apricot hair, then I go back in 8 weeks and we pretty much do it again because that brown will come creeping round my back stairs again, and THAT time should do it. Then I’ll just be white-haired.

I was pretty pleased with it, and it cost me a mortgage payment but whatever.

I’d already made plans with Ned to get strawberries after. “I have to get my hair done in the morning,” I told him. “It’s at 10. I’ll call you at about 1.”

One?!?!” he asked, incredulous.

“Yeah, Ned, it takes about three hours to do my hair.” Little did I know. I was so young and naive then, back when I had apricot hair.

“That’s an entire football game,” said Ned, who has also been blown straight.

On our way to get strawberries, we talked about cats. He recently rehomed the stray he brought in in January, after having spent about $4,000 on her, as she and his regularly scheduled cats just could not make it work. He found an old couple, through his vet (“Older than US!” he said) who really wanted a cat, as theirs died in 2017 and they were finally ready.

“I don’t know if I want another cat or not,” I said to Ned. “I’ve decided to say to the universe, If you want me to have a cat, send me one.”

“Hunh,” said Ned, who doesn’t believe in the universe.

After we got strawberries and heirloom tomatoes at a garden center, and by the way Ned once called then antique tomatoes and I will never get over this. After that, we went to Five Guys as Ned had his once-a-year craving for something beyond kale. We took the food to the park in my old neighborhood, and I don’t even know why I did this, but as I was finishing, I got my phone out of my purse. There was a voicemail.

“Hello, June, this is the animal shelter. Are you interested in fostering two orphaned kitt–“

I dialed back before she was even done.

“Oh, here we go,” said Ned. “Hello, universe.”

We had less than half an hour to get to the shelter before it closed, and I picked me up a couple-a these:

Naturally, I got up 49 times last night to feed them, and they were so not eating. I mean, they were eating a LITTLE, but not enough.

And that is how I found myself on a Sunday morning, driving to another city, with kittens next to me, having a rescue (“rescue”) place help me. This very kind woman, who had like 409 premie kittens at her place and it totally didn’t smell cat and I meant to ask her HOW she pulled that off, this nice woman gave me tips and different formula and I am sorry to tell you something called a miracle nipple.

I did not say to her, “Hey! I was just talking shit about rescues on my last hard-hitting blog post!” I kept that to myself. But she DID tell me they only adopt kitten duos. They don’t let anyone adopt a solo kitten.

That said, she really was marvelous and so helpful and I am now waiting for the kittens to wake up and want to eat again and here’s hoping they want to eat for real. Cause that panicked me.

Edsel is as usual delighted. When I brought them home yesterday, he was just excited to see me, but then the carrier I had

MEEEEEP!ed

and you shoulda seen his head swing around.

OK, he looks murder/suicide-y here, but you’re gonna have to trust me.

So in sum, it’s been a big weekend, and it’s Sunday afternoon and I am exhaust and I did not wash my floors or do laundry yet and why the hell don’t I have a maid? I could so use a Florence from The Jeffersons right about now. Was she a LIVE-IN maid? Seems absurd. Did she ever get a day off? Did Florence have any kind of life outside of the Jeffersons and their revolving Lionels?

Anyway, that’s what’s new.

Newsworthily,
June

Why do they say “Adopt, don’t shop” then make it nearly impossible to adopt?

I have an unpopular opinion, which I guess is obvious if you looked at my blog title.

As you know, I am quite a fan of the animals. At one point, I had two dogs and three cats. I’ve also had one dog and four cats. I spend the majority of my cash, time and cleaning efforts on my pets. I also volunteer for two shelters. There was a month, there, that with my shelter kittens, I had 12 cats in my house.

All of my pets have been mutts.

Wait. That’s not true. In 1985, when I was 20, I worked in the mall selling shoes, and on my breaks, I’d wander into the pet store in the mall, not knowing it was allegedly evil. There were Persian kittens in that mall pet store, and sometimes I’d ask if I could hold one. Finally, I couldn’t stand it anymore, and spent 100 times my hourly salary to purchase one of those Persian kittens.

He was one of the best cats I ever had. Mellow, sweet, lovely. I had him for years. Moved him to Seattle when I lived there. He slept on my head every night.

So, OK, other than Confetti, my beloved Persian I bought at the mall in 1985 before I knew it was bad, I’ve had mutts I either got from the shelter or that I found on the side of the road or what have you. And this I guess places me squarely in the “adopt, don’t shop” group. I’ve said it for years. I’ve judged people who “bought” their pets.

As if adopting doesn’t cost a pretty penny.

I touted the line, when people purchased pets, that 10,000 dogs and cats are put to sleep every day. That number isn’t actually true, now that I’ve looked it up. It’s about 4,110 a day, which is still far too many. Shelters are overcrowded and traumatic for the animals. I’ve been in them often enough to know. The last thing I want is any unwanted animals. I seethe when people are “moving, and we can’t take [cat/dog] with us.” There’s another pet going to the shelter.

So, for a long, long time, I’ve said, “adopt, don’t shop.” It’s been my mantra.

But it’s starting to piss me off.

Have you tried adopting a pet lately? Because good luck.

As soon as an animal is listed at the shelter, it’s almost immediately got an “adoption pending” notification. And shelters charge up to $250 to adopt. I know from my volunteer work that shelters are absolutely doing their best, but often you bring home a shelter pet with fleas or an upper respiratory infection. You just can’t avoid those when so many animals are in close quarters.

If you go to other pet “rescue” sites (that phrase drives me berserk. You aren’t pulling the animal out of a burning building), there’s sometimes a fee just to apply. And I promise you, it’s no guarantee you’ll get the animal. The fee can be $30, sometimes $50. Just to apply. Sometimes it takes weeks to hear back. Sometimes you hear nothing.

By the way, the average college application fee is $50.

Then, you have to fill out a multiple-page form, listing your vet’s name and number, whether you have a fence, if you believe in declawing or letting your cat out in your yard. Sometimes you have to provide references. References. Like you’re applying for a job. And they will call these references.

Then? If they don’t agree with your stance on any of the above? If your last pet died years ago so you don’t have a vet right now, if you live miles from anyone and let your cat out, if you don’t have a fence but are retired and have no issue letting your dog out 10 times day. If they don’t like any of that? You’re rejected.

Then you have to pay another fee, exhaust your “references” with yet another call, and start all over again.

I’ve had “rescues” tell me they won’t let me adopt because I live too far away for them to make home visits.

I’ve had them tell me I can’t adopt a cat unless I take its friend.

I’ve been given mileage restrictions, as in, “We only let people who live 30 miles from us adopt a pet.”

I’ve been told, “You can only adopt this pet if it’s an only pet.”

In sum, it’s gotten absurd.

If you really want us to adopt and not shop, then make it possible for people to adopt.

I can honestly say my cats are happy and well-adjusted. They get all their shots, monthly flea and heartworm treatment, and at the moment, high-dollar prescription food that was originally meant for one cat with IBD, but they all loved it, the vet gave the OK, so they all get it. Feeding these cats costs me hundreds of dollars a month.

And yet? I would be turned down by these adopt don’t shop organizations because I let them into my fenced yard. I have no neighbors behind me, and I live on a dead-end street. My cats chase each other through the grass, sleep under the camellia bush, and climb the small pear tree. My cats are happy. Any cat would be lucky to live here. But they can’t unless I lie on the application. Or? If I just shop.

If people keep hitting these dead ends when they try to do the “right” thing and adopt, they will inevitably buy a cat on Craigslist, or go to the vilified breeder. If you leave them no choice, if you make it nearly impossible to adopt, then they’ll say screw it and shop.

And that’s my unpopular opinion for today.

I can’t drive…TWENTY-FIIIIIIIIVE

I have to drive past three schools between my house and my trainer’s abode. She moved since I last saw her, in aught 20, and apparently she moved to the school district.

First of all, why do we need so many schools? Can’t we cram more kids into one building for my convenience? It’s annoying that there are three of them in a 9-minute drive. One of them is a Catholic school, so OK, you all wanna be together and be the Hail Marys and have the Pope as your mascot or feel guilty together or what have you. Fine.

But then there’s a school for rich kids, and then a school for regular kids.

ALL THREE demand that I drive 25 miles an hour when I drive past them, and this rankles.

Have they not considered that anyone driving at 7 a.m. is late for somewhere? We’re all headed to work or our trainer or to buy early morning drugs. We don’t have TIME to slow down to 25 MPH. And let me tell you, they really insist we go 25. I learned that the $450 way many years ago.

Also, when’s the last time you actually drove 25? It’s absurdly slow. I feel like Olivia Soprano or Clara Peller driving 25. Let me get to the center of the road and lean over my steering wheel while I’m at it. Turn on my AM radio.

Plus also additionally, children need to learn to stay out of traffic. If we give them a namby pamby 25 miles an hour, they’re gonna get a tiny, meaningless bump if they run in front of cars. How is that teaching them anything? We’re too soft on kids. Stupid participation trophy generation. A kid in my junior high, and yes that’s what it should be called, got hit right on the first day of 7th grade. He was in a cast all first semester. You better believe HE learned.

Anyway, hi. I’m home from the trainer, in case you hadn’t guessed. I drove 25 most of the way.

Also, Milhous is here, insisting I scritch him under the chin, and he’s getting drooly nose. You know when a cat is really happy and their nose gets all tawny and damp? That’s Mil, over here. He really is the happiest cat on earth. I find myself calling him Winston a lot, a cat only longtime readers will recall. Winston was similarly happy. He was such a good cat, Winston was. Unflappable.

But that’s beside the point. My cat du jour is beside the point. Today I have to get a ton of work done, due by the end of the day, and meanwhile I have five meetings. This means I have to cram the work in between meetings. I’m sort of terrified by this, because the thought of saying, “I didn’t get everything done” — oh my god, even typing that, I get the anxious I have to poop now feeling.

I work with someone who doesn’t have this. He fascinates me. He’s very smart and does good work, but he doesn’t have the anxiety I do about being right on time or doing exactly what we’re told. I wish I had some of that lack of fear.

In elementary school, I was Nellie Olsen. I mean, I wasn’t a dick. But I was a goody two shoes. There’s still part of me that has that need to be goody in my two shoes.

Once, AGES ago, they had a happy hour for our team at work. The very tip-top head of our team invited us all via email. This was when Ned was president of his company, and he always, always worked till 6 or 7 or later. So, I forwarded the invitation to him, because the bar was across the street from his house. The work happy hour ended at 6, and I knew he wouldn’t be there till half hour, 45 minutes after it ended. I also knew some of us, the Alexes and the Ryans, would hang around after.

Thank god all I wrote was, “You should come to this” because

THE TIP-TOP GUY

saw it.

“Who’s Ned Nickerson?” he wrote back.

And that is when I died. That is when my blood froze and I fainted and woke up and froze in my blood again.

“Oh, he’s a friend,” I wrote. “Sorry.”

“This happy hour is just for people at work,” he wrote back AND I DIED AGAIN.

I did not write back and bother him with the whole Oh my god, he wouldn’t have been there till after it was over I wasn’t trying to sneak free drinks to my 47-year-old president-of-a-company friend. I knew it didn’t matter. All I knew is I was humiliated.

That was at least 6 years ago and I still burn in shame.

Now, see. The guy at work who doesn’t have this anxiety? He’d have clean forgotten it the next hour.

What is that? Does it mean I have low self-esteem? I always kind of thought I had magnificent self-esteem. Why am I like this? Why do I feel like I have to do what I’m told or I am shit? I hate this trait.

The one where I think kids should be run over to teach them a lesson is fine. I’m fine with that trait.

OK, I’d better start working. Think good June-gets-everything-done thoughts.

Prioritizationally,
June

Tales from the swamp

At 7:50 this morning, I was at the gas pump putting gas in my car. That’s what a gadabout I’ve been this weekend. I mean, relatively speaking. Relatively compared to how I went from Halloween to Valentine’s Day on one tank. And now here it is, April, and I’m filling it up again. Except I didn’t fill it up: I got so annoyed with the pump that I left midway. It kept clicking off. What does it mean when that keeps happening? That they aren’t maintaining the pump, or the gas station is almost out of gas, or what? All I know is I was 5 gallons in and told myself, If this dang handle clicks underneath my hand ONE MORE TIME, I quit.

Click!

Quit.

I have a low tolerance for frustration. I’m certain this means I’m immature, and news flash. Did I ever pretend to be a British banker?

Anyway, hi. It’s Monday. I’ve already been to my trainer and am now eating what’s toted as a protein bar but mostly I think I’m having candy for breakfast. April might be the prettiest month in the South; all the azaleas are bloomed, and there are purple trees and yellow trees and pink trees and it’s a cacophony of color. The people who owned this house must not have liked azaleas, as I have none. Do you recall at my old house how a drag queen must have planted the azaleas, as there was literally every color right next to each other and it was absurd? Hot pink next to screaming orange next to bright purple.

I’ve got none of that here. But the little garden in front is set up so something is blooming all the time. The tulips have left the building but a pretty white ground cover has bloomed now, and my yellow day lilies have popped up and I am officially an old lady.

Speaking of which, when I got my first vaccine, I figured out how long it’d take to get the next one, and then I figured out how long it’d take after THAT to be fully vaccinated, and I called my hair place and my Botox place and made appointments for after that date.

I hope that damp ham commenter comes back and tells me how long, “per experts,” it takes for the vaccine to be at its full effect LIKE I DIDN”T KNOW THAT. Yes, ONLY YOU, dampus hammus, have access to the CDC. Thank GOD you shared your wisdom.

I’d like to once again point out that the only thing know-it-alls never seem to know is that nobody likes a know-it-all.

Anyway.

I made appointments for hair and face, both of which are suffering in response to the global pandemic. I had no idea how quickly I could transition to swamp witch. So, this past Saturday was my hair appointment, except THE HAIR PLACE CANCELED. Due to unforeseen circumstances.

Goddammit.

They rescheduled me for next weekend and I guess that’s good, because I hadn’t budgeted “put cat down” for April expenses, so I am $300 lighter in my loafers and there will be a payday between now and my hair appointment, so that’s helpful. But still. It’s one more week I have to look like I’d shove children in my oven if they had the nerve to come around.

Oh, and speaking of children…

This is not a child, but I saw this photo on my phone whilst I was looking for child pics, and I just LOVE HIM SO BAD. I love his teensy legses poking out of his fur-of-his-enemies vest.

Anyway. Child.

I had a baby! I had no idea I was pregnant.

Alex, of the work Alexes, had a baby during the pandemic, and much like Forest, he has not been able to welcome guests or hob and nob about town, so now that we are vaccinated, Alex brought her child to my house. Note how Lily was all, “Lilleee plop heer,” thoroughly unconcerned that a toddler of 8 to 26 months was toddling about. Actually he’s more crawling with gusto. This similarly did not bother Lily, who is unbothered.

June. Just a natural with children, since 1965. If any of my younger cousins see this photo, they fear for this baby.

Look. He liked me. He did not sense my evil. It went fine.

Also, babies come with a lot of accoutrements. He had a collapsible high chair, and a cacophony of snacks. Four different kinds of wipes and 79 toys. Then he just played with his mom’s phone the whole time.

Edsel mostly pressed his head into my back and pretended he saw zero babies.

All right, I gotta go. I was going to show you photos of the strawberries I got, and the irises I purchased for Iris’s grave, and possibly tell you how I bought mini pies at the grocery store and told myself I could have one each day and then I sat there and ate all of them. I had all that to tell you but now I have to start work. I done TOLD you I’m too busy to blog these days. Dang.

Hurriedly,
Juan

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.