Rube Sunday night, passed out and dreaming and unaware
Rube and I have this ritual: At night after I hit the sack, he’ll climb up on the right side of the bed, stretch his front legs over the pillows and then drape himself over my neck and chest, purring while I slather with kisses his face or head or whatever he ends up sticking in my pucker space. He doesn’t do it every single night, but most nights I can count on him stopping in before going off and doing whatever he and Carol get up to. But he hasn’t come the last couple nights, and when he’s been out from under the beds, we’ve sat on the couch awkwardly or he’s yelled at me for giving him his prednisone. I wouldn’t give it a second thought except for I’ve no doubt he’s still pissed at me for the ordeal at the vet, but I’m also quite sure he now knows that I know he’s dying, and like, say, when a friend tells you they like the feel of weasels down their pants, there’s really no turning back THAT revelation.
I can’t believe I’ve never written about how Rube and I got together: It was April ‘99, six months into living on my own for the first time ever, and I’d just settled in to write a story about a gun show when I heard this obnoxious “REE-ER! REE-ER! REE-ER!” coming from outside. The windows were closed and I thought it was a bird caught in the bushes at first, so I went outside and quickly realized it was a cat, so I psssspssspsssspssss’d fully expecting a cat to come out and not what was essentially a fetus. Picked it up and ran upstairs, and then called anyone I knew who had cats to see what they knew about taking care of a cat fetus. (Also discovered rather unceremoniously that he was a he after thinking he was a she because I’d never had a cat before and all cats were she to me. “Ruben,” in fact, came from “Ruby” because that’s what I’d always planned to name a girl cat. Props to my quick-thinking seester.) After taking him to the office and (someone, not me) losing a valuable photography equipment thing we used to try and feed him some milk, got him some formula and started feeding him by dropper.
Dad, upon hearing after Rube’s first vet visit the next day that the vet thought he was about two-weeks old, promptly said I shouldn’t get my hopes up, that he probably wouldn’t make it. Over my dead body was that going to happen: I was between gigs at the time, so I fed him every three hours like the vet said, and he went EVERYWHERE with me—stayed in the car for job interviews, slept in my shirt during assignments, came to the office with me while I manned the phones on the Sports desk. I not only litter-trained him, but I taught him how to expel waste (not as vile as you might think, although I was the human litterbox for about two weeks until I got him using litter.)
For the last 13 1/2 years, this jerk of a cat has given me more scars in places you’d never believe and has shit in my laundry more times than I count. He never fails to step on my nipple while situating himself to bathe my hair in the morning, and he yells at me when I touch his tail in any way. He once jumped into the toilet and right back out before I had a chance to sit down after a night of drinking MGD, he’s horked hairballs on just about every wood surface I own and poked holes in all my yoga and jammie pants with his claws. He rolls around on the freshly cleaned bathroom floor, huffing the bleach. He beat on his little brother constantly and walks across my keyboard as I’m trying to file my stories ...
before he settles down and curls up to my left, sticking his head in my face and paws over my arm, purring away.
He hears my car pull up and watches out the window while I come up the walk, cheeking the window pane until I get in the door, or did at least until a few days ago. Every tear I’ve shed or ounce of anger I’ve wasted over whatever jackass, he’s settled in on my chest and purred until I can pull it together to get out of bed. (Fun story: The first night TOG ever spent at the resort, I woke to find Rube sleeping at the foot of my side instead of the right side (where he usually slept) because TOG was there. Rube looked at me, and then looked at the passed-out TOG—we’d gone to see The Who the night before and, well, you know—and looked at me again with this look I can only describe as, “Are you serious with this shit!?” There’s something to be said when even your cat knows what a rotten situation you’re in, and I might’ve saved myself about five years of absurdity had I listened, right!?) After Dad died, he looked for him for weeks when Mother would come over; to this day, we’ll be on the couch and Rube’ll put his paw on my shoulder every so often, and dumb as this sounds, I imagine Dad’s telling Rube to say “Hey.”
For 13 1/2 years, this damn cat has been my everything, and now he’s dying, and I can’t do better than try to figure out whether he’s in pain and keep him comfortable because the alternative holds no guarantee and would likely be worse. It’s so not fair.
it really is all pr0n sites that link here or you just don’t want to admit you read me, because damn! What’s a girl gotta do to get some comment interaction up in this bizznatch!?? I mean, NO ONE wants to talk about what they hate in a potential partner!?? Or was I supposed to start with mine, and I’m just not doing it right? Don’t let the crickets chirp on me, man!
Or, since I found a ton of other amusing photos as I looked for my shot of bershon, how about I post another pic of me when I was young broad? This shot, taken in I’m guessing June of 1985, had to have been taken either right before or right after Dad came home from one of his yearly fishing trips in the Boundary Waters:
A few things stand out about this picture to me, namely 1) that’s my natural hair color, y’all; 2) even though I really loved the shirt and jeans I was wearing and they were really cool, they clearly aren’t cool together, especially with the pink socks; 3) I was six months away from losing my virginity; and 4) look how freakin’ thin I was. I had to have been between 110 and 115 at that time. Sick, sick sick!
Now, I know I've mentioned before that Dad's cancer got into his spinal cord and rather quickly killed his ability to swallow, so I of course told her a little bit about that. And she of course hit it on the head that I wanted to keep him around a little longer, but she also told me a little-discussed bit of info: Feeding tubes are often a bad idea, because pumping nutrients into a person whose system is dying off makes it more painful for them. Dad didn't make it to the feeding tube part, but I can buy that as good information. What I'm having a hard time with is that I'm guessing that Alzheimer's is a totally different critter, that it's more of a natural process of the body shutting down and frankly, they've just forgotten they need to eat. But see, up until the week before he died, Dad was asking for food; he kept going for the closet so he could get dressed and he and Mother could go for ice cream. So to me, it says that even though he might've been losing his faculties, the will to live was still there. I mean, Mother tells me that Dad was ready to go and talked with her about selling the house and shit, but this is a woman who swears she's not going to be around in a year. Would YOU believe her!?? Then I start thinking about the night he told me he would have the spinal chord chemo, and I remember being so happy because there was my proof that he wasn't ready to go.
Yeah, I know the cancer got into his brain and all the nurses said he was in a coma at the end and didn't know what was happening to him. But he told me he wanted to live, so how could that have changed? To me, it didn't, and yet there was nothing anyone could do.
Of course, I'm now deeper into that time, especially since Mother and I got into a YOOGE fight tonight that made me want to throw her out of the damn car. (I didn't. But I wanted to, even more than
So I walk in, and Dad, who was pretty much comatose at that point, was set up in the living room with an oxygen tank and all that. Well, she was already talking to my sainted aunt about how he was for all intents and purposes dead, and upon hearing that I proceeded to have a complete and utter hemorrhage: "You know, he can HEAR YOU." And she was all like "No, he can't." Because, you know, even though there's really no knowing for sure how much a person functions while they're in a coma, her pain was more important than the fact that he knew he was dying and didn't particularly want to HEAR IT WHILE HE WAS STILL ALIVE. So to be a shit, I started telling him about the Cubs game that was on, and then I asked him if he wanted me to turn the sound up. And he inaudibly mouthed "Yeah."
Anyway, DtR was supposed to have gotten his "divorce settlement" (snerk), so you'd think he'd want to pay me the $550 he still owes me, which would take care of just about all the niggling little bills, but that would mean he would have had to get divorced in the first place, which we know hasn't happened. As if THAT weren't bad enough, you know how he was uber-coming on to me a week or two ago? Well, now that I kind of indulged him*, he goes all silent. I'm sorry, but excuse me, who the fuck does he think he is!?! This isn't college when I was despondent and on the rebound.
So, how am I going to combat this awful feeling? By changing my hair tomorrow. Don't know how yet, but I told EWK that I need to be shocked.
"Dad, how old were you when you lost your virginity?"
Yeah, the thought of me asking Dad about anything sexual completely squicks me out now -- I didn't even see the man naked until he was on his deathbed, for Chrissake, not once in my then 31 years of life -- but for some reason, it was important that he tell me. And before I go on, I need to point out here that Mother was a virgin when she got married at 27, and believe me, there's no question that she was.
Anyway, so I ask him, and he looked at me and told me it was none of my business. He wasn't shitty about it or anything, but that was that. It kind of makes me wonder now if he wasn't a virgin when they got married, and he told Mother he was, or if he was just that kind of squirrelly about talking sex with me.
-- Written June 4, 2004
Especially cool was that Dad was the type of person you could tell anything to after the fact, and as long as you weren't hurt or hurt anyone else, he wouldn't get all apeshit on you -- like when I was 19 and dating my college boyfriend, who Mother HATED because she found out I was nailing him.
It was poetic. I laughed upon impact, and then I started screaming, because how the hell was I going to explain to Mother why I was coming home that way when I told her I was going to be doing something else that wouldn't have involved coming home from Dyer?
Luckily, the friends I said I was going to be with lived in Illinois, which you could conceivably get to from the road I was on, so I made up some cockamamie excuse as to how we went someplace out that way -- but not before Dad getting in my car and going over the story with me so we'd both have it straight. How's THAT for a cool dad?
Another time, I played said boyfriend on the phone because Mother didn't want me seeing him anymore, so Dad volunteered to be the one to tell him/me. There were millions of times like that.
-- Written June 3, 2004
He never censored anything I read, really. I was reading Steven King novels by the time I was in sixth grade -- hell, I asked him for his copy of The Exorcist, and he gave it to me without complaint. And the John Powers trilogy -- The Last Catholic in America, Do Black Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up? and The Unoriginal Sinner and the Ice Cream God? Required reading. In later years, though, he got all up into those Jean Auel books, a passion which I didn't get.
There were SOME limits to what he wanted me reading; after all, he DID throw away the porn novel I stashed under the love seat in the living room (as well as my next-door neighbor's porn novel she let me borrow). Never said a word about it, but once the carpet was cleaned? Gone.
-- Written June 2, 2004
My dad is Lee R. Quinn, born June 30, 1934 somewhere in Chicago, to Marie and Raymond Quinn. Two sisters, Eileen (Jim) Beil and Bernice (Ron) Ireton, both still living. Scads of nieces and nephews and grand nieces and nephews. Graduated Dyer Central High School in 1952; futzed around a year or two before enlisting in the Army, 101st Airborne. Got out in 1957 and started college at Indiana University, majoring in education. Met Anna Jean Matura circa 1960; married her June 15, 1963; graduated from IU with a master's degree in English education in 1967, I believe, after doing his student teaching at East Chicago ... Roosevelt, if memory serves me right.
Started teaching at Dyer Central in Dyer, Ind., which moved and turned into Lake Central High School in St. John, Ind., where he taught for 21 years. He taught all levels of high school English, but had the most passion (and best result) with the "developmental" seniors, or what we would call "LD" today. Adopted his only daughter in September, 1970. (That'd be me, yo.) Was one of the most popular teachers to walk Lake Central's halls. (Ask anyone. They'll tell you.)
Retired from teaching in 1985 to try his hand at selling insurance, which he did part time for years. Failed at it and eventually got back into teaching freshman composition around 1992, first at Indiana College of Commerce (a court-reporting school), then at alma mater Indiana University (Northwest) and finally IVY Tech State College. Loved fishing, hunting and anything wilderness-related. Loved to read, draw and, sometimes, write. Was quiet and preferred living in his own head. Loved Tim O'Brien novels.
Died Aug. 30, 2001 after a six-month battle with aggressive non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. He was 67.
--Written June 1, 2004
Anyway, here's a little thing about Dad, since I haven't talked about him lately: Yesterday was Dad's sister's and brother-in-law's 50th (!) wedding anniversary, and Mother and I went to the festivities. Other than it being a completely charming affair, which it was, I got to see their wedding album and discovered that Dad stood up to their wedding. He couldn't have been more than 25 or so if he was even close to that, and there he was, all tall and jug-eared in a black tux. And the hair! Ohmigod, he had a full head of black hair that wasn't cut in a flat top, exactly, but it wasn't a ducktail, either. Almost didn't recognize him; then again, I never knew him when he was that young. It was nice to see, though.
We didn't get to make the choice. I was driving to the hospital around 9:30-ish when I got the call from Pam, Dad's favorite nurse on the oncology ward: He'd gone into Cheyne-Stokes respiration. Surgery wouldn't be a good idea, but Hospice would be.
After yet another day of feeling like assbrine, I hunkered down on the couch to watch some UPN (Nascar was on Fox, and a gal's gotta draw the line somewhere) but fell asleep for a bit. And when I woke up? Marvin's Room was on.
1) The one where Bessie (Diane Keaton) tells Lee (Streep) about her lost love drowning at a carnie picnic (made me think of how my sister and me are not even polite to each other);
2) The one where Bessie finds out the kids aren't bone marrow matches, and the thought that Lee has to give up or alter her dreams in some way hits her square in the jaw; and
3) The very end, where Bessie's sitting on the bed with her pudding-headed father, manipulating sunbeams around the room with a mirror.
Then, as if it couldn't get more dramatic around Chez Broad, I decided to head out and find the one guy, and while I was driving along Rte. 51, what should should come on the radio but "Sloop John B" by the Beach Boys. For the love of GOD, people. And I didn't even have any wipe-y rags in The Pimp.
Have I ever mentioned that I get really weepy when I'm sick, too?
Info meme #1
Typelogic says I'm an INFP.
Check my weekly astrological groove here.
Give it to me, baby.
Pssst ... My birthday's Feb. 3, and I want this, and this, and this ...
The Make-Believe Oral Cancer Foundation (M-BOCF) is now accepting donations on my behalf. Won't you please help those of us who jump to hideous conclusions regarding our oral health and help me get a root canal or two!??:
/> Wanna make a bunch of money doing what you're doing right now?
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Broad said: Like I said, my feelings are complicated on the matter, so ... I’m interested, however, in Her Highness’ thoughts on… ...[go].
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This explains that large bit of type at the top.
Tagline by Ben F'in Mollin, talking about those times you wake up still drunk from the night before.
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