Bike & Air & Water & Chai

This is the best time of the year to be outdoors in New Orleans. The humidity goes down, the wind picks up a bit, it rains more frequently, and the general temperance of the weather is reminiscent of spring in the northerly parts of the country.

This afternoon, I spent a couple of hours on my balcony, reading. I lugged an end table and my office swivel chair out there and just sat, reading and enjoying the wind and the climate in general.

After a while, given the weather's lift to my spirits, I put on some more outdoorsy clothes and went biking. I biked through the garden district down Chestnut Street, through the CBD and into the Quarter, which was quite busy for a Sunday afternoon. I rode around aimlessly for a while and then rode over to the Riverwalk, which is a pier-like thing with stores and restaurants and such. I parked my bike at the railing, meant protect the unwary from straying 15 feet down into the muddy expanse of the Mississippi River, and just vegetated. I listened to the wind and the water, watched the barges and ships pass by, and I breathed. I had long been meaning to see the water again; for some reason I had been missing it. Finding myself with an idle Sunday afternoon provided me with just such an opportunity to see it again. It's something I will have to make time for in the future.

My skin now smells like seabreeze.

Now I'm back home, as I left the riverfront as it was getting dark. I've made a cup of chai (Stash green tea + chai = cinnamony goodness), and I'm about start work in about ten minutes. At 9:30 I'll turn on the Detroit Red Wings game on ESPN2, and watch it as I work.

I am very tired.

I am numb.

There seems to be a rash of this lately on E2 and in my life. Nearly six weeks ago, we had to take our seventeen year old cat to the vet to be put down. I thought it was likely going to be the single worst thing I had ever done.

I was wrong.

This morning we took our thirteen year old Siamese, Gabby, and the new kitten, Sophie, in to the vets. We took them Friday for Gabby's check-up and for the vet to see Sophie. Nick, the vet, noticed that Gabby had some type of growth on her stomach and said that it was likely a tumor. He said he wanted to have it removed and tested and since it was time for Sophie to get fixed, we figured we would do both at the same time.

My wife dropped the cats off on her way to work this morning. The morning at work progressed as usual for a Monday, except I had the added worry of how the cats were doing.

About 11:30, my wife called. Nick had just called with the prognosis: cancer. It had spread throughout her reproductive system. He said that he could stitch her up and send her home or not bring her out from under the anesthetic, but he needed to know now.

Three minutes to make a decision about the life of someone you love. Three minutes to decide whether or not I am selfish and try and hold on to her a few more days or let her go.

I wish I could say that I was brave and decisive, but I wasn't. I waffled. I asked for my wife to help me choose, but she told me what I knew to be true: she was my cat, so I had to decide.

I called Nick back and asked him if she would suffer. He said that she would, in all likelihood. Then the choice had to be made.

I told him not to bring her out of it. Just let her go.

  • I hate that I didn't get to say goodbye properly.
  • I hate that she was probably scared while she waited to be put under.
  • I hate that I am going to go to the vet's this afternoon and pick up two cat carriers and one of them is going to be empty.
  • I hate the thought of going home and not finding her there.
  • I hate the idea that she won't curl up in my arms tonight and purr me to sleep.
You will be missed, Gabby. You will never know how much.

Two months ago I couldn't have been any happier. It is amazing what a young child can do for you. I am happily married, have a 9 month old baby boy, own a house, own 2 vehicles, and have a loving, supportive family. Then last month I lost my job. Instantly, I was in danger of losing my house and 1 of my vehicles. Also was the fear of not being able to provide for the child. I know that will never happen but for some reason this fear sticks in my mind. Currently, another company has hired me temporarily for a project, but now it's wrapping up. I still don't have health insurance. It does show me that I can still be happy even though things don't go so well. Even on bad days I go home and my son can do almost anything and make me smile and laugh. For his sake I need to start looking at jobs where I have to relocate. This place is great but it isn't any good to me if there aren't any jobs here. I've been spoiled making my salary and I don't know if I could survive going back down to college wages. I kind of know how my father felt when we were going through some rough times when I was little. Pride takes over at first, but eventually you might have to swallow your pride to get through. This growing up thing is great if a little tough. :)

So I'm finding that this whole 'having a baby' decision is way more multi-layered than I thought it would be. We decided that yes, we want to have a child. I have finally started educating myself about the crazy ordeal that is pregnancy and delivery, but I haven't learned enough yet to be remotely ready. Now I find that my readings are making me ask even more questions. While I thought those two first things were the biggest deals, I now find myself asking... "But am I ready to be a mother"? I may be ready to have a child... but am I ready to be a mom? Is Scoresby ready to be a dad? Is it going to be easier for him at first to be a dad than it will be for me to be a mom? The reality is that I will have to feed this child... breastfeed it right after going through what will be the most stressful thing I will ever go through.

This whole thing is just way more complicated than most people make it out to be. I am getting more and more angry at people who have pressured us to have a kid; cousins who have two or three kids or parents who just want grandchildren. Have they thought about whether or not we are ready? Yes, people can have children without thinking of all of these things, but should they? I almost feel like I am putting myself through some sort of Master's Degree in babies with all of the reading I am doing and all of the thinking I still have to do. Am I over-analyzing all of this? I don't think so. I wish my own parents planned better for my siblings and I. Maybe that is why this is so hard for me? Is it because I had a bad mother?

I just keep coming back to the question... “Am I ready to be a mother?” Answer: Yes. “Am I ready to be a good mother?” Answer: I don’t know. Am I ready to give up all of my own dreams to give all of my energy to the goal of helping someone new to survive? Sure I could do this half-assed, but that isn't what I want. I want to be ready to be a great mother.

Maybe the fact that I am even thinking this way means that yes, I am ready to be a great mother. I wish I knew.

I think I've become protein deficient. The realisation dawned when I ate some canned tuna this evening, and it didn't just taste good, it actually made love to my palate. While I do like tinned tuna, I'm not in the habit of using that description in relation to food, particularly not canned food.

In case you are wondering how I got into this situation, I suspect that it is due to the fact that I can't remember how many days before today it's been since I had a proper meal - some two or three. As I am essentially vegan (I find animal products both expensive and inconvenient, although often toothsome. I also find that they can sometimes make me slightly unwell.) in diet, this is probably not a good thing.

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