Friday, April 4, 2014

The Tetanus Burger 2013 Year-In-Review

So I guess it's also (long past) time for the 2013 Tetanus Burger Year-in-Review. We didn't get as much done this year as we have in years past; but then again the yard is actually beginning to look decently clean these days, so it feels rather less urgent. Also, there have been other life-type things happening, and that is after all where one's focus ought to properly be, rather than on cleaning up someone else's goddamned mess.

So here's the usual montage of junk run photos; note again that the 'precious' inside-the-Bus shots weren't separate trips.

There is still, of course, plenty more inside various outbuildings (especially the Shop), which we still have to get to, so we'll be here a while yet. But I think this year was the year it actually started looking mostly 'normal' out in the yard. Some of the buildings do need a bit of work (my father wasn't big on finishing things, you know), so there will be that too.

Only one car left the property this year, that Saab I just wrote about. Here's the picture to refresh your memory:

Altogether it came to a little more than a ton and a half of junk iron scrapped (1.62 tons or 3240 pounds), which isn't bad.

Plenty of other things happened too, of course, mainly being that my father, the man who hoarded up the place, died at age 90. I still haven't shed a single tear, or even felt sad, and I don't expect to. He was really not a very good person, though oddly enough if you were (say) one of the Townies sitting down next to him at the coffee shop you'd probably have thought him a perfectly nice person. And in an odd way, he sort of was: I'd even almost call him 'mild' or 'gentle' in some ways. It's hard to explain. I think it comes down to intent on his part. He had no idea that what he was doing was anything other than the right and normal thing to do, and he had absolutely zero insight into his own mind. I really mean that. Absolutely none. It was just what he did, or what he was. The most I think someone who was acquainted with him might think was that he was a bit odd and was one of those old men who could talk your ear off, but who was otherwise harmless.

Well, that's the people who didn't know him, of course. Underneath the first impressions was a man who pretty much never matured past early childhood. I don't mean that facetiously, either; I mean that his view of the world and the things in it, and how he related (or didn't relate) to them was stuck at the understanding of a toddler. He could not understand that other people were not him. He simply was not capable of that kind of insight. Nor was he capable of understanding that the way he believed the world worked was not actually how it did. And that meant that in practice he was a stubborn, miserly (and miserable) bastard who didn't see his family as properly human and who considered his whims more important than the needs of his children. He didn't care that there was no hot water, so when we complained we were just whining. He wasn't cold when the house was set at 55˚ in winter, so that was that. He was the only one who had any rights; when we complained we were trying to take away those rights. Or maybe even that's giving him too much credit. I think to him we really were just these sort of noises in the background. We weren't real. I don't know if anything was real to him. If your view of the world is literally delusional then how do you define reality?

Anyway, I'll not mourn him. Though that's not out of spite (not that I wouldn't be entitled to that). It's just that there was nothing there to mourn.

Actually, I was far more broken up over the deaths of my two older cats. No, not any of the ones who were kittens and featured here on the blog a couple years ago; these were the two who didn't get talked about much here. The first one who died, Sir Isaac Mewton, had a tumor, one he was diagnosed with a couple days after my father's death. I never found out exactly what it was (the local ultrasound guy was on vacation at the time) but both vets I talked to, when talking about the possibilities, just shook their heads sadly, and told me even surgery probably wasn't going to help. So I opted to just let him go without interfering. He got all the treats, and he went outside every day (something he'd been obsessed with for years), and I still don't know if I made the right decision. He died at the end of August, at twelve and a half years old. He was a good, good kitty, Isaac was. Let's see if I can find a picture:

That picture was taken during a bout of pancreatitis a few years back; you can see the shavey spot on his flank where they did the ultrasound that time.

Then my Maude died; she was fifteen but still getting around fine, though she was a little creaky and maybe a bit deaf. One night I realized I hadn't seen her all day, which is not that unusual (she'll hole up on a bed and sleep all day), and so I went looking for her. By the time I was starting to wonder if I should worry I found her, stone cold dead, under the futon upstairs. I had no warning at all; I assume it was something like a heart attack in her sleep. Here's a picture of her, my Maude:

Anyway. I suppose all that (and honestly, I am still in mourning over them) is one reason the cleaning had a bit of a lull. And yes, I'm going to totally change the subject to happier things, now.

So. I figured given all the hullabaloo about the kittens a couple years back, you reader-sorts might like to know how those guys are doing. The younger ones are all fine and happy and still tearing around the house like frisky kittens. I snapped this picture the other night of almost all of them:

In the foreground is the ever-handsome Ratty, of course; behind him on the blanket is Aleister Meowley, and then laid out in a row on the floor front to back are Rory, Maurice and Danny Lyon. There is one more cat here, little Mademoiselle Z├ęphirine Chattonne-Gris, though Tara says she doesn't believe she actually exists. She's shy, Zeffie, and maybe not as well socialized as the others, though she will come out for me and purr and such. But she does exist, and here's the proof:

She's Rory's littermate, and Aleister's little sister. Like I said, they are all doing quite well, and I am continually surprised and honored by how good-natured they are (even shy Zeffie). They've got some good genes, this family, and they purr loudly and nearly constantly.

The mommy-cats, Spot, Splotch, and Smudge are still hanging around and begging at the door; I give them a cup of chow a day in exchange for depriving them of their uteri. That was the deal I made, and it's a good one; it keeps them around back and hopefully out of the road.

There is another cat who hangs out, a tom I named Mr. Bibb for his little white front; funny thing is once the mommy-cats (whom I call The Grrls) got fixed, the other toms all drifted away, the lure of sex being apparently stronger than the lure of food, which honestly I would not have thought. Mr. Bibb himself drifted away for a while, but then suddenly reappeared not that long ago; but when he came back he was a bit scuffed up and had lost all but four inches of his tail. I can still see the bit of bone sticking out the end. I don't know what happened, though I'd guess a coyote. So he's been hanging out lately, and I have of course renamed him Bob, because I couldn't help it.

I wonder, though. I've seen him back up to things and make the motion to spray; but I never smell anything, and trust me, tom-cat spray is a scent you can't miss. I could have sworn looking at him he was entire, as they say, but I don't know. And when I was petting him the other day I noticed that the tip of his left ear looked a bit flattened, as if it had been cut off; it was a bit rough too, so I couldn't say for sure he didn't just lose it in a fight. But maybe someone else in the neighborhood has been trapping and neutering the local strays.

Anyway, though. The cats are good, and the yard is cleaner.


Tonia said...

One of my hot-button issues are people who treat their children worse than I treat my cats. I love my cats, and I take good care of them, but I'm not a fanatic. And to see people who treat their kids with less concern and love? Makes. Me. Insane.

I was thinking about this the whole time I was reading this post. You treat the cats you didn't ask for with more respect and care than your father treated his family. You feed them, you make sure they're comfortable, you care about their futures.

I am so sorry your father couldn't/didn't have those concerns with you. I think it's quite right you mourn your kitties, and not him.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the update on your feline family members. I lost two of my 14-year old cats last month due to kidney disease, but their brother/littermate seems to be holding up just fine. Most of my indoor cats have lasted at least 16 years, but then I keep their shots up, get their teeth professionally cleaned, etc. One of my cats lived slightly over 20 years.

It is hard to lose these four-legged family members, no matter how ancient they are. I am sorry for your loss.

Anonymous said...

I lost one at only eleven to something I can't even remember what it was now, except that the vet counseled me that the treatment that might prolong her life a bit would also leave her miserable. So he sent me home with a bottle of painkillers, directions for getting them into her, and basically a worksheet for feline hospice care. She died a few feet away from me, in a basket full of warm towels, purring. It was the easiest death she could have had, but it's never really easy, is it?

Yours (except the anxious one, but there's always an anxious one!) all look like they landed in the cream. Awesome job.

Jenny Islander

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry about your kitties. It's never easy to lose a furry one that you love.

Your ghost kitty, Zeffie, is adorable. I'm happy to see the others!
I'm also glad to see you blogging again for purely selfish reasons: you give me a lot of insight into my own family. You honestly admit a lot of things that most people don't want to hear, and I gain strength from that.
My best to you as always.

Anonymous said...

I'm an MFT and did a year of counseling at hospice when I was an intern, and it is completely normal not to grieve someone that you weren't attached to. The only thing that I sometimes saw was the grief of a parent that didn't exist - that is, when the parent died, with it went any possibility that they would have a fantastical transformation into the parent that their child needed and wanted. Anyway, your cats are adorable and I'm so sorry for your losses.