Friday, February 24, 2017

It's A Good Thing You're Cute!

I woke up with murder on my mind. That's not unusual since I write murder mysteries and do most of my writing in the morning. But this morning B, my 18 year old Norwegian Forest Cat, was in my sights. 

Several times in the night B woke me up wanting cuddles. Or maybe it was food. Either way, the first time was around 11 pm, not long after I shut the book I was reading and called it a night. From there it was almost every couple of hours with her most insistent demands occurring around 3:30 am.

This is not the first time this had happened, but it was definitely her most demanding. It started with nudging against my arm, then against my hand, with her nose. Then the nudging became more insistent with her wedging her entire head under my hand and tossing it upward. Of course, I was semi-awake at this point. Sometimes I accommodate her demands with a few head scratches and pats, then roll over and go back to sleep. I did this twice last night, but at 3:30 am I waited to see how far she'd go if I didn't respond. She finally resorted to a series of head butts against my shoulder. Really annoyed at this, I rolled over and went back to sleep without petting her. She's even been known to gently nibble my elbow or fingers when I ignore her.

I managed another hour's sleep, but around 4:30 am the meowing began, soft and gentle at first, then it swelled to deep guttural pleas. B's normal meow is a soft, almost inaudible squeak, common in the breed. But she now has feline dementia. Yes, that's a thing and the vet confirmed it. I first noticed it early last year when as soon as the lights were out for the night she'd start that guttural meowing somewhere in the apartment. I'd get out of bed and investigate, sure she was hurt. Instead I'd find her in the middle of the living room. Sometimes she'd be playing with some of her toys, sometimes she'd be wide-eyed with fear and confusion, just like a person with dementia.

Some nights when I'm super tired, I'm proactive. Instead of going to bed and waiting to see if she'll begin her nocturnal cries, I'll pick B up and carry her into the bedroom when I go to bed. Most nights though, she's fine. Other nights when she begins crying, I just call her name and she follows my voice into the bedroom and all is good. Sometimes, for no reason at all, she'll start that deep demonic meowing when I'm still up. It never lasts long and I can usually diffuse it with a few words of comfort.


In other respects, B is pretty healthy for an old gal. She'd be about 90 if she were human. She's missing teeth and I have to watch her blood pressure, but that's about it. I also have to keep an eye on her eating patterns, as the kitty dementia can sometimes cause her to lose her appetite or forget to eat.

As most of you know, I'm planning on travelling in an RV when I retire in a few years. At her age, B probably won't be around when that happens, but if she is alive, she's definitely becoming a van cat. Annoying or not, there will be no cat left behind. I've had her for 15 years now and she's going nowhere without me. And vice versa. 

We'll be a couple of fluffy old ladies wandering aimlessly in our golden years

I just hope one of us remembers where we're going.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Camping? Don't Look At Me!

I have a confession. I am not a camper. My idea of camping is a hotel without room service. And I'm about as outdoorsy as chintz curtains.

When I said this recently to my friend Barbara over lunch, she looked at me with surprise, and more than just a bit of curiosity. You see, Barbara and I bonded over our mutual love and admiration of an RV, specifically the Winnebago Travato.  Barbara bought hers just a few months ago and I hope to purchase mine within the year. She bought hers so that she and her dogs could camp in more comfort than a tent. I want mine to travel the country when I retire.  Different uses for the same vehicle.

I guess it does seem odd that I'm not a camper, yet want to travel extensively in an RV, especially to our country's beautiful national parks. But you see, the Travato is small and self-contained with a kitchen, bedroom, toilet and shower. All the comforts of home, but on wheels.

The last time I went camping, real camping as in sleeping on the ground in a tent, I was in college. I did it twice and swore never again. It wasn't the discomfort that turned me away, or the cooking on an open fire. Honestly, it was the bathroom issue. Squatting in the dirt, using a smelly port-a-potty, or standing in line at a crowded campground restroom, just isn't my thing. Never has been, never will be. And then there's the bugs. I'm sure I'll get bugs in my rig, but hopefully not crawling into my bedding while I sleep, or try to sleep.

It doesn't help either that I just finished reading Lost Canyon by Nina Revoyr. It's the story of four urban backpackers who go on the camping trip from hell.  Great read and I highly recommend it, but pretty scary stuff.

But I do love nature and being out in it. Fresh air. Big trees. Peace and quiet, except for the nattering of squirrels, chirps of birds, and the babbling of brooks. Sign me up! Over the years, I have often rented a cabin or stayed at a lodge in the mountains or at a place by the beach. I'm not much for vacationing in big cities. And I've taken enough cruises to be bored with them. Nor do I want to spend my time holed up in crowded RV parks and resorts. I'm sure I'll spend some of my time in those places when I'm on the road, but not the majority of my time.

Dumping my first black tank.
I guess that makes me more of a glamper than a camper. Although I hardly think dumping RV sewer tanks is glamorous. It's not difficult, and I had to do it when I rented an RV last year, but glamorous, no. And there's no room service in a national park or out in the middle of nowhere. Or Uber Eats. Or even local pizza or Thai delivery.

It is fun though, planning and getting ready for my next big adventure. I realize I'll have to be more of a handyman than just calling the apartment manager and hoping he'll fix the leaking faucet. I'll have to do those things myself and, like dumping my first black tank, it will be something new to learn and know I can learn it.

I have this long list of things I will need when I hit the road. On it are the usual RV things like a drinking water hose, sewer hose attachments, water regulators and filters, lanterns, and a propane grill and stove for outdoor cooking. (Yes, I do intend to cook outside a good part of the time, even though my rig will have a nice galley.) I've already started collecting some of these items, and friends and family provided quite a few on my last birthday and Christmas. There's even bear spray on my list.

Yes, bear spray...

Thursday, February 16, 2017

This Senior Moment is Sponsored By ... FitBit

Last night I had a moment of panic. I couldn't find my car in the parking garage at work.

I usually park on the 6th floor of the 7 level garage, but when I left work around 7:15 pm last night I could not find my car!

It can't be stolen, I thought.

1) We have a security garage and you need a monthly parking card or ticket to get a car out. True, there was a murder in the garage several years back, but car theft, no.

2) I work in a fancy pants area spitting distance from Beverly Hills. There are WAY BETTER cars to steal in that garage than my 10 year old Ford Focus. Daily my old, dependable, and paid off car keeps company with Porches, Benzes, Jags, and Lexuses. I've even spotted the odd Rolls Royce. Unless a thief was looking for spare parts, I doubt my compact car, with its side-by-side Bernie and Hillary bumper stickers, would catch their eye.

I walked the entire floor area of the 6th floor, not just the area where I usually park, telling myself not to panic. It had to be somewhere. I even took the elevator down to the 4th floor to look. For years I parked on the 4th floor. I only changed to the 6th because since I come in later than most people, it was easier to find open spots there after the recent reconfiguration of all the spaces on all floors. 

4th Floor - no car. I even aimed my fob at another white Focus, but it didn't flash hello back.

The thing is, I always park on the same floor just to AVOID forgetting where I parked. And after 7:00 at night there aren't that many cars left in the huge garage.

Panic started to well. I really can't afford the hassle of a stolen car right now. Been there, done that. Not to mention all the junk in the car that I really didn't want to lose and/or replace.

I took the elevator back to the 6th floor and started walking around again. Still no car. Then I started walking down the circular ramp to the 5th floor and started canvassing that floor. Still no car.

Anxiety was growing in my chest like a runaway weed. I might just have to go to the parking garage office and confess that I was a dumb ass old woman who'd lost my car. Then they would put me on a golf cart and drive me around each floor looking for my misplaced vehicle. While the ride sounded nice, I wasn't ready to face that humiliation.  Trust me, I've seen them do it before for people in my situation.

Taking a deep breath, I started down the last row of the 5th floor heading for the 4th, determined not to end up in a golf cart. I'd walk every damn floor first.

WAIT! Is that it?

Geez, I'd passed right by my own car at least once already. It was parked between two dark SUVs on the far side of the 5th floor. Its compact presence hidden by the two larger vehicles like a white egg tucked protectively between the feet of a papa penguin. In spite of the bumper stickers, just to be sure, I aimed my fob at it. Yep. The lights flashed a cheery hello. It was my baby!

The 5th floor?! I never park on the 5th floor. Why did I park on the 5th floor? Obviously I'd lost my mind that morning and it hadn't improved throughout the day.

But my FitBit was happy. According to it, I'd walked nearly a full mile in the garage.

A dotty senior citizen wandering in a concrete desert. 

But at least I didn't have to ride the golf cart.