COFines.com

DECEMBER 30, 2016

 

This is the time when folks sum up the year, make lists, predict the future. Seems to me this is particularly difficult to do this year, especially as there is time left as I write this when anything could happen to turn things even more upside down. It has been going on half a year since I have posted here. I've made a couple of attempts, which in retrospect I'm glad never saw the light of day. It does seem important to me to figure out where I've been, but I'm not sure I have a good answer. Let's try it again.

 

When I moved here two and a half years ago I had two dogs, a cat, and a wife of sorts. When I say I "had" them, I intend to say that I accepted responsibility for them, but in retrospect it was more like they had me. I can identify the point where each came into my life, and at the time it all seemed doable, but this year I have felt like that mythical frog put in a pot of water and slowly brought to a boil. Over the years, these three critters and a wife wore me out.

 

I don't want to dwell on this any longer than necessary. Both dogs and the cat left the planet this year after over-long lives with way too many puddles and piles on the floor toward the end, and are buried in the back yard. A mostly non-contentious divorce that should have taken half a year at most and been over with two years ago, instead dragged out for two and a half years. I am poorer but I am set free.

 

But also stressed out to the bone. Not the kind of thing where you take a two week vacation and bounce back. It feels more like what I imagine it would feel like to have completed a twenty-five year prison sentence. Some folks might come out of that raring to make up for lost time, but I have just felt numb, don't want to do much of anything except recover as best I can. And I feel like I'm starting to pick up my head a little.

 

A friend of mine on learning that the cat had finally passed the tipping point of more misery than not told me that he was praying for a new kitty to come my way. Oh, please don't do that, I said. Please, please don't do that, please don't. The last thing in the world I need right now is more responsibility. I'm feeding the birdies in my back yard, along with the occasional deer and squirrel, and that's about all I can handle. Yes, on snowy days I have to go down more often and sweep off the snow so the ground birdies can eat, but I'm not listening to constant complaints and I'm not mopping up constant messes. I can handle that. But mostly I'm trying to be responsible for taking care of myself.

 

Yes, I realize that I may open up my front door to find someone looking for a home, but it's not like I'm lonely and needing someone to fill the emptiness. It's more like a blessed relief that I can actually sit down and relax, or get up to do something without having to take care of someone else instead. Last night in the middle of the night I thought I heard my cat moaning and complaining. Maybe it was, I dunno, but I didn't have to get up and deal with it. A ghost kitty would not be much of a bother, I could handle that too. Not another real one right now, please.

 

Aside from four-legged and two-legged responsibilities, this year was probably the most interesting one of my whole life as I watched the drama unfold along with the rest of the world. And it may just be getting started. I've been attending a Quaker meeting with people who make a point of being tolerant and peaceful, and it remains to be seen whether the meetings survive the election. Seems like it's human nature to be divisive and contentious, but the degree of polarization happening today is remarkable. I believe it helps to realize that much of this is being done on purpose by folks who stand to gain from conflict, and I refuse to participate. At the same time I feel more optimistic about times ahead than ever before, tho that could change overnight. In any case, it sure is a good story.

 

One thing about me that always struck me as peculiar is that I have clocks everywhere. I like to know what time it is, or at least I have in the past. Many of my clocks are so called atomic clocks that are supposed to be accurate to a billionth of a second, if you really want to know what time it is, tho the reality is that they mostly don't agree with each other, especially the ones that have hands, like in the olden days. But what I have noticed over this past year is that as the batteries in the clocks have run down and stopped working, I haven't put in new batteries. And I haven't been wearing a wrist watch so much lately. And I haven't been collecting a bunch of calendars to put up with the new year. What does this all mean? I dunno, maybe time is running out.

 

So what do I do now that I don't spend my days letting critters in and out the door or waiting for the latest bomb from my now ex-wife to go off? Like I said, I'm feeding the birds, which doesn't take a huge amount of time, tho I can't sleep in if I feel like it. They're out there with the dawn and they really do need to eat when it's cold to stay warm. I shovel snow when I have to, clear the driveway when I have to, bring in wood, feed the stove, shop, cook, do laundry, make weak attempts at housekeeping, and try to make a little progress every day getting this place organized. Other than that I try to walk the land if I'm up to it, and while I do I pray a blessing on family, friends, neighbors, plus the land itself, and the world at large, which really needs it these days. I spend a lot of time online studying to figure out what actually seems to be going on in the world as best anyone knows, and I read a lot of books. In between I take naps. I'm trying to increase my daily time spent in meditation, and some days I do better than others, but at least I no longer have a cat helping by walking around in my lap or yowling.

 

If I won the lottery, I could keep two people busy for a year doing all the things I want to get done, and don't have time or energy enough myself, or maybe just gumption. I make progress here and there but mostly I feel overwhelmed if I stop and think about it, so I try not to do that. Maybe my main job these days is trying to deal with getting old. Read this morning about guys in their 80's and 90's competing in races including marathons. I figure I'm doing well if I can make a mile walking in the back woods. So far so good, but time seems to be speeding up the same time as I'm slowing down. I used to think in terms of having twenty years left to get stuff done, then it got down to fifteen, and now the countdown is getting louder. But I look ahead to the coming year and, hey, as far as I can tell I'm good to go. No kitties, please.

 

 

 

August 8, 2016

 

 

Today marks the ending of my third marriage. Twenty-six years and four days. It was a long time coming and the past two and a half years have been a source of constant stress and dread, like living with a thousand pound bomb in your basement. That is no way to live. This is not a cause for celebration. Divorce is worse than death, an admission of defeat and failure and unavoidable humiliation. It went well enough in court today as such things go, relatively smooth and painless, but I feel like someone died.

 

 

At the same time as this ending, I have been released from the care and responsibility of my wife's dog, who is sixteen years old and has been with me since my wife abandoned ship something like ten years ago. It was a lot easier where I lived before because there was a doggie door and he could go out whenever he wanted, which was often. When I moved up here I expected my wife to take on half the load of our critters, but not so. No doggie door here, no easy way to put one in, and I have felt like I needed to wear a doorman's uniform.

 

 

It got worse over the past year as the dog outlived his prime and increasingly there have been puddles on the floor. My wife kept talking about taking him but there always were reasons she couldn't. I didn't want to put an end to the dog's journey myself because it's her dog and her decision, but the final court date was the cut off point in my mind. Four days before then she finally called to say she would come and take him home with her.

 

 

Two days later, she was on the phone, distraught, distressed, in tears, stressed out, worn out, at her wits end, unable to deal with the poor old guy and his needs. Yes, I said, I understand, I've been doing this for over two years waiting for you to step up to the plate. Well, the upshot was that she will deal with his ticket to doggie heaven and I will bury him here next to his old friend, Missy, who left the planet last year. And I don't mind, we've walked many a mile together, tho not so much of late. He is still able to get around, even lopes a little from time to time, but he's wobbly and occasionally falls down and can't get up, makes the circuit around the house but not so interested in those back woods any more. It's probably going to be a hard dig in this summer ground.

 

 

Well, it comes to us all. I'm really glad that she took her dog before the court date because it would have confused things for both to happen on the same day. I have been surprised at how relaxed and mellow the house has been with the dog gone. The cat is still here, but he's my responsibility and I have come close to sending him on his way several times up to now. He's eighteen, which is not ancient for a cat but getting right up there for someone who spent nights out in the back field duking it out with anyone daring to come into his territory.

 

 

When the dog was here, I couldn't put the cat's food bowl on the floor and leave it because the dog would eat it. So every five minutes, it would seem, the cat would be crying and I would have to get up and put his bowl on the floor, then stay tuned while he nibbled two bites as cats do and walked away, then put the bowl back on the counter, repeat every five minutes until eternity arrives or you go crazy, whichever comes first. With the dog gone, I can say your food is in your bowl, go eat it. That is a big step in the right direction.

 

 

I'm not waking up before I want to with a dog crying to be let out. I'm not putting on my rubber shoes when I get up so I don't step in a puddle with bare feet because I didn't get up in time. I'm not coming in from working or a trip to town wanting only to collapse and recuperate but instead dealing with crying critters and their demands. I'm not dreading to come into my own house and unable to leave it for more than a few hours at a time. The cat has been requesting a lot of lap time since the dog left, but with my reduced stress level I can deal with that, and if it gets too much I can just point that out, hopefully without raising my voice, but that too if need be. One of the lessons I have been learning in all this is the difference between unselfish love and unconditional love. Yes, beginners in life, whether human or critters, need unconditional love for a good start and foundation. However, at some point folks need to start taking responsibility for themselves as much as possible. My cat may believe that he is the King of Siam, but that does not make it so. As I told my wife recently, this business of unconditional love for all that I was programmed with along the way, is starting to sound like a crock.

 

 

In other news, I finished working up my main supply of firewood last week, a day ahead of schedule. Well, actually the schedule had been extended a week, but the point is, it's done and I can relax from my hard push, start attending to other things that need doing, and work on odds and ends of firewood as they happen. What I ended up with is a stack of wood that in a severe winter would likely see me thru, and in a mild winter I might end up with half next year's wood already done. My goal is to get ahead as much as I can without destroying my life in the process.

 

 

As with most things, it comes down to what's the most bang for the buck. If the natural gas line ran past my house, this would significantly change things, but as it is in my first winter here I spent ten times on propane what I spent on wood the next winter when I had installed a wood burning fireplace insert. Part of that formula benefits from neighbors who appear to live the Christian injunction to love your neighbor without necessarily signing on to the local Christian religion.

 

 

In any case, as to getting thru the winter I would appear to be home free, and if not so, I have the best neighbors so far in this current trip thru the planet. This is making a huge difference in my life. I can now start thinking about things like finishing putting together my new trailer, nailing down the roof on my chicken coop, minus chickens, haulng in the dead elm trees for some additional firewood, coming up with a decent snow blower before the price goes up, and putting together some of these shelves and workbenches and sheds in boxes so as to get this awful mess better organized and off my back. With the threat of my wife's demands gone, I might even be able to occasionally hire a housekeeper to help rescue this house from chaos.

 

 

All in all things are good. Yes, I am feeling the bitter blow of failure but I am also feeling the fresh breeze of better times ahead. I've been thru this three times now. That's enough. I hope I've learned my lessons, at least about this, and that I can graduate and move on. This last marriage turned out to be a big mistake, tho an honest mistake. Better that we should have come together and helped each other out while we could, and moved on. Water over the dam. I can only hope to never get myself into this fix again. My sights are set on God and serving Him as best I can in whatever time I have left. We'll see.

 

 

 

JUNE 21, 2016

 


So I'm a day late and today was two seconds shorter than yesterday. That doesn't seem like a big deal unless you realize that the pendulum has reversed and we are on our way to winter and the shortest day of the year. Well, I've been thru this before so I'm going to continue taking it one day at a time and let it work out however. Official summer started out with a power outage of some hours duration, a tree falling on the lines due to a strong wind blowing. These things happen. I didn't even know it was going on until I finished mowing my lawn, and after I put the mower away the garage door wouldn't shut. Oh well. I sat on the back patio and read for a couple of hours until it came back on.

 

That day was a victory in that I got my lawn and trails all mowed, a two hour job and more, but I didn't work on my three wheeler utility vehicle which developed a starter problem a couple of days before. That was not a victory, and it remains to be seen how it turns out. I took the starter out today and it seemed to work fine. Checked the teeth on the flywheel and they seemed good. Put it back together and it just spun without engaging the flywheel. This is not good but I'm looking on it as an opportunity to overcome my extreme dislike of working on mechanical problems. Tomorrow I'll have to take it back out again. If I was rich, someone else would be dealing with this. If I was rich, I would have a new utility vehicle. I'm not rich.

 

I've been making a real effort to be thankful for all of my situations, good and bad. I know this is the way out of the woods, but it's hard. For several years I have been asking God for help probably ten times a day on good days and a hundred times on bad. Sometimes I remember to say please, sometimes I don't. When you're out over your head and a big wave comes, it's hard to remember to be polite. I'm trying to remember when I call for help to offer thanks. This doesn't come easy.

 

My cat, Shadow, the cat who refuses to leave the planet, appears to be recovering from whatever ailed him. He was down to skin and bone, looking terrible, going days without eating, heading for the last roundup. And now he's back to binge eating while complaining loudly about the quality of the food and the service, putting on weight, and voicing his frustration at not being treated as the king of the universe 24/7. I wake up too early to his moaning and groaning because I am not up tending to his desires. If I get up in the night, there he is demanding I turn his bowl around so he can eat more conveniently, if I come home tired from working or making a town trip he meets me at the door loudly complaining. Is this what I sound like to God? I'm lucky any time I walk thru the house barefoot if I don't step in a new puddle of water puke. I think he understands that if I step in a pee puddle, it is all over.

 

Why would anyone put up with this? All I can say is that when I rescued him from the side of the road, it was so very obvious that he had been given to me specifically, I am determined to fulfill my responsibility as best I can. I don't want to have to repeat this one. Sometimes my best consists of screaming at him to just shut up before I shut him up permanently, and he runs and hides for five minutes before starting over again. I have in the past helped cats leave the planet when their obnoxiousness reached the red line, and it has not turned out well. I recognize a pattern at work here and another opportunity to learn my lesson so I can move on. I hate it.

 

In any case, I am doing my best to learn better ways of dealing with difficult people. If I don't get it this time, there will be another time, and another, as long as it takes. Better dealing with an obnoxious cat than an obnoxious human, and I'm not all that good at doing that either. And to be fair, the cat isn't obnoxious all the time. Occasionally he wants to just hang out without some ulterior motive, but not very often. Ralph, the dog, is not so demanding tho he does need to go out fairly often, no fault of his own. Three old geezers living together out of necessity and barely tolerating each other. Lessons.

 

I made a trip up north to see a couple of friends from high school, the farthest I had gone into unexplored territory since I got here. My eyes have gotten so bad that I can't read street signs or house numbers until I'm close, and I made some missed turns and backtracks, but finally succeeded. I counted that a victory and it gave me the confidence to head back down to Grand Rapids the next day to cut up a fallen large branch off a tree for a friend of mine without a chainsaw.

 

He lives northwest of Grand Rapids so I don't have to drive thru the middle of the city to get there, and I already know the way. The downside is the normal heavy traffic, and my mind was half frazzled from the stress when I got there. Cutting up the tree branch was not a biggie since I do that all the time, but I really wanted to head back before rush hour, and on top of that it was Friday when the road north fills up with folks hauling boats and trailers and escaping.

 

My friend wanted me to go to the store with him before I left and I could tell it was important to him, so against my better judgement I agreed. I scored a twelve pack of hard cider from my friend on the positive side, and on the negative side I headed out into traffic bumper to bumper creeping along and piling up stress by the slow mile. When it finally broke free everyone was going eighty miles an hour to catch up and my load of stress increased keeping up. Gradually the traffic thinned out and when I was getting close to home I pulled into the nearest city with a Walmart where I could gas up and make a food run.

 

I was driving the Jeep Wagon I got to haul wood and had a load of wood from my friend's big branch. I haven't driven it all that much since I got it because it gets half the mileage of my Neon, and I'm still getting familiar with it. When I came out of Walmart the remote door lock wouldn't unlock and the key wouldn't turn the door lock. My mind was already totally frazzled from the traffic and this finished me off. I walked around three time trying all the doors and clicking the remote and trying the key. Nothing. Great. Probably some security feature I didn't understand. I felt like I was in the Twilight Zone.

 

I went back into Walmart and spent five bucks on new batteries for the remote, tried again. Nothing. I went back inside and called AAA to come out and rescue me. My emergency phone was locked in, but the folks at customer service let me use theirs. I had to wait half an hour for the truck to arrive and he was a pleasant enough guy who laid his tool kit on my hood, looked at the vehicle, reached thru the cracked open passenger side window, and flicked the door lock open.

 

Oh for crying out loud! How could I have missed anything that obvious? Why was this happening to me? He was nice enough about it, didn't make fun of me, and after all he was getting paid for reaching thru my open window. To even it up a little, he was starting to leave without the tool kit he had left on my hood, but I was devasted. Oh well. I headed on back but before I got on the freeway I pulled over to see if I could figure out what was making flapping noises in back at low speeds.

 

I never did figure that out, but as I was getting up on my feet I noticed the spiffy tail light I had installed in my hitch receiver, and it hit me. While I was walking around trying locked doors with closed windows, I had noticed that I had apparently forgotten to take the ball hitch out of my receiver and I didn't remember it being so rusty. Bing! I had been trying unsuccessfully to get into a near identical rig rusted out in the same spots but parked closer to the entrance. It left while I was waiting inside. Doh!

 

An hour and a half down the tubes when I was desperately trying to get home. Most obviously I have no one to blame for this debacle but myself. Yes, I could have insisted on cutting my friend short and heading back possibly in time to avoid the tipping point of stress, but things happen like they happen. Three old geezers living together, taking care of each other as best able day by day, nobody getting any younger, anyone liable to leave the planet at any time, lessons to be learned. Look out world!

 

 

JULY 31, 2016

 

It has been some time since I have written anything here, mostly because I haven't had anything new to tell you. For months I have been working on getting my winter firewood together. It seems like it has been taking up half my life and energy, not that it is such a huge job, but more because I don't have the life energy to spare that I did twenty-five years ago. And the little I have left over increasingly is being taken by the old dog and old cat I'm reponsible for, who are getting crankier and more demanding the closer they get to the end of the trail. If they ever do. Are they going to outlive me?

 

My best guess is that I already have enough firewood to last the winter, and maybe more. That's a normal winter, not that anything seems normal these days. My intention is to keep on plugging away at it until I have all the logs my neighbor Kevin brought me cut, split, and stacked, and hopefully some of the dead trees that are around the place. Then I hope I have enough gumption left to finish putting the trailer together I bought last spring and haul in some odds and ends from local sawmills. I suppose at some point a person could say they have too much firewood but I'm not there yet, and feel like I'm barely started. It doesn't hurt to be a year ahead or even two, but at the same time you don't want to pop an aneurism doing it.

 

Look, I realize this is boring. It's boring for me doing it, but it's all I've got right now. If I don't get this done soon, the wood won't season before bad weather hits, and burning unseasoned wood is a losing proposition. You use up half the wood drying out the other half in the stove, and it coats your chimney with creosote. Ideally you are burning wood from the year before or more and that's what I'm shooting for, obviously not this year, but next. It's like money in the bank. And if you can't keep on doing it for some reason, you can live off of whatever you've stored up. Behind all this is the knowledge that it's going to get harder for the old body to keep on doing this year by year.

 

But today I realized that I had not walked the back woods for pleasure in a long time. So I did. Wore my newest fedora. My trails are badly neglected, fallen branches littering the paths, ferns and grasses growing up, sometimes enough to where I'm not sure where the path is. There's just not enough left over to deal with this, but I've been rethinking all of this today. The first year I was here I walked a mile or so every day and strapped on snowshoes in the winter. I also spent something like a quarter of my yearly income on propane. Yes, I could keep doing that, but it would mean I couldn't do anything else except walk, which doesn't cost anything other than personal energy, but is a lot more pleasureable than cutting firewood. You see my dilemma.

 

There's probably a happy medium in there somewhere, but I haven't found it yet. If I come out of next winter with a surplus of wood, I'm ahead of the game. Another factor is the pleasure derived from sitting in front of a blazing fire, which is considerable, especially compared to sitting in front of a baseboard radiator. I could just give up and go with what I've got and hope for the best, but I set my determination last spring when I dropped the two dying trees and it would be a big defeat not to see it thru. I'm very fortunate to be able to do this at all given my age and I want to make hay while the sun is still shining. At the same time, spending my last years with gritted teeth and sweat-soaked clothes may not be the best way of making it thru. However I work this out, it's a whole lot better than being in Syria or Turkey or much of the rest of the world.

 

I did take the time the past two weeks to watch the nominating conventions, the first real use of the television I bought a couple of months back just for this, and also to watch the end of the world as it happens, which seems to be an off and on proposition. I don't have a lot to say here about the presidential election other than that it is three months away and a lot could happen between now and then. It is certainly the most interesting one of my lifetime, and I am convinced that even bigger forces and issues are building to a climax in the world at large. We'll see. Things may go on like they always have, but they may not, and I feel like I've got a front row seat. Following the alternate news sources is better than any movie I see advertised, as long as you keep a saltshaker handy for taking everything with a grain of salt. I've been using a lot of salt lately.

 

On a different note, during my walk today another pineapple fell to the ground six feet away from me. This was a small green apple which fell out of a White Pine tree with the closest Apple tree 25 feet away. I immediately looked up from where it fell and saw nothing, heard nothing. Reason would say that it was most likely a trickster Red Squirrel who had pilfered a green apple from the Apple tree and climbed with it up in the Pine tree to munch, but there was no squirrel in sight. Maybe it had ducked behind the trunk where it was peeking out at my perplexity with its little hands over its little mouth and snickering. It could have seen me head into the woods and waited for me to come back out, knowing that was the only place I can cross my swamps. Or maybe it really was a pineapple growing in my magical woods where there could be wormholes between dimensions and who knows what all. It's the kind of thing you wish someone was with you so you could check to see if they saw it too. I didn't even have the dog with me, as he did not want to get out of bed, but he probably would have said, "Oh, it's just a pineapple."

 

 

 

MAY 31, 2016

 

Today marks two years since I moved here to stay. It seems like a long time since I packed up what I could and headed north for the last time, legally required to be off the old property by midnight and wanting to arrive at my new home before dark. I had to leave things behind but I made it, with the help of friends and gritted teeth. Took me half a year to make the move, took another half year to recover from the ordeal, a long bad dream in retrospect but also a major life victory in making it out alive.

 

 With my mind, with my limited human perspective, I understand that from a larger point of view there are no such things as victories and defeats. Things just are, and you either take them like they come or you don't. However I'm still not quite there yet, and I still tend to take stock at the end of the day and declare the day either a victory or a defeat. Most of the time they are not huge victories or defeats, tho occasionally, but more often squeakers. Today was a decided victory, but there were moments it could have gone the other way.

 

Now ordinarily the main emotion I have to deal with day and night is the sense of being overwhelmed by all that I have to do and by all that I have left undone. I wake up at 2:00 in the morning and have to extricate myself from under this huge load of unchecked off items on my seventeen page list of things to do. Yes, I know, I have no one but myself to blame for this situation, but there it is. Every day that I can accomplish something, check off one or two items, sometimes more on a good day, that day is a victory.

 

A few days back, my neighbor, Butch, helped me solve a self-created problem. Hauling a load of brush on my snowmobile trailer with my three wheeler, I had made too sharp a turn and destroyed both the ball hitch on the three wheeler and the coupler hitch on the trailer. I could still use them but they were bent to beyond and in serious need of attention.

 

Butch welded on a new hitch receiver so I could use insert hitches like on a truck to haul my various haulables, and I should have been good to go. But when I went to replace my twisted coupler on the snowmobile trailer, the holes didn't match up, the old bolts were too short, and I suffered a defeat that lasted a couple of days. Actually I wanted a couple of days off, so it wasn't that big a deal.

 

Today I drilled new holes and bolted on the new coupler and it wouldn't go on the ball. Another defeat, not a major one, but I still don't do well with bumps in the road, especially mechanical ones. Took a Vitamin D bath to recuperate, took the coupler back off, ground off some metal that was in the way, and it was good to go. Hooked up my new trailer to my new three wheeler and went out to load a trailer full of branches that came down over the winter and spring, a source of firewood for the firepit on my back patio. And to cap off the day I built a fire in that firepit and celebrated with a couple of beers. That's how I squeak out my victories.

 

Another victory lately has been the result of the little church I attended for a year and a half after moving here shutting down, due to lack of participation. I may have more to say on that in the future. In the meantime, I have found two completely different solutions within driving distance. One of them is a liturgical church that has started meeting on Saturday afternoons, which would be my preference anyway, and once a month they have a service without music, which is also my preference and hard to find. It's twenty miles away and I miss being able to walk to church if need be.

 

The other half of this victory is finding a nearby Friends meeting, also known as Quaker. No, you don't have to wear funny clothes and hats. It is quite the opposite from the liturgical service. They don't have a leader or a spoken ritual, they gather in people's homes and sit in a circle and remain quiet in contemplative prayer for perhaps half an hour or forty-five minutes, then close by standing and holding hands for a moment before breaking for treats and tea and laughter. My cup runneth over.

 

Except for my cat, who is apparently in the process of dying, but maybe not. He is rail thin, is doing the same thing that he was was doing when I found him by the side of the road eighteen years ago as a kitten you could hold in the palm of your hand, squalling and complaining and demanding and insisting on his sovereign rights as Prince of the Universe. He apparently was thrown out of a passing vehicle in a feed sack, and I suspect it was because whoever did it could not stand to listen to his complaints and demands any longer. I've been listening for eighteen long years and it is getting more than old.

 

Won't eat cat food, dry or canned, complains bitterly, I'm starving here, bring out the good stuff. I cook chicken gizzards and hearts for him. He gobbles them up for a day and then refuses to eat for a day or more. Drinks huge amounts of water and pukes it up. Okay, I figure his body is telling him it's the end of the trail and his kidney's are shutting down. I'm extra nice to him. Then it's back to squalling and complaining and demanding and gobbling. Over and over and over.

 

Vet gave him vitamins and not much of a prognosis. He's eighteen and been in way too many fights. He doesn't seem to be in pain, and if he was I would help him move on, but it's like his last fight and it's a long one. In the meantime, he's my particular responsibility since I was the one chosen to find and rescue him, but I wish he would get on with it. Enough lessons, enough puking, I should have invested in a paper towel factory. I hope someone isn't saying that about me some day.