Sunday, June 1, 2008

Surgery, travel, and baby raccoons, oh my!

What a crazy few weeks it has been.

The weekend before my mom's surgery, Jasper hurt his toe and had to have emergency surgery of his own. When we vacuumed that Saturday, my poor big kitty took off like a shot, and one of his back claws must have caught on the carpet, because the outer claw sheath broke off from the inner part of the claw and was just hanging there, barely attached. He was bleeding and limping and hiding in the corner, afraid to move. We took him to the vet first thing Sunday morning, and she said the best option was to remove the claw entirely, because it would never grow back properly and would likely cause him pain. They did the surgery that afternoon, and we got him home in time to go out for mother's day dinner. Jasper's on the mend now, but it was a rough few weeks. Next up is more blood testing to determine if he's diabetic or not. Because I can't resist plastering my cats all over the internet, there's also a brief synopsis here.

My mom had her heart surgery on Tuesday, May 13 (and luckily Jason didn't have to travel that week, so could take care of Jasper while I was with her). It was a difficult and emotional week, but the surgery itself went off without a hitch and she came home on Saturday, May 17. My sister and Mommy's boyfriend, who'd been in town for the week of the surgery, went back to their states of residence on May 18, and my aunt arrived that afternoon. I got her settled in at Mommy's and went home to Dracut to get Jason packed up for a four-day trip for work. He left Monday morning, then I turned my focus to getting ready for my own trip.

That's right, I went home to Michigan for a whole blissful week. I communed with family members galore, human and otherwise, including my dad and stepmom's eleven cats (they have a big house and lots of rescued kitties) and two new chickens, Sylvia and Sally. They live in a section of the new red barn gracing the backyard, and spend most of the day roaming in the mini pine tree forest pecking amongst the needles and pine cones. They've laid three eggs since they got them a few weeks ago, but Daddy has refused to eat any of them due to Sylvia's affinity for pecking at the insulation (and also at Sally). Daddy calls her "that bitch Sylvia." He and April are hoping to sell free-range, organic eggs as part of their farm business (they also sell a variety of organic produce) once the chickens get settled into their new digs and start laying (and stop eating insulation).

I also had the pleasure of spending the whole week cooing over the wildlife friends who showed up the first night I was there. What wildlife friends, you ask? Baby raccoons!

At first, there were two. A couple nights later... three! Another couple of nights... four! When they first appeared, two of them were huddling amongst some potted plants near the garage door. Daddy brought them out a dish of cat food and they ate every bite. Since it was cold that night, we also put down some hay so they could nest in it. We hemmed and hawed about whether or not we ought to touch them, and whether or not they would try to bite us. Daddy was the first to pet them, a day or two after they showed up. Once I knew it was doable, I tried it too--and they liked it! They just sat there while I petted them lightly on their backs, enjoying the cat food far too much to be concerned about me. Every so often they'd look up at us, as pictured, then go right back to eating or washing their hands or face. You'd probably be surprised how clean they were. I think they used the dish of water more for washing their hands than they did for drinking!

The down time at home was much needed. There's something so centering about being back in Michigan--when I'm there I have a sense of belonging that I don't have anywhere else. Luckily, I'm going back for a long weekend in August, so I don't have to face the uncertainty of not knowing when I'll be back.

After having a week off from work and real life, I was reluctant to return to Massachusetts and responsibility. Common sense won out, though, and I came back. Now I'm staying at my mom's in Worcester for the forseeable future, helping her while she recuperates.

At some point this summer I expect my life to get back to normal--but it definitely won't be for a while.


Cary said...

"There's no place like home".. not just a line from a movie, but the truth. I never thought I was a homebody until I lived in other places.. like Virginia Beach, where one May it was still cold and wet and the Mrs. and I saw "Driving Miss Daisy" in the theater. Seeing all the flowers and dogwoods in bloom in that made us so homesick, we could hardly stand it. Now I live about a mile from where most of the movie was filmed. =)

Heidi Renée said...

We lived in Virginia Beach up until just over a year ago! We loved it there--Massachusetts (where we live now) sucks compared to Virginia Beach. It's where my husband and I met, so it'll always be special. No place can compare to Michigan, though.