Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Poem: On the Habits of Cats

On the Habits of Cats 

Cats are creatures of habit

what they do today, they probably did yesterday

and will almost certainly do again tomorrow

Peaches is doing different things

My mom caught her fourteen years ago, barehanded

she had lurked in our yard for weeks

hiding in the garden, watching me mow the lawn

hissing at me if I looked at her

Her mother was a feral tortoiseshell we called Tortoise

she had a single littermate, a white kitten we called Cream

Cream died after a few weeks

and then their mom vanished

and we knew we had to take in the little peach-colored kitten

My mom died six months ago

all the cats took it hard

Amber, the amber-colored tabby, sulked for weeks and then attached herself to me

Peaches did, too, sitting at my side at all times

sitting on my hand as I tried to use my mouse

until one day she wasn't there

She had moved onto the kitchen table, curled up on an empty spot

or perched atop a stack of mail and documents

that my mother had set aside as important

napping throughout the day, or sometimes

staring at the ceiling, or the wall

until one day she stopped

Now her spot was on the floor

curled up in front of the oven

sometimes staring at its reflective surface

often napping

and waking up crying like a frightened baby

like she didn't know where she was

or where anyone else was

maybe crying for her Mommy

until my voice assured her that I was there, we were all there

that I loved her, that we loved her

that her Mommy loved her and would love her forever

Yesterday she wasn't on the floor in front of the oven

she wasn't on the table, in either of the boxes I had set up as beds

I searched the house for signs of her

for a glimpse of her eye, a spot of her peach-colored fur

twice I searched the house

and finally thought to look in the bathtub

there she was, sitting, contemplating

whatever it is she contemplates all day

she did not object to me bringing her out to eat

but each time she returned to her bathtub

I gave her a bowl of water

and the bowl of lasagna sauce she loves to lap up

last night she fell asleep in front of the stove after her late-night meal

but this morning she was back in the bathtub

I do not know how long this will last

or what will come next

When she dies I will pluck some of her hairs

and have her cremated

and take half of the ashes and work them into the soil of her mother's grave

the rest I will keep for myself

but for now she is in the bathtub

and it's almost time for lunch

Sunday, August 27, 2023

New Chromebook, August 27, 2023

I never made a record of when I got my first Chromebook. It was sometime in 2012 or 2013, I believe. It served me well for several years, but then began to experience multiple breakdowns, and I eventually bit the bullet and bought another one. The new one was also an entry-level device, also with a 10.5 inch screen, also priced under $120. It also lasted only a few years before it, too, broke down. (I believe, more specifically, it shorted out; perhaps the cool patterned-aluminum case was not the best idea.) It was followed by a third, and a fourth, with each gradually breaking down before a complete failure, giving me an opportunity to back up many of the photos and files stored locally. 

The most recent failure signaled its arrival for several months, first as a physical failure (the hinges crumbled and broke, first the left, then the right), then as a failure of the right-hand charging port and the charger itself (a replacement charger also failed after a while) and then increasing difficulty convincing the Chromebook to turn on. Finally yesterday, it shut itself off at one point and refused to turn back on, regardless of how much coaxing I did. I tried recharging it through its working charge port, and it took a charge but still refused to turn on.

I could probably get this most recent Chromebook repaired, but at what cost? Is it worth it for the handful of unbacked-up photos, files, and scans, most of which came from other devices or were subsequently preserved in emails? Last night I decided it would be better to buy a new Chromebook. None were available for the prices I had paid before (my last one was purchased new on sale for the deeply discounted price of $70), but I found a model that represented a significant upgrade - and could be delivered the next day. I ordered it, it arrived, I fired it up and here we are.

This time, though, I splurged on the two year extended warranty.

Tuesday, August 08, 2023

A Dream of my Mom

It's been about five and a half months since my mom died, and I finally had my first dream about her. I want to write it down before it fades.

In the dream my mom had suffered brain trauma similar to the stroke that ultimately killed her in real life. But in the dream she had not died, but had recovered, in what could best be described as a lobotomized state. She was awake and ambulatory and aware of her surroundings, but could not communicate or be communicated with. If you spoke to her she might appear to be listening, or might just as often completely ignore you. She was living in a nursing home with a companion nurse who watched her and exercised her and generally took care of her needs. One of her greatest needs was a photo ID; she had lost all of hers and the only thing that came close to serving was a photo ad for the nursing home that featured her prominently.

One theme in this dream was me needing to get ready for work as time ticked away. I kept seeing a clock, with its hands showing later and later times each time I looked at it.

Another theme was me trying to get the latest COVID-19 booster. It turned out I wasn't eligible because it is only being made available to people over a certain age (which is also true in real life.)

At the end of the dream I heard my mother's voice. She said "Get up, it's nearly 10:15." I got up and checked the time. It was nowhere near 10:15.

I had sleep apnea three times last night. Bad sleep apnea, the type I used to get where I realize my airways have blocked, and if I can't unblock them I will die. I shoot upright in bed and force my airways open. It has worked every time, so far. I think I know what brought it on, and will try to avoid it in the future.