Saturday, November 25, 2017

Dear Neighbors

Dear Neighbors,

I want to thank you all for putting up with me the last two-and-a-half weeks.

See, on November 8th, as I came home from work with my work bag, my lunch bag, my purse, and some shopping, my cat Archie got out. He'd slipped out the door before, but this time he was determined to see beyond the stairs in front of my unit. He got all the way down. I gave chase, but he was fast, and he was spooked by now.

We got a few buildings down and I couldn't catch him. I had left my door unlocked, so I doubled back to get my keys. When I came back, I could not find him.

Over the last few weeks, I've been that lady posting Missing Cat signs on all of the mail boxes. I've been the one creeping around behind your buildings, in the bushes and mud, calling "Hey Archie!! Hey Doodle Boy!" I honestly do not want to be a creeper. I did not look in your windows. I was just anxious to find my dear boy.

I was that woman with another orange and white cat on a leash, trying to sniff out our wayward brother cat. And I was that woman who would kiss her fingers and gently touch them to the picture of the missing cat on the community mail boxes every time she picked up her mail.

And thank you to Joy, a woman in my community who came running up to my unit tonight, panting, hand on chest. "Is your cat still missing?!"


"I just saw a yellow-and-white cat over by the pools. He's crying."

"I just need my shoes!!"

I threw on my trashed old ballet flats that I only use for watering my balcony garden or taking the trash out. I grabbed my keys, locked the door, and ran. By now Joy was panting along the sidewalk, and I introduced myself before crossing the parking lot to the pool.

"Archie? Hey baby, are you here?"

I heard a meow.


I realized I had not thought to grab my glasses (I rarely wear my contacts at home), so everything was blurry. I squinted at a cat that came trotting out. It looked like Archie, but again, things were blurry. I held out a hand and he trotted over to me--but not all the way.

"Archie?" Up closer, I was almost convinced. He had a collar on, but I couldn't really see it well. I reached out, and he backed away.


He crept closer again. I knew it was him now--that white face, the white legs.

I crouched down, held my hand out for him to smell. He must have recognized my voice, because he cautiously crept closer for a sniff. He let me pet him.

The collar said "Jedi Master."

"Archie!! Oh, baby, it's you."

I grabbed him by the scruff. He struggled, out of fear and maybe a little bit of brattiness.

So yes, neighbors, I was that woman carrying a struggling cat home while exclaiming, "Oh, my God! It's you! It's you!! You're back!!" Joy met me on the sidewalk. "Is it him?!"

"Yes!! It's my boy!!"

She was so happy, and she wished me a very merry Christmas. And though I am not the blessing time under normal circumstances, there I was in the parking lot tonight, hugging a scared, dirty little cat to my chest and saying, through near-tears, "Bless you! Thank you so much!"

Tomorrow, I'll be the one walking through the complex happily tearing down the Missing Cat signs that remain, laughing quietly to myself as I do so. But for tonight, I'm locked up tight in my unit with my two sweet boys, overjoyed to have Archie home where he belongs. And maybe giving him a bath.


The Cat Lady in Unit ____

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

A Lot

I am a high-anxiety person. I always have been.

These days, I take two Lexapro a day to handle it, and it works--I don't have the crying and stress I used to. I can handle things. But no drug is a miracle...there's still work involved. There are still days where the worry takes over everything else.

A week ago today, Archie got out when I got home from work. I tried to catch him, but he got spooked and ran from me. I haven't seen him since.

A couple of days after that, my usual fall allergies started causing a slight soreness in my throat.

I'm handling it.

There has been no crying, just an effort at finding my cat and bringing him home. Signs posted, bushes searched. I bought a harness and leash for Popcorn and we've been on a few excursions trying to scent out his brother. I update friends on Facebook and reassure them that I'm okay. I'm fine. He'll come back.

He will.

Meanwhile, my allergies turn to a minor cold. My throat hurts, talking is more difficult each day. I cough a little to move everything around in there. But I'm a Good Employee, so I go to work. My kids need me. My bosses need me to be there for my kids. I don't want to burden the school by bringing a sub in. Besides, I have all of next week off to relax and rest. I can make it.

So I get up early and do my job. I'm tired and maybe a little cranky, and I sit at my desk more than usual. But I get through the day with no incident and when I get home I curl up on the couch with a book and an extra-clingy Popcorn.

Yesterday, shortly after starting my drive home, my car beeped at me--loudly--a few times. A warning light came on. I looked at the computer, and found it was low tire pressure. "No problem," I thought.

I needed an oil change anyway, so I called Mazda and set an appointment for this morning. "Make sure they check my tires," I said.

I'm so handling it.

This morning, I got up, showered, fixed my tea, packed my lunch, made my smoothie. I fed Popcorn, checked outside for Archie, put on my makeup. My eyes were a little bloodshot, and I was coughing a little, but I gathered everything up and walked down to the car. I was going to drop off my car and get the courtesy shuttle to school a few miles away.

But nothing went according to plan. That tire pressure? Turns out I drove over some sort of screw, and that tire was flat. 

Still, I handled it. I called to change my service appointment. I called USAA for my roadside assistance. I texted my vice principal, who lives a mile or two from me, asking for a ride to work.

I didn't hear back from her in time. Dad had to drive Mom to her chemo appointment and couldn't help me right away. I would be massively late for work. I sat here at my computer, and thought to myself that maybe this stupid flat tire is a sign. Rest, Meg.

But I'm a Good Employee. I don't take sick days lightly. I've taken one this year, and it was because I thought I had strep throat, which is very contagious. I hemmed and hawed for a few minutes. What if my boss gets mad at me for taking a sick day? What if I can't get a sub so last-minute? What will happen if I have the 8th grade class take one day off from working on The Nutcracker production we're doing next month??

These are the questions that run through my brain, on full volume.

The answers are: She won't. People will cover, and it will be okay. Not great, but okay.* The show will go on.

*Turns out the job was taken by a sub within a few minutes, so hooray. 

I'm so bloody anxious about handling everything, that it takes the universe literally forcing me into staying home to take care of myself.

As I stood by my car waiting for the service guy to arrive, coughing and ducking out of the rain under a metal parking cover, it hit me full in the face: it's okay. I am legitimately allowed to take a sick day when my throat feels like this, and I'm so bloody tired, and my cat is missing, and my tire is flat. It's okay to curl up on my couch with some hot chocolate and a book and a box of Kleenex (because my nose is running, too) and just breathe. 

It's okay. And yes, I'll need four new tires now, which will deplete my savings again, but that's why I have savings. Yes, my cat is still missing, but I'm confident he'll find his way home at some point. The Nutcracker will be okay if I miss one day.

I have to remind myself of this, and I will have to throughout the day. It's okay. It's okay. It's okay.

That's anxiety, and it's maddening.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Well, Then

In the entire history of my blogging, I don't think I've ever gone so long without an update. It's not lack of ideas or interest, it's really just lack of time and energy. I'm working long days and spending my free time doing all the other things I need and want to do, like working out, playing my piano, reading, etc.

And let's face it, this blog never had a huge audience, but now it only gets read if I post the link on multiple social media, and provided it's not something I've already discussed on all of those social media sites already. I barely even blog about my adventures anymore, simply because I post them on Instagram in real time.

Blogging has become obsolete in a lot of ways, but I'm not ready to throw in the towel. I've put a lot into the Little Pink Blog, and I hope to keep going. It's a document of a large chunk of my adult life.

So stay tuned, if you are still tuned in. Meg's True Adventures are still ongoing.