24 June 2008

Happy Summer!! Goodbye to a Faithful Feline and Hello to a New Job!

This will be a very fast update, with details to follow later in the week. Things have been hopping since my last update. Some events have been wonderful, but one in particular was very sad.

We had to say goodbye to our beloved cat Sylvester. He was nearly 17 years old and was in a great deal of pain. On 7 June, Justin bravely took him to the vet and he was put to rest. We all said good bye and I know, I know, it's a cat we're talking about, but Sylvester wasn't just any cat. To know Sylvester was to love him. We knew him and we adored everything about him.

It still seems so odd not seeing him around here, but he's not suffering now. Sylvester was our first cat, and joined us when he "chose" Katie as she and I visited a pet shop in El Paso, Texas. He was a gentle, smart, social and very kind feline. He convinced me that I wasn't simply a "dog" person, as I had erroneously and originally thought prior to meeting him. I was so sure I didn't like cats at all, but Sylvester enlightened me and gently taught me otherwise. Sylvester, in his own characteristically understated manner, changed my life. I loved him. We all did. With every soft purr, kneading motion of his paws and slow caresses on our ankles as he'd make contact with us, we knew he loved us right back. Gosh, I miss him that cat.

I need to send out a special thank you to three people with regard to Sylvester. Katie, thank you so much for talking me into adopting him back in Texas. You and Sylvester were so right - I was a cat person and he was destined to become part of our family. I know you loved him and he enjoyed watching you grow up, as the rest of us have. You were such a kind and faithful companion to him. I know you maintained such a special place in his heart.

I also must mention Stephanie. Steph, thank you so very much for tending to him in his final months. You were kind, compassionate and so sensitive to his physical and emotional needs and pain. You went far beyond the call of duty and I know he loved you for it. I know it was especially hard for you and I understand you had a very strong bond with him. Your care allowed him some extra pain-free months and you should be proud of that. We're very grateful to you and pleased that you are part of our family. You know, Steph, we miss you, too. You can come around and visit even when your boyfriend is at work or busy. This is still your home, too, kiddo.

And finally but by no means last, a special thanks to my Dad, who is the keeper of the litterbox. What a thankless job, but you sure are dependable! Thank you for all of your housekeeping duties. Also, thanks for taking extra care with Felix during this transition. I know he's become quite attached to you. Princess may have lost her husband, but Felix lost his best friend, and he's trying to deal with that so I know he loves every extra minute he spends on your lap while you work on the computer. I think you have a new best friend! Felix has great taste, obviously.

After the passing of Sylvester, Justin returned to the house and took Princess to live with him at his place. He felt that she should be with him, now that her husband was gone. Sylvester and Princess were adopted six weeks apart, so their bond was deep and intertwined. I'm sure Princess is enjoying living with her "father", and I know Justin and Stephanie are taking great care of her. And yes, Princess will be moving to Charleston, WV late next month when Justin joins his Dad in his new business venture.

Two weeks ago I received a call to interview for a new position in a completely different industry. I went to the first interview and met three very nice men who took turns asking me a lot of questions as they perused my resume. Later that evening, they invited me to a second interview the next morning. Fortunately, that went pretty well, too, and within two hours, my new employer rang my cell phone and offered me the position. I officially start on 1 July and I'm looking forward to it. I will be heading to Greenville, South Carolina on 30 June for three days of training, as this is where the company is headquartered. I'll return to Wilmington on 3 July, which will be a very special day because it will be my parents 62nd wedding anniversary. There is just so very much to celebrate and I'm grateful for all of it!

Of course, as excited and thrilled as I am with my new position in a few days, it will be difficult leaving my present one. I have enjoyed working with Sherry so very much. We have had so much fun most days that it hardly qualified as work. Sherry has taught me a great deal and spending my days with her has been a very special time for me. We can nearly finish each others sentences and not a day goes by that doesn't find us laughing about all manner of occurrences in our work days. Though I will no longer be working with her, we have made a serious pact to stay in touch on a daily basis and she has promised to keep me informed as to the more curious things that happen at work. Besides, she won't be completely rid of me. I have agreed to continue to install the SCRAM (Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor) ankle bracelets and will see clients and do installations on Saturdays. I find it hard to make a complete break because I enjoy working with our clients. Anyway, working with Sherry one day a week will make it easier for us to keep a weekly lunch date and really catch up with each other.

Finally, I am happy to report that the swimming pool repairs have been made and it is holding water well! It's being chemically shocked right now, but the major repair has been completed and I can't wait to take my first dip in it which will hopefully be later this week. It's SUMMER - and that means flips in the pool! I will be so excited to literally be "back in the swim" of things. Hey, it's skinny-dipping season!

By the way, I was given a brand-spanking new copy of the "hot off the presses" latest edition of "Insider's Guide - North Carolina's Southern Coast and Wilmington" by its esteemed publisher (and all around nice person), Jay Tervo. If you haven't acquired one yet, treat yourself to a copy. It's beautifully turned out and brimming with information, tips and facts for both tourists and even locals will learn a thing or three about the town we are privileged to call "home".

It's so strange to be writing these days. I've had scant time to really pen much of anything though my mind has been swirling with a million details, observances, thoughts and feelings. Lately, it seems like with so much going on, I find I'm keeping more and more things to myself. So many huge changes are taking place in my life right now - in all of our lives, in fact. My son is preparing to move to West Virginia at the end of July. My daughter has been happily ensconced in Manhattan for over two years. We're now two cats short and this house seems to be growing in size and echoing in silence. Not too many years ago, there was always noise, music, chatter, comings and goings of my son and daughter and their posse of friends. I remember summers filled with the sounds of my son and his buddies on their skateboards in the driveway. I'd peer out the window every ten minutes or so, wondering if I might need to make a quick run to the emergency room because someone didn't land properly as they surfed on the concrete. It's just so quiet now.

It's almost too quiet. The air is stilled as we slowly grope our way through new transitions, the ones where teenagers are now twenty-somethings who grow up and move into new adventures which predictably take them far from this house, but never, ever far from our thoughts, prayers and hearts. I guess on an intellectual level, you always know the time will come when they grow up and become admirably independent, and I am absolutely proud that they have. I'm also grateful for so many lively memories from raising these two offspring of mine, but lurking just beneath my pride and awe, is a lingering whisper of a wish that I could do it all again and again and again. These transitions take some acclimatization, I suppose, and the key feature to any acclimatization is the passage of time. I'm sure we'll get our sea legs soon, but some evenings, I miss Katie and Justin so much that it literally defies description and words are rendered useless; literally inadequate. Maybe that's why I find it so hard to write lately. The translation of the depth and sheer force of these feelings into mere words is difficult.

I guess growing up gets tougher with age. Separation anxiety can strike without warning. Thank goodness for e-mail and cell phones and particularly unlimited mobile-to-mobile minutes.

I'm still keeping a keen eye out for a sailor - if you see one with a nice boat who's in the market for a crazy, wild-haired, adventurous first mate, send him my way. But only if he's nearly perfect, great looking, sane, financially secure, interesting, brilliant, youthful and skilled. I don't think I'm really asking for too much...just something reasonably close to almost perfect.

Karen...Bobbi...I hate to put pressure on you both, but we're in late June now. What's the hold up, ladies? Shouldn't you both have "e-maled" me some prospective resumes by now? No rush...just hurry!