Ringing in the New

It’s hard to look back on 2018 without being blinded by that pretty momentous thing that happened at the end of the year that pretty much obscured everything else. I can say this about it though, on December 13, I had exactly one friend I thought I could count on, but in the following weeks, I had dozens. And not for nothing, I was able to reunite with my former best friend who I’d been forced to remove from my life when she and Kate became enemies. I have yet to get back on my feet, but the past two weeks have been relaxing and uplifting in a way that shouldn’t be the case for someone who went through what I went through. 

As for the rest of the year, I finished five novels, I did a thing on Amazon you’re about to find out about a little later, I spent Christmas with my parents for the first time since I was in college, I saw glaciers, I worked at a job that I actually kind of liked and really started to warm up to my coworkers, I had a conversation with my estranged sister. It’s a pretty short list because all I really did with my time in 2018 was go to work and write. And I was content doing just that. It was a quiet, productive life, and I really liked it. And I’d still be doing that today had circumstances not happened the way they had. 

2019 is going to be a really big year for me, and I thank you, with all of my heart, for being here as it happens. 

Declaring Marital Law

Yesterday, at the beginning of what I assumed was a routine marriage counseling session, Kate handed me divorce papers and a folder filled with everything I needed to do in the next few days to extricate myself from her life, as well as a letter in which she asked me not to contact her again, and then she walked away, leaving me with two-and-a-half days to clear out the condo so she can move into it without me while she stayed with friends. To say this was a surprise is an understatement. When I went into that session, I was fully prepared to brag about how well I thought things were going. 

So, yeah, I had no clue this was going to happen. Actually, that’s not true. I had several clues, like the way she asked me how to do the things that are typically my job to do in the house—like medicating the cats. I asked her why, and she gave me some nice answers that didn’t include impending divorce. So, I thought, don’t be ridiculous. Kate would never dump you in secret like that. She trusts you. She would talk to you. Evidently not because here I am, kicked out of my home, away from my best friend of fourteen years, having my cats snatched from me, being forced to quit my job and live with my parents. 

The fact is, Kate and I have been living separate lives for a while now. She has work, work-related travel, CrossFit, being an organizational member of three pagan groups, and close friends she loves to spend time with. I write a lot of novels and work every weekend. We only ever saw each other a few hours a week. But I honestly thought this would just be a chapter in our story (the one in which we find personal enrichment apart and then come back together). 

I’m not going to contest anything. Financially she’s always held us up, and otherwise, she had long ago made up her mind to systematically eliminate me from her life, so there’s no changing her opinion. 

I’ll be spending my last days in my home doing the things I need to so to start a new life, packing up, and spending time with the cats, especially Andrew, whose last days I’d always assumed I’d be here for. 

I’m angry, hurt, confused, and overwhelmed. We’ll see how I do as the days go on. 

Pet Dad Dilemma

This past summer, Kate and I took Andrew to the vet, fully expecting to be coming home with an empty carrier. He wasn’t eating or grooming or doing anything other than curling up in the cave underneath the scratching post. He’s eighteen years old, and he has either pancreatitis or pancreatic cancer—this was inevitable. But rather than do something final, the vet prescribed a new painkiller and appetite stimulant sent us home to give him one more chance to pull through. Some time to say goodbye. It only took a day for him to return to his old self.  

Six months later, he’s doing great, but he is definitely old. During his last appointment, the vet told us that we didn’t need to bring him in ever again, that the next time he sees a doctor will be the last time. Which begs the question, how will I know it’s time? I’ve asked this question of a lot of people, and the consistent answer is, he’ll tell me. But will I listen? 

Here’s the problem: he’s pretty achy. You can tell by how slow he moves and the position of his tail. My attempts to increase his painkiller dose any farther than it already is have turned him into a sleep zombie, so I’ve scaled it back. But, even though he seems to be feeling some pain, he’s pretty active. He helps me cook, and he follows me from room to room. He’s cuddly, he’s playful, he’s grooming himself nicely, and he’s so hungry. When I look at him, I don’t see a cat who’s ready to retire. Am I just seeing what I want to see? Has he been signaling that it’s time to go, and I’ve been missing it because I desperately don’t want him to go? I mean, he’s literally been with me a third of my life, and I can’t imagine living in this little condo without him.  

I do understand that Andrew has lived a long life full of love, comfort, and adventure. It’s not him who will be missing out when he retires. I know that. 

So which is it? Is he hanging around because he wants to? Because he wants to sniff a few more things, sleep on a few more laps before it’s time? Or am I being selfish and not letting him go? I don’t know, and I don’t know how I’ll ever know. What I do know is that he’s my friend, and I want what’s best for him, and I hope to figure out what that is soon.