There have been changes to the “Weed Garden”.
As always there is hope that the wild flowers will emerge once again; this year I’ve added two new members to the collection.
There are red raspberries, that may provide a treat for the aviary community ( there’s little or no hope that I will be able to harvest anything) and central to the garden is a knockout rose bush.
For those that are not aquanted with variety, know out roses are the “mutts” of the rose community. These roses are not entered in the horticultural shows, no one hopes to add their name to this flower; mildly scented there are no perfumes made from them.
These roses bloom nearly year-round and to those that take the time to look they are so pleasing.
This one bush, in the Weed Garden, this mutt is the living memorial to my dear, dear mutt: Duchess. I can work in the yard, take my morning coffee and visit and talk to her and no one thinks I not (too) mad.
Knockout roses can make one a little less lonely.
I have a thing for mutts (genetically speaking; I’m a mutt too).
Peace out, pilgrims
It was a dreary Tuesday; skies grey, a constant drizzle, not a rain, which added more and more weight to the spirit. No battles to fight other than boredom. The only thing that could have made it worse; this could have been a Monday.
When I was first approached to join the TSF, I had visions of never ending adventures; little did I know that I had joined Travelers Aid.
The Elite of society, as the Elite have done through the ages, paid dearly to vacation somewhere special. And now those special few, vacation somewhere special in time. I would be there, the Temporal Security Force presence…to direct them to the loo, if there was one (and the looks on their faces when there wasn’t); change their popular cards into coin, and explain why their costumes had pockets and often what coins were.
The Captain called me to her desk, “Charly, you earned a partner.” Her eyes never lifted from the papers in front of her.
This was the point, that moment when you were judged.
I remember last year; fifteen years on the job and Old Sam got this call, got his partner. An Aardvark as it turned out. Pleasant enough but no help with the paperwork. Folks said it was because of the thing with the marshmallows Sam was selling during the Pompeii jump.
“That’s it? When? What is it, her, him?”
“He’s sitting on your desk.” The Captain returned her gaze to the paperwork on her desk.
I turned and looked back at my desk and there, seated next to my Royal typewriter, sitting in a diminutive floral upholstered wing back chair with matching ottoman, was my partner.”
I walked to the desk that I was now, apparently, sharing. He stood and extending his hand that was roughly the size of an acorn, “Charly. Stephen Peerless Quickstep.”
Grasping his hand with my fore finger and thumb, I looked at him quizzically; “Pixie, actually…at your service.” That answered my question, before I asked it. Stephen Peerless Quickstep, Pixie, smiled and his almond shaped eyes, a lively Kelly green color, twinkled.
TSF service was just starting to get interesting.
Taxes prepared for the SWMBO and me, the octogenarians, C the undecided and his middle daughter (his eldest refuses to bow to the dictates of a totalitarian state and the youngest has [joyfully] not earned a W-2).
Seventy-one pages of numbers and excuses, hand written, the octogenarian’s request for a Short Sale (trust me on this; if you don’t know about Short Sales, its really OK).
Worked until the early morning hours. Too numb to bring the computer screen into just two images, not sure which letter follow C or if 3 really did come before 7; I was fairly certain that sleep just might be called for.
I washed the Ambien down with the remains of a double espresso and set off to battle the cats for space on the bed.
Five times torn from my slumber to answer a phone that wasn’t ringing.
It is now 0630, the octogenarians (Marion, the wicked witch of the north and John the confused) and rousing and once more in battle, the SWMBO attempting to speak above the din and four cats, in concert (if not in harmony) demanding to be fed and I am, regrettably, awake.
Ahh, but there is an end in sight: early February filings for all, being shut of the octogenarian house and electrifying tones of Coltrane filling the house…either that or a brief nap when the SWMBO takes her family shopping.
This has proven to be a long, long day.
It began with a call to the title loan company; “Yeah, I know, I’m late…I’ll be there Friday. You’ll take the car” (frankly, right now, I could really give a shit), “fine, it’ll be harder for me to get there Friday. Great, I’ll see you Friday.”
Second call. “Yes, this is ‘Sweet Dreams’”
“My pup is nineteen years old, she’s in a lot of pain, we’ve increased her pain medication but there is a limit, her kidneys are going and she has become aggressive…it’s the pain I know…she is the sweetest thing.” I listened to the comforting voice on the other end…it was no comfort. “Yes, this evening if you can. I want her home when it happens and I want to be here for her…my wife will be shopping.”
‘Sweet Dreams’ is arriving at 2000. I’ve put new shades in the living room for the octogenarians, washed and hung the valances, changed all the sheets, washed and folded all the laundry, swept the garage…its 1430. The Duchess has been asleep for the last couple of hours; when I check in on her it’s a slight whimper and a twitch of the legs and then she’s quiet.
I want her to wake and…and play and think she’s a cat again and jump to the back of the couch and sniff everyone’s hair. I want her to go to yard sales with me and pick out her new toy. I want her to light up the faces of every child in the neighborhood.
I want her to not hurt, not be confused when she enters a familiar room not attack the cats the octogenarians.
‘Sweet Dreams’ will be arriving early, time for one more short walk, one more talk sitting at the top of the stairs; discussing plans for the day leaning close ending with a kiss on the top of the head and the Duchess looking at me like I was a nut (she has always been very perceptive).
Everyone’s off to Wally-World for whipped cream and marshmallows, winter pj’s and scarves.
The knock at the door. “Hello, please come in.”
“We need you to sign a few documents before we proceed.” She said in a most comforting tone, it wasn’t comforting.
Duchess cried for a second with the first injection, she came over to me, sitting on the cold kitchen floor, it was the closest I could be. With her head resting on my knee I scratched her ears and chin just as I had done at the top of the stairs, every morning for sixteen years, every time she allowed me an opportunity to rest on our long walks. I felt cheated in a way; she was three when we found her, I wanted those three years of comfort of belonging now.
“She’s asleep now and in no pain. Would you like a moment alone before we proceed to the next phase?” She said in the most comforting voice (still not working).
“That would make it harder I think, no, let’s proceed.”
A few moments later I moved her head onto the pale blue blanket under her and struggled to stand, when I could lift my gaze from the Duchess both vets stood with arms outstretched. Two long, warm hugs and I was starting to feel comforted.
She was wrapped in the pale blue blanket and placed on a stretcher and taken to the van, one last kiss goodbye…they left.
My phone rang, “Michael here.” “What was I supposed to get besides Mayo?” “Marshmallows and whipped cream.” “Dad found a jacket…” I hung up.
Christ, I wanted to cry. I want to cry, wanted/still want to break down make a fool of myself.
And I feel her brushing against my leg, hear her scratching at the carpet to ask for a treat and barking and dancing about waiting to go out and play with the children in the street. She’s not gone…yet, just a big piece of me.