Waiting For October.

(NOTE: This is a synchronicity essay. Please play the above track as you begin; I know how fast you read.)

It’s late on a Sunday night. I just watched the Boston Red Sox win Game 4 of the World Series, as well as the Green Bay Packers dismantling of the Minnesota Vikings. I have to be up for work in a few hours, but I’m unconcerned.

It’s been a good month. October is the only month of the year I even consider viewing in a pleasant light, and the week before Halloween fills me with an unshakable optimism and youthful exuberance. There’s a feeling to a Wisconsin Autumn that’s impossible to describe. For years I thought that it had to do with the nostalgia of youth, but I recall that I had this same feeling when I was a youth. Can one feel nostalgia for moments as they’re happening? Not sure, but I’m certain that October alone makes living in the Midwest worth it for the remaining 11 months of snow, humidity and hardship.

If you asked me to remember my childhood in a one-second snapshot, it would be of me in about 1986, laying in a pile of leaves on my family’s large lawn, staring straight into the sky and thinking about how far up it went. I remember that I was nearly exhausted from an afternoon of running around; the sun was slowly starting to set in the distance, bathing the neighborhood with a rosy, purplish hue. I stared up for almost an hour, being as existential as one could be prior to joining Kindergarten. Most of all, I remember feeling as happy and content as I’ve ever been.

I get to hand out candy on Thursday. If I had to list the Top 3 reasons to own a home, it would be for this privilege alone. I won’t wear a costume. I probably won’t even leave the house. But I’m still embracing and respecting the holiday as much as I ever have. Autumn makes me think of family. Rebirth. Sleeping with the windows open a few more times before the frost rolls in. Cinnamon everything. Gourds-a-plenty. A Wisconsinite’s last chance to feel connected with the rest of the world before Winter shuts us completely down until February. A chance to wear the gayest sweaters I own, free of ridicule.

Celia and I experienced a near-perfect Wisconsin October this year. We went to a corn maze. We slingshotted gourds into a lake. We bought several pounds of cheese, pumpkin-scented candles and decorations for the porch. My home is clean and smells amazing. I feel younger than usual. I’ve magically lost three pounds yet strut around like it was 15. I listen to seasonally-relevant, depressing music from my youth, but it only makes me happier. Even though Winter will be here in a snap, even though it will be a chore to so much as reach the mailbox in 30 days time, I’m again unconcerned. That’s tomorrow’s problem.

I kissed Celia goodnight about an hour ago. On my way back downstairs, I made a point to notice all the things in my house that I typically take for granted. I looked at the artwork, pet the cat, straightened out a rug, took a deep breath of the (again) pumpkin-scented first floor, pet another cat, watched two raccoons eat birdseed out of my feeders on the deck, fixed myself a drink and fell onto the couch. I’m proud of the life that I’ve built with my wife, and this time of year forces me to take inventory and (perhaps begrudgingly) let optimism in. Not for what the future holds, but for simply how I feel in this very moment. I feel relaxed. Refreshed.

As usual, money will probably be tight as we head into the holidays. I deserve a raise at work, but it will take me at least three months to work up the nerve to ask for one, a request which will immediately be denied without further discussion. I have projects that will reach a fever pitch as 2014 rolls around, but for now, it’s not a problem. None of this is. Deadlines, stress and drama are in a vacuum until the first of November. I don’t make the rules, I merely exist by them.

My closest friends drop by all the time. We have nothing new to talk about, so we watch television and drink. Last weekend, I got to spend time with friends I’ve known since elementary school. We acted like idiots; like no time had passed, like we hadn’t all become husbands, fathers or both. Everyone made it home safely, but it was touch-and-go towards closing time. We sent someone into a massage parlor with a box of Twinkies and a $20 bill. That kind of idiocy. I laughed so hard that my head hurt for the next two days. I took pictures and didn’t take it for granted. When Winter arrives, the state shuts down and plans need to be rescheduled for March of next year. We all innately know this, even if we don’t mention it.

Celia turns 30 next month. I met her when she was 15. This is a fact more difficult for me to grasp than String Theory. For half of her life, and for nearly half of mine, she has loved and accepted me. We’ve evolved and more than made it work. For 15 years now, we’ve flourished and survived.

When I first met Celia, I worked at a hardware store. I would talk to farmers and retirees. Men who had been married upwards of 50 years at this point. I would talk to widowers. Some men would winkingly grumble about their wives, but their adoration was apparent and fresh. They would tell me that they love their wife, now in their 60s or 70s, more than any day before or since. I didn’t understand what that meant, nor did I necessarily believe it, until it began to happen to me. I feel it. It’s a genuine emotion.

My wife speaks with a heavy Northeastern Wisconsin dialect; there’s no denying her place of birth once you speak to her (‘boat’ is a two-syllable word). Dialect is passed on by mimicking the speech patterns of your community, which is exactly why local dialects continue to exist in a modern age. However, when you were raised by television, DJ’s and Chuck D like I was, your accent becomes non-existent shortly after puberty. I only turn it on when I’m trying to make a connection with a fellow Midwesterner, and even then I’m only faking. Look no further than the way we speak to tell you all you need to know about the two of us. She’s authentic and free of ego; I’m artificial and running from my past. I find this all hilarious.

Some days, Celia and I don’t have much to say to each other. We carpool to work in groggy silence and drive home in exhausted silence. We watch television and fritter away the evening on our phones until we fall asleep. These are not wasted days. These are days we’ve worked hard to experience. Other nights will come where we stay up until sunrise because we’re not done listening to each other’s voices and endlessly learning new things about each other. Each day is equally important, and I’d trade neither of them for anything. 15 years is a meaningless number when every day is special, which is probably why I still cannot grasp that fact that it represents half of my spouse’s life.

Tonight, I’m going to buy significantly too much Halloween candy. Approximately 20% of it will be distributed evenly amongst the costumed youth of Sun Prairie, Wisconsin. The rest will slowly be consumed by me between now and Christmas. I’m going to watch Ghostbusters and The Adventures of Pete and Pete and The Burbs and The Exorcist for the 30th time each. We’re going to watch all of those paranormal investigation shows and debunk every noise and shadow like the skeptic buzzkills we’ve become. Then I’m going to listen to Art Bell as I fall asleep, and pretend, just for the remainder of the month, that maybe ghosts do exist, just so I can let the feeling of the Unknown back into my body. The same feeling I embraced in 1986, when I laid on a pile of leaves, looked into the sky and thought about how far up it went.

It’s been a good month.

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The CDP 24 Hour Halloween Movie Marathon (Wayback Machine).

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(Originally published in October of 2011. I still stand by the list.)

Submitted for the approval of the Midnight Society, here are 14 great Halloween films to watch over the course of 24 hours, right down to the minute. If you’re looking for a scary movie marathon with your friends, cats or merely a bucket of Sour Patch Kids and deepest regrets, the CDP has you covered. I tend to stick to the classics and prefer psychological horror over gore, so if you’re down, you’re down.

Honorable Mentions go to Seven, Race With The Devil, Rear Window, Poltergeist, Halloween, Psycho, Scream, Nosferatu, The Blair Witch Project and Frankenstein. Feel free to add these films if you ever wish to hold a 48 hour marathon.

Let’s go.

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NOON – 1:36pmNight Of The Living Dead (1968)

Might as well kick things off with a masterpiece. You’ll soon see that when it comes to scary movies, I tend to stick with the classics, and Night Of The Living Dead takes residence in my Holy Trinity of Horror Movies.

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1:36pm – 3:27pmThe Omen (1976)

They don’t make movies about Satan like they used to. Enjoy the Missus’ choice for her favorite scary movie, and one of the only ‘demon possessed kid’ films that matters.

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3:27pm – 5:22pmThe Ring (2002)

The newest film on this list by a long shot, I argue that the American remake of The Ring is not only better than the original, but one of the top 10 horror movies of the last 10 years.

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5:22pm – 6:46pmThe Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

By now, the sun should be going down, so what better time to take in Movie #2 in my Holy Trinity of Horror Movies? Endlessly influential, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre spawned countless (for better or worse) knockoffs.

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6:46pm – 8:45pmThe Birds (1963)

One of three Hitchcock films I considered for this marathon, The Birds is a perfect example of mixing brilliant direction with suspense, mystery, and everything else that makes Hitchcock one of the greatest of all-time.

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8:45pm – 9:49pm

Freaks (1932)

Not ‘scary’ per se, but an absolutely essential movie to locate and view, if only because the concept (legit circus freaks murder a scheming trapeze artist and her strongman boyfriend) is guaranteed to never see a camera lens ever again. You’d be thrown out of Hollywood for even pitching it.

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9:49pm – 12:13amThe Shining (1980)

The Shining gets a prime timeslot in our marathon, and I consider it more than worthy. One of the most artful films of the genre, and featuring a legendary performance by Jack Nicholson.

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12:13am – 1:55amThe Burbs (1989)

After the emotional annihilation of The Shining, watch the criminally-overlooked comedy, The Burbs. I don’t know why; maybe it’s because the movie never quite decides what it wants to be (dark comedy, horror, spoof), but it’s honestly one of my favorite movies ever. Due to the Missus not sharing my sentiments, I only watch it once a year with her, right around Halloween.

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1:55am – 3:42amThe Changeling (1980)

I watched The Changeling for the first time a couple of years ago, and it took me completely by surprise. George C. Scott is (predictably) fantastic, and the slow burn of the first half will suck you in and claim your emotions for the twisted climax. A really good, classic paranormal film, and I recommend watching it as I did, with no reservations of what it was supposed to be about.

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3:42am – 5:40amThe Silence Of The Lambs (1991)

The influence, legacy and memory of The Silence Of The Lambs cannot be overstated. The only ‘Horror’ movie to ever receive a Best Picture Academy Award, it seemingly does everything perfect, creating a very real, very grimy world of serial murderers, psychological manipulation and the best leading cast in the history of the genre. Not just a must-see; but a must-own.

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5:40am – 7:18amThe Eye (2002)

For my money, one the best of the ‘Asian Horror’ films, The Eye takes an interesting concept (woman accidentally goes blind and can now see the dead), and sprinkles all sorts of Asian cinematography dust on each frame. Like The Changeling, The Eye snuck up on me, and if you’re the kind of person that doesn’t need wanton gore to be interested in a scary movie (like me), this should do the trick.

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7:18am – 9:34amRosemary’s Baby (1968)

Horror movies from this era did two things I really liked: First, they mentioned Satan a lot. Secondly, movies were allowed to end badly, meaning that main characters were killed, the bad guys got away, and in the case of Rosemary’s Baby, the seed of the Dark Lord was planted in Mia Farrow. If you haven’t seen this one by now, you may want to remedy that. Dark, looming, paranoid and remarkable.

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9:34am – 9:58amTrilogy Of Terror – ‘Amelia’ (1975)

So, we’ve almost made it through the 24 hour marathon. Chances are a lot of your friends have fallen asleep, the DVD player is smoldering and you’re almost completely out of Zagnut bars. What better time to watch the iconic final short film from Trilogy Of Terror, where Karen Black is terrorized in her apartment by a Zuni fetish doll come to life? Trust me, it’s awesome.

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9:58am – NOONThe Exorcist (1973)

Here we are. The final piece of my Holy Trinity of Horror Movies, and without question the greatest (and arguably scariest) horror film ever made. The Exorcist wins, and most other arguments exist only because said curmudgeon doesn’t want to accept that such a popular movie is also the best. It is. Nothing else comes close. Even at 10am, even upon the 20th viewing, it’ll send you reeling.

Just to be sure, I re-watched The Exorcist shortly before I put this list together, and you know what? It was better than I remembered. If you’ve never seen it (or haven’t seen it in awhile), it’s more than Linda Blair flopping around on a bed (which she does brilliantly, I might add). The real star of the film, Jason Miller, does a masterfully understated job as Damien Karras, a priest losing his faith and wracked with guilt at the recent loss of his mother. An early scene with him visiting his mother at a psych ward was particularly unnerving. Also, Ellen Burstyn plays the role of Regan’s mother with just the right combination of terror and frustration. There are no ‘unbelievable’ characters in this movie, and considering the subject matter, that’s pretty unbelievable in and of itself.

The influence The Exorcist continues to have on horror is undeniable. Moments like listening to Regan’s speech backwards, or the hospital surveillance footage of her mania are surprisingly contemporary. Finally, this movie is, at the end of the day, a huge victory for Catholics. I’m surprised they don’t play this at least once a year during mass (okay, maybe not, but still).

The Exorcist earned a whopping 10 Oscar nominations, winning two. With a gross of over $450 million, it’s also one of the most popular films of all time. Finally, The Exorcist was named ‘Scariest Movie Of All-Time’ by Entertainment Weekly, IMDB, Movies.com and AMC. Not too shabby. It’s also on Netflix streaming in HD right this very instant, so give yourself a couple of hours and watch it tonight.

The marathon is over. Change your pants and get some rest. Sound off in the comments section, let me know what your marathon would look like and enjoy your day.

Roswell That Ends Well.

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-The first two weeks of Art Bell’s triumphant return to (extra)terrestrial radio.

When I was a kid, I was heavily driven by two major topics of interest: Radio and the Paranormal.

Being an adolescent insomniac, dozens (if not hundreds) of sleepless nights were spent doing one of two things: Quietly listening to WIXX (101.1 FM) under my covers, or scaring myself shitless with any book I could find related to ghosts and UFOs. In retrospect, I wasn’t doing myself any favors when it came to curbing my insomnia; most nights, I was either too afraid or invested in thought to even consider sleep. When I did manage to get some rest, my Sleep Paralysis (a very real thing that I totally have) would cause me to wake up screaming, certain beyond measure that an extraterrestrial was hovering over my bed, all set to probe me something fierce.

So, you can imagine the revelation at the time when I first heard of Art Bell and Coast To Coast AM. Before the Internet, before The X-Files, Sightings and Snopes, there was only one true place to hear more than you could possibly handle when it came to every bizarre topic and legend under the midnight stars. Every night was a trip through the wormhole: UFOs, ghosts, time travel, parallel universes, alien abductions, men in black and complex government conspiracies. The guests ranged anywhere from legit geniuses to high-functioning lunatics. The callers? Among the most entertaining (sometimes unintentionally so) individuals I have ever heard. Better still, Coast To Coast was broadcast dead in the middle of the night, when skepticism usually takes a backseat to getting emotionally enraptured by a compelling story and a scratchy AM station.

YouTube is now a tremendous resource of these early radio milestones. How about Willie Nelson lookalike Mel Waters’ saga of when he found not one, but two bottomless pits that supposedly had mystical properties? Or how about when a frantic pilot called claimed to be in the middle of an Area 51 kamikaze mission on Halloween night? Or weirder still, what about the time when an alleged Area 51 employee called in to ‘expose’ the site’s true intentions, only to have Bell’s entire station get knocked off the air seconds later by unknown forces? It’s irresistible, intensely entertaining audio. Bell, to his credit, remained a steady voice of non-judgmental reason. Whether he believed his guests and callers was moot; what was important was that they got to tell the story they so desperately wanted to share with the world.

Fast-forward to 1998. I was a teenager at this point, and by the time I neared the end of high school, I had all but forgotten of Mr. Bell and his show. My interest in the paranormal had morphed; my skepticism was at a fever pitch and the concept was no longer entertaining to me. What I didn’t know was that Art was about to begin a series of quasi-retirement jags and network frustrations that would have him skipping across affiliates and hosting duties for nearly the next decade. In fact, from 2010 to the Summer of 2013, Bell was off the air entirely with little-to-no expectations that he would ever return. George Noory took over full time hosting duties on Coast To Coast AM, and Bell disappeared into the desert of Pahrump, Nevada. 

In March of this year, I bought a new car that came with a complimentary subscription to Sirius Satellite Radio. While I enjoyed the multitude of channels and all the genres Sirius had to offer, I preferred to listen to my iPod while driving, and I had my mind set on not renewing the subscription when it came due in October. I thought the price was a bit exorbitant, and I spent most of the time listening to channels that played songs I already owned. Paying money for this privilege seemed illogical.

Then came July 29, when the announcement was officially made. Art Bell had signed a deal with Sirius, and would be returning to the airwaves for the first time in three years come September (on Indie Talk Channel 104). A new show (titled Dark Matter) with almost total autonomy, four nights a week for four hours a night, with a format centering around his classic potpourri of intergalactic weirdness.

A day later, I wrote Sirius a check and renewed my subscription for a full year. This was too interesting to pass up; it was time for me (and all of us) to get back in touch with my less-skeptical side, reunite with my insomnia and take a ride.

In short, Art is back and better than ever with Dark Matter. For a man pushing 70 years of age, his enthusiasm and professionalism are indicative of a true radio master (and pioneer). Also, the old school feeling is still there in spades. This is, after all, a man broadcasting a radio show from his own home, airing unscreened phone calls about the paranormal. It gets no more delightfully pure than that, especially in 2013. He does live product endorsements, marvels openly at the superior functionality of modern satellite radio, and chooses all of his own bumper music (which is mostly obscure pop hits from the 70’s and 80’s, which makes perfect sense for some reason).

Furthermore, each episode over the course of the first two weeks took us deeper and deeper down the rabbit hole with expert coercion and precision. It almost seemed planned in advance that we would start the week with Dr. Michio Kaku, one of the most respected and intelligent astrophysicists on earth, and end the very same week with the story of a man to beat an alien to death with a tree branch. Before we knew it, our disbelief was suspended, and any intention of listening to Dark Matter with a distant air of cynicism was as dead as Jonathan Reed’s alien visitor (that he nicknamed ‘Freddy’). All we want is to be taken on a ride and told a good story.

The best part, for me, is that you never know what kind of guest you’re going to get. Some nights, you take in a good-natured interview with a logical, healthily-skeptical-yet-open-minded scientist. Other nights, you deal with a ‘Soul Traveler’ who has built Bigfoot-hunting robots out of spare VCR parts (I’m not making any of this up). Some guests will truly open your eyes to ideas you’ve never analyzed from a certain angle. Other guests will make you wonder just how easy it is to get a book published if you’re willing to tell a complete lie to rubes for the rest of your life. In both cases, it’s equally compelling. Again, Bell remains unflappable.

Thanks to Sirius On Demand, I can listen to these episodes (which air from 9-1c Monday-Thursday) the next day at the office, but whenever I get the chance, I try to rekindle my youth by listening to them live, in bed, with my headphones on. Second only to a long drive into the endless deserts of the southwest, I assume this is the way Dark Matter is intended to be heard. Why just last night, I fell asleep while Whitley Strieber was describing, in detail, the night an extraterrestrial anally probed him while he was paralyzed in bed. Minutes later, I woke up screaming.

It was like old times.

Art, it’s great to have you back. Roswells.

CDP Wayback Machine – "Support Your Local Cat."

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(NOTE: Official CDP Spokescat Gabe passed away last night after 10.5 years of loving ownership by the Missus and myself. He was the most loving and intelligent animal I have ever had the joy to meet, and it was a privilege to provide him the best possible life under our roof. We had legitimately saved Gabe’s life at least three times over the last decade, and this CDP essay from November of 2005 discusses the first such emergency. As far as I’m concerned, every day since this 2005 incident was bonus time I got to spend with Gabe, and as Celia and I adopted him shortly after moving in with each other, we felt he had always represented our transition into adulthood and personal responsibility. Well, don’t worry about anything, Gabe. We can take it from here. I love you and miss you, buddy.)

As promised, I wanted to give everyone a full update on Gabe. First, the back story.

If you don’t already know, Gabe is one of my two cats. If you’re a newlywed 20-something couple who lives in an apartment, it’s a prerequisite that you pick yourself up a couple of cats. Upon moving to Madison some years ago, that’s exactly what we did.

Gabe is a Blue Point Siamese male. Since we adopted him from the shelter, his exact age is unknown, although we have since figured him to be about 5 years old. When we saw him in the shelter, his ribs were sticking out from his chest and he looked quite underweight. Since then, we have him at an ideal weight for his breed and age.

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He’s an amazing and intelligent feline. He runs down the stairs when you call him, jumping into your lap and purring without fail. He hasn’t bit or scratched a soul, regardless of what awful things we do to him. When the Missus enters the apartment complex after work, he can tell she’s home before I can. He recognizes the jingling of her keys, separating the sound from all of the other jingling keys he hears all day. He’s playful and wildly affectionate, relaxed and Zen, brilliant and resourceful. He’s pretty much the coolest cat I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen thousands.

Gabe is a needy soul. He’ll cry when he’s not around you, simply because he wants to be in your lap. He’s never annoying about it; he just lets you know that he misses you when you’re away. When you come home from work, he’s right at the door to greet you. He’d fetch me my slippers if I wore them. Most people that meet Gabe say the same thing, that he acts more like a dog than a cat. His loyalty rivals that of a Golden Retriever, only he doesn’t need to be walked and can whiz in the house. He doesn’t have an enemy in the world.

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Gabe’s past, however, seems a bit more sordid. Apparently, he was seized from a house that was overrun with cats, which usually means poor health and disease. The fact that he came from a place like this and still maintains his temperament is a sight to behold. It’s as if he’s making a decision every morning to be nice to everyone he meets. Not to mention, he’s a beautiful specimen. He keeps his coat smooth and well-groomed, sometimes spending hours on a rigid cleaning routine. At first glance, he may appear intimidating and stoic, but instantly becomes your new best friend. He has the prettiest eyes I’ve ever seen on a non-human.

When we brought him home a couple of years ago, we already had a Siamese female in the house. When she initially rejected his company, rather than fight back, he anxiously chewed the fur off of his feet. Make no mistake about it, this is a cat that loves and wishes to be loved. Now, the two of them curl up on the couch together most every night.

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(He looks upset because he has an ass pressed against his ribs.)

Keeping his past and breed in mind, it wasn’t a surprise that Gabe contracted a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI). We first noticed it a couple of months ago when we saw that he had taken to whizzing in the Missus’ bathtub. When cats get a UTI, it hurts too much to pee in the litter box, so they try to find a smooth, cool surface, like the tub (I’ve been known to do this on occasion when the toilet gets too repetitive for me). We were all set to take him to the vet, when he made a full recovery. We considered ourselves lucky, and forgot about the whole thing.

What we didn’t know was that Gabe had kidney stone-like particles in his kidneys and bladder. Just because he passed the stone and got over the first hump didn’t mean that he’d pull it off every time. This reached a head on Monday morning.

The Missus had called in sick on Monday, as she was feeling awful from the weekend. By the time she woke up, Gabe was already howling outside of the bedroom door. When she opened up, a clearly frightened Gabe ran and hid under the bed, which is something that he never does. Missus knew something was wrong, and tried to figure out what was up. Gabe was howling in pain and growling deeply, which was completely new for him. Not really knowing what to do, the Missus called me at work and filled me in. I told her to immediately call the vet and set up an appointment. I skipped out on work for the afternoon and raced home.

When I got there, the Missus was feeling rather helpless and scared, and Gabe was no better. He was still hiding in the bedroom, sitting in such a way that indicated that it was the only position that didn’t hurt him. We stuffed him into the crate and took him straight to the vet.

Gabe was in the vet’s office for no more than 30 seconds when we figured out what was wrong with him. As soon as the vet touched his tummy, he screamed in pain and hid under the chairs. “Your cat can’t pee,” the vet told us.

“This is an emergency situation that requires an immediate decision,” she told us. Cats can literally have their kidneys explode on them, killing them slowly and painfully, and Gabe was verging on this circumstance due to a severe blockage. A surgery needed to be conducted instantly, and the vet left the room to get us forms to sign.

For the few minutes me and the Missus were alone in the room together, we talked it over. Without question, we were going ahead with this operation, regardless of weather it meant we would have to live on cheese sandwiches for the rest of the year. The operation required for them to insert a catheter into Gabe’s bladder, working on removing the stones and allowing him to urinate on his own again. Apart from that, we needed a slew of antibiotics, special food and a lot of hope to make sure that he would be okay.

It should be noted at this point that if the Missus wouldn’t have called in sick that day, we would have come home to a dead cat. No question about it. Take from that what you will; I’m just giving you the facts.

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We signed the papers and left the vet’s office. Several hours of waiting by the phone later, it finally rang. They did what they needed to do to him, the catheter was still inserted and he seemed to be doing as well as he could have. The thing with UTI’s is that the same thing could come back a week later. We’re hoping this doesn’t happen, but it’s very possible, and is another conversation for another time.

When Tuesday rolled around, we finally got a call from the vet’s office at 2:30pm. The catheter was removed; Gabe was urinating on his own and was ready to come home. We picked him up (along with a ton of medicine and food), gave the Sun Prairie Animal Hospital $500 for saving Gabe’s life, and settled him back into the house.

For the next two weeks, we have to force-feed him two different kinds of medication, feed him prescription food and put an ointment in his ears. If you’ve ever owned or been near a cat, you’ll understand why this will be almost certainly impossible, regardless of how nice they are. After two weeks, we’re taking him back in for a follow-up appointment, and scheduling him for a vigorous teeth cleaning. Remember the house overrun with cats that Gabe was rescued from? Apparently, the crazy cat woman didn’t believe in proper dental habits. Two of Gabe’s back teeth needed to be extracted, barely hanging from the sockets to begin with.

Don’t believe me? I saved the teeth.

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Sorry about that; I just wanted to hammer the point home. What you need to know is that Gabe is safe and sound at home again, shaken but recovering. We’re all adjusting to the new routine; doing what we can to keep him healthy and happy. We must keep a very watchful eye on him, make sure he gets his meds and comb over his litter box daily, but it’s worth it to have the family together again.

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Love you, Big G.