Sophie Sunday

Let’s move onto something a little lighter, shall we?

Well, “lighter” is a figurative term…you see, Sophie’s body max index has been an ongoing project in our lives.

She came to us as a scrawny malnourished rescue kitten. She was all length and no width; she looked pitiful. We left a bowl of food out for her at all times to eat whenever she saw fit. Cats are supposed to know when they are not really hungry anymore and stop, after all.

By her second year checkup with the vet, she had filled out drastically. She was still growing however, so we thought it was a phase. Not to mention, she is a larger cat breed. By year three however, she was officially overweight, weighing in at 17 pounds. I have to interject, for the sake of Sophie, that during that year we identified medical problems that require her to be on prescription cat food that is much higher in fat content.

But even with that interjection…Sophie doesn’t eat; she inhales.

She was left to her own devices for too long in the wild and never lost the scavenger mentality. Nick and I had to be a lot more active in her diet by veterinary proclamation, or we were going to have a (fuzzy) walking beach ball on our hands.

All of her portion sizes have been reduced, and she eats from an automatic feeder that disperses a portion at 8:00 AM and midnight. I get home from work at 4:30 PM, and I give her a small portion of wet food for her evening meal. The vet warned us that putting a cat on a diet is much worse than any human on a diet, and boy he wasn’t kidding.

In the beginning, she’d nag us to feed her, tripping us as she wound around our ankles. Eventually, when we didn’t give in, she’d up and bite us. She got nasty all around. She’d run in from another area of the condo and head straight toward one of us to take a meaty nip from our legs. In case you don’t already know this: cats like to be the boss. They constantly challenge authority.

Needless to say, when those feeding times hit, she is an eating machine. Nick and I have separated ourselves from the dry food with that automatic feeder (she now chews on that thing instead of us), but she still relies on us for the afternoon wet food. She is the pestiest of all pests when I walk in the door…and for what? Moments after I put her food down, it’s gone. I doubt she even tastes it.

Pain in the…

The last 24 hours have been frustrating for me on a physical level. I thought I was building up my steam to chug along like I didn’t have major surgery a month ago, but I have been taken down a notch.

You see, I have existing problems with a spine that just wasn’t made right. Through physical therapy, I was given core exercises to take more of the basic balancing duties away from my back (which is sorely lacking). I knew, given the type of surgery I had and my reluctance to use my abdominal muscles for much of anything, there was a decent chance that my original pains would all resurface when my constant tummy vigilance failed.

Fortunately, I only work in the mornings on Fridays, so I was able to come home and take the good stuff in my pain-killer arsenal. Unfortunately, I didn’t get ahead of the pain early enough, and I couldn’t find relief. I was absolutely exhausted (in no small part due to the narcotics and muscle relaxers) and fell asleep on the couch.

Even though my mind was all fuzzy and drooly, my nerves were still plenty riled up. I must have been writhing around quite a bit on the couch, trying in vain to find a comfortable way to rest my body. I woke up at 1:30 when I flung myself to the floor, taking one of the couch cushions (which are attached down with Velcro, by the way) with me. I wanted to give into tears with the aches I was feeling, but I was determined not to feel sorry for myself.

I’m not frustrated with the lumbosacral pain. I know that Nick is still angry with it, but I’ve come to a place of acceptance. To quote my mother, “It is what it is.” It was almost five years ago exactly when they told me that I had Mom’s genetic disorder and all it entailed. I think he still believes in a world where there is a definitive answer to everything.

What I am frustrated with is that through my thrashing, I managed to tear my incisions. When I noticed, I felt ill: I thought I was almost to the other side of this recovery. Nick had a 10 mile race today, and the start/finish was walking distance from our condo. It was in my plans to walk over to the park about an hour after the official start time to cheer my friends as they finished. I knew that those plans were scratched as soon as I spotted blood.

Everything seems to be closed back up today (thankfully), but I’m back to being afraid to move like I was in the early days after surgery…and now I’m afraid to sleep as well. So, yeah. Frustrated.

Signature Move

We just got home from signing stuff at the bank.

When my turn to sign came, I could hear the “Final Jeopardy” theme playing as two sets of eyes watched my slow cursive of K-A-Z-Y-N-S-K-I.

It’s the z that throws me. Nobody writes a cursive efficiently—at least nobody who has been signing their name with perfectly average letters for almost 30 years. The cursive z is a very pretty letter I must say, but it takes a bit of attention to detail to really pull it off well.

I bite my lower lip and furrow my brow in deep concentration. I readjust my tripod grip, and force my fingers to relax away from the tight grasp that has come on with my sudden anxiety over the next letter.

I start the upward arc to continue from the a. I get a little excited and tell myself to pause, breathe, and return to the task with intention. I get a little punchy when I get to the loopy tail, and I need to pull in the reins again. Too fast and it’ll get all pointy, and nobody likes a pointy z: they’re just uncivilized.

When I’ve finally finished that last upward swing, I have beads of sweat on my upper lip; my tongue is hanging out of the corner of my mouth. The rest of the signature flows without incident.

When I look up, my face is flushed and my eyes are glassy. I did it, and my z was a masterpiece. I pass the pen to Nick. He signs what looks to be a K, some squiggly lines, and a dot at the end. He smiles as he hands the document back to the banker.

“Laura hasn’t learned how to get through this last name yet.”

The banker questions, “How long have you been married?”

Nick looks at me and thinks a moment. “About seven months.”

“Ah. Wives don’t figure out to forge their husband’s signatures until they’ve been married at least two years.”

Listening to their exchange, I sat perplexed for three reasons:

  1. Nick doesn’t have a signature for me to forge. He has a squiggly line and a dot.
  2. Did the banker just give us a forgery pointer?
  3. Nobody complimented me on my perfect z. Didn’t they see?

Got Game?

I met Nick on a cold January day. I was charmed from the instant I saw him—and mainly because he was nervous. I had had a few…interesting…first dates in the months leading up to that day. The men were pretty and knew it—in and of itself, that’s okay. What’s not okay is that many of them made sure that I was also aware of just how pretty they were, how much of a catch they would be. While I can tell you that I was entertained by the egotism (it was so ridiculous…I’ve heard of peacock comparisons before, but that was my first time seeing it in action), I was downright bored with those dates. If they had fodder for conversation beyond how much they could bench press, they didn’t bring it to the table.

Meeting someone who wasn’t 110% sure of himself on day one was a nice change. You know how this ends. We went on more dates, we adopted a cat, and then we got married. However, I noticed something along the way: he’s decidedly unsuave.

This was actually very good for me. When I was younger, I was overly sensitive and words offended me easily. I valued words and gave them a lot of weight. A person wouldn’t say something if they didn’t mean it, after all.

I still value words, but I’m not so closed to the idea that not everyone realizes the power of words or possesses the wisdom to choose them carefully.

Even though I had come to this conclusion on my own (because Nick’s actions are extremely loving and eloquent even though I want to put him in a headlock every time he opens his mouth), the class I took on communication styles last year solidified my theory. I am so irritated by people who communicate like Nick (I call it foot-in-mouth disease) because they are the polar opposite of my communication style, and thus the only communication style of the four that I cannot identify with.

Loving Nick made me a better communicator, and this has profited me in all aspects of my life.

But what does all this mean? Well I’ll tell you: Nick needs to work on his game.

A few years ago for Valentine’s Day, I gave him a red button to help him out. It’s faintly reminiscent of the Staples “easy” button, except a kitschy come on line spurts out when you push this one.

“I wish I had a shovel, because I sooooo dig you.”
“Did it get brighter in here, or did you just smile?”

It’s pretty much the cheesiest thing you’ve ever heard.

Does anybody need a pickup line?

At the time, he threw it in the back of his closet because he was self-conscious of his ineptitude and by being outdone by a talking button. Last weekend, the button reemerged, and he placed it in a place of prominence by the front door. He really seems to be eager to work on his shortcomings, because he presses the button every time he walks by (which is often).

I have never had cause to regret my words…but I might be, ever so slightly, regretting the impulse to buy that damn button.

A casual conversation during an afternoon walk:

Michelle: I tried to drink soy milk when I stopped being able to drink regular milk, but I didn’t care for the sweetness.

Laura: Oh, are you lactose intolerant now?

Michelle: Yeah, it’s been hard cutting out milk. Sometimes I have a bit in cereal, but even that’s a crapshoot.

Laura: (Stumbles. Tries to wipe the grin off her face.)

Michelle: (Looks back, concerned.) What’s wrong with you?

Laura: (Openly grinning now.)

Michelle: OH! Yeah—ha! Yes, it really is a crapshoot!