Never Prepared


There are things in this life that you can simply never be prepared for.  One of them is a phone call from your child that starts with “Mom, are you sitting down?”  Instinctively your stomach knots as you wait for the next words.  “I’m in a hospital in ICU.  I’ve had two strokes.”  My daughter said my response was “No.  That can’t happen.  That can’t happen.”  I don’t remember saying those words, or even all of the conversation that followed, but I do remember shaking uncontrollably for the better part of the next hour.  I had to rouse my husband from sleep and tell him what had just happened, and quickly prepare to fly out of town.  You see, I am in Texas and my daughter (my only child), is 1,000 miles away in Minnesota.  And yes, it’s just too far from home!

The last several weeks have been a blur of hospitals, doctors, nurses, insurance paperwork and appointments, and trying to assist my daughter after she was released from the hospital.  And I was dealing with extreme temperature changes (below zero most days), and learning to drive in the snow and ice.  The very GOOD NEWS is that my daughter doesn’t seem to have any lasting effects from her two mild strokes.  Still, as she is only 29 years of age without other risk factors, the neurologist is puzzled as to exactly what caused them.  The determination is arterial dissection with stroke. and she will be on blood thinner medication, which requires close monitoring,  for at lest the next 3-6 months. These medications also require dietary changes.

I have been home now for one week.  My daughter will be going back to work next week, which is also good news since she had just graduated from the University of Minnesota and started a new job.  I have a deep faith and believe in the power of prayer, and can honestly say that we have found many blessings in this trial.  For one, I have to say that all the staff at the Fairview Southdale Hospital where my daughter was treated, and all the other medical and insurance personnel we worked with were simply amazing!  I can honestly say that I think she received the very highest level of care possible.  To the folks of Minneapolis and Edina, you have a piece of my heart.

“Though they are grown and flown
Never does a day pass
without the same worry
how are they, where are they
though they may be grown
In your eyes the child never ends nor should it”

Bill Mitton



On The Move



I only want a peek!


Seriously…where are my toys?


Ok…I think we’re good to go now!

The last two weeks have been a whirlwind of activity.  There have been trips to the airport at 4:30am, multiple texts and phone calls, vehicles in for servicing, and packing assistance.   But now the center of the whirlwind, my daughter, is gone.  The reasons are good – she secured a new job and a new apartment in a matter of days in her new home state of Minnesota, where she will complete her last semester of school at the University of Minnesota this fall.

She left early this morning for the long two-day drive back to Minneapolis with her three kitties.  I know that Binx, Mr. Moo, and Caska travel well, as my husband and I brought them to our home in Texas last February.  Having been under my care for such a long time, though, I have grown quite attached to them and will miss them greatly.  Already this house seems too quite…although my daughter and her kitties have once again left my home, they will certainly never leave my heart!  And I want PHOTOS of the kitties enjoying the STAIRS in their new home!!

Have you ever cared for a grown child’s pets long-term?  Did you become as attached to them as I have to my daughter’s kitties?

This post is part of a Wednesday blog hop. Please click the “Blog Paws” button in the sidebar to follow all the other wonderful pet blogs. Happy Blogging!

Cross Country Kitties

My daughter said it was surreal, having both her Dad and I sitting across from her and her boyfriend at a table in a local restaurant, sharing a meal in St. Paul, Minnesota.  It certainly felt that way to us too, having made a rather impromptu two day trip driving across the country to help her move, and to bring her three cats home with us to central Texas.  We finished our meal and made plans for the next day – where to meet up and arrangements for pickup of the U-Haul for moving – and then headed to our hotel for a good night’s sleep.  We would need it.

Now I don’t know about you, but my husband and I aren’t big on moving, although we have certainly helped our daughter move a number of times.  Year after year, one apartment to another.  When she moved away from Texas to Minnesota a couple of years ago she went alone, and we thought our apartment moving days were over!  And this move would not be easy.  Third floor, wet slippery slushy snow, and high temps in the 20’s.  We were fortunate that, although bitterly cold by our standards, it was a gorgeous sunny day.  We were even crazy enough to delight in the fact that we were getting to experience a little bit of “real” winter!  That nostalgia had worn off by the end of moving day, though, as our weary bodies were ready for a hot shower and a clean bed.  And we were still mentally preparing ourselves for the long two day ride home, with three cats in tow.

As we awoke to Day 4 of our cross country adventure, the weather had changed.  It was even colder outside, and the sun was gone now.  It looked like a winter day, with gray and overcast skies.  Snow was expected with a front that was coming in later in the day, and we really wanted to head out as early as possible and get ahead of any potentially bad driving conditions.  We had 600 miles to go to make it to Wichita, Kansas before this day was over.  Our daughter picked up her cats from the boarding kennel, and we quickly moved them – each in their own soft crate – from her vehicle to ours.  It was very cold outside and the goodbyes were quick.

I have so often wished that I could talk to pets and that they would understand what I am saying.  It is so hard when you can only reassure them with a gentle voice and hands, but can’t really explain to them what is happening.  Such was the case now, with three plaintive meowing voices coming from the crates.  Poor, scared things.  After we got through downtown Minneapolis I relented and unzipped the crate tops and front panels, and let the roaming begin.  All chose to explore at least briefly.  The two older cats, Caska and Mr. Moo, climbed back into their crates in short order, while the youngest cat Binx continued his loud meowing as he explored my vehicle from the very back to the very front.  He looked out windows, climbed over our shoulders, slinked onto the floorboards (including the driver’s side).  Eventually he settled on my passenger side floorboard.  I had a pillow in my lap and think he felt a little more secure in the temporary darkness.

I had come prepared for this ride home.  We had a big litter box in the very back of my Honda Element, which fortunately does NOT have carpet in it.  We had fastened the back seats up, to leave as much room as possible for luggage and kitties.  I had brought along small plastic bags, spray cleaner, and paper towels, all of which would prove useful on the trip home.  I kept one pet bowl for water, and lightly filled it after some of our own gas/food stops (while the car was not running) so the cats could drink and not get dehydrated.  And all three did take advantage of this.  I made the decision to hold off on food throughout the duration of the day, instead giving the cats food at the overnight hotel.

My biggest fear, the cats potentially escaping from the vehicle, proved to be unfounded.  Unlike dogs, who would be more excited and tend to bolt for the door once open, the cats seemed to want to “hide” in their crates.  My husband and I would take turns on exiting and entering the vehicle, all the time keeping a very watchful eye on the cats.  All in all, the ride on Day 4 went amazingly well.  No pets sick, and all fairly settled.

When we arrived at our overnight destination, we placed their litter box, food and water bowls in the bathroom, and turned the kitties loose for the night.  And cats being the nocturnal creatures they are, you know they stretched their legs and moved about all night.  Once at around 2:00am my husband and I both sat straight up in bed because they had loudly knocked over something in the room.  And Binx climbed all over both of us in bed, and purred loudly under the covers.

Day 5 was pretty much the same as Day 4.  The ride was becoming more routine now, and we were just anxious to get home.  Finally, after more gas stops than seemed imaginable, our round-trip 2400 mile journey was over!  The days ahead will now be filled with helping all of our pet household (which suddenly numbers eight) to make the day-to-day adjustments.

Have you ever traveled with cats?  Ever made a cross country road trip with your kitties?  How did that work for you?  I’d love to know!