February 12, 2005

louise

It wasn't your typical 7-year itch moment. That itchy moment when AADD (adult attention deficet disorder) sets in. I inherited AADD from my grandfather. A classy, proud farmer he washed his car every Friday before sundown. He never drove far and so at the end of every year, he'd walk back into the same dealership and trade the spiffy old sedan in for a spiffy new one. He loved cars. Mostly, he loved new, shiny cars.

I inherited his particular vehicular version of AADD. When a final car payment was made, my checkwriting fingers began to itch. Three years stuck with the same vehicle seemed like an achingly long time. Then one day I saw the first ad for the new Porsche Boxster. I was hooked. Couldn't wait til the end of my Infinity lease was up to get my very own Boxster. I walked in to Austin Porsche dealership and did one of those "to me, from me, with love and affection" transactions. That was 7 years ago this month.

A few weeks ago, I heard a weird pop from the my convertible window as it folded back out of sight for one of those sunny afternoon drives back from a client. And all of a sudden, it occurred to me: I wasn't driving a new car anymore. And she (yeah, well, I called her Louise after "Thelma and Louise") hasn't bored me. She's got a few dings and scrapes but everytime I slip behind the wheel and feel the engine purr, well, I'm thrilled to drive this car.

It's why my license plate says "GR8PHUN". Seven years later, I've found the cure for AADD -- enjoy what you love in life. Oh yes, neither Louise or I have aged a day and when the wind whistles by, and Louise flips up her little spoiler tail as we glide over 60mph, I swear we're both grinning from ear to ear.

February 10, 2005

adopted

I'm not sure if Spot adopted me or I adopted her. When we first moved into our apartment last April, she greeted me. It seems I was moving into her territory. She pressed her head up against my leg as I walked by -- begging for a little petting with an insistent meow. She was skinny with little hip bones that protruded out of her pure white coat.

I paid attention. I began setting out treats for her. Soon she would bounce along to greet me as I drove into the parking lot. She would bound up the stairs and wait for the daily tuna or chicken. She began to sound less insistent and purred more.

I learned she was abandoned by a family that moved and was being allowed inside and fed by the woman that moved into the same apartment. But then the woman moved out and the man who remained didn't let her back inside. How was she supposed to know that wasn't her home anymore? When the winter rains came, we set up a little umbrella over a little outside shelter for her and her companion cat, Josh.

She ate slow and deliberately -- as if each morsel was precious, as if each could be her last for a while. Gradually, a little plumpness softened across her hip bones.

As we began moving our belongings from the apartment to this house in January, she'd follow me up and down the stairs as if checking to make sure I wouldn't really leave without her. After we moved our own two cats over to the house, I let her inside the apartment to play with fur mice and bird feathers while I packed up small boxes. She reveled.

Finally, it was time to go. I arrived at the apartment and fed Spot her treats inside. I shut the door so that she couldn't wander off before we took our scary little trip to the vet. I laid down on the floor to take a break and she curled up on top of my stomach -- but not before licking my hand, for the first time. It was as if she knew she had finally found home.

When we drove together to the vet, she never peeped, meowed or howled. She put up with the exam and purred while I reassured her. She took her little shots and that squirt of Advantage flea killer that would stop all that yucky scratching.

Someone bothered to remind me that we didn't have to adopt Spot and Josh. That never occurred to me. My philosophy is to take care of those around me. I get a daily giggle at her streetsmart test of the waterbowl -- splashing her paw in it first to make sure it's water. It took her a couple of days to believe that the food bowl would always be filled -- no more empty tummy days. And when I see Spot sleeping in one of her favorite locations, I can't imagine how my stuffed bears Ophelia and Heronymous survived without her...