The time I got Pinterest-y

How hard can it be? I thought to myself after an encouraging chat with my sister. I had decided to make this fancy rainbow cake for my daughter’s 7th birthday.

 

IMG_1533 (1)

We were having a ‘My Little Pony’ party and other than a plan to throw a bunch of ponies around the back yard, the theme was pretty weak. Not only would the cake be perfect for the party, but my kids had a day off school and we had some time to kill. A towering rainbow cake seemed like it might be a solution to a few mini problems.

It was fun at first.

We mixed the colours and made the thin cakes. Our colours did not resemble anything found in any rainbow I’ve ever seen but otherwise, it was going well! By the end of the day before the party, our six thin cakes were baked, and ready to be stacked and frosted the following day.

The morning of the party, about an hour before the start time, my husband went to get ice and whatever else we’d forgotten while the kids and I finished the cake. I knew it wouldn’t be exactly like the picture but my kid would like it, I was sure.

We put the purple on the plate first. All went well.

Then the blue. No problem!

In the excitement, the yellow somehow missed the stack. It landed with a muffled thump (and some shrieks), on the floor.

“Pick it up!” begged my children. “No one will know.”

“We’ll know,” I told them. “We can’t serve floor cake to our friends. Especially not floor cake from our floor.”

“But it won’t be a rainbow without yellow,” they protested.

“Oh I’ve seen rainbows without yellow,” I lied.
We glued the orange on top of the others with icing. Then the red hot pink.
 A few rainbow sprinkles on top and it was a masterpiece!

It is an understatement to say that we were impressed with our amazing creation.

At first I thought I imagined it. Could the cake have moved?

It shifted again, then a crack that looked a lot like the San Andreas split the cake. Smaller cracks spider-ed out from the original fault.

We screamed.

I lunged forward to protect the cake with my arms and body but I couldn’t hug it back together.

“Call Daddy!” I told my kid as I held on for one final moment.

I had to let it go. And clean icing from my armpits. The day was not going as planned.

“Can he fix it?” she asked.

“No. Just tell him to pick up some cupcakes with that ice.”

IMG_1258

And life goes on….

via Daily Prompt: Cake

 

<a data-pin-do=”embedPin” data-pin-width=”large” data-pin-terse=”true” href=”https://www.pinterest.com/pin/267823509063725413/”></a&gt;

Save

The Fishie Report

We said ‘goodbye’ to Fishie this week. Here is what happened….

Day 11 (but feels longer):

Fishie is still doing well but how long can that last?

Mrs. B is back from her trip. The girls swear they saw her car.

Fishie may well be going home tonight.

I am suddenly nostalgic for our time together. All those times she swam to the glass and waved her fins at me as if she knew I was like her temporary fish mother. Or the way she would pretend to be dead just to scare me then act all swimmy once she got the right amount of attention.

I am going to miss that fish!

A little.

Lunch:

No sign of Mrs. B. I will give it a couple of hours.

3:15PM:

Time to collect the big kids from school. I drag the three-year old to the door. She wants the stroller but we are actually on time today so I insist that we walk.

We make it all the way to the corner before slipping in an enormous mud puddle (like a small lake!) and landing in a tangled heap in the road. One of us is crying.

We scurry home to change into the closest clothes to the front door. Now we are late.

We head out to the car (no time left to walk) and 3-year-old tells me: “This is why we should always drive.”

Did she almost drown us in that puddle just to make a point….?

We make it just in time to pick up girls and when we get home, the 3-year-old and I, still quite muddy, take a shower. I put on my nice flowery sundress with my new black flow-y top and feel much better.

The doorbell rings.

It is Mrs. B!!

She has a potted orchid in her hands and she smiles as she looks me over. “Are you expecting?”

I should have killed her fish.

“Uh, no. It’s just a flow-y shirt,” I tell her. “It’s new.”

I am throwing out this top!

“Oh!” she says, like she only sort of believes me. She hands me the orchid. “This is for you. Thank you for looking after my fish. He is such a nice fish. Is he still alive?” she asks.

HE???

“Fishie is fine. Great actually! I’ll get him for you right now,” I tell her.

But no. Mrs. B says she has to go! The laundry repair guy is there, the rest is lost in the blur of her running away.

We still have Fishie!

Fuck.

“I’ll bring her over later today!” I shout at Mrs. B’s back.

She gives a little wave over her head without turning around, and is gone.

Day 12:

Tried and failed to return Fishie. Could have sworn I saw movement at Mrs. B’s house. The girls and I walked Fishie across the street, slow and steady, careful not to slosh but there was no answer even after 50 or so rings.

Does Mrs. B not want Fishie?

Day 13:

Our landlord visited today. He noticed the Betta and told me that he used to pet-sit for Mrs. B when he and his family lived here.

“Watching the fish used to stress me out,” he told me. “Do you know how easy it is to kill those things?”

Day 13 (later):

Fishie is gone.

Adventures in Betta-sitting

My mother was opposed to pets of all sorts, especially Goldfish, which she considered to be ‘gateway pets’.

She also had unruly hair that required frequent maintenance. The hair problem, combined with a lack of after school childcare, made it necessary for her to bring my sister and me with her to her hair appointments at the local mini-mall.

To keep us occupied during her appointment, she would give us money for ice cream at the mall’s Dairy Queen. We would scarf down our ice cream then head to the pet shop where we could imagine that maybe one day, we would have a pet of our own.

My sister and I were thrilled when we finally realized, after many hair appointments, that Goldfish are shockingly cheap. Armed with this valuable information, we came up with a scheme to finally get ourselves a pet.

The next hair appointment, we got an ice cream as usual, but instead of getting fancy cones with sauce or toppings, we bought the cheap soft serves and pocketed the change. Optimistic from sugar, and rich with leftover quarters and nickels, we went to the pet store as usual but this time, we weren’t browsing. We were customers.


j_arlecchino / Foter / CC BY-NC

Our newly coiffed mother was less than thrilled when she saw us with our plastic-bagged pet and our little container of flakes.

“They don’t last long,” she said, annoyed and a little grim. “You’ll see.”

Sadly, she was right. Our first fish died in its salad bowl within a day.

But hair grows and mothers forget. Four to six weeks later, we got a new fish.

It was a vicious and deadly cycle.

I don’t know how many there were but it was more than a few. I mourned them at the time but otherwise haven’t thought a lot about those unfortunate fish since. That changed last week when a neighbour, Mrs. B, asked me if I would fish-sit for her, and those memories rose to the surface of my consciousness like, well, dead fish.

“Can you watch our Betta?” asked Mrs. B.

I had no idea what she was talking about.

“Our fish,” she explained. “Fishie. We are going away for Passover. Can you take the fish?”

At first I was kind of excited. The girls would love to fish-sit. It would be like having a pet that we could return. Of course we would take the fish!

Mrs. B told me she’d drop her off before they left.

It wasn’t until later that day that the memories of my old pets started to surface and made me wonder if fish-sitting would be a mistake.

A couple of days later, I returned from grocery shopping to hear delighted squeals coming from the kitchen. Our baby sitter looked like she had a headache; my children looked like they might burst with joy.

“Mrs. B brought the fish!” yelled my kids. “We have a fish!”

The fish looked nervous. I didn’t blame her.

“Did Mrs. B leave any instructions?” I asked.

“Just to feed it,” answered our baby sitter, LoriLee. “She told us to give four or five little pellets a day but no more.”

“Anything else?” I had told LoriLee that this fish business had me worried.

“Nope. Just feed her. Bettas are really basic fish. You can buy them pretty much anywhere,” she added, confirming my fear that poor Fishie might bite it at any moment.

It was then that I realized that Mrs. B had never actually said when she’d be back.

I started a mini-log to keep track of Fishie’s stay:

Day 1 (delivery day, afternoon):

Uneventful. Moved fish away from loud, pokey children to quieter spot on mantel. Fish swimming in glass vase. She ate her food. Seems happy.

Day 2:

Children fight over who will feed fish. I decide that it should be me. I can’t risk them giving it too many pellets.

Took kids to Cabrillo Marine Aquarium and saw many healthy looking fish. Feeling more confident about Fishie’s chances with our family.

Took a walk on the pier and saw a caught but not dead fish being toyed with by a slobbering dog. Ominous!

Day 3:

Allowed the girls to ‘rock paper scissors’ to decide who gets to feed the fish but controlled the process so tightly that everyone lost interest. Good!

The small glass vase is starting to look a little dingy.

Reminded of the quote from Benjamin Franklin about fish and house-guests stinking after three days. I realize that he didn’t mean fish that are actual house-guests but if that water gets any cloudier, he will be proven all too right.

Day 4:

Called my sister to talk about the fish and ask her if she remembers or ever thinks about our former pets.

“Are you kidding?” she said. “I remember them too well. And how Mum would always be so calm and tell us that she lived on a farm as she flushed them!”

“I didn’t realize that those fish had traumatized me for life. Fishie is bringing it all back. Anyway, her water is cloudy and I think I have to change it. It must be horrible for her in there,” I told my sister.

“Don’t do it!” she said. “You’ll regret it. Remember the one that almost died in the sink?”

How could I forget? It was one of the few that lasted long enough to need a fresh bowl. We’d filled the sink and dumped her in to wait while we cleaned. But the plug was leaky and the water drained out. The fish flopped desperately. My sister screamed. I scrambled for the tap, sick with horror. The fish lived that day but not much longer.

“Just leave it alone. Your neighbour would’ve told you if you were supposed to change the water.”

I knew my sister was right. I hung up and checked on the fish. She looked a bit lethargic.

Called my husband who also strongly advised me to leave the fish alone.

Decided to go online and see if there were any suggestions about caring for a Betta. As expected, the internet turned up a trove of advice and information (mostly consistent!) and it seems that Bettas are hardier than Goldfish (i.e. as long as the water temperature is exactly right, they probably won’t die when you clean the bowl)so I decided to go ahead and change the water.

I cleaned a square vase (like the one she came in but bigger) and added some room temperature water. It felt perfect. I was reasonably certain that it wouldn’t kill Fishie.

Scooping her out was tricky (breath-holding/cold-sweat tricky) and eight year old was providing running commentary as well as ‘helpful’ advice. Fishie did not want to be in a ladle and was surprisingly hard to catch but eventually, she gave up and allowed the transfer.

She seems to be doing okay now. Eight year old thinks Fishie is grateful for the fresh bowl but I doubt it.

Day 4 (later):

Repeatedly checked on fish. Caught her resting near the bottom several times and had to gently tilt the bowl to get her moving. She is doing well but may be a bit annoyed that I keep waking her.

Allowed the three year old to drop four pellets into the clean bowl.

Fishie seemed pleased.

Day 5:

All is well. But where is Mrs. B? I thought this was supposed to be short trip!

Was going to cook fish sticks for the kids tonight but that seems insensitive. Fishie is disrupting our lives!

Day 6 (Easter Sunday):

Fishie is alive and well and even participated in the Easter egg hunt. She has become a member of the family! fishie at easter

I really hope she leaves before I have to change that water again.

Still no sign of Mrs. B.

Called my sister. “Our neighbours had us watch their fish once,” she told me. “They supposedly forgot about it when they came home. We had it for more than a month.”

“Oh my God! Did it live?”

“Yes,” answered my sister. “It lived but I kind of hated those neighbours after.”

When is Passover OVER anyway?

The internet says it goes until next Saturday….

Day 7:

Nothing to report. Fishie is perky today and swims over to me when I check on her which I do almost as frequently as I spy out the window for signs of Mrs. B.

I hope this story has a happy ending!

Day 8:

Fishie is still with us as both a house guest and a living being. My fish-care skills have  improved significantly since childhood. Will change bowl later today….Unless Mrs. B shows up. Where are you Mrs. B???

5PM: Fresh fish! Not quite seamless but second water change was much less traumatic for me and Fishie. Will be buying a new ladle and strainer after Passover….

Day 9:

Still here. Still swimming.

Fishie

For the rest of the story, look at The Fishie Report.

Dark Cloud


Dimit®i / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Dark Cloud slumped into my office before I had a chance to pick up the phone and fake a call. She flopped into a chair, looked at me with her signature doughy pout, and sighed.

I knew how this worked. I lived it at least once a week.

Dark Cloud would invade my office and huff. I was supposed to ask what was wrong. And then she would tell me.

She was either annoyed, frustrated, irked or offended. At everyone. Most often because someone had asked her to actually do her job. The conversations were more airing of grievances than discussions.

When she’d had her fill of belly-aching, she would slow-stomp past the terrified assistants and slam her door.

Later in the day, she would send some passive aggressive emails and make accusatory comments about who had eaten the last cookie (yes, it was usually me).

On the days when she didn’t bother me directly, she still managed to cause trouble, sowing misery in the office by ruling the supply cupboard with a tight iron fist or demanding excruciating detail for the smallest petty cash request.

I couldn’t fire her. I couldn’t even get her out of my office.

But that day, I refused to be manipulated into speaking.

I sat silent. It was a standoff. It was petty and childish and far from crack leadership but I’d had it. She was too much work.

She huffed again.

I cocked my head and widened my eyes, cursing my body for betraying me by wordlessly catering to her brattiness.

“I’m in love,” she breathed. “SOOOO in love.”

“Well, that’s great,” I answered. I was surprised. An electric eel would be easier to love. “Um, congratulations?”

Why was she telling me this? Why couldn’t she just get out of my office?

I was sort of amazed, and sort of revolted like that time when KFC announced that insane sandwich.

double down bacon and chicken

“I met him online. We both enjoy swimming. It is so intense!”

Kill me now!

I admit I was thinking of setting a small fire to escape as she droned on about how they both despised their stupid co-workers but loved cats and how she needed to be where he was. Out west. ‘In love’ Dark Cloud was just as awful as ‘Bitter and Hostile Dark Cloud’.

“So I have to quit,” she finally said, in a sorrowful apologetic voice.

It was time to listen properly!

“I know it’ll be tough without me but I have to do this,” she said.

I bit the inside of my cheek to clamp down the joy. “Well, if you’re sure…”

The Dark Cloud was on the horizon and headed away.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_assignment/writing-101-day-twelve/

The Wild Life – Part II – Even Wilder Wild Things

The hanging flower baskets on the deck outside our bedroom looked like they had been attacked, insulted and then run over.

What could have done such a thing?

It was a mystery we intended to solve. We decided to re-hang what was left of the bedraggled plants and sleep with the curtains open to keep an eye on things.

After just one night we knew that our baskets were victims of raccoons. Our deck was their playground and the hanging plants were the swings. Our next-door-neighbour’s deck was their toilet so we were luckier than they were but it was annoying and noisy.

We tried to make the baskets less entertaining by tying them to their hooks with wires (to keep them hanging no matter what) and even oiled the plastic rods and pots to make them impossible to grip but it seemed like that just made it more fun. The whoops and thumps of raccoon joy continued.

I thought we should give up on the baskets – take them down and move on. My husband, Michael, was not pleased with this strategy but agreed.

The raccoons may have been bored without their swing but they continued to enjoy our deck.

At first we thought they were wrestling which was kind of cute. But it wasn’t just wrestling and it wasn’t cute at all. They were having obnoxiously loud raccoon sex*. On our chaises.

We joked that we’d somehow built a raccoon ‘Lido Deck’ but it wasn’t that funny. That deck was supposed to be for our enjoyment not hard-core rodent raunch.

Ew.

“That just isn’t right!”


“Seriously. It’s our deck,” Michael told me with a crazed glint in his eye after a particularly bad night.

I had no answer. They were getting to us both.

“They hate fresh mint,” my mother told me. “And mothballs. You should cover your deck in mint and mothballs.”

Despite the mediocre results of my last attempt at pest control with seasoning, I was willing to try the mint. But not the mothballs. I didn’t want a deck that smelled like an old person’s closet. I went out early in the day and jammed mint sprigs into all the cracks.

It didn’t work.

I came home late one evening to a silent house. I called out but there was no answer even though Michael’s shoes were at the door.

On the second floor the blue light of the television flickered and glowed on mute but he wasn’t there. I called out again. I was getting a little worried.

I went up to the third floor and there he was, my husband, crouched low to the ground with his face pressed to the screen door, a garden hose in one hand poking out between the doors. He turned to me and mouthed ‘Hi!’ He blew me half-assed kiss then did the finger to the lip motion, and turned back to the deck.

“How long have you been like that?” I asked, trying not to sound alarmed.

“I don’t know but I’ve given them some major soakers,” he whisper-giggled, staring into the night. A wet raccoon glared back from just out of range. Michael tugged at the hose but it only reached the door and the raccoon knew it.

Michael shook his head and pushed himself off the floor. He handed me the hose and walked to the bathroom. “They’re smart! I’ll give them that.”

He was back a moment later with a tall glass of water. He pulled the screen doors apart very slowly. The raccoon on the railing tensed but didn’t move. Suddenly, Michael lunged and emptied the glass at the raccoon then jumped back in and slammed the doors together, laughing like a madman.

I was married to Elmer Fudd!

“We need to call someone,” I told him. “This has to stop.”

“Why?” he asked, still watching the deck.

“Well, because this just isn’t normal. This isn’t good, you know? Lying here in the dark. With the hose and everything. It’s weird. I think we need professional help.”


JPChamberland / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

A great pest control professional isn’t cheap but they are worth it.** Our professional help (aka our hero) told us that the raccoons were living under the deck in the space between the wood slats and the roof. If we closed that off, there would be no problem. We were in. He cleared them out and chicken-wired the gap between the deck and the roof. When he was done, I went out and stuffed mint into every crevice for good measure.

The raccoons were outraged at first but after a few nights, they gave up and an uneasy truce developed. They didn’t go far – we would see them scurrying along our fence, or watching from the tree while Michael barbequed, and occasionally they would walk right up to the back door and bang on the glass in a menacing way – but the deck was ours again.

Mostly.

We were sure that our little man versus nature scuffles were behind us and that we had won. We were blissfully unaware that there was more nature lurking nearby – a creature so hideous that it would scare its own mother. But that is a story for another day.

* I do not know what ‘normal’ sounds like when it comes to raccoon sex but the volume seemed a bit over the top, like they were trying to make a point.

** This post (and Part I) was inspired by a post by Ethan Yarbrough that reminded me of how grateful we were (and still are!) to the ‘raccoon relocation experts’ we hired. http://ethanyarbroughwrites.wordpress.com/2014/04/25/truths/

Our first daughter and her buddy almost two years after this story.

Our first daughter and her buddy two years later.

Photo credit for ‘Isaac/Love Boat’ picture: Shavar Ross / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The Wild Life – Part 1

When we bought our house in downtown Toronto, the wild-life I envisioned had more to do with the early throes of romantic love and the total freedom of my life at the time than the creatures that live nearby. I certainly never thought about animals.

We were thrilled to have our house – excited to the point of being keen to do yard work. As soon as the weather was nice enough, we hit the nursery to buy pretty things for our garden.

Our yard is tiny (average living room size) so once we had flowers, making it beautiful did not take long. I had been warned by my mother, an avid gardener and something of a squirrel specialist, that squirrels can be a threat to plants and added a healthy dose of bone meal to the soil to deter them.

Within hours, my husband and I were relaxing in a flowery paradise, toasting each other with wine, extremely pleased with ourselves.

I now realize that the squirrels were most likely watching and licking their twitchy little lips because the next morning, we discovered that they had feasted like, well, animals, on our gorgeous display.

I called my mother.

She suggested that we try again but make our flowers less delicious. She told me to sprinkle cayenne pepper all over the new plants and that once the puffy-tailed rats got a fiery taste of what we were serving, word would spread and our garden would be safe.

We returned to the nursery, bought new plants for the yard, and added a couple of nice hanging baskets for the deck outside our bedroom.

Ever so slightly less cheerfully than the day before, we planted our plants and hung our baskets. Again, we celebrated with cocktails and enjoyed the evening in our yard.

I was brushing my teeth when I remembered about the cayenne.

I ran downstairs, grabbed the spice and went outside.

It was dark but I could see well enough as I liberally seasoned the flowers. It took the whole bag but it was worth it.

I went to bed confident that my garden was safe.

Other than an obnoxious squeal outside our window (that in hindsight sounded a lot like ‘WoooooHoooooo!’), that stirred us briefly, we slept like logs.

The next morning, we opened the drapes, ready to admire our pretty hanging baskets but found them scattered on the deck, crushed petals and dirt sprinkled all around like they had been attacked.

“How did that happen?” we asked each other.

We walked out – picking our way around the plant destruction – and looked over the railing of our balcony to check on our yard two storeys below. We were pleased to see that our plants were still there.

That was when we noticed the smell.

“Wow!” said my husband. “Someone is cooking up a feast and it’s making me hungry. Let’s go for brunch and deal with this mess later.”

As we went downstairs, the cooking odour got stronger.

Curry.

A lot of curry.

Then curry overload.

I went to the spice drawer and opened it. A bag of Cayenne sat on top. Missing was the very similar looking bag of Curry Powder.


Chris Falt / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

I had dumped the entire bag in our yard.

As it turned out, we could smell our house from three blocks away. But, as it also turned out: squirrels do not enjoy curry (at least not in massive quantities). Our garden was temporarily protected.

The smell lasted about four days and our plants survived a little longer than that.

I called it a draw.

I didn’t know that this was just the beginning – that nature was at our doorstep, in our garden, and on our deck and that it would drive us to near madness. I had no idea that we would soon find out what had destroyed our hanging baskets. Or that I would eventually know more than I could ever hope to forget about raccoons and their love lives, or that I would learn the difference between a Shanghai King Rat and a Possum.

All I knew then was that we were out of curry.

A love story

He sauntered, uninvited, through an open screen door, into my cheap student apartment. He walked right over to where I was sprawled on a too-small sofa, watching TV, and hopped on top of me.

“Aaaah!” I shrieked. “What are you? Get off of me!”

The intruder looked sort of, but not really, like a cat.

He was black and white with a long bony body and a huge head. His face was mostly black, with just a little white on the chin and forehead. He had enormous yellow eyes, a crooked nose that rattled when he breathed, and long white hairs that sprung from his eyebrows.

As I tried to get him off of me, he just seemed to hug (yes, hug) me tighter.

He looked hungry so I carried him to the kitchen and got him some food and water.

He watched me constantly and seemed pathetically grateful for the kindness. I petted him and he purred like a chainsaw.

“What IS that?” asked my roommate, all red-eyed and confused when he got home.

“I think it’s a cat,” I told him. “A really huge, weird-looking cat.”

After an hour or two, the cat-creature left through the same open screen door and disappeared for the night.

We saw each other again the next day when I went upstairs to have coffee with my neighbour. There he was. Curled up in the hall like a great big furry lump. He leapt to his feet and rushed to greet me, acting like a dog, and jumped into my arms, trusting I would catch him. I did.

I didn’t want a cat. I already had one (another stray) who was about as snuggly as a goldfish and was barely around except for food and vet visits which were killing me financially.

In that moment I understood how strange it must be for pets to be chosen and instantly loved by their people because I had just been chosen. I was his.

My neighbour, who was a photographer, had already decided he should be called Ilford, after the black and white film.

I held Ilford the whole visit and when I left, he followed me back to my apartment downstairs where I got him more food.

I took a walk in the neighbourhood, Ilford following alongside and behind, leaping through gardens, showing off his cat moves as he attacked plants and shrubs. I looked for ‘Lost Cat’ signs about Ilford. There were none. Given how thin and needy he seemed, I wasn’t surprised. We walked home and when we got there, I held the door open for him.

I had a new cat.

“What an unusually, uh, striking creature,” said the vet on our first visit as I beamed with pride much as I would almost twenty years later about my children. Ilford measured 3 feet from nose to tail. Really large. The vet estimated that he was about four years old.

Regular food and proper care put flesh on his extended frame and it wasn’t long before Ilford started to look more like a cat, and eventually, a chubby cat. People would sometimes still ask what he was but not often.

My life was already full of love (family and friends) and I’d had my share of infatuations, but Ilford was my first experience with being on the giving end of totally unconditional love. He changed me.

He wasn’t typically lovable. Not traditionally good-looking – you would never see him on a pack of toilet paper – and he was no great shakes at personal hygiene (I was probably making excuses but I blamed the jerk who had abandoned him). He rarely even bothered to cover his soiled kitty litter, just scratching his feet in a half-hearted way that reminded me of people who fake-wash their hands, and he snored like a grizzly bear but I adored him.

I would walk in the door and he would jump into my arms, or, if he was outside playing, would recognize my step and come running, his furry strange face filled with joy.

He would bring me revolting gifts of headless pigeons or live tiny mice that he would spit out at my feet. I was always flattered as well as horrified. I got him a bell for his neck to stop the gift-giving but couldn’t help feeling proud when he would catch something anyway.

I would be sick with worry if he took too long to come home at night, or worse, didn’t come home until morning.

We were together, and madly in love for more than ten years until he passed away. That was nine years ago and I now have three small human creatures of my own (that can also be incredibly gross and charming) who I love overwhelmingly and unconditionally.

But I still miss Ilford.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_writing_challenge/great-expectations/