Thursday, November 28, 2013

Gallows humour and an introduction...

[Note: This post was originally published on The Mrs on August 11th, 2012. And it still makes me laugh, because clearly I'm still a horrible person.]

Friday July 13th 2012 marked a simultaneously hilarious and horribly sad day in the Lannis household...

I don’t normally subscribe to the “Friday the 13th” brand of superstitious—my grandmother raised me on an earthier sense of groundless irrationality than that of the fall of calendar numbers...

[Disclaimer: some are grounded, as I discovered through research—still doesn’t stop the quiver of dread if I see shoes on a table, though...]

If you haven’t guess from previous posts, I have a healthy sense of gallows humour. Thank the shit sandwiches life has forced down my throat, or perhaps the quirks that pass for an ordinary day around the Lannis household—I stopped trying to logic it out long ago (right about when my verbal filter broke and I lost my sense of shame).

That’s as close as I’m going to come to an apology for the content of the remainder of this post. And to anyone who believes it may be disrespect, it’s not. It’s actually healthy coping skills with a dry twist of black humour...

So. Jumping straight into the fray...

On Friday the 13th, I went into the basement to find my cat, Shakespeare, laying on the floor.

As in: dead. D.E.A.D.

Yep. Very obviously stiff, no mistaking it—even from a distance—dead.

My first thought? Like, seriously, the very first thought in my head when I saw his unnervingly-still form?

THAT’S a blue job.

(I wish I was kidding.)

Of course, halfway back up the stairs I turned around because within me flickered the thought that I needed to make sure that THAT was a done deal...

Thankfully, it was.

My next thought was to remember it was Friday the 13th.

And my gut froze, my brain anything but frozen with possibilities of exactly how whack-jobs like to lash out at neighbourhood pets... How a potential serial killer would have no trouble luring my overly-friendly Shakespeare close enough to do harm...

Turns out this wasn’t the case.

Thanks to an investigation by CSI: Small Town (observations of which I’ll spare this blog), and a discussion with our vet, it has become evident that Shakespeare mostly likely suffered a massive coronary, and in all likelihood was dead before he hit the floor.


Believe it or not, this gives me peace.

Some vindictive nut possibly trying to poison the local obnoxious stray and getting my cat instead? Well, animal cruelty makes my blood boil, regardless of whether that animal has a home or is even domestic...

Mother Nature deciding it was time for our almost-four-year-old, 16 lb, heart-murmur-suffering, long-haired cat to drop dead in the middle of a heat wave?

THAT I can live with.

The vet, upon consultation, was astounded to realize we had a 16 lb murmur cat... apparently 6 years old is considered a very long life for a heart murmur cat, and they’re usually small in size. That we had a gloriously healthy, not-overweight (simply large), outdoor-hunting-loving tomcat with a heart murmur? Apparently shocking!

He kept remarking on Shakespeare’s weight, like I was supposed to have stopped feeding him around the 7 lb mark...

Uh, dude... I’m no DVM, but in that case, I think starvation would have got him first, not the faulty heart, eh?

The boys, upon hearing the news of Shakespeare’s passing, surprisingly barely blinked. I started by telling them not to go in the basement because Shakespeare wasn’t doing well, and my oldest wanted to know how bad it was... caught off guard, I said it didn’t look good, and that our beloved pet was probably dead.

My 6 year old took this in stride. By the next day he had declared we needed a “memory rock” to remember Shakespeare by, and he wanted it to be in the backyard, so he could see it when he was playing.

Consider it done!

Of course, there’s a whole anecdote to insert here about my “stay out of the basement” command, coupled with my heading downstairs with the phone to assess what I could do about the stiff-cat scenario, to return upstairs and find my oh-so-well-behaved youngest in tears because the oldest was locked in the closet, and HE HAD NO IDEA WHEN I WAS COMING UPSTAIRS AGAIN, POSSIBLY NEVER! AND HOW WOULD HE EVER TELL ME HIS BIG BROTHER WAS LOCKED IN THE CLOSET SINCE I SAID NOT TO GO TO THE BASEMENT...?! WHAT IF HIS BROTHER WAS LOCKED IN THE CLOSET FOREVER AND EVER?!

Did I mention Mr Lannis was at work during all this excitement?

Yes. My Friday the 13th was fun.

Nothing like standing at your neighbours’ doorstep, telling them that you’ve two crises in motion: one they can help with, and the other? Well, don’t worry about the dead cat, he’s not going anywhere, anyway...

(Seriously. That was the official joke that day—any time anyone went into the basement, the first thing hollered up the stairs was, “he’s still here!” to the giddy relief of the handful of us assembled for the morbid event.)

There’s also another anecdote to stick in here, before moving on... before leaving for work Mr Lannis had left a note reading, Worried about Shakes.

After having found the cat, I wrote on his note, DID YOU SEE HIM BEFORE YOU WROTE THIS?!

Then realized that wasn’t helping. And that upon returning from his late shift, after I was in bed, perhaps that line wouldn’t be the most reassuring one to find on the kitchen counter?

I debated writing, Don’t worry about Shakes. or He’s fine now. or Don’t go in the basement. before logic kicked in and told me that anything I wrote would prompt Mr Lannis to investigate...

So I put, He’s dead. Then thought that too harsh. So I added a sad face, but couldn’t stop laughing (no, really, it was all too absurd). Finally I scrawled, So sorry, Honey.

Then my friend from this post showed up and pointed out that we couldn’t just leave Mr Lannis a NOTE! What was I? Crazy?! Clearly we had to stay up, get drunk again, and inform him in person that we had a dead cat in residence...


(Perhaps I was the only one drinking. Shh.)

Anyhow. Onward once again...

After that night...

After toting a shovel at 1:30am (thanks to a husband who couldn’t contemplate sleeping with a dead cat in the basement—I don’t care what he tells you, he had the heebie jeebies and the wide-eyed incredulity of those who’ve read Pet Semetary, and who believe in a zombie uprising!), after shockingly blasé children, after a sappy she-cat, after smashing a car with a sledge hammer for charity (true story), after sunshine and rain, and oh, maybe 48 hours with only one cat in residence (closer to 36 if you counted the one hanging out in the basement but not breathing...), we have a new family member...

Because what better way to honour the life and death of our Shakespeare, than by opening our hearts to a new friend who needed a home? Our local Humane Society was having an open house because they were overrun with kittens, and we, well... let’s just say we suddenly had an opening, eh?

As it turns out, this little guy’s littermate was adopted out on Friday the 13th, and he was alone in his cage until Sunday morning when he came home with us. Seemed rather fitting to me that we’d both lost loved ones on the same day—perhaps we could find some peace together?

Not a true replacement, never a true replacement. Simply a new friend.

For Shakespeare’s purpose was to be a companion for Minette once our house was empty—when one day I return to the workforce (ha!) and the boys are both in school. And well, he’s not exactly filling that purpose anymore, so much as he is filling a hole... (::snort::).

Welcome, Asmodean!

Let you be as sucky at being evil as your namesake, and as friendly as your predecessor.

So that is the story of how we were a two-cat house, down to a one-cat house, then back to a two-cat house in less than 48 hours...

Hope your Friday the 13th was less eventful than ours!

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