Golden Daemon 2012 Silver Medal SilverTabby

Not the face!!!

Picture if you will a man and a woman, sitting in the comfort of their own home just after the end of a long work week. It’s Friday, they are ready to relax and enjoy the fruits of a well deserved weekend. Suddenly, there comes a knock on the door and a ring at the bell. They’ve just entered…

The Process Server Zone!

As a rule, and everyone who knows us knows this, we don’t just answer the door or pick up the phone simply because a bell rings. Seriously, in every movie people hop up off the can, stop having sex and generally disrupt whatever they are doing to handle these interruptions. I know in movies it’s a plot mechanic, but every time I still have to say, “WHAT THE FUCK?!?!?” So naturally, the knock at the door didn’t phase us at all. Nobody should be knocking on my door at 6:45p on a Friday. When they insistently knocked and rang the bell, sending felines frantically fleeing in the process, we were like “WTF?!?!” Luna’s twitch kicked in and on a gut reaction she checked the court files on the internet…

Sure enough, fucking baby-mama had filed for a court date to get more child support. In all fairness, this isn’t surprising and we are always waiting for that shoe to drop. When it finally does, dropping from a great height onto your nut-sack as you lay slumbering, the effect is no less sickening. The circumstances surrounding the birth of my bastard is a wholly different story, as are my future rants about the arbitrary amounts of child support enforced by various states. No, today I’d like to rant specifically about the irony of being ‘off the grid‘ and ‘on the dole‘.

In the process of trying to iron out this financial wrinkle to the least detrimental impact, we learn that baby-mama & bastard are participating in a few public assistance programs for nutrition, health care, etc. We further learn that since being severed from extremely gainful employment, their financial situation has been most dire as self-employment for her 2 businesses  isn’t showing any profitability and what conventional employment she has engaged in has been part time and equally fruitless. I’m sorry to say, but even a cursory glance of the tax records showcased a number of incongruities in what was being claimed as income. Of course, at the end of the day, if a judge doesn’t see those incongruities and the disparity of income is significant, she gets a free ride and I take it up the ass. So, we do what we can to keep the fingers in the dam without the judge. This means filing an agreement wherein both parties must sign before a deputy clerk.

Make no bones about it, that woman and I do NOT get along. She has a penchant for manipulating people and circumstances to suit her personal desires, often convincing them that what she THINKS is what they ought to want/need/do. Still, I played nice, hoping to get out of this losing only slightly less than a pound of flesh. This meant spending a bit of face time before & after signing the papers. During this interaction, I learn that she has no intention of ever returning to her former means of gainful employment. Furthermore, she specifically wishes to remove herself from the tax paying citizenry, or more to the point, she doesn’t wish to earn enough to have to pay real taxes and where possible take payment in cash. She’s packing up the bastard and moving to a pleasant countryside location to live with a friend who is ‘off the grid’. My assumption is that she will again request public assistance once she arrives. Thus, ’off the grid‘ and ‘on the dole‘.

For those who don’t know, I pay the taxes on MY income which I then give to her as Child Support. She doesn’t even have to declare it as income. Neither do I get to declare these payments in such a way as to keep my tax burden reasonable. So it would appear that her intent was to take my free money and use mine and your tax dollars to fund her little experiment. She’s also planning on declaring bankruptcy to eliminate the lion’s share of her debt, (again, another form of public assistance in debt forgiveness). So she DOESN’T want to pay taxes, but she DOES want to benefit from the services that other’s taxes provide? Furthermore, we still don’t fully understand or appreciate how the funds I am required to pay by court order may actually benefit the child in question. If the child goes to public school, then more tax dollars are at work for education. If not, then she is only being set up to become another drain on the public trough.

At present I am utterly fuming over this revelation. As a rule I’m extremely leftist. I firmly believe that the basic requirements for survival and prosperity should not be beyond the reach of the common citizenry: home, clothing, food, education. I also believe that citizens owe a debt to the gov’t which provides for them. However, that’s the utopian ideal. In reality, humans are vain, selfish, greedy, ignorant creatures who look for any means to get ahead of their neighbor and rarely offer anything without expecting payment in return. So here I am, out more money per month than I was only a week ago, utterly disrupted in my own financial plan, knowing full well that am I paying directly and indirectly to help subsist baby-mama’s ’off the grid‘/’on the dole‘ lifestyle.

Thanks for everything…

 
Oberon in da sink!

Sink, not swim!

It has been a tumultuous year thus far. I’ve been meaning to write this for some time, but I am quite frankly exhausted. Every spare ounce of energy is used to curl up in Luna’s arms, love on our furry babies, plunge a virtual lightsaber through someone’s digital guts or to see the bottom of the next bottle. Let’s recap 2012 to date…

The year began much as it always has with opening day of the Arizona Renaissance Festival serving as my official birthday gathering. From here we had the most insane Feb/Mar as both of our jobs went completely off the hook. Luna had her annual trade show travel with not even a day’s rest after as we then had to fly to a wedding weekend in Monterey, CA. Shortly after returning from that we hosted dear friends in our home for a long weekend. Bidding them adieu, we hoped to settle in for a brief respite. It was at this time that I developed the first symptoms of Pityriasis Rosea. Despite an initial diagnosis as jock itch, this harmless yet virtually unknown skin condition is only just now abating after 12 weeks of itchy hell. During that time we were also forced to deal with the loss of our beloved Portia, which I have written about. Luna’s birthday and our annual Beltane gathering were affected, but we soldiered on gathering solace amongst our dearest friends. No sooner than we had come to grips with mourning her when we were again thrust into the veterinary maelstorm again with Oberon.

Obie began acting erratic, which we attributed to the loss of his sister. We were still coming to terms with the changes in the household, (eating, litter box, etc), so it was difficult to tell. His litter box behaviour had become quite strange and we had only begun researching possible issues. In denial that anyone else in the household might be sick, we ended up taking Oberon into the emergency vet a month & a day after Portia’s death. 01Jun found us sitting in a room being told our son had a blocked urethra and possible bladder stones. Urinary tract health is a critical issue for boy cats and a blockage can lead to death in as little as 72 hours. Catheterized, we learned that Oberon has an extremely small urethra, required surgery to remove several bladder stones.  A week of segregation from Aja & Rhu followed, with one filthy Obie, Luna & I cooped up in the master bedroom with food and litter box. It took time to integrate the babies again as Oberon reeked of surgery, pain and fear. His pain meds made him both paranoid and psychotically loving. Once off the pain meds, we had an incident where he attempted to cough up a hairball and suffered great pain. Imagine having surgery where your abdomen is cut from sternum to crotch and after barely a week of recovery you had violent, abdominal seizures. It was one of the most frightening experiences we’ve ever had to endure. With the lad recovered, Obie now has to be on medicated food and bottled water for the rest of his life to manage the formation of struvite crystals in his urine. Our feline food bill quadrupled overnight and the rank odour of wet food is a source of daily joy each morning. Still, he is healthy and actually quite peppy and energetic. New games have been developed which he relishes, playing a form of volleyball or basketball rebounding with us as often as he can.

It’s July now and we just hosted my parents for the weekend as well as an evening with one of Luna’s friends from New Hampshire. I have since learned that my Vit D count is exceedingly low, less than half of expected, and my blood sugar is higher than expected. These things together put me on the watch list for diabetes, but if I get some sun and some exercise and lowers the sugars, (note: booze is a sugar, fuck that!), then all should be right in my world. We have a dear friend who is diabetic and though we lover her, I have no desire to be playing on her team. So, diet is changing and the doc wants to see my blood every 3 months to see if it’s getting back on track. Yaay.

Work is STILL totally our of control with no signs of relief. And we have our trip to new England in the fall, another wedding to attend, (more on this shortly), and of course our own anniversary all before we reach the holidays again. I find it disheartening that in the 3rd week of July I scan out over the next 5 months in my mind’s eye and grow exhausted at the mere thought of them. Still, the fight of a proper New England fall combined with two October celebrations should be occasion to rejoice, regardless of how difficult the time between now and then will be. So, until I have happier news to report, I’ll sign off on the last 7 months for now and think positive thoughts for the remainder of the year.

Cheers…

 

 
Beltane Portia, 30Apr2009

We will miss you our sweet girl.

The heart & soul of our happy home has been torn from us this year. Portia Pie, Her Royal Pieness, Our Sweet Girl, succumbed rapidly to an illness on the evening of 23 April forcing us to hospitalize her. She endured shaving, catheter needles, ultrasounds, surgery, transfusions and feeding tubes over the course of the next week in a fight to keep our girl alive. Our Warrior Pieness’ valiant fight was ultimately fruitless and we are bereft that our beautiful girl’s final days were away from home in a kennel instead of home with her family where she may still be today, albeit on borrowed time. To the end, despite the drugs, pain and fear, she was still our sweet girl, showing her true self to us at every visit.

Only one month & 17 days past her 6th birthday, she was too young and too beautiful to be taken from us so suddenly. Every aspect of our home had Portia in it. Her nickname should be Visa, because she was everywhere you wanted to be. Social to everyone who visited, constantly underfoot and overheard with her characteristic ‘bark’, not a moment of any day was without her love and affection. From before the sun came up, she was in bed ‘bonking’ her chilly nose and warm forehead against your face. Throughout the day she let you know when it was time to take a break, get a snack, share some time or give her treats. At the end of every day it was a race up the stairs to the bedroom and onto the chest at the foot of the bed.

Every moment of every day since her hospitalization was difficult because she was such an integral part of our world. Every moment since her passing, with the full realization that she will never again be where she is expected, is agony. Our pain at her loss has been so overwhelming at times that we are numb with grief. It is hard to imagine what life will be like without her and I know the first day that seems ‘normal’ will earn a mental chastising, but all grief must eventually come to an end. Even so, I doubt we will ever truly be without her in our hearts, for to do so would mean losing that piece of our hearts and souls. Portia is survived by her fraternal twin, Oberon, her adopted siblings Rhu & Aja, and so far as we know her mother & father Cali and Sojo.

To say she will be missed fails to do justice to her memory. Without the words to express it otherwise, however, we can only say that we will miss you dearly, our Sweet Girl, our Portia Pie.

 

Email from Sister Moon to our friends & family on 25 April 2012

We had to take Portia to First Regional Animal Hospital on Monday night, and we wanted to update you all on what’s happening in case you don’t hear from us or we’re unresponsive to calls or e-mails over the next several days. I’m sorry this message is kind of long. Even with all that’s here, I’m skipping over a lot of details.

Portia was behaving perfectly normal all through Monday afternoon. That night, we went out to run some errands and grab a bite to eat, and when we got home, she was slumped on the floor outside our bedroom door, acting very sluggish. She felt hot, and we couldn’t get her to respond to any of her favorite things (treat time, water bottles, etc.). We waited until late in the evening, and then decided we should take her to emergency care. Something just wasn’t right.

When we got her to the hospital, she had a 105 degree fever, which is high for a cat (normal is about 102). She also registered some discomfort when the vet tech prodded her belly. They ran a full diagnostic and said she had a urinary tract/bladder infection, as well as a high white blood cell count and some dehydration. They recommended an ultrasound, which could not be done until the morning. In light of the high fever, we decided to leave her overnight so she could be monitored, and they would do the ultrasound first thing in the morning. They immediately started her on some fluids and antibiotics.

The ultrasound revealed fluid in Portia’s belly and irregular inflammation of her bowel, in the area where the large and small intestine meet.  They feel it’s important to do a biopsy to determine what’s going on in there (potential cancer), but unfortunately, because of the location, it’s not something they can do with a needle. They need to operate. It was more or less decided that she would have surgery today, but they wanted to see if they could get her fever down and get her to eat, because she’s been nauseous since they started her meds, and she hasn’t wanted any food or water. We went in to see her yesterday and, even with all this going on, she was loving and feisty. She’s a strong-willed girl. :)

They were supposed to call us this morning and settle details for the surgery. Obviously, we were concerned about putting her under the knife because of the infection and fever. We were wondering if it might be better to treat her bladder infection first and hold off on surgery until she’s stronger. The specialist didn’t seem to feel the surgery was urgent; she just said it would be necessary to give us a thorough diagnosis.

So this morning we wait until 10 a.m. No call. We call them. The doctor says Portia is doing better. Her fever has come down and she’s lively. She suggests we might bring her home and see if we can get her to eat, because she’s clearly agitated with being at the vet. She said after a few days, we could see how she does and schedule the surgery then. We make arrangements to pick her up at 3, very excited that we’re going to have our little girl back.

A few hours later, the doc calls and says Portia has taken a turn. She still won’t eat and is now drooling, and she’s having diarrhea. She’s concerned. She says we should go down and see her and decide if we still want to take her home. So we go to the hospital. Today, Portia is clearly very upset, yowling incessantly, even with her mom and dad in the room. She’s wet from a bath, which has also agitated her. And she’s high on pain meds, which is no doubt making things worse. While we’re visiting with her, she pees herself, poor thing, which isn’t helping the situation. Now we’re completely freaking out, and she’s freaking out. And the doctor is not being particularly helpful. (Long story there, but in short, the doctor gave us bad advice in the morning, and was being defensive about it. We should have moved forward with surgery today, but she convinced us it wasn’t immediately necessary. After seeing Portia today, we have to disagree. Now her recovery has been delayed unnecessarily.)

In short, we ended up leaving her at the hospital and are trying to schedule a surgery for tomorrow. We have no idea what will happen. The surgeon has a full schedule but will try to fit her in. If all goes well, Portia will still be at the hospital until Friday, possibly as late as Sunday (and that’s if things go well).

The surgery is very invasive and risky. Best-case scenario, the doc goes in, does the biopsy, sees nothing to be concerned about, and stitches her back up. Other possible scenarios: The doc sees something she DOESN’T like and removes a piece of Portia’s colon. They’ve warned us there could be cancer. Also, their could be complications during or after the surgery. In short, we have no idea if the surgery will help her at all. But if we don’t do it, she may continue to suffer and no one will know how to help her.

The cherry on the top of the cake? The bill for all this right now is sitting at about $7,000, of which our pet insurance will only cover a small sliver. And it could be more if there are complications. This is, of course, the least of our concerns right now, because all we want is for Portia to get well. But it certainly isn’t lessening our anxiety.

Anyway, please say some prayers for our little girl. We’re a wreck right now, but we’re trying to be positive for her sake. Portia turned six years old last month, so she has youth and her spunky spirit on her side.

 

Email from Sister Moon to our friends & family on 27 April 2012

Thanks so much for all the love and support. We really need it this week. Here’s an update.

Portia had her surgery yesterday. The surgeon scrubbed out to call us during the procedure because she needed us to understand the risk. Once she cut her open, what she found was a large angry lesion in her colon, and a lot of inflamed tissue. She said she would try to cut it all out, but it was risky, because the tissue she needed to remove was right up against a critical artery. Her plan was to remove the top part of the colon, then hand stitch the small to the large intestine. Very intricate procedure. She said it was possible Portia would not survive it, but it was her only chance of survival. We gave her the go ahead.

Three hours later, we learned that Portia had survived surgery. All went pretty smoothly, except she also has a thrombosis (vein blockage) in her rear quarter, which could be a real problem. She couldn’t tell to what length the vein was affected, as it surpassed the scope of the surgical site. This may or may not cause more complications. We just don’t know yet. They’re giving her a drug to help alleviate the thrombosis, but the drug creates a risk of hemmorhage at her sutures. And there’s already a high risk of infection with this particular procedure. She said we should let Portia recover and see what happens, and that the first 12 hours would be critical. Let’s just say it was a long night for us at home.

Well, no phone call during the night, so that was a good sign, and we called for an update first thing this morning. The doc called us back at about 10 to let us know that Portia is doing well so far. Her vitals look good, she’s resting comfortably, and they were able to remove her catheter. They’re giving her nutritional supplements, but they’re going to try to get her to eat this afternoon. We’re by no means out of the woods, but there’s reason to be hopeful. We even get to visit her later today.

Even without the issue of the thrombosis, the doctor told us that the first week is a very tenuous time. We just have to watch how she does and pray for the best. That’s all we know right now.

As to what caused the lesion, they’re not sure. They said it could have been pre-cancer, or it could have been an infection due to a virus. We intend to press them more on this later, but right now, we’re just focused on the immediate problem.

So that’s the scoop for now. Thanks again for all the good energy. Portia thanks you, too!

 

Email from Brother Wolf to our friends & family on 30 April 2012

It is with a very heavy heart that we send this last update out. Portia had a long, hard week with many ups and downs, but when we saw her Sunday afternoon we still had hope that we would see her again today. Sadly, the vet called us at 1:45am to let us know that Portia had stopped breathing and gone into arrest at 1:40am. The tech was still delivering CPR when they called and they let her rest at 1:50am. To say we were in a state of disbelief at that moment is an understatement. We still don’t officially know the cause of her illness. The biopsy results were due today and we’d know if it was an infection or if it was cancer. All we know if that despite the blood transfusion for her low red blood cell count, her little body just wasn’t trying to repair itself. This seemed so contrary to when we actually got to see her. Through the pain meds and everything else, we still saw our Portia peek out at us through the haze. Her head butting, her purr, her railing dangle, all manner to strong personality traits came out during our visits which continued to give us hope despite the trial she was being put through. The doctors have explained to us that while the procedures she underwent are common enough to expect recovery and life afterward, she was a special case in that her surgery was far more extensive than any they had known.

Of course, our sweet girl was always a special case. She was the bright spot in every room, and I do mean every room since she never let you stray very far from her. Our social butterfly would interact with anyone, a trait she showcased for the vets even during her week long stay. Everyone said she was such a sweet, willful kitty. Right now Teri & I feel like a piece of our soul has been carved out. The house already feels like a very different place without her. We are filled with regret and guilt. Could we have done something more, something different? Would we have, should we have? Should we have just brought her home Monday night, or Thur afternoon before the surgery when she seems so much herself? Teri & I both figured we’d be 50 before we had to say goodbye to any of our babies and it wasn’t something we dwelt on. At 6 years, 1 month & 17 days, she was far too young to be lost to us. Every indulgence we denied her seems like a knife to the heart. Oberon seems very lost, pacing from spot to spot looking for her, like she might be in the closet or something. Aja & Rhu can sense the mood as well.

For now, T and I need time to grieve. In one week we have been delivered a blow one can never truly be ready for, but to be so sudden and without warning we simply don’t have the words. Monday morning she was right as rain, before the next day she was in a hospital and before the week was out she was taken from us. We thank each of you for your wishes, thoughts and prayers. They meant the world to us and we wish they had been enough to rally our girl and get her home.

 
New Tattoo Sketch

Victorian Zombie Hunters

Finally! Fresh ink! Spent all spring, from when I was flush with some extra scratch, to now when I’m brokity broke broke, waiting to get back in the shop and continue the sleeve. Originally, this was intended to be a married couple, back from the grave. A sort of homage to ‘omnia vincit amor’, (Lat: love conquers all). As time wore on, I continued to refine the idea in my head and decided instead to work with something more in the hunters category. So here we are, my wife’s & my Victorian alter-egos, confidently holding back the hordes of the living dead. Hot damn, that’s heroic.

It wraps the whole forearm, incl the elbow on both sides. Yes it hurts. It also sucks to be in long sleeves on a hot Arizona summer day. Back in the saddle later in July for color.

In more sombre news, my Irish friend Haff’s very good friend Seb, a French ex-patriot living in Dublin, succumbed to his 3 year battle with cancer at 11:20p Paris time on 30Jun, about 4 hours prior to my sitting in the chair for fresh ink. Seb was also a tattoo artist and I’ve seen his work on my Irishman’s skin for years now. I even had the luxury of slaying zombies a la Left for Dead with Haff, Seb and Seb’s brother Dam last fall. Requiescat in pace, mon ami. You’ve earned some peace at last.

 

Fizzgig beaing cute

Fizzgig being cute

(This archived content from a previous blog is being added for posterity, 25Jan2011. Ed.)

Email from my wife, Sister Moon, to our friends & family

I’m sorry to have to deliver this news on my husband’s birthday, a day that should be about celebrating. Fizzi passed away this morning. We last saw her at about 1 a.m. before we went to bed; the whole family had gathered in the kitchen for the new ritual of giving Fizzi her meds, which she absolutely did not enjoy. Brother Wolf (BW) found her this morning curled up in one of her favorite spots: on the green pillows beneath our tea table.

Fizzi had been sick for going on four weeks now. She had stopped eating and drinking and was becoming increasingly grouchy. We took her to the vet on Jan. 25, and he gave us antibiotics to treat what he believed was a stomach virus. We had done this with her before successfully. This time was different. She continued her hunger strike after a full week of taking meds. She would eat erratically, but never very much.

We took her to the vet a second time on Feb. 4th. They had to administer a brief whiff of anesthesia so they could run some tests. The conclusion was that Fizzi had a mild inflammation of the liver and a backup of bile in her bloodstream. They gave us three new drugs to try (one of which was an appetite stimulant) and gave her an electrolyte bubble to hydrate her. The Dr. said this was not a dire situation. We should try the drugs for 30 days, and if things did not improve, we should bring her in to contemplate a gall bladder operation.

So my dear husband and I would wrangle with her in the evenings, administering medicine via a plastic syringe. Because she was neither eating nor drinking, and the meds were apparently horrific tasting, Fizzi would foam at the mouth, spouting white froth everywhere. This was quite the adventure. But BW managed to find a ritual that worked for her, wrapping her in a towel like a burrito and crooning her into submission.

Yesterday morning, when I went downstairs for breakfast, I found her sitting by the back patio doors observing the birds outside—one of her favorite pastimes. I felt hopeful. I got her to drink two small saucers of milk and eat several small pieces of ham. She purred and seemed to be enjoying herself. I was very excited.

Last night, we gave her meds as usual. She did not like it, of course; but BW and I believed the medicine was beginning to work. This morning when I woke, I saw my birthday boy was extremely upset, and he delivered the terrible news of what he had discovered downstairs. Fizzi was gone.

I got Fizzgig from the pound when I first moved to Arizona in 1995. (Her name comes from a furry, obnoxious character in the movie “The Dark Crystal,” by the way.) I got her in November; she was nine weeks old and weighed only 1.9 pounds! I chose Fizz from all the other kitties because every time I walked by her cage, she would run to the front and meow at me. When they opened the cage for me, she jumped into my arms and climbed up to the top of my head! She was always quite a pistol that girl. She and I lived alone together, a bitchy little duo of women, for many years. Until my love came along, that is. ;) She didn’t like BW at first; she grew very, very attached to him indeed.

I know Fizzi was not the sweetest cat. To most of you, she was cranky, cantankerous and even a little “evil.” ;) But she was our baby, and we love her, and she was a very loving cat when she wanted to be. We’re very sad that she is no longer with us. And I just hope that wherever she may be, there are pouches of wet food in all of her favorite flavors and cushions of every color for her to lounge on.

Most of you have animals in your own family … when you get home tonight, give them an extra hug and kiss and tell them that you love them. My last words to Fizzi were “You are a mess, child.” Of course, I believed there would be plenty of time for “I love you, boo boo” later. But you just never know. So love your babies a whole lot while you can.

We sure do miss our “crotchety old hag,” our bathtub girl, our magazine hog. Our Fizzi.

© 2012 Brother Wolf & Sister Moon Suffusion theme by Sayontan Sinha