Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day


It’s been a rough weekend around here, so I’m afraid I don’t have any funny for you. 


Young man in early 20th century full-length dress, panama hat, and gas mask wields weed whacker as weapon.  Caption reads: "While you were out: shit got serious."

Except this, which never fails to crack me up.



I had tons prepared, and we’ll get to it—you’re going to have a rearview look at everything, I’m afraid—but I’m not up to it right now and I recall somewhere along the line promising you honesty.


A few days ago, we became deeply concerned for the Baby Cat.  I mean, y’all know he’s been skinny for a while, but he started vomiting and refusing food again and it didn’t take long for me to hit the panic button.  So we hauled ass to the vet, who agreed to cram him into their packed schedule because a 5-pound cat can’t not eat.


Baby Cat, perched on exam table, making angry face.


Long story short, his kidneys were failing.  As we sat in the waiting room—waiting for them to warm him above room temperature, waiting for them to pump enough fluids into him to offer any sort of prognosis—I tried not to panic.  I promised myself he would be fine because the world was not ready for the rage I would unleash if I didn’t have my soulmate (sorry, Husband is great and all but it was always Baby Cat) by my side.


We also saw the actual devil—if you’re interested, she’s mid-60’s-ish, round-ish, and utterly without shame.


ME:  Did I hear her story right?
HIM:  … (slips arm around my shoulders)  I think so.
ME:  (clenching)  Did she kill her cat because they moved?!?
HIM:  (begins thumbing small circles in my shoulder blade)  Yeah.
ME:  (rolls neck, tenses, glares at woman)
HIM:  (continues massage, places free hand on mine in blatant attempt to save me from murder charge)
ME:  I fucking hate people.
HIM:  I know.


Yes, while I was sitting there waiting to hear if my almost-16 year-old cat would live or die, this woman had the nerve to tell the receptionist about how they had a cat who was 19 years old and loved to go outside.  When they moved, it was only two miles away and they figured the cat would keep finding his way back to the old house.  “So,” she explained in the most matter-of-fact tone you can imagine, “we put him down.”


(from Real Housewives) "You're an evil person to the core"


That story has nothing to do with anything, except for the fact that I hate this woman and I forgot to take her picture for a proper internet shaming.  This will have to do.


The vet eventually came out to explain that he had my vicious angel warmed and hydrating, but he would need at least three days of supportive care to have any hope of kick-starting his kidneys; we left, insisting on constant updates. 


On the morning of the third day, I got the call I was sure couldn’t possibly happen.


Now we come to the reason I’m sharing all of this—other than the honesty thing, which I really am trying to maintain with you.  I want to believe that my pain wasn’t totally unique—that my experience wasn’t totally unique—and that sharing this next bit will help someone else feel less alone. 


I hung up the phone and Husband started running his stupid mouth in his loud, stupid voice, and I just… hated him.  I really did.  So I snapped at him to shut up, to go away.  He did, with a huff and a sigh and some more stupid questions that I wasn’t going to answer because why should I when I was the one whose world had just ruptured?  He kept coming back into the bedroom, trying to talk to me—he seemed to think a lot of time had passed, but I had no proof of this, since I’d blinked maybe twice and time was meaningless—and I couldn’t help but notice how… fragile he was.  In a detached sort of way, I contemplated the fact that if one were to slice open his abdomen, all the vital bits would just spill out in a big shiny slorpy pile and he’d stop working.  Such thoughts being completely foreign to me, I again barked at him to stop talking.


He shouted something about how he was hurting too, that I was being unfair by shutting everyone out, shutting down, and I turned away to contemplate whether I had the physical energy to get a really big fire going.  (Spoiler: I did not.  I barely managed to wash my hair.  It’s a good thing for humanity I’m so fuckin’ lazy, I swear.)


Eventually Husband and Offspring (who, I couldn’t help but notice, was in the habit of keeping his important and delicate brain bits inside a smashable skull thing) left to go “say goodbye.”*  I sat alone with my thoughts for a few minutes, then picked up the phone and dialled my therapist—which went directly to the after-hours service, but same thing. 


I explained how I was feeling and the thinks I was thinking and that I maybe needed to go somewhere for a while.  You know, just until Husband learned to shut his goddamned mouth. 


Honestly, if I hadn’t been as detached as I was, I probably wouldn’t have made the call.  I certainly wouldn’t have made that request.  But I felt like the outer layers of me had been ripped away and all that was left was exposed nerve and emotional extremes.  There I was, feeling only big things in a world full of stupid tiny people with their tiny feelings and their constant noises, and I wanted to escape badly enough to beg for a padded room.


woman in white padded room

(Spoiler: they don’t really do the padded room thing anymore)


What I was offered was a bed at the hospital, if I wanted it, for exactly as long as I wanted it.  The on-call therapist also talked to Husband, over the phone, basically telling him two things:

  1. Everyone grieves in their own way; your wife needs to be left alone to grieve.
  2. Stop talking. It’s agitating her, for whatever reason.


Miraculously, as soon as everyone shut the fuck up and agreed to do whatever I wanted, I lay down and took a nap.  For most of the day.  The therapist called back to check on me, and I gave her contact numbers out the wazoo, including Husband’s (and she talked to him some more, probably making him promise that he’d call 911 if I wandered into the kitchen.)


Should I have gone to the hospital?  Maybe.  Probably.  But there were people there, and someone would have tried to talk to me and I might have actually hurt someone so that might have ended badly in my specific case.  But!  Now you can say you know someone who’s been in that situation, if you didn’t already.  So if you’re ever that low, or worried… just make the call and go get yourself a nice comfy spot where you don’t have to take care of everyone else or worry about what anyone thinks and you’re totally allowed to wear sweat pants and slippers all fucking day if that’s what you want. ** 


I won’t judge. 


49ers slippers

Recommended slippers.  Because I’m a FAN, dammit!


What did I actually do when I finally woke up?


I went shopping.   


Hear me out: for 16 years, the Baby Cat loved what I loved, attacked what annoyed or hurt me, and wouldn’t let me walk from here to there without scouting ahead for danger.  Some people would probably have called him my emotional support animal, though he was never trained to do any damned thing… all I knew was that without him I was going to become someone too mean to love.  With no idea how to fix myself, it suddenly occurred to me that what I really needed was someone who was also having a very bad day.  Maybe even a bad week?  Sure, Husband and Offspring will probably tell you they’re feeling some feels right now, but they’ve got nothing on the gaping void where my soul used to be so let’s ignore them for the moment. 


It took me only a few minutes to find what I was looking for and approach Husband with it.


To his credit, he didn’t argue.  He stalled a bit, and tried to offer an alternative—to my credit, I didn’t bite his nose right off his stupid face at any point—then he put his goddamned shoes on and we went.


MASSIVE long-haired orange cat climbing out of shopping cart

His name is Alexander Hamilton, and there’s a million things he hasn’t done, but just you wait.


Yes, I bought a miniature lion.  Turns out, they had one at the Humane Society—go figure!  I would have preferred to go elsewhere (for reasons I will not discuss here, so let’s just agree to disagree) but this one time I needed a cat today and that’s what they do there.  Also, we had to change his name because the name he came with was stupid.  He doesn’t care, because he only had that name for 3 months—the people who had him before gave him up because he kept getting outside.  


I wasn’t sure, based only on the picture and their description of his personality, but when I picked him up something felt really right.  Then I quietly asked him, “They abandoned you, huh?”  He sort of melted against me and tucked his head under my chin.  We leaned on each other in shared pain for a moment before I whispered, “Yeah… sucks, right?”  I looked up at Husband with dry, hot eyes and saw him smiling through tears.  He knew this was our cat, and that Ham and I needed each other.


majestic orange lion/cat shows off mane

Majestic as fuck.








* They paid the exorbitant vet bill.  I think they also did something with his remains, but Husband is forbidden from discussing this with me on pain of me losing my shit again.


** Also, if you’re ever in the position of feeling like you’re supposed to comfort someone who clearly only wants to scream about how much they hate you… maybe remember this story and do way less talking/texting/calling than I got that day?  Seriously, something about me turning my phone off and shouting “GO AWAY!” was apparently code for, “please try harder to tell me about how well you know what I’m going through!”






25 comments on “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

  1. Jeffy says:

    I’m so sorry your baby has crossed that rainbow bridge. As the devoted servant to 3 furbabies, with 2 who are labelled geriatric and have had health scares, I fear that day so much. Alexander Hamilton, the best ginger lion, take care of your new Mama. She’s had a terrible time lately and needs some care.

    Know that people out here in the void care that you are hurting. You have given us laughter and I take that happiness and turn it back to you for the day you’re ready for it. (And also know that my mother does the exact same thing as husband and will not shut up her sympathy and let me be quiet. It is the worst when your heart is in pieces.)

    My three send Ham their best purrs. And I send you the best hugs and quiet moments I can.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. bexoxo says:

    The passing of a furry friend sure does leave a hole, doesn’t it? It may never be whole again, but having a ‘distraction’ in the form of another furry friend at least helps ease the pain. I’m so sorry for your loss, but it sounds like you and Ham already have something pretty great between the two of you. I’ll shut up now… ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sherry says:

    It’s certainly scary when you realize you could kill someone and be okay with it…..Thankfully for most of us we work through these feels. So sorry for the loss of your furbaby, your new one looks fantastic. Here’s to many years for the two of you

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. I’ve been assured that—much like addiction, abuse, or just about anything else—talking about it is the first step. But grief looks different on everyone and I’m sure it surprised a lot of people that the woman who gets so demanding and needy over the sniffles went full-on wounded animal solitude with one phone call.

      The good news for you is that Ham is energetic and hilarious, so his antics are leading us into conversations when I’d probably otherwise be holed up my blanket cave.


  4. Jen says:

    I’m so sorry you lost such a sweet cat. Don’t forget that your Husband and Offspring are grieving too. Shutting yourself off for a while is alright, but don’t forget about the world around you and that you have to come back to the world and live.

    Don’t feel bad about getting another cat. He is beautiful btw. I did the same thing when both of my cats (that I grew up with) died in the same year and when the 2nd one passed I ended up with a cat 3 days later. It’s unfortunate that he passed last year. Fuck, why can’t cats live longer?

    Liked by 1 person

    • My theory is that it’s a balance thing: cats are too clever by half, and if they lived as long as we want them to they’d easily master doors, cars, the internet, and mind control. Cats would not be benevolent overlords (as much as I loved the baby cat, he was a vicious little beastie who enjoyed the suffering of less intelligent creatures… actually, that’s part of why I loved him) so their time here is limited to a few years of cuddling, chasing the laser pointer, and teaching us to frantically buy nine different flavors of cat food in the hope that Mr. Whiskers will like one of them.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I had always thought that people who cry when they lose a pet were mentally unhinged, but guess who bawled for days when my cat friend had to be put down because Kidney Disease? For months afterwards I would cry just thinking about her. It took me 3 years to get a kitten. Unfortunately, the kitten we picked turned out to be a Ninja Terrorist hell-bent on slashing us to ribbons. That’s another story though. For now, just know I feel for you and I hope Alexander Hamilton will ease your pain. Hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m not generally a crier in daily life; in terms of human death, of those close to me, my crying/dry-eyed ratio is about 50/50. But for pets? Every time. Part of the difference is that they live with me, of course, and therefore the loss is felt every moment I’m at home… but there’s also (for me) a sense that humans generally choose their fate and see it coming,* an option unavailable to dependent species.

      * Violent death being the obvious exception. But the #1 killer in the world is still heart disease and people flip the fuck out if a burger chain stops supersizing, so…

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Arionis says:

    Sorry for the loss of your companion. That’s all you need to hear from me.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. KathyG says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. We’re into the final days with our own 17-year-guy, knowing we’re just delaying the inevitable, waiting for him to tell us he’s ready to go. I hope Ham will be a comfort to you, as I’m sure you are to him.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Kelley O says:

    I’m so very sorry for your loss, I have two kitties, and one is 17, but has mild kidney issues, so unfortunately, I may end up where you are someday. Alexander Hamilton is gorgeous, and when you described him curling up under your chin and melting into you…. yep, tears right here. He will help you grieve and keep you company. Big hugs from NC.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Lisa says:

    You’re not alone. Much love going out to you.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Big hugs from snowy Vancouver. I’m so glad Hammy and you found each other. What a gorgeous boy.

    After a friend of mine lost her beloved cat of 14 years, she wasn’t sure she would ever be emotionally ready to bring another kitty into the home. Then one day, when she and her kids got home after a ten mile drive on the interstate, she heard a plaintive mewing coming from the undercarriage of the car, felt around, and pulled out a tiny tortoiseshell kitten. It was like the universe saying, “You have so much love still to give, and if you won’t go adopt another kitty on your own then by god I guess I’ll have to drop one in your lap so you’ll take the friggin’ hint.”

    They named her Kia, after the car she survived stowing away in. Don’t tell Kia this, but I think Alexander Hamilton’s name is better.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! There was some debate over his name—I’ve been talking for years about getting a savannah, and the name I’d picked out was Aaron Purr. When I told Ham his old name sucked and he needed a new one, I thought of Hamilton but then wondered if I should just go with the previously-reserved AP. Offspring was the deciding vote, and he pointed out that Ham was young, scrappy, and hungry 😉


  11. Schmitt says:

    I’m so sorry. I lost my 12 year old boy late last year, many years too early. We’ve always been quick to adopt another cat – not because it’s a replacement. It can never be that. But because we know that love is boundless.

    Cheers to you and Ham. May you have many snuggles.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. Ham knows he’s not replacing anyone, nor is he replaceable; he’s a valued member of our family and possessor of the most impressive tail in existence.


      • Schmitt says:

        Whoa whoa whoa. I think we’ve got to throw down here, cause our Mo has definitely got some junk on her trunk.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Mo’s tail is lovely… but does she use it to play “I’m not touching you!” with her siblings? Because the stupid cat (only one left of the three we had six months ago… it’s been a hell of a year) is still not okay with Ham, and hisses whenever she sees him. Ham, being just the friendliest cat ever, makes every attempt to befriend her but is also transitioning into sibling mode. With flair.


          • Schmitt says:

            We’re in the middle of transitioning from a two to a four cat household (we’re idiots). It’s… fun. Mo is pretty chill though.

            We lost two six months apart in 2013/14. Sometimes I wonder why we do this to ourselves. Four more heartbreaks? But… it’s worth it.

            BTW need regular pictures of Ham.

            Liked by 1 person

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