Monday, June 6, 2016

The End of ... This Era

Hey guys,

 I moved my blog over to If you want to keep up on the adventures we're having, you can follow us there.

- Whitney

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

The Story of a Cat and Her Girl

I know that it sounds foolish or naive when I say, “I never thought about life without her.” But it's true. I was lucky enough to find mutual, unconditional love at age nine. She was small, black and perfect for me.  

It was September, and I remember my mom picking me up from school so that we could go search the local shelters. We went three days in a row and I still couldn't find the right kitten for me. I am a cat person, crazy cat lady through to my core. I stop and talk to them when I see them on the street. I adore other people’s cats the way some adore other’s children. However, as I searched I knew that I couldn’t take just any one of them home, I needed to find my kitten. At the end of the third day, I found her. She was sitting in the drop box outside of the pound. I always thought it was special that she never actually had to go in the pound; she was waiting for me.

On the way home, I named her Babybelle, so that I could call her “baby”. Whatever my intentions, she was destined for another name. From the beginning we called her Kitty. Whenever she would talk to us, asking us to fill up her food, pet her or maybe just bossing us around, we always responded, “Yes, Kitty, I know.” Or “Not right now Kitty, I’m busy.”

She never took “no” for an answer though. She had spunk, she was bossy. When she was younger, if we stopped petting her too soon or walked past without acknowledging her, she would swat our ankles and bite them if she could catch up to us quick enough.

She was vivacious but clumsy as a kitten. Whenever I came up the stairs, she would hide and try to pounce on me, but often only succeeded in launching herself straight up, she would then bounce on her hind legs for a split second before darting off to the corner. Eventually she honed her skills and over the years, we dealt with many headless mice on the front porch and birds let loose in the house.

Once, I “invented” a game. I was annoying her and got her riled up; then I decided it would be fun to have my little brother pet her, I knew she would probably bite him, but the plan was that I would jump in and save him from disaster in the nick of time. I could see it in my mind, it was perfect, it was fun.

Unfortunately, I’m very slow. I yelled, “Nick! Come pet Kitty!” And before I could ride in and save the day, she lashed out. “She bit me!!!” He screamed and started to cry. I didn’t know how to begin to explain myself and my stupid idea. I got in trouble, she didn’t.

She knew what she wanted and what she didn’t want. She hated kids and had an unending power struggle with my dad, which climaxed when she pooped on him one night while he slept. She was a very brave cat.

She loved shrimp and yogurt, whenever she heard the soft pop of a yogurt lid she would run into the kitchen, demanding, in no uncertain terms, that it be given to her. She loved soft scratches on her head, but not her tummy. You received a sharp bite if you ever tried to touch her soft paws. I always tried to touch her paws.

Of all the things she loved, she loved me best of all. I was hers and she was mine. We grew up together. If she was out playing in my parents’ field, all I had to do was yell, “Babybeeeeeeelle” out the back door and she would come leaping through the grasses.

In all our years, all she ever wanted from me was food, to be pet, talked to and loved. She always had a place to curl up on the edge of my bed at night and a ray of sunshine to sprawl in, in the morning.

When I left my husband and moved back home, she was waiting for me, and I didn’t feel lost anymore. We snuggled, we talked. Every once in awhile, I caught myself when we were talking and realized, that yes, I was having a back and forth conversation with a cat. Whenever this happened it felt surreal because I knew we could understand each other. She knew me in my heart, which is where it actually matters.

When I started dating Zach and eventually moved in with him, he knew Kitty and I were a package deal. The way he loved her, made me love him more. Whenever he made something with meat, he always set aside pieces for her, neither one of them wanted anything to do with my vegetarian ways. It was common to see him at the stove with her right at his feet waiting for little morsels. He quickly learned that any unattended water glass would have a little paw dipped in it and that his ice cream wasn’t really all his. The best days were the three of us in that apartment. It didn’t matter what we were doing, though usually we were snuggling on the couch, watching reruns of The Office.

I don’t believe in heaven or any sort of afterlife. I know Kitty isn’t in a better place. The best place for her and for me was together. It was the best place until the vet told us she was suffering and that any fight that modern medicine could make would prolong that suffering. Her kidneys were failing and failing fast. She had gone from playing, running up and down the hall with us, to barely moving. He told me, “If you want more time with her, you can take her home for one more night -- but she won’t have a good night.” He told us that she was miserable and that her body was shutting down.

I knew the choice was not a choice. There were no other options, because those options were about me, and this was about her. I wasn’t ready to say goodbye, but I’m never going to be ready.

We called my parents who came up as quickly as they could, I’m so lucky to have great parents. The vet tech brought Kitty into us and we all held her and talked for awhile about all the ways she was the best; there were too many count. Even Zach said, “My favorite memories with her are all of them.”

I held her and kissed her ears when the time came. Zach offered to hold her so that I could go outside. Not being with her was never an option though. For her, things would be as they had always been, the two of us together.

Now, it’s just me. I have people around me who love me and support me, but I don’t have Kitty. My life wasn’t the same after we met and it won’t be the same now that she’s gone. Everytime I wake up, for a split second I forget; I don’t move, so my feet don’t disturb her sleeping at the end of the bed, but then I remember. I haven’t picked up the last glass of water that started as mine but quickly became hers.

I know there is a light at the end of this tunnel and a time where the grief will not feel so heavy. But, I cannot see that light.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Moving On Out

Time goes by so quickly. This time last year, I wrote a post about Zach and I moving into our first apartment together and Kitty coming too because she and my dad don't get along. Except, now we're moving out.

Our lease is up at the end of the month, and it puts us in kind of a strange in-between time. So, for the time being, instead of doing month-to-month somewhere, we are going back to my parents' basement.  I loved our space and our apartment and I'm sad to leave it! But, I know that we'll keep moving on to exciting things and new challenges.

Packing has left the house so empty, I know it is COMPLETELY different ... but when I look around at the empty walls and tables ... Empty Chairs at Empty Chairs keeps playing in my head, because you know ... moving furniture is the same as your friends dying in the June Rebellion.

I want to make funny jokes about moving but mostly I feel like this.

The good news is that even though Kitty and my dad are sworn enemies, he's allowing her to live in the basement as long as we: cover all of his furniture, put up a baby gate by the stairs so she can't sneak up to meet him, keep her in my mom's art studio when she isn't supervised and... I think that's it? He mostly doesn't want to know she's there. So, not that bad? Maybe?

I hope that they can put their bad times behind them and come together! Or... just avoid each other for the few months that we will be there.
These boxes are my home now!
Last thing! Zach and I just celebrated our second-dating anniversary! Yay for true love! Maybe it is silly to mark it and celebrate it but whatever. These two years have gone by so fast and been the BEST OF MY LIFE and this is the last time we'll have a dating anniversary because, "once you get married they don't count anymore," (which is BS).
Fancy anniversary perfume! He thinks I smell

Friday, March 4, 2016


In December we took Kitty to get her shots and a check up. The vet said her teeth were pretty bad and that in the next 3 - 6 months we should get them cleaned. I told him that she was really bad with her brushing routine ...

During the check up, he examined a small lump on her head. We told him it had been there about a month but hadn't grown. He wasn't worried about it, but said he would remove it when we brought her in for her teeth cleaning since they would anesthetize her for that and this way we wouldn't have to put her under twice.

This morning was three months from that day. I think she knew something was up and she hated it. When we tried to put her in her kennel she scratched up both of our arms and then cried the whole way to vet. When we got there, she regarded me only with stubborn silence.

As I filled out the paperwork, the woman in the front office asked me if I wanted pre-anesthesia blood work. I didn't think she'd need it since she's had operations before, but when the lady looked at her chart she said, "she needs it, she's super old!" She didn't actually say that. She said, "is she really going to be 16 this year? I would recommend it."

I appreciated this advice, but it made me more nervous than I already was about her going under. I know she is getting old, but I like to think of her as still young and immortal ... like me. When I left her and headed to work, I cried in the car. My worst fear is something happening to Kitty.

I'm so thankful we got the blood work, because we got a call saying her kidneys were weak. Not bad, but they wanted to put her on extra fluids throughout the surgery and keep her a couple of extra hours. After that call, all I had to do was wait for them to call me and tell me she was out safely. It seemed like forever! They said they would call between 12 - 2, but it was closer to 3:15.

They told me that everything went well and I was able to pick her up around 5. Unfortunately, they took my sweet little Kitty and replaced her with... FRANKENKITTY!
Gross! The pictures don't do her justice.
Zombie leg! 
She's gross right?? Her FAVORITE spot for rubs is her face and head, so she keeps trying to rub it on me. Poor, Kitty. 

She kept running into walls and falling over when she first got home. But, she's actually doing really well now! She gets awesome prescription food to help her old lady kidneys and Zach has been sneaking her shrimp tonight. 

Friday, February 19, 2016

Crane Folding Frenzy

The wedding is drawing near ... ish. We have roughly ~130 days until THE DAY.

We are getting married at the Tracy Aviary in Salt Lake City, it's a gorgeous venue! Originally we were going to get married up in Yellowstone, but the logistics of that were going to be much too difficult to figure out. We're both pretty simple, so we want a simple, little hassle as possible wedding. Full disclosure, I've tried to convince Zach to elope multiple times, but he's said, "no way, never!!!" So instead we're going to have a birdyful wedding! Did that work? No, probably not. Either way, the wedding is coming together in a way that we are happy with.

I read that you should only DIY one big project for your wedding. I decided our project was going to be folding 1,000 paper cranes. Here is an example of people who have done this at the Aviary:
Pretty right? 
I think it is going to be awesome. In Japan, folding cranes is a way for the couple to build their relationship with each other and with their families and friends, "The time and energy put into the thousand hand-folded origami cranes symbolized the patience and trust necessary to sustain a happy marriage. A couple who could weather the long, time intensive folding process together, supporting each other, talking with each other for weeks while taking on a challenging task was proving their ability to maintain a long term, content relationship." You can read more about it here!

My friend at work thinks this a terrible idea and thinks we should just buy the cranes already folded and save ourselves some time. When I tried to explain the cool Japanese part and even that Zach lived in Japan, he responded, "You both live in America now ..." He dislikes this idea so much that he 1) offered to buy them as a wedding gift and 2) hijacked my Twitter account to post this:
Partly, he's right, this is going to be a really long process. A process, as he pointed out, that we could cut short by spending $20 - $45 on Etsy. We're currently at about 50 cranes, so only 950 more to go! Below see a wonderful example of his vs. her tracking methods ... I think he wins :/ Though, I do love to make a good spreadsheet!

Complete with formulas!!!
"Eventually, I'll run out of space on my sticky."

We're having fun and I do think it is "relationship building". The part about working through the process is true, even if we're watching TV while folding, it is still fun to do together. It is also fun to get our family and friends involved. My mom went and bought paper for us and quite a few of our friends have offered to help, it's even a fun talking point for the (good hearted) dissenters ;)

Friday, February 12, 2016

The Wrath of Gabzilla

I just woke up from a nap. It's 7 on a Friday night, I'm living the life. While this may not veer from the norm (I LOVE to nap), I like to think I have a slightly better excuse today.

Instead of going to work, I took some PTO so I could hang out with my niece Gabzilla. My brother usually has her on Fridays, but had to go out of town. Our dad and his mother-in-law also went out of town, the perfect storm of no one being able to watch the baby!!!

So, fiancé and I volunteered...

At family events there is always a lot of competition for her affections, we rarely, if ever, get one-on-one time with her.  We were both pretty excited to spend some quality time, especially since Zach is her almost uncle now.

We spent the night at my parents last night, since we're not used to waking up before 7 in the morning. This way no matter what, we'd at least be on time to watch her.

When she arrived she was in good spirits but a little grouchy. She cried when her mom left, but quickly fell back asleep. When she woke up from her nap, it was amazing! She was a whole new 13-month old child. It was great! We played games and ran around, until it was time to wake Zach up (who also took a nap).

Unfortunately, this is where things went downhill -- for Zach. We'd pictured having a great day together babysitting, spending time together and get experience taking care of an actual human child. Zilla cannot stand fiancé. She hates his face. She hates his beard. She hates all the things. Maybe she takes after her aunt a little bit on the grumpy scale?

Zach had to spend the rest of the day downstairs. We tried to just keep him out of sight, but whenever he spoke she would lose her sh*t and start screaming and crawling up me. Furthermore, when I sent him downstairs, I had to show her around the rest of the upstairs before she would believe he was gone and clam down. (I should also mention, to add insult to his injury -- my parents' dog stole half of his bagel off the counter.)

I will NOT be your friend almost-uncle Zach
Is it my scary beard?
The bright side, for me, is, that as soon as he disappeared she and I went back to bonding and playing! We had a great time and I got the best baby hugs in the world. I'm not sure if or when Zach and I are going to have kids, honestly, they terrify me. But, one thing is for sure, I definitely love being an aunt.

If you're happy and you know it,
clap your hands
I wear my pajamas on my neck
I will cough at you when I see you drinking until you give me your water
Greatest hugs in the world.

Friday, December 18, 2015

2015: In Closing

I know we still have two weeks of 2015, but I plan on being very busy and disconnected the next little while. So, since this might be my last post I want to run through all the highlights.

The year started off with a bang! My first and so far only niece was born January 2nd, but Fiance and I are getting married soon. He has one niece and one nephew, who I think already like me more than they like him.
 Secondly, Zach and I moved in together. At first, I was like, "Dude ... you have way too much stuff." But, he is the actual greatest person ever and things have been going really well.

Third, I chopped off a ton of my hair. I'm not sure how I feel about it. I'm really just waiting for it to grow out again. My dad definitely knows how he feels about it and says I never, ever should have cut it. It's longer than this now, but he's probably right...

Fourth, (and WAY cool) I got engaged to this guy: what a winner!!!
"Don't I kind of look like a hobbit?"
Last big thing, I graduated today (December 18th)!!! I've been working on my Master of Professional Communication for the last year and taking double the classes to finish in half the time. It has been exhausting, but I'm so glad that I'm done now! 
If you look closely, you can see that Gabby is not at all
happy about this. 

All in all, it has been a wonderful year. Two thumbs up ;)