Loving my pet is hard to do

For Christmas 2010, my lovely husband (then-fiance) got me the one thing missing from my life.

Meet Pebbles, my sweet kitten. She was 5 months old when we adopted her from our local animal shelter, where she had been living for a month. She was cuddly and sweet when we met her and I knew right away: she was my cat. And I was hurting for a pet. My last pet, a tortoiseshell kitten, was taken from me when I was 12 after we married my highly allergic stepdad. I had a hamster after that, but it was never the same. Pebbles filled that hole.

Until she started acting out. Biting and clawing in a kitten is not as cute in a full grown cat. We tried to teach her early with swats to the nose, loud claps at bad behavior, dumping her off our laps, etc. Everyone online, in books and in person has different tips for dealing with an unruly kitten. And at times, we literally had the sweetest cat in the entire world. But those times are hard to remember when she is clawing at your feet under the comforter at 2 in the morning.

Over the past year, her claws have gotten sharper, her bites have gotten stronger. I cannot get close enough to her paws to trim her claws, let along try “soft paws.” Yes, I’ve tried everything. I’ve read everything. I know all the ways to make her better. I know everyone thinks declawing is cruel. I’m not a huge fan myself. But when my cat continues to claw me in the lip, eye and cheek, I’m strongly considering declawing her myself.

It was after a visit with the vet (in which she clawed the vet in the face) that we realized our sweet Christmas kitten is probably never going to get any better. We’re trying behavior modification with a water squirt bottle. It doesn’t seem to be helping. But she hasn’t clawed me in the face in the past 2 weeks, so what do I know. I’m still afraid of her. I can’t have her on my lap for too long or I get scared. But I’m trying.

It’s times like this that I hate being an adult. Rarely is this the case, but when a vet tells you to put your aggressive cat to sleep because she will never be safe, I wish I had a parent to decide for me. Instead, I have to wrestle internally with the idea that my kitten, the one I’ve waited for for 10 years, may be too feral, too aggressive. And that sucks. Simply put, it sucks.

There’s no neat and clean way to wrap up this post. Because there’s no black or white answer. As much as I wish there were.

Presenting Christmas

I am a girl who loves (loves, loves) giving gifts. I think about the perfect sentiment to show how much I love someone for weeks, even months leading up to their event. I (way) overspend on holidays, particularly Christmas. And as my first year with a husband, I am becoming aware of how much of a problem my gift giving is.

In our family, I pay the bills. It was set up that way before we got married and it just stayed. I also am more likely to remember to pay the bills, so this is just how it is in our house. But because of that, I have very little money left over for incidentals. Like GIFTS! So my lovely, wonderful husband, Josh, gets to pay for the little things that accumulate each month, like dinners out, movies, etc. And this year, he is also paying for Christmas gifts for an extensive list of family members. Let me break it down for you.

I have 4 parents, 4 siblings, 1 niece and 1 nephew. Josh has 3 parents, 2 siblings, and a very important grandmother (my grandparents, obviously not important). That means gifts for 16 people. Not counting friends and each other. Now, of course, I could refrain from giving gifts this year. We don’t make a lot of money and we have a lot of debt. And as adorable, crafty people like to point out: “You can always MAKE something!” But there are two problems with that solution. First, I can’t make anything. Well, not anything people would actually want to have. I’m not crafty and cute. Second, if you missed the point, I LOVE giving people gifts. So that’s out.

But Josh is at his wit’s end. My poor, poor husband. All he wants to do is give his credit card a rest. But we’re not even halfway done. We have made progress though. And, I caved. We are making a few little things for people, including each other. And he convinced me not EVERYONE needs a $100 gift (that would be $1600, which is CRAZY! Even I know that). So, I’m not a total lost cause. But there are still 31 shopping days until Christmas (which is why I shop online).

Growing up is hard to do

Obviously a major theme of this blog, thus far, is, well, growing up. But this week I confront one grown-up challenge I haven’t before. No, it’s not buying a car/house/pony. No, it’s not having a baby. This week I embark for Cleveland, Ohio, with my parents and sister. And leave my husband behind. On Thanksgiving.

Since we started dating in college, Josh and I have never spent a holiday apart. We have always driven the slight (2-hour) distance to be together, no matter what. And no matter how long. Once, it was only for dessert. But being together on holidays is important to us.

Josh told me recently he doesn’t understand why people go on vacation at Christmas. Because he’s always thought Christmas was “all about family.” Reason I married him #34968. I feel the same way. Family is so important to me and he is my family. So leaving him behind on Thanksgiving is sort of heartbreaking.

Obviously, we discussed my decision to leave. And he was in total support. He works nights and he will be working the night of Thanksgiving, as well as the days before and after. So my 4 day weekend becomes one day with my husband. And I bought an expensive plane ticket to be home on Sunday morning to spend our one day together. Does his working make it easier to leave? Yes. Do I wish he wasn’t working? Yes.